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Avigad Vonshak is BGU’s New Dean of International Academic Affairs

Avigad Vonshak is BGU’s New Dean of International Academic Affairs

September 21, 2010

Press Releases

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL September 22, 2010 — Professor Avigad Vonshak, director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism and former director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), has been appointed dean of International Academic Affairs at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

The Office of International Academic Affairs coordinates and consolidates the University’s various international programs and develops new initiatives, while exploring diverse avenues for international academic exchanges around the world. The position was created two years ago as part of BGU’s efforts to intensify its global impact.

 The Ginsburg-Ingerman Overseas Student Program (OSP) for North American students — providing semester, summer or year-long study abroad opportunities at the University — falls under his purview. “The appointment of a dean of Avigad’s international standing is a key indicator of the University’s determination to become a more global university — a university determined to expand the number of courses and programs of study taught in English for both degree-granting and non-degree granting programs,” says Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the American fund-raising arm for BGU and the organization that facilitates recruitment of students to the OSP.

A featured component of the University’s internationalization agenda will be the significant expansion of OSP through partnerships with a growing number of leading universities in the United States, providing American students with access to a greater variety of programs and research opportunities in sustainable development, ecology, anthropology, Middle East studies, Israel studies and more.

In his role as director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, Prof. Vonshak’s primary goal is to launch the Institute’s new International Graduate School for Israel Studies. A graduate degree in this area has existed for Israeli students for a number of years, now the program will be expanded and taught in English to attract students from around the world. It is anticipated that graduates of this program will attain key political, diplomatic and academic positions related to Israel and the Middle East.

About Avigad Vonshak

Prof. Vonshak received his Ph.D. from BGU in 1980 and completed his postdoctoral training at Michigan State University. He was the dean of Ben-Gurion University’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research for the past eight years, a period of immense growth and international collaboration. He has been a faculty member of the Landau Family Microalgal Biotechnology Lab since its establishment in the mid 70s. The group is one of the leading world centers in algal biotechnology research.

Prof. Vonshak is known internationally in the scientific community for his approach to sustainable development of drylands through new innovative biotechnologies that increase water-use efficiency as compared to conventional agricultural methodologies. He served as president of the Asian Pacific Society for Applied Phycology, has been involved in many international training programs organized by UNEP, UNESCO and other international agencies, and has taken part in hundreds of international meetings, presenting keynote lectures related to the potential of algal biotechnology as a tool in sustainable development of drylands. 

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