The Yale School of Management’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute hosted the first public dialogue between a senior Arab government official and a senior Israeli official since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
Yousef Al Otaiba, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the U.S., and Michael Herzog, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., appearing virtually, were the featured speakers at the forum in Edward P. Evans Hall’s Zhang Auditorium. The event was moderated by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the founder and CEO of CELI as well as Yale SOM’s senior associate dean for leadership studies and the Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management.
The need for dialogue was endorsed by the speakers as the only means to a peaceful resolution, underpinned by trust. The candid, respectful exchanges between the speakers and the students, including those from Palestine, UAE, Kuwait, Israel, Poland, the U.S., and China, modeled such a spirit of meaningful discourse, according to Sonnenfeld.
Around 80 Yale faculty members, including 20 theologians, staff members, and over 500 students attended the November 15 discussion. The discussion also included virtual appearances from Ambassador Dennis Ross, former Mideast envoy in the Obama administration, and Jared Kushner, who as senior advisor to President Donald Trump oversaw the process that led to the Abraham Accords in 2020. Palestinian delegates to the United Nations were invited but did not reply. Clergy members Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of Masjid Al-Farah in New York City and Rabbi Herbert Brockman of Congregation Mishkan Israel in Hamden, Connecticut, provided an inter-faith invocation.