Over a year ago, Ben-Gurion University joined "Israeli Hope", a broad umbrella term bringing together a vast range of activities undertaken by the President of Israel. As an institution that sees social responsibility as its top mandate, and is deeply committed to the Negev community, striving to become accessible to all facets of this community, it was only natural that BGU would become a major partner in this exciting venture.
By promoting this program, BGU aims to realize the talents of all members of society and cultivate their excellence, creating a platform for all Israelis to let them maintain their personal identity while creating a positive and meaningful encounter for all those entering our campus.
The first year of our activity in this program focused on laying the institutional groundwork needed, mapping out what is presently being done at BGU in the areas of the program and harnessing BGU factors relevant to the program's spirit and goals.
A broad committee has been formed to promote this program, representing the various groups on camps, and has formed sub-committees accordingly: a committee for a diverse work environment, a committee for diversity direct research and teaching, a committee for community ties, a committee for using the campus as a meeting place and a committee for students in the institutional space.
The committee and the superior in the university for "Israeli Hope" have taken action to empower and promote – together with other relevant factors at BGU – institutionalizing an institutional work plan for diversity and cultural fitness, making the campus a welcoming and connecting encounter site (by gradual integration of signs in Arabic and by translating sections of the university website to Arabic), making the university a diverse work environment (by mapping out population groups employed at the university, doing pro-active recruitment of faculty members from lesser-represented population groups and by holding training sessions for cultural fitness), by conducting diversity direct research and teaching, by improving responses given to all students to ensure their optimal integration into academia and later – into the employment world, increasing the number of students from lesser-represented population groups and supporting them, etc.
In addition, the university supports initiatives of employees and students to learn about various population groups in Israeli society and deepen people's understanding of each other.