Dec. 06, 2015

December 2015  Letter from the President
Open Day for prospective undergraduate students last week
Dear Friends,
Two weeks ago we marked Ben-Gurion Day to commemorate Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion. We realized once again what a significant role the University plays in realizing the vision of the State of Israel and how making the desert bloom is an inseparable part of that vision. As honorary doctorate recipient and Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann remarked, “This magnificent university, which bears his name, is the most fitting monument to this giant… and I am proud and filled with gratitude to receive an honorary doctorate from BGU today.”
I would like to share with you another uplifting bit of news that we received this week. In the new QS Top 50 under 50 University Rankings, which ranks leading universities under 50 years of age, we climbed another 12 spots to 18 overall. It is further acknowledgment that the University is striding forward and making an international impact.
As you will read below, entrepreneurship and innovation continued on campus with a high profile event: the health education technologies hackathon this past weekend – the first of its kind. The Faculty of Health Sciences has taken upon itself to rethink how it teaches medicine in the 21st Century where interactive learning is more effective than frontal teaching. To that end, a 30-hour brainstorming session with partners from all across the hi-tech and medical spectrum produced some promising new technologies. 
Nation Remembers a Giant
The annual day of remembrance for David Ben-Gurion brought national leaders to Sede Boqer. Rebbeca Bokhris, trustee of the Adelis Foundation, joined me in laying a wreath on his grave.
Daniel Guggenheim, president of the Bona Terra Foundation, accompanied Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research Director Prof. Boris Zaltzman to lay a second wreath.

University Honors Outstanding Israelis

BGU bestowed honorary doctorates on Ben-Gurion Day on a truly impressive group of influential Israelis including Nobel Laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann who complemented the University handsomely in his remarks.

Click here to see the honorees
Watch now
BGU Rises Another 12 Places on QS Top 50 Under 50
In yet another sign that BGU is making a difference in the world, the University rose to 18th place on the QS Top 50 Under 50 Ranking. It is fitting that we near the top of the list even as we will soon be ineligible.
Click here to see the whole list
3D Anatomy Takes First Place in Hackathon
This past weekend we held a special hackathon to launch the re-imagining of health education teaching. The goal was to find new technologies to enhance medical teaching that will enable better student learning.  The participants came up with some original ideas in just 30 hours ranging from 3-D teaching aids to monitoring professor’s lecturing to prevent monotone delivery.
Read more about the winners
Schulich Leader Scholarships Program Event Held at BGU
The annual event for the Schulich Leader Scholarships Program sponsored by the Canadian Schulich Foundation took place at BGU, attended by David Goodman, director of the Foundation's Leader Scholarships Program, Uri Carmi, the program's representative in Israel, and 100 Schulich Scholarship students - 28 of them from BGU.
Click here for more on the program and the video
New British Ambassador Visits BGU
It was a pleasure to welcome New British Ambassador David Quarrey to BGU last month for his first of what I am sure will be many visits.
As Co-Chairperson of the UK Israel Science Council with my dear friend Prof. Raymond Dwek, I am confident we will continue through Amb. Quarrey the close scientific ties with the UK begun under his predecessor Amb. Matthew Gould.
See pictures from the visit
Successful Collaboration Between BGU and MIT Researchers
Dr. Kobi Gal of BGU and Prof. David Karger of MIT teamed up this past summer to help improve Karger’s invention,  NB (nota bene)which is a web-based collaborative annotation tool that facilitates communication between students and their instructors, centered around better understanding of course reading material. Thousands of students use the platform in dozens of courses all over the world.
Read More
POLA Student Dance Company Welcomes New Director
I am pleased to inform you Prof. Neta Pulvermacher has been appointed the new director of the Student Dance Company POLA, sponsored by the Zlotowski family.
A veteran choreographer, she has just stepped down as dean of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
Read her long list of accomplishments here

The Festival of Lights is upon us and as you gather with your families to light the candles, take pride in the great torch of learning and knowledge you have helped to create here - a beacon that shines from Israel to the world, illuminating it.
Yours in Gratitude and in Friendship,
Prof. Rivka Carmi
President, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev