May. 14, 2019


BGU will confer honorary doctorates on five esteemed individuals next week, at a ceremony that will take place on Tuesday May 21, as part of the University's annual Board of Governors meeting.  At the same ceremony, the President's Award will be presented to Adv. Asher Heled, the outgoing chairman BGU's Executive Committee.

The 2019 honorees are:

Dr. Jan Low is the head of the International Potato Center and is a leading authority on international food security. Dr Low's research into bio-fortification of sweet potatoes has led to the breeding of sweet potato strains that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Her work has led directly to the alleviation of hunger for millions of people, the reduction of illness in developing nations, as well as concurrent empowerment of women.

Photograph: Teddy Mitchener

Ohad Naharin is one of the preeminent choreographers of the modern era. His stage performance, acclaimed choreography and his term as Artistic Director of the acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company have made him a towering figure in Israel's cultural life.

Photograph: Ilya Melnikov

Prof. Ahmad Natour is an eminent and visionary jurist, an ardent champion of human rights and an erudite Qadi and scholar, who has left an enduring mark on Sharia law (Moslem religious law) in Israel. During his many years as President of the High Sharia Court of Appeals, Prof. Natour worked to develop Israel's Islamic courts by initiating profound reforms and transforming them into a modern legal system accessible to all. In addition to his service to the Islamic Waqf and judicial system, Prof. Natour has served as Chairman of the Public Council for Special Education for Arabs, Honorary President of the Interfaith Council of Israel, and a member of many diverse organizations devoted to civil rights and to fostering Arabic language and culture.

Photograph: Reuven Castro

Daniel B. Shapiro is former United States Ambassador to Israel. During the years leading up to his appointment, Daniel B. Shapiro gained renown as a key advisor to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council. As ambassador he was instrumental in negotiating the $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding for US military assistance to Israel, and he has continued to serve the interests of the United States and of Israel since leaving office. Shapiro's sharp mind and engaging personality have enabled him to promote Israel-US trade relations; to advocate for a strong alliance between the two nations and to build bridges of understanding across cultures and continents in order to ensure a brighter future for the people of the Middle East and the entire world.  

Photograph: Matty Stern


Toni Young is the president of American Associates of Ben-Gurion University. She is a prolific author and scholar, a lover of arts and literature and a tireless supporter of Israel and the American Jewish community. Her leadership roles have included service as vice chair of the United Jewish Communities of North America; president of the Jewish Federation of Delaware; Bezalel Art Academy; the Jewish Agency for Israel; American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; Ben-Gurion Society and the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Photograph: Public Relations

The President's Award will be presented to Adv. Asher Heled, the outgoing chairman BGU's Executive Committee. 

Photograph: Public Relations