By Nicole Curcio
Former U.S. Congressman Steve Israel will be joining the LIU campus as Chair of the new Global Institute as well as a writer in residence, working with students who are interested in careers in writing books and media. The Democrat, who retired as the U.S. Representative for N.Y.’s third congressional district, after serving for 16 years, always found LIU Post to be a special place, calling it the “jewel of the district” that he represented. On campus, he held college affordability town meetings throughout his term along with a symposium on cyber defense.
Originally from Brooklyn, Israel’s interest in politics began when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Though he was only in fourth grade, the assassination brought him to “the notion of standing up for what you believe in, even at great risk.”According to Ballotpedia Israel attended Nassau Community College and Syracuse University before earning his B.A. at George Washington University in 1982. Before running for office, Israel had his own small marketing company for small businesses and charity known as the Steve Israel Association. He began his career as a Town Councilman in Huntington. While holding that position, Israel constantly wrote. His first novel, “The Global War on Morris,” a political satire of Washington that has potential for the big screen, was published in Dec. 2014.
Israel was elected to Congress in 2000. He served through 9/11, the financial meltdown in 2008, Obamacare and the Iran nuclear deal. “I was able to travel the world as a member of Congress, trying to understand the complexity of global events and its impact on my neighbors at home,” Israel said. “[Representing New York] was the greatest honor of my life.”
Switching energies from politics to students is going to be a smooth transition for Israel, as he has had experience interacting with students. Considering that his district included many campuses, including LIU Post, NYIT and SUNY Old Westbury, the former Congressman has been able to interact with college students. LIU administrators have talked with Israel about teaching next fall, which is something that sparks his interest. “I don’t presume to show up on campus and suddenly believe I am qualified to teach,” Israel said. “Two different things I am interested in teaching are ultimately, the process of book writing and how Congress drives foreign policy- how foreign affairs are developed.” Within that, one of the things he loved most about Congress was seeing student run programs in remote areas of the world change the lives of others. “I am excited about teaching in that area.”
As Israel joins LIU, he will not be keeping partisan ties with the democratic party. He asked former colleagues to come to LIU with him and had recently received commitment to their joining him. Former colleagues will bring LIU the opportunity to talk and learn about foreign policy and intelligence matters. Israel is also looking to bring in global leaders to give students a better understanding of international challenges we have. “We live in the most volatile, uncertain and complex world in decades. What I want to do is help people understand the trends that seem to be gripping us in so many places,” he said.
Israel jokingly stated that the Global Institute will be located, “wherever we can find parking.” Dr. Jeff Belnap, Dean of LIU Global, is delighted Israel has agreed to provide leadership in founding LIU’s new Global Institute. “The perspective he has gained through his nearly twenty years of foreign policy experience in Washington will assist us to shape new international programing,” Belnap said. “This will also help the greater LIU community foster meaningful international connections through access to global leaders and high level discussions on politics, culture and media.” Representatives of the Political Science Department stated that they were not involved in the discussions regarding Israel’s joining LIU or his new position.