Dr. Claudia Baumgart-Ochse, senior researcher at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Hesse, has received the Alexander Foundation's 2019 Award for her academic work on the Middle East conflict. Baumgart-Ochse received her doctorate in 2008 with a study on the role of religious Jewish settlers in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Since then she has researched and published on various aspects of the conflict. She regularly appears as an expert on the Middle East conflict at public events, in political education and in the media. Baumgart-Ochse also conducts research on the general role of religion in international politics. A project sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under her co-direction examined the involvement of religious non-governmental organizations in the United Nations. In 2017 Baumgart-Ochse also took over the editorial management of the annual Peace Report.
The Alexander Foundation with its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main was founded in 1999 by Alexander Zaleszanski. It promotes the sciences, especially peace research, as well as scientific and other cooperation between Germany, Israel and Israel's Arab neighbours in the fields of peace research and international understanding. The promotion of peace in the Middle East, mainly between Israel and Palestine, is a particular concern.
The founder of the foundation, Alexander Zaleszanski, was born in 1914 in Grodno, Russia/Poland. During the Second World War he was drafted into the Russian army as a studied civil engineer, where he served as an officer. Since his entire family was killed in Treblinka, he started a new life after the war as a food wholesaler in Frankfurt, where he lived until his death in 2011. In 1999, he contributed his fortune to the foundation, which is primarily dedicated to supporting peaceful cooperation between Israel and its Middle Eastern neighbors, especially Palestinians. The Foundation provides temporary financial support to German and Israeli universities and to universities in Arab - preferably Palestinian - neighboring states of Israel. It awards prizes to German, Israeli and Palestinian journalists and scholars who work for peaceful understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.