This year’s Board of Trustees meetings were my first as BIU President and what an “impact” they made. Over the course of the week, I was glad to have had the opportunity to share BIU’s achievements with you at this historic juncture of Israel’s 70th anniversary.
The group dynamic over Shabbat was outstanding, as we gained inspiration and intellectual insights from a roster of noted speakers. The Gala Dinner provided an opportunity to bestow our Presidential Awards of Distinction on five deserving recipients who have impacted the Bar-Ilan University community through their support of innovative projects.
I was particularly pleased to present my strategic vision for the university. The theme, “Impact Beyond Excellence”, gave you a glimpse into the multidisciplinary Impact Centers being established in diverse areas, and the five pillars and four foundation blocks which will both ground us and take us to new heights. We all had a chance to become more closely acquainted with the centers focusing on Network Science, Depression Research and Quantum Entanglement; and to take part in the launch of the new Impact Center for the Study of Judaism in Israel and North America.
Despite the last minute venue change, the 2018 Honorary Doctoral Convocation was spectacular, and we were proud to give much deserved recognition to the individuals and organizations that were meticulously selected for this honor. The IDF Orchestra, one of the 2018 honorees, treated us to a mini-concert of favorite Israeli tunes drawn from the rich musical repertoire of the past seven decades.
The BOT ended on a high note with the Jerusalem “Democracy in Action” Experience. Our guest speakers – MK’s Avi Dichter, Anat Berko and Aliza Lavie – just three of the 14 MK’s who are proud alumni of our institution — helped us understand the moral, ethical and often contradictory challenges of safeguarding democratic values while preventing terror. Our culinary tour of the Machane Yehuda market set the tone for the day, as did the farewell dinner in the mountains and some serious drum beating with BIU musicians.
Looking forward to next year’s BOT! Don’t forget to mark your calendars for May 31 – June 5, 2019 * 26 Iyar – 2 Sivan 5779!
Prof. Arie Zaban
President of Bar-Ilan University