USC Price Signs MOU in Israel

Global Reach:

USC Price Signs MOU in Israel

By Cristy Lytal

Dean Jack Knott with Dean Alex Mintz Dean Jack Knott, right, and Alex Mintz, dean of the Lauder School of Government, sign the MOU.

The USC Price School of Public Policy advanced its work of “shaping the world” during Dean Jack H. Knott’s recent trip to Israel. He traveled in the company of USC leaders including President C. L. Max Nikias, First Lady Niki C. Nikias, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett, and a delegation of deans, trustees, faculty members and senior administrators.

“Public policy and urban planning are really central to a lot of the things that Israel confronts in the present and the future,” said Knott, C. Irwin and Ione L. Piper dean and professor at USC Price. “They are dealing with major policy issues facing the country — from economic development to the environment, from homeland security to demography. So there are a lot of issues that are related to our school.”

During the trip, Knott forged relationships with policymakers as well as representatives from world-class educational institutions to create new opportunities for collaboration.

Knott signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel’s first private college. The MOU promotes cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism and natural disaster management through future student and faculty exchanges, international teaching labs, teleconferenced workshops, collaborative research and more.

The Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University expressed interest in student exchanges and international teaching labs, as well as collaborative research on macroeconomic policy and financial markets, immigration and labor force policy.

In addition, the dean connected with leaders at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science. During these meetings, he discovered shared research interests in the areas of urban economics, urban modeling and real estate economics; social policies such as demographic trends, human and social rights and education policy; and environmental sustainability, including water policies and climate change.

“I was pleasantly surprised to discover that every institution that we visited has a policy institute or a school of public policy or urban planning that relates very closely to what we do,” he said. “They’re all good potential partners.”

Knott and the delegation also enjoyed information meetings with key policymakers. Eugene Kandel, head of the Israel National Economic Council, discussed issues of economic growth strategies, venture capital financing of technology transfer and start-up companies, tax policies, and energy and water policies. Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel, shared insights about the strengths and weaknesses of the Israeli higher education system.

“They have some outstanding universities and research institutes, so it’s a really good country for us to connect with,” said Knott.

Despite the packed itinerary, Knott and the delegation found time to dedicate a wreath in honor of those lost in the Holocaust and experience some of Israel’s extraordinary history.

“The country is really vibrant,” said Knott. “I was impressed by the quality of the academics, the research and the people we met. It was a productive but also enjoyable trip.”