Symposium on Controversial Issues in Citizenship Education: Insights from Israel

The Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies and the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley are hosting a half-day symposium to explore insights from the Israeli context on controversial issues in citizenship education.

Public dialogue about issues of civic concern is essential to a healthy common life in any open, liberal, pluralistic, democratic society. This includes the discussion of controversial social, political, and economic policies that may cause deep divisions and over which conflicting views may be based on alternative values and methods of analysis. Indeed, with the dramatic increase of migration across the globe over recent decades, the very idea of who should be afforded citizens’ rights, including the right to participate in the public discourse of a democracy, has become one such controversial issue.

The extreme challenges of discussing controversial issues has led to increased attention in the educational research and policies of many countries around the world, including Israel and the United States, as to the possible purposes, pedagogies, and products of citizenship education. Please join us virtually to learn from leading scholars in law and education.

Wednesday February 16, 2022

Virtual Program: Recorded program below

MCLE credit is available. Sign up for credit here, and find the certificate of attendance here.

Resources on Considering Controversial Topics in Citizenship Education


  • Diana Hess, Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education and Dean of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Chris Edley, the Honorable William H. Orrick, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Law, Former Dean of Berkeley Law, and Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley
  • Hanan Alexander, Professor of Philosophy of Education, Immediate Past Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Haifa, and Koret Visiting Professor of Israel Studies, UC Berkeley.

The symposium panel will also include:

  • Masua Sagiv, Koret Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies, UC Berkeley, Scholar in Residence, Shalom Hartman Institute, and Menomadin Center, Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law
  • Adar Cohen, Academic Director of the Teacher Education Program, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Visiting Scholar, UC Davis,
  • Ayman Agbaria, Sr. Lecturer in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Haifa, and faculty member in the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, Jerusalem.



9:00am Welcome and Introductions
Rebecca Golbert (Helen Diller Institute) and Dean Chris Edley


Keynote: Controversial Issues in the Classroom
Diana Hess
Q&A with Diana (Moderated by Rebecca)
10:00am Controversial Issues in Citizenship Education
Hanan Alexander
10:30am Q&A with Hanan and Diana (Moderated by Rebecca)
10:45am Break
11:00am Panel: Israeli Controversies in Citizenship Education
Masua Sagiv
Adar Cohen
Ayman Agbaria
11:45am Comments: From the Israeli to the American Context
Dean Chris Edley
12:15pm Q&A
12:45pm End

For students, a student workshop will follow in the afternoon 2-3:30. Please contact to register.