The PPE Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened in the 1999/2000 academic year. At the time, except for the long-standing, prestigious program in Oxford, only a handful of similar programs existed around the world. Although the Oxford PPE was an inspiration, here, at the Hebrew University, we tried, as in the more recent programs, to offer an integrative program that is more than just the joining of three fields.

The program was established on the initiative and with the backing of Menahem Ben Sasson, the University Rector at the time, and Jacob Metzer, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. It was consolidated by a team, the members of which included Avner de Shalit, Nathan Zussman and Danny Attas, who was appointed as head of the program upon its establishment.

The first classes consisted of 30 students each. Since that time, the demand has increased, the classes have grown, and the admission requirements have soared. However, the sense of group belonging, team spirit and intellectually inspiring setting have not been lost – without the sense of being swallowed in an anonymous crowd, which may be one of the characteristics of larger programs of study. Today, 80-90 students are admitted each year and the admission requirements are some of the highest in the University. The program consists of six permanent academic staff members and teaching assistants.