Dan Bar-On, Ph. D., Professor for Social-Psychology at Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva
Daniel Bar-On was born in 1938 in Haifa to parents of German descent. He was a member of Kibbutz Revivim for 25 years, where he served as a farmer, educator and Secretary of the Kibbutz. After completing his M.A. in psychology in 1975, he worked in the Kibbutz Clinic, specializing in therapy and research with families of Holocaust survivors. In 1981 he received his Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 1985, Dan Bar-On launched a pioneering field research in Germany, studying the psychological and moral after-effects of the Holocaust on the children of the perpetrators. His book Legacy of Silence: Encounters with Children of the Third Reich was published in 1989 by Harvard University Press and has since been translated and published in French, German, Japanese and Hebrew. Since then, Bar-On has brought together descendants of survivors and perpetrators for five intensive encounters (the TRT group, shown by the BBC on TimeWatch, October, 1993), as well as students from the third generation of both sides. His book Fear and Hope: Three Generations of Holocaust Survivors' Families was published in Hebrew, English, German and Chinese. His last book The Indescribable and the Undiscussable was published in 1999 by Central European University Press.
In 1998, Professor Bar-On held the Ida E. King Chair for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton College of New Jersey, from where he also received an Honorary Doctorate in 1999. He is permanently a Professor of Psychology at the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Ben-Gurion University, where he served as Chair of the Department from 1993 to 1995 and again from 2003 to 2005. In 1996 he was awarded the David Lopatie Chair for Post-Holocaust Psychological Studies. He is the co-director of the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME) near Beit Jala, PNA, together with Professor Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University. Together they received in June 2001 the Alexander Langer Prize in Bolzano Italy for their efforts in Peace Building between Palestinians and Israelis. In 2001 he received the Bundesverdienstkreuz First Class, given by German President Dr. Johannes Rau. In 2003 he received the Eric Maria Remarque Peace Prize in Osnabrück, Germany. He is married, has four children and four grandchildren.
Please see Dan Bar-On's book: Tell your story! The dialogue work between Germans and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis.
1996 - David Lopatie Chair for Post-Holocaust Psychological Studies
1998 – Honorary Doctorate, Stockton College of New Jersey, NJ, USA
2001 - The Alexander Langer Prize (Italy) together with Prof. Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University, for their joint work, co-directing PRIME (Peace Research Institute in the Middle East).
2001 - Cross of Merit of The German Government (BundesverdeinstKreuz, 1st Klasse) for his pioneering study, interviewing the German descendants of Nazi perpetrators and bringing them together with descendants of Holocaust survivors (the TRT group).
2003 – Eric Maria Remarque Peace Prize, Osnabruck, Germany.
Adwan, S. & Bar-On, D. (Eds.). (2001). Victimhood and Beyond. Jerusalem: PRIME.
Bar-On,D. (2000). Bridging the Gap. Hamburg: Koerber. (In English & German)
Bar-On,D. (1999). The "Others" Within Us: Changes in the Israeli Identity from a Psychosocial Perspective. Jerusalem: Ben Gurion Publication with Mosad Bialik. (in Hebrew). Koerber Foundation, Hamburg. (in German).
Bar-On, D. (1999). The Indescribable and the Undiscussible: Reconstructing Human Discourse After Trauma. Budapest, Hungary: Central European University Press.
Bar-On, D. (1995). Fear and Hope: Life-Stories of Five Israeli Families of Holocaust Survivors, Three Generations in a Family. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.(In English, German, Hebrew and Chinese)
Bar-On, D. (1989). Legacy of Silence: Encounters with Children of the Third Reich. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.m [In English, German (In 2003 a new edition by Koerber Foundation), Hebrew, French and Japanese].
Dan Bar-On and Sami Adwan awarded inaugual Goldberg IIE prize for Historic Project Dan Bar-On and Sami Adwan, the co-directors of PRIME, have been awarded the inaugural Goldberg IIE prize for their efforts to build peace in the Middle East. For further information, see iie.org/goldbergprize. Press Section, American Embassy, Tel Aviv, Press Release IIE AWARDS PRIZE TO ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN SHARED HISTORY PROJECT
Inaugural Goldberg IIE Prize Recognizes Dan Bar-On and Sami Adwan as an Innovative Arab-Israeli Team Working Together To Advance Peace In The Middle East
JERUSALEM - At a reception today at the American Center in Jerusalem, U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer presented the inaugural Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East to Professors Dan Bar-On and Sami Adwan for their pioneering work in engaging Israeli and Palestinian teachers and teen-agers in changing deeply entrenched and polarizing attitudes on both sides of the region’s conflict.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) created the Goldberg IIE Prize to recognize outstanding work being conducted jointly by two individuals, one Arab and one Israeli Jew, working together to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. A prestigious international committee judged the shared history project, “Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative,” to be most successful in bringing people together and breaking down the barriers of hatred toward “the other,” and selected Professors Bar-On and Adwan to receive the $10,000 Prize this year.
