This past Sunday evening 35 people gathered at the home of Karen and Mark Bichin in Vancouver, BC to welcome and meet the Rector of Ben-Gurion University Professor Zvi HaCohen, the Maks and Rochelle Etingen Chair in Desert Research. With a blue and orange colour theme accentuated by sunflowers adorning the tables, members of Vancouver’s “start-up” CABGU board mingled with the guests from Israel and from Simon Fraser University. President Andrew Petter and his partner Professor Maureen Maloney who recently returned from a trip to Israel that included a visit to Ben-Gurion University’s Marcus Campus led the SFU GROUP. Guests at the event were a rich cross section of professors from SFU and the University of British Columbia, representatives from the City of Surrey and a major labour union all savoured a delicious Israeli barbeque.
Officially welcoming the group were board members Dr Jay Eidelman and Rinat Sneg followed by words from the CEO of Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University, Mark Mendelson.
The Rector who was accompanied by his wife Mali and two prominent Ben-Gurion University professors from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Yosi and Nava Pliskin, shared perspectives on how Ben-Gurion University has grown to be the most popular university among Israeli students seven years in succession and spoke about how it is currently engaged in developing alternate sources of sustainable energy.
The connections that were made during the evening among the university faculty from top-notch local institutions, medical researchers and specialists and Ben-Gurion University representatives were exciting and successful. Mingling and schmoozing were Professor Ryan D’Arcy from SFU, Co-Director of CMMT (the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics) Dr Dan Goldowiz, Dr Robin Friedlander, Dr Tim Oberlander and resident Isaac Elias from BC Children’s Hospital doctors, Dr Sophie Doutsch from BGU who is engaged in a post doctoral research into salmonella at UBC, Dr Itay Zelcer, a pediatric neurologist