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Cherie Blair Receives Honorary Doctorate from BGU

Cherie Blair Receives Honorary Doctorate from BGU

May 13, 2013

Leadership, Awards & Events, Press Releases

Cherie Blair was awarded an honorary doctorate by BGU on May 7, 2013 on behalf of her work to empower women around the world. Ms. Blair dedicated the degree to the women of Bangladesh.

“This is a big moment for a girl from Liverpool,” she began with a touch of levity. “As the first in my family to go to university, I never thought I would have a collection of honorary doctorates.”

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi and Rector Prof. Zvi HaCohen present Cherie Blair with an honoray doctorate.

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi and Rector Prof. Zvi HaCohen present Cherie Blair with an honoray doctorate.

Blair quickly moved on to more serious issues turning to the plight of Bangladeshi women. She is the chancellor of a new Bangladeshi women’s university, The Asian University for Women, which will graduate its first class later this month.

“Too many women don’t have access to the education we take for granted,” she said.

“I dedicate this honorary degree to the women of Chittagong who want to prove that education is their right.”

Bangladesh has been plunged into riots as an extreme sect of Islamists seeks to segregate men and women entirely and restrict women’s access to education, among other demands.

Blair is a queen’s counsel and recorder. She established the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to advance female entrepreneurs as an avenue to empowerment. The foundation supports women in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and provides them with training and funding to increase their security and voice in tackling injustice. She has also been active on the issues of breast cancer, children from disadvantaged communities and prison reform.

Blair was appointed commander of the most excellent order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to women’s issues and charity. In 2000, she was one of the founding partners of Matrix Chambers, which was created to focus on human rights law. She is married to Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and current quartet envoy to the Middle East.

Cherie Blair was one of six outstanding individuals to recieve honorary doctorates at the May ceremony on BGU’s Marcus Family Campus. The others were:

  • AABGU National Vice President Ruth Flinkman-Marandy;
  • Prof. Mario Capecchi, 2007 Nobel Laureate in physiology and medicine, distinguished professor of human genetics and biology at the University of Utah and its School of Medicine, and Holocaust survivor;
  • Prof. Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, a biomedical engineer and one of only three Americans to have been awarded the U.S. National Medal of Science and the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation in February of this year;
  • Prof. Patrick Aebischer, Switzerland, president of Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne and head of the Neurodegenerative Disease Laboratory at EPL; and
  • Prof. Joshua Blau, Israel, one of the world’s foremost scholars on medieval Judeo-Arabic language.

A Life Achievement Award was presented to Bertie Lubner of South Africa.

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