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On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, the Office of the President hosted His Excellency Dr. Michael B. Oren, Ambassador of Israel to the United States, for a public address entitled “Israel and the United States: Ultimate Allies.” Approximately 100 students, faculty, and staff attended the presentation in the I. King Jordan Student Academic Center.

“It was a pleasure to host the Ambassador here on the Gallaudet campus,” said President T. Alan Hurwitz. “It’s a testament to Gallaudet University’s reputation that the Ambassador selected this location to make this significant speech and I’m pleased our students, faculty, and staff had the privilege of attending this special occasion.”

Ambassador Oren began his speech noting the Israeli deaf community’s use of Israeli Sign Language and Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language. Israel has established resources for its deaf and hard of hearing population, including the availability of an interpreter training program, sign language courses, and classroom support, such as note-taking services and the coordination of interpreters for students.

Ambassador Oren assumed his role as Ambassador of Israel to the United States in July 2009. A graduate of Princeton and Columbia Universities, he has served as a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown Universities. Ambassador Oren has authored two New York Times bestsellers, contributed to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New Republic, and has received several prestigious literary awards.

In his presentation, Ambassador Oren discussed the strategic, democratic, spiritual, and humanitarian connections between the United States and Israel.

“There is one country in the Middle East that will remain categorically democratic, stable, militarily, technologically, and economically robust, and unequivocally pro-American,” said Ambassador Oren in his remarks. “Whether you pursue a career in international relations or serve in the armed forces, you will come to know and, I believe, value a relationship that is appreciated by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Israel is not only as a trusted friend of the United States; it is America’s ultimate ally.”

During the question and answer period that followed his presentation, Ambassador Oren said he would like to expand the relationship between Gallaudet and Israeli deaf community.

“Dr. Oren’s speech on the history between Israel and the United States was fascinating,” said graduate student Julia Wolhander. “It was nice to know that he wants to develop a relationship between the deaf community at Gallaudet and the deaf community in Israel.”

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