NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Robert J. Silverman has been named U.S. Director of Muslim-Jewish Relations for AJC (American Jewish Committee), the global Jewish advocacy organization. The new position represents a major expansion of existing AJC programmatic activities aimed at deepening Muslim-Jewish understanding and engaging in constructive, cooperative interactions.
Groundbreaking initiatives in interreligious relations, across the U.S. and around the world, have been central to AJC since the organization's founding in 1906. While much of the focus in the 20th century was on Christian-Jewish relations, leading to pathbreaking achievements, a priority over the past 25 years has been relations with the Muslim world.
"Bob Silverman has a unique background to help lead AJC in this transformational, essential endeavor," said AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris. "He has the professional experience and wisdom, and, importantly, shares the AJC commitment to turn the vision of engagement with Muslims across the United States into a fruitful reality."
Silverman will join AJC's Department of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, led by Rabbi Noam Marans.
"I am delighted to come to AJC, the global pioneer in interreligious and intergroup relations," said Silverman. "Positive, smart engagement with Muslims is imperative for the Jewish community, indeed for the vibrant, pluralistic democracy that is the United States."
Silverman comes to AJC after a distinguished career spanning more than a quarter of a century at the U.S. Department of State. A Senior Foreign Service Officer, Silverman is concluding his tenure as Director of Regional and Multilateral Affairs in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
Fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish, Silverman served, among other posts, as political counselor in Tel Aviv, economic counselor in Riyadh and Baku, deputy economic counselor in Ankara, political officer in Cairo and Jerusalem, as well as Provincial Reconstruction Team leader in Tikrit, Iraq. In Washington, he has served as Director of the Iraq Reconstruction and Economic Affairs Office, and Kuwait desk officer.
"I look forward to building upon AJC's significant achievements in Muslim-Jewish relations, with the hope of greatly expanding our reach and impact," said Silverman.
In recent years, among other examples of AJC pioneering efforts in this sphere, AJC launched an Arabic language website, aslalyahud.org, co-sponsored a major national Muslim-Jewish conference in Detroit, and has featured numerous plenary sessions on interfaith dialogue with Muslim leaders at the agency's flagship Global Forum in Washington, D.C., each year.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee