Campaign Chair Leon Wahba has announced that Ambassador Dennis Ross will be the featured speaker at the Stronger Together 2016 Federation Campaign Major Gifts Dinner on Sunday, December 13, at the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart & Lung Conference Center.
“This is a time for us to bring our community to the next level by increasing our fundraising,” Wahba said. “It is our time to step up and ensure that we are raising sufficient funds to support all the services and programs that make us strong – youth and senior programming, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Hillel, Jewish Family & Career Services, our religious schools and so much more.”
“Dennis Ross is an exceptional speaker,” Wahba said. “He’s been and advisor to presidents, a special envoy to the Middle East and has shaped several accords between Israel and its neighbors. It will be very interesting to hear his insights and answers to our questions.”
The dinner is open to those who make an individual or couples gift of $5,000 or more to the Federation Campaign, and to members of the Ben Gurion Society – young adults who give a minimum of $1,000.
In addition to being an accomplished diplomat, Amb. Ross is an author, and in his latest book, Doomed to Succeed: The US-Israeli Relationship from Truman to Obama, he explores the attitudes and approaches of every U.S. president toward Israel and the Middle East since the Jewish State was established, including each president’s key assumptions, the unity or division of the presidents’ advisors, the key events of each administration and how the overall relationship has evolved.
Today, Amb. Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an agency with the mission of advancing a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and promoting the policies that secure them.
Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Barack Obama, National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
For more than 12 years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations.
A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.
A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ambassador Ross worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. Prior to his service as special Middle East coordinator under President Clinton, Ambassador Ross served as director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff in the first Bush administration. In that capacity, he played a prominent role in U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations, and the 1991 Gulf War coalition.
During the Reagan administration, he served as director of Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security Council staff and deputy director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. Ambassador Ross was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton, and Secretaries Baker and Albright presented him with the State Department’s highest award.
All donors are encouraged to consider an increased gift to help the 2016 Federation Campaign meet the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Double Your Impact Challenge. JHFE has graciously offered to match all increases to the Campaign and all new gifts up to $200,000. For more information on the challenge, see story https://jewishlouisville.org/jhfe-designates-200000-double-your-impact-challenge-for-2016-campaign/.
Cocktails will be served at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:45. There is also a $40 per person couvert. The fair market value of this event is $40 per person and is not tax-deductible. Valet parking is available.
For more information or to reserve your place, contact Kristy Benefield, 502-238-2739.
Leon Wahba is the 2016 Federation Campaign Chair; Karen Abrams, Victoria Diaz, Debbie Friedman, Jane Goldstein and Denise Schiller comprise the Lion of Judah Committee; and Keren Benabou and Laurence Nibur are the YAD chairs.
Editor’s note: Amb. Ross’ biographical material came from The Washington Institute’s website.