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President Rivlin, a Hebrew University alumnus, to deliver keynote address

22-05-2016

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, American Jewish Philanthropist Mortimer B. Zuckerman, and i24 founder Patrick Drahi To Be Honored at Hebrew University Convocation

The President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate and deliver a keynote address at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s annual Convocation on May 29. Hebrew University students will be awarded Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the Convocation, which will mark the opening of the 79th Meeting of the Hebrew University's International Board of Governors. The event will take place at the Rothberg Amphitheatre on the Mount Scopus campus.

Since graduating from the Hebrew University, President Rivlin has served as a Member of Knesset, Minister, and Speaker of the Knesset. At the center of his many public activities stands Rivlin's birthplace and Israel's capital, the city of Jerusalem. The city's leading institutions, among them the Hebrew University, have benefited from his longstanding dedication. Since his election, President Rivlin has led efforts in support of Israeli university leaders to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and its objective to de-legitimize the State of Israel and Israeli academics. President Rivlin maintains a strong and active connection to the Hebrew University: the day after his election as President, he invited the Hebrew University’s Board of Governors to meet with him at the Knesset. The following day, he joined with his former classmates to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation from the Hebrew University's Faculty of Law.

The President will be among eleven distinguished personalities awarded Honorary Doctorates in recognition of their contributions to society, including: Prof. Winslow R. Briggs; Prof.  Lorraine Daston; Mr. Patrick Drahi; Mr. Miki Gavrielov;  Prof. Francesco Iachello; Mr. Joseph Lebovic; Prof. Michael Sherraden; Mr. Stuart Silbert OAM; The Hon. Mrs. Laura Wolfson Townsley, and Mr. Mortimer B. Zuckerman.

Brief bios of the honorees, organized alphabetically, appear below. A complete list of honorees, including Honorary Doctorate and Honorary Fellowship recipients, and those who will be recognized on the Hebrew University’s Wall of Benefactors, Wall of Life, and Wall of Trustees and Founders, is available at http://www.hubog-2016.com/honorees.

The 2016 Solomon Bublick Prize will be awarded to Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund, alumnus and former President of the Hebrew University, Professor Emeritus of theoretical physics, and the Andre Aisenstadt Chair in theoretical physics. As the Academic Director of the Einstein Center and the Albert Einstein Archives, he is the University’s appointee responsible for Einstein’s intellectual property. He has held many academic and administrative positions at the University, and currently heads the executive committee of the Israel Science Foundation and is the chairperson of the "Basha'ar – Academic Community for Israeli Society" association.

The 2016 Samuel Rothberg Prize will be awarded to Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, founder and Executive Director of the National Council for the Child, who is retiring after 30 years. As Executive Director, he has elevated the issue of children at risk to the center of public discourse and debate in Israel. For three decades he has devoted his life to promoting the welfare and rights of children in Israel, to the benefit of hundreds of thousands of children. He has served as an advisor to the Knesset Special Committee on Child Abuse, and is recognized as a foremost expert on the subject of children's rights. His activity has resulted in the formulation of a social policy that provides responses to the needs of children at risk.

The distinguished Honorary Doctorate recipients include:

Prof. Winslow R. Briggs (United States): Winslow Briggs is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and Director Emeritus of the Department of Plant Biology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Prof. Briggs is a true friend of the Hebrew University and has contributed greatly to the field of plant research in Israel. As a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science and as the President and Member of the Botanical Society of America, he created models for joint research opportunities between American and Israeli scientists. In his lab he has hosted many Israeli researchers from the Hebrew University and other Israeli research institutions, resulting in groundbreaking scientific publications on understanding leaf movement in relation to the sun.

Prof.  Lorraine Daston (United States): Lorraine Daston is an authority on early modern European scientific and intellectual history. She has a prestigious teaching career at Harvard, Princeton, Brandeis, and Göttingen Universities, and is a regular Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago and Permanent Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. In 1995, Prof. Daston was named Director of the prominent Berlin-based Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, where she paved the way for a new method of research in the humanities. Prof.  Daston is a true friend of Israeli academia and has collaborated closely with several universities and Israeli scholars. Under her leadership, the Max Planck Institute has organized conferences with the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and the Van Leer Institute. She served on numerous committees at Van Leer and the Israel Academy of Science.