In an innovative and collaborative approach, Bar-On and Adwan brought together teams of Palestinian and Israeli teachers and historians to develop parallel narratives of key historical events as viewed by the Israeli and Palestinian communities, translate them into Hebrew and Arabic, and test their use together in both Palestinian and Israeli classrooms. Using this new shared history booklet, 15 and 16 year old students in each school system will be able to read the history of the other community alongside their own, coming to understand the historical perspectives and contexts that shape both communities.
The goal of this new project of PRIME (Peace Research Institute in the Middle East), the organization that Bar-On and Adwan direct, is to “disarm” the teaching of Middle East history in Israeli and Palestinian classrooms, to advance the cause of understanding and reconciliation between peoples and ultimately create a social infrastructure capable of sustaining formal political agreements in the region. The booklet has also been translated into English, French, Italian and Spanish languages, and has begun to be used widely in several European countries.
PRIME’s work draws upon Dr. Bar-On's pioneering research on methods of reconciliation between the children of Holocaust survivors and children of Nazi perpetrators and how these techniques might be applied in other post-conflict situations. It also benefits from Dr. Adwan's research on Palestinian and Israeli school textbooks and his experience with people-to-people dialogues in the region. Both Goldberg IIE Prize recipients are noted experts in the fields of reconciliation and education, and have lectured and written extensively on these topics.
Dr. Bar-On had a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Scholarship at MIT in 1983. He has been a distinguished professor and guest lecturer in universities in Israel, Germany and the United States, and was awarded the German Cross of Merit for his work promoting understanding between peoples. He is a Full Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where he has chaired the Department and the Masters program in Social Psychology. Dr. Adwan is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Bethlehem University, with a degree in Education from the University of Jordan and advanced degrees in Education Administration from universities in the United States, and has chaired the Department of Education at Hebron University.
Dr. Bar-On was eligible for the Prize because of his Fulbright Fellowship. The eligibility criteria state that at least one of the nominated individuals must be an alumnus of any program administered by the Institute of International Education, including the Fulbright Program, which IIE has administered for the U.S. Department of State since its inception over 50 years ago. The new Prize has been endowed through a contribution from IIE’s Executive Committee member and former vice chairman, Victor J. Goldberg, to recognize and advance the work of the Institute.
In his gift letter Mr. Goldberg stated, “Political leaders and governments have so far been unable to bring lasting peace to this troubled area. Hatred and fear of ‘the other’ abound. While there is no magic solution, one positive force may be to encourage people to live and work together at the grass roots, learning to trust and depend on one another for their common good.”
According to Mr. Goldberg, “The intent of this award is to recognize innovation and reward those who are courageous and committed enough to work together to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic, and political issues which divide the Middle East. We hope not only to recognize significant work being conducted today, but also to inspire others to join together across these divides to advance the cause of peace in the coming years.”
The Selection Committee for the Prize includes leading experts from academic, NGO and governmental backgrounds. Chaired by Thomas S. Johnson, the Chairman of IIE’s Board of Trustees and retired Chairman and CEO of GreenPoint Financial Corporation, the committee also includes: David Arnold, President of the American University in Cairo; Susan Berresford, President of the Ford Foundation; Stuart Eizenstat, Head of the International Practice, Covington & Burling and former Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Holocaust-Era Issues; Theodore Kattouf, President & CEO of AMIDEAST and Former U.S. Ambassador to United Arab Emirates and to Syria; Serra Kirdar, Visiting Scholar, Harvard University’s Centre for Middle Eastern Studies; and Harold Tanner, a New York investment banker and former president of the American Jewish Committee who was elected last month to head the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
According to Institute of International Education president Allan E. Goodman, “The Goldberg IIE Prize will encourage some of the best and the brightest professionals in the region to contribute their valuable knowledge and experience to the cause of peace in the Middle East, and will reward them for their courage and conviction in doing so. It is a wonderful embodiment of Vic Goldberg’s long-time commitment to bettering the world through international cooperation.”