Promoting Dialogue in a Global Context
Lillian K. Abensohn
For more than a decade, Lillian K. Abensohn has been a stalwart advocate of American University's Center for Israel Studies. Lillian values the center's mission to celebrate, examine, and interpret the rich landscape of Israel as a nation and a people through multidisciplinary study. "Relative to its size, Israel looms large in public discourse; the center provides a critical and balanced examination of its diversity," Lillian says.
Lillian and her late husband, Seymour, realized that providing such opportunities through the center would require the strong leadership of a committed faculty chair. They also understood that providing financial support for the creation of an endowed chair would increase AU's ability to attract world-class academic leaders.
The Abensohns' commitment to the Center for Israel Studies motivated their initial leadership contribution for the Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Endowed Chair in Israel Studies. The Abensohn endowment has been supplemented by donations from numerous friends of AU and members of Washington DC's Jewish community, as well as close personal friends of the Abensohns. Supporting contributions have taken many forms, from outright gifts of cash and securities to deferred gifts through charitable estate planning vehicles including bequests, retirement plan assets, and life insurance.
"The Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Endowed Chair is the realization of a $2 million multi-donor commitment to American University's efforts to engage our community and promote academic vibrancy," says President Neil Kerwin '71. "The chair's existence will benefit students in a wide spectrum of disciplines for years to come."
This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of American magazine.