Patrick Drahi (France, Israel): Patrick Drahi is a pioneer in the fiber, TV and media industry and an ardent supporter of the State of Israel. He is Founder and President of Altice, a leading multinational telecommunications company with cable networks, commercial TV stations and diverse operations in Europe, the United States and China. He also owns stakes in Israel’s two cable companies, HOT Telecommunications and MIRS Communication Ltd.  Mr. Drahi launched the Israel-based, 24-hour international news channel, i24 News, dedicated to accurate and unbiased reporting of news of Israel and the Middle East in English, French and Arabic. A close partner with the Hebrew University, Mr. Drahi established the Drahi Brain Computation & Communication Lab in the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC). He is the primary supporter of the “Computation, Communication and Multimedia System” for those working, studying and doing research at ELSC, and recently endorsed the collaborative research, “Motif in Brain Circuits” with Prof. Henry Markram of the Ecole Polytechnic Federale de Lausanne and ELSC’s Prof. Idan Segev. In 2015, the French Friends Association of the Hebrew University awarded the Scopus Prize to Mr. Drahi.

Miki Gavrielov (Israel): Miki Gavrielov is one of the most respected and popular singers in Israel. He has composed over 800 songs, released 19 solo albums and was part of 18 collaborative albums. Born in Tel Aviv, he began his career as a songwriter. He was a member of a Rock & Roll band "The Churchills" with the late Arik Einstein, one of Israel’s most famous singers. His collaboration with Einstein on the internationally acclaimed “Ani v’Attah” (“Me and You”), recorded over 40 years ago, is an anthem celebrating youth and the promise to change the world. His commitment to bringing people together through music includes collaborations with Azerbaijani, Turkish, Bulgarian and Gypsy musicians, as well as the first live album featuring Jordanian and Israeli artists performing together. Mr. Gavrielov has played a major role in the development of the cultural and musical life of Israel. He was honored by the Israeli association of writers and composers "Acum" with the Composer award in 1991 and with the Lifetime Achievement in Music award in 2007.

Prof. Francesco Iachello (Italy): Francesco Iachello is a world-leading theoretical physicist who specializes in the study of symmetries in nuclear and molecular physics, and whose groundbreaking research on algebraic modeling of dynamical systems led to several Nobel Prize nominations from 1996 to 2015. Prof. Iachello is the Josiah Willard Gibbs Professor of Physics at Yale University. Through his innovative research, he has made seminal and lasting contributions in a variety of disciplines. These include the development of mathematical techniques and novel symmetry notions that are today pivotal in experimental and theoretical studies of complex nuclei while, likewise, opening new avenues for understanding fundamental properties of matter. For example, the interacting boson model of the nucleus and the microscopic interpretation that he developed in collaboration with Japanese and Israeli colleagues has played a major role in the spectroscopy of nuclei for over 40 years. Prof. Iachello has cultivated the closest of ties with Israel’s scientific community and, in particular, with colleagues at the Hebrew University with whom he worked on the vibron model of molecules and the study of the spectra of hadrons. His research on symmetries continues the legacy of the Italian-Israeli Professor Giulio Racah, a founding father of physics in Israel who conducted fundamental studies in the field. In 2010, Prof. Iachello participated in the University’s workshop on Symmetry in Physics that marked the centenary of Giulio Racah.

Joseph Lebovic (Canada) - Order of Ontario: Joseph Lebovic, born in Czechoslovakia and a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, has made a philanthropic and humanistic mark in the city of Toronto and the Province of Ontario.  In 1953, along with his father and brother, he established Lebovic Enterprises Ltd. Joe has been a long time member of BILD, the Building Industry and Land Development Association, and has served as the National and Provincial President of the Urban Development Institute, on whose Board of Directors he served for over 20 years. His name is closely associated with Toronto's Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he and his brother made the largest Canadian gift ever made to a hospital. In addition, Mr. Lebovic has generously supported the Toronto General Hospital, Scarborough General Hospital, and Scarborough Centenary Hospital. He also gave the lead gift to the new Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus. In 2005, he was awarded the Spirit of Jerusalem Medallion by the State of Israel Bonds and in 2006 was recognized as a Holocaust Survivor by the Province of Ontario in affiliation with the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem.  Mr. Lebovic received the Canada Medal on the 125th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada by the Governor General of Canada. He was an active member of the Executive Board of Directors of the United Jewish Appeal and Israel Bonds, and was on the Board of Governors of B’nai Brith, Canada. Mr. Lebovic is also an executive member of the Joint Distribution Committee, the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. His leadership in the creation of the Lebovic Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Waterloo has been pivotal in establishing a world class, internationally respected program which has served to foster understanding of Judaism among a religiously diverse population of students.

