University names leaders for new Raoul Wallenberg Institute


Jeffrey Veidlinger, the Joseph Brodsky Collegiate Professor of History and Judaic Studies, has been appointed the inaugural director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute at the University of Michigan.

In addition, faculty and staff leaders from across the university have been appointed to the new institute’s executive committee.

Photo of Jeffrey Veidlinger
Jeffrey Veidlinger

The institute will study hatred directed against religious and ethnic communities, foster cross-cultural understanding and seek to elevate civil discourse. Through teaching, research and public engagement, the institute will develop strategies to combat antisemitism, divisiveness and discrimination.

It is named after Wallenberg, a Swedish humanitarian and U-M alumnus whose efforts on behalf of the U.S. War Refugee Board to rescue European Jews during the Holocaust saved nearly 20,000 lives. He is one of eight people to be named an honorary U.S. citizen, and his legacy is recognized at U-M through the Wallenberg Medal and Lecture and the Wallenberg Fellowship.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that the Wallenberg family has agreed to have this new institute named in Raoul’s honor,” said Anne Curzan, dean of LSA, where the institute will be housed. “His values of empathy, tolerance and leadership are as inspirational and important today as they were during his lifetime.

“I am grateful for the deep expertise that Jeff brings to the director role and the commitment of our colleagues joining us to launch the Raoul Wallenberg Institute at the University of Michigan.”

The institute’s executive committee members are:

  • Tabbye Chavous, chief diversity officer and vice provost for equity and inclusion; professor of psychology in LSA; and professor of education in the Marsal Family School of Education.
  • Christian Davenport, Mary Ann and Charles R. Walgreen Jr. Professor for the Study of Human Understanding and professor of political science in LSA; and professor of public policy in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
  • Karla Goldman, Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work, professor of social work and director of the Jewish Communal Leadership Program in the School of Social Work; and professor of Judaic studies in LSA.
  • Mostafa Hussein, assistant professor of Judaic studies in LSA.
  • Matthew Kaplan, executive director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.
  • Steven Ratner, Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law in the Law School, and director of the Donia Human Rights Center in LSA’s International Institute.
  • Melanie S. Tanielian, associate professor of history and director of the Program in International and Comparative Studies in LSA.
  • Geneviève Zubrzycki, William H. Sewell Jr. Collegiate Professor of Sociology, professor of sociology in LSA, and director of the International Institute’s Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, the Copernicus Center for Polish Studies and the Center for European Studies.

The director and executive committee members are some of the leading scholars and experts in antisemitism, Jewish studies, Middle East studies, Muslim-Jewish relations, genocide, human rights, ethnic and racial violence, and educational development.

Veidlinger brings significant scholarly expertise and administrative experience to the position. His research is on modern Jewish history, the Holocaust and antisemitism.

His latest book, “In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The 1918-1921 Pogroms in Ukraine and the Onset of the Holocaust,” won a Canadian Jewish Literary Award and a Vine Book Award, and was a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize, the National Jewish Book Award and the Wingate Literary Prize.

Veidlinger also authored the award-winning books “In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine,” “The Moscow State Yiddish Theater: Jewish Culture on the Soviet Stage” and “Jewish Public Culture in the Late Russian Empire.”

He was director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies from 2015-21, chairs the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History, and is a member of the executive committee of the American Academy for Jewish Research and the academic committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead this prestigious institute and grateful to work with such a distinguished group of colleagues,” Veidlinger said.

Programs and courses for the new institute are expected to start rolling out over the next academic year and will focus on teaching, research, scholarship and public engagement. Some of the offerings will include new courses, grant funding for scholarly research and student internships, a student-centric dialogue series, a fellowship program, a speaker and lecture series, and public outreach to schools throughout Michigan.



  1. Trevor Denton
    on June 12, 2024 at 8:42 am

    Looking forward to the day when U-M creates an institute to combat anti-Arab racism and islamophobia

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