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Professor Nadav Safran (1925-2003) was an expert in Arab and Middle East politics, and a former director of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Safran was born in Cairo on August 25, 1925, to Joseph and Jeanne (Abadi) Safran, parents of oriental Jewish heritage.
Safran worked on a kibbutz in 1946 and fought as a lieutenant in Israel’s War of Independence, also known as the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. After the armistice was signed in 1949, he moved to the United States in 1950 and attended Brandeis University, graduating with a B.A. in 1954, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1956.
He remained at Harvard to teach government for two years and then worked as a research fellow at the university’s Center for Middle East Studies. He became director of the Center For Middle East Studies and during that time, acted as an advisor to the White House for the Middle East issues. He retired as a professor from Harvard in 2002, and died of cancer on July 5, 2003, in State College, PA, at the age of 77.