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BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi in the Spotlight

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi in the Spotlight

March 5, 2012

Negev Development & Community Programs

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi, M.D. has been featured recently in Israel’s English-language publications, including the international edition of The Jerusalem Post and Israel21C.

Prof. Rivka Carmi speaks candidly with The International Jerusalem Post about the role of academia in Israeli society. In addition to the February 24-March 1, 2012 print edition, the article is posted in the publication’s premium Web content section.

Here are some highlights of what Prof. Carmi had to say:

BGU and Zionism.“Ben-Gurion University…is the model of modern Zionism. After all, what is Zionism? It is building a national home for the Jewish people.  And what are we doing in the Negev? We are building the future of the State of Israel. And make no mistake about it – the future of Israel isn’t in the Tel Aviv area.

It is in the Negev, and the University is involved in every aspect of the community – culture, healthcare, economy, community relations, and more. We are involved in creating a high-tech park in the area and several important green energy initiatives and more. We are involved in bringing high-quality manpower to Beer-Sheva and the Negev.”

The University’s Place in Society. “What is the university’s place in society? If we look back in history, the university was created to be an elitist ivory tower, to question, to think out of the box. To encourage critical thinking.

Over the years, things have changed a lot. To a certain degree, today’s universities are more for professional training – on an academic level – for doctors and lawyers and engineers, etc.

…Does the university have a responsibility to give something back to the community?

Just about all Israeli universities were born with this idea that the university owes something to the community. Of course, a university’s research, at the end of the day, will bring about medical advances, defense technologies, economic advances and other things, which definitely serves the country.

But these issues are on a theoretical level. No one has any doubt that these developments are of immediate benefit to the country and to society at large.

But the more principled question is to what degree the university should lead social processes. There are fundamental values issues like women’s standing in society, equality, reducing gaps between rich and poor, advancing culture, etc….

As soon as you conduct research and begin teaching, you already begin to have an influence on society…but I don’t think [taking a leading role in social movements and protests] is the correct role of the university.”

With this forward-thinking outlook it’s no wonder that BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi was the only woman in academia to make the list of Israel’s top 10 female executives compiled by Israel 21C.


In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, ISRAEL21c salutes 10
of the top female executives in Israel, an impressively powerful group that includes Prof. Rivka Carmi, CEOs of Israel’s major banks, and leaders of high-tech companies and major Israeli manufacturers.

See full list on Israel21C >>