BGU conferred six honorary doctorates on outstanding individuals on Tuesday evening on the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva: “ALEH Negev–Nahalat Eran” Founder and Chairman Major General (Res.) Doron Almog, composer Nurit Hirsh, academic and former MK Prof. Naomi Chazan, author Dan-Benaya Seri, scientist Prof. Nathan Nelson, and former Spanish parliamentarian H.E. Gabriel Elorriaga Pisarik. Naama Elsana received the Ben-Gurion Negev Award.
Ben-Gurion Day commemorates the yarzheit of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion. University President Prof. Rivka Carmi lauded the recipients for their accomplishments and welcomed them to the BGU family.
"David Ben-Gurion’s vision of the future of Israel arising from the Negev is truer today than ever with the beginning of the IDF move to the South. Our University is committed to realizing this vision in science and technology, health and welfare, humanities and culture," she said.
"We are proud of our direct contribution to develop the Negev in every field, of our student body, who are academically excellent, ethical and involved in community actions, and of our academic, administrative and technical faculty who are dedicated and committed to the vision and the path. And primarily we are committed to educating the next generation to the values of leadership, responsibility and social sensitivity in all fields that they will enter in the future."
BGU Rector Prof. Zvi HaCohen commented, "The IDF move south is one of the challenges the University faces. It is a process of utmost strategic importance for distributing the population and shifting attention from the overcrowded center to the south, to the Negev. There are thousands of students in the IDF units moving south who are studying at universities and colleges in the center. With the move south, the vast majority of demand for higher education from these units will be directed at BGU and the University will become, in a few short years, the biggest university in Israel.
He continued, "Since the University’s establishment, more than 130,000 students have received their degrees in a variety of fields. However, since they could not find employment, most moved to the center. For this reason, among others, the University decided to create a hi-tech park. The park already provides hundreds, and soon thousands, of quality employment opportunities. The University, the hi-tech park and the science-based IDF units will transform the Negev into a desirable destination."
Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog (pictured below) had a decorated career in the IDF. He continued his tradition of service by founding and serving as chairman of the ALEH Negev – Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village. Located in the Negev, it is a multifaceted facility that provides young adults with a variety of disabilities the opportunity to lead rich and productive lives in a safe environment. His son Eran z”l was the village’s first resident and it was renamed in his memory after his passing in 2007.
Doron Almog Honorary Doctoral Degree Scroll.pdf
🎥 Doron Almog's acceptance speech (in Hebrew)
Prof. Naomi Chazan (pictured below), dean of the School of Government and Society at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv Yaffo, served as a Member of Knesset for 11 years (as deputy speaker for most of that time), was a professor of political science and African Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was active in the President’s Conference to Reform the Parliamentary Regime in Israel.
Naomi Chazan Honorary Doctoral Degree Scroll.pdf
🎥 Naomi Chazan's acceptance speech (in Hebrew)
Nurit Hirsh (pictured below) has composed more than 1,600 songs, including “Oseh Shalom Bimromav,” “Lalechet Shevi Acharaich,” “Ballada leShoter Azulai,” and “Avnivi.” More than one hundred songs that she set to music have become famous Israeli folk dancing songs in Israel and abroad. Hirsh has represented Israel at many international festivals and has written music for plays and television shows. She has been awarded the Israel Prize in Hebrew Song and lifetime achievement awards from AKUM and AMI, among other honors.
Nurit Hirsh Honorary Doctoral Degree Scroll.pdf
🎥 Nurit Hirsch's acceptance speech (in Hebrew)
Prof. (Emer.) Nathan Nelson, biochemistry and molecular biology expert, is internationally known for his research into membrane proteins. His discoveries have explicated photosynthesis and the cell’s energy processes. A professor emeritus of Tel Aviv University, he won the Israel Prize in Life Sciences in 2013 and has been the recipient of many other prizes.
Nathan Nelson Honorary Doctoral Degree Scroll.pdf
🎥 Nathan Nelson's acceptance speech (in Hebrew)
H.E. Gabriel Elorriaga Pisarik (picured below) is an editor at Spain’s El País, and head of the MBA program at EAE in Madrid. A former member of the Spanish Parliament, he served as spokesman of a science and technology commission, head of the public finance committee and head of the Spain-Israel Friendship Group, as well as initiator of the bill granting citizenship to Jews of Spanish ancestry.
Gabriel Elorriaga Pisarik Honorary Doctoral Degree Scroll.pdf
🎥 H.E. Gabriel Elorriaga Pisarik's acceptance speech (in Spanish)
Dan-Benaya Seri's (pictured below) books feature Mizrahi heroes who live in a closed society governed by superstitions, cravings and strange customs. He is the author of Grandma Sultana’s Salted Biscuits, Birds of the Shade (novellas & stories), and Mishael, among others. His novella The Thousand Wives of Naftali Siman-Tov was adapted for the screen. He is the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Newman Prize, the Prime Minister’s Prize (twice), and the Brenner Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dan Benaya Seri Honorary Doctoral Degree Scroll.pdf
🎥 Dan- Benaya's acceptance speech (in Hebrew)
The University also presented the Ben-Gurion Negev Award to Naama Elsana (pictured below) for her efforts to promote gender equality and to empower women in Bedouin society. Elsana is one of the founders of the Lakiya Association for Improvement of Women’s Status and of the Bedouin Tourism Forum, and heads the Desert Embroidery Project, which offers women employment and a way to express themselves, develops leadership and improves their status.
Naama Elsana Ben-Gurion Negev Award Scroll.pdf
🎥 Naama Elsana's acceptance speech (in Hebrew)
More pictures from the ceremony