Prof. Michael Sherraden (United States): Michael Sherraden is an internationally recognized leader in the field of social and economic policy, and has devoted his career to working on asset building for low-income households, productive aging, and community and youth development. His counsel has been sought by the White House, heads of state, and policy leaders across the globe. In 2010, Time Magazine named Prof. Sherraden one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Prof. Sherraden is the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and founder and director of the Center for Social Development. The Center informs public policy by creating and testing innovations to improve social and economic welfare. The State of Israel has also benefited from Prof. Sherraden’s research and policy development. The Ford Foundation funded his study on National Service Policy and Program Performance in both Israel and China, and he has served as adviser on projects of the Ministry of Welfare, the National Insurance Institute, and the Ministry of Finance. Prof. Sherraden was a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in 1988-89, delivering the Titmuss Memorial Lecture at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare. In 2013, he participated in a workshop on Policy Practice at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem. Most recently, he assisted in formulating an agreement for the Hebrew University to supervise a comprehensive plan related to social work and social policy in Israel.

Stuart Silbert OAM (Australia):  Stuart Silbert OAM has a distinguished record of support for the West Australian Jewish community and to Zionism, following the tradition of his parents, grandparents, and great-grandfather – extending back to the 1880s when they first came to Western Australia from Russia. Mr. Silbert sees the Hebrew University as a vital element in guaranteeing a strong and vibrant future for the State of Israel. Through his devoted efforts, many major research projects and scholarship programs have been established as part of his goal to establish a strong foundation for the University and the State. He has provided wise counsel to the University’s top leadership and continues to serve on its International Board of Governors. He has helped forge important bi-national academic and scientific programs between the Hebrew University and universities in Western Australia as part of his efforts to foster close relations and strong ties between Australia and Israel. In appreciation of his warm friendship, dedication, and abiding concern for the Hebrew University he was made an Honorary Fellow in 1996. In Australia, for more than 37 years as Hon. Solicitor and active board member, Stuart generated practical support for the Jewish Aged Home; the Perth Hebrew Congregation; the Jewish National Fund, the UIA, the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, and more. In 2008, in recognition of his outstanding service to the Jewish community, he was awarded the prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

The Hon. Mrs. Laura Wolfson Townsley (United Kingdom): Laura Wolfson Townsley is Chair of the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust and a Trustee of the Wolfson Foundation. The Trust awards grants to a broad range of organizations with the stated goal of supporting and promoting excellence in the fields of science, medicine, health, and education. Within Israel, the Wolfson charities focus on grants for hospitals and universities, including generous support for the Hebrew University. In recent years the Trust has funded projects in nanotechnology, desalination, quantum information, and solar energy in Israel’s most esteemed universities. Mrs. Wolfson Townsley comes from a long line of esteemed supporters of the Hebrew University, including her grandfather, the late Sir Isaac Wolfson; her father, the late Lord Leonard Wolfson, a past Hebrew University Governor and longtime patron of the British Friends of the Hebrew University (BFHU); and her husband Barry Townsley, a Hebrew University Honorary Governor.

Mortimer B. Zuckerman (United States): Mortimer Zuckerman is a prominent businessman, philanthropist, publisher and political commentator. Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News and World Report, publisher of the New York Daily News, and founder and chairman of Boston Properties, Inc. He is a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and has served on the boards of numerous organizations and institutions, including New York University, the Aspen Institute, JP Morgan’s National Advisory Board and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Mr. Zuckerman holds degrees from McGill University, Harvard Law School, and Wharton Graduate School of Business. He was an associate professor of City and Regional Planning at Yale University and at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He recently dedicated the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program, a transformative initiative designed to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Launched in January 2016, the program intends to provide $100 million to support an exchange of post-doctoral researchers and graduate students between the United States and Israel’s top institutions. This pioneering initiative will enable the recruitment of outstanding new faculty for Israel’s institutions and provide American graduate students and postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to conduct their work in Israel.


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