BGU Attends Young Universities Summit
June 22, 2018
83 Degrees – Young universities, especially those under 50, face a lot of common challenges. Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Rivka Carmi joined other leaders in academia to discuss how younger universities can meet these challenges and actually thrive from them.
On Thursday, June 7, about 260 people from 88 universities — and 41 nations — assembled at the Marshall Center at the University of South Florida (USF). The occasion was the first-ever “Young Universities Summit” on the North American continent.
During the three-day event, Prof. Carmi took part in a panel moderated by Karen Holbrook, regional chancellor for USF Sarasota-Manatee. The topic was “Stepping out of the Shadows.”
Prof. Carmi shared the story of how BGU was started almost 50 years ago on the inspiration and vision of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. Although the University is located in the desert and is far from the center of Israel, BGU is “making the desert bloom,” says Prof. Carmi.
Since its founding, BGU has grown exponentially. For example, it established the National Center for Biotechnology in the Negev and forged the Heksherim Institute, focused on the study of Israeli literature.
“Heksharim has become a gallery of leading Israeli authors,” says Prof. Carmi, citing the famous writers Amos Oz, Chaim Be’er, Aharon Apelfeld, Etgar Keret, Shimon Adef, Chaviva Fadia, and Prof. Yigal Schwartz, founding director of BGU’s Heksharim Institute.
The University also worked with the Beer-Sheva Municipality, KUD International LLC and Gav-Yam to establish the Ben-Gurion Advanced Technologies Park, which was built with the aim of creating an ecosystem to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship. Today it is home to companies like IBM, Deutsche Telekom, Dell-EMC, and WeWork to name a few.
“All that began a period of growth with the establishment of the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which offers platforms for entrepreneurial innovation for students in all fields of study,” says Prof. Carmi.
“This approach is a genuine game-changer: It’s concrete proof of the University’s role as the most central and significant force for the development of the Negev.”