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American Associates Village at Sede Boqer Dedicated

American Associates Village at Sede Boqer Dedicated

June 9, 2014

Leadership, Awards & Events, Press Releases

BGU’s new American Associates Village at Sede Boqer was dedicated at the University’s recent Board of Governor’s Meeting. The complex will expand available housing for as many as 150 additional international students, increasing by 50 percent the number of students currently studying at the Sede Boqer campus and facilitating growth of two international graduate programs.

village-unveilingThe new complex is already home to some 20 graduate students of the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies, the academic arm of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, and the Israel Studies International Program. Once complete, this project will add 67 housing units in 14 buildings of varying configurations to the existing 110 units.

Until now, the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies (AKIS) was forced to reject hundreds of highly qualified, motivated candidates due to the housing shortage. While the classroom, laboratory and teaching capacity were available, there were not enough beds to accommodate more students.

“We decided we needed to tackle this issue and the result is the American Associates Village at Sede Boqer,” said Alex Goren, BGU’s board chair and AABGU’s past president.

The renowned Israeli architectural firm, Linenberg-Rozen, designed the housing complex based on two underlying principles adapting to Sede Boqer’s specific desert climate conditions. Six drainage basin gardens will be irrigated from the run-off of the village, while the specially designed windows make use of passive heating and cooling to regulate building temperature.

“By creating semi-private internal courtyards, we hope to encourage an atmosphere that fosters communal life,” said architect Ron Rozen.

village-saalThe American Associates Village was completely funded as part of a $13 million fundraising project by American Associates, Ben Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) donors.

Along with Alex Goren, Carol Saal, a former AABGU president and current vice chair on BGU’s board of governors, envisioned the idea of top-notch housing facilities for students and their families.

“I thank Steve Breslauer from Houston for being the first to make a lead gift to the project, naming a building on behalf of the Soref Foundation.  I also want to thank AABGU board member and BGU chairman emeritus, Robert Arnow, a most generous supporter and inspiration, as well as some 500 donors who have made contributions to this endeavor thus far,” remarked Saal at the dedication.

“When initial plans for this project were presented, a member of the BGU faculty referred to the Village as ‘research infrastructure,’ as the envisioned expansion of the number of graduate students would have a dramatic impact on the research output coming from Sede Boqer,” says Doron Krakow, executive vice president of AABGU.

“We’re very proud to play a part in that.”

View the brief video of the American Associates Village dedication

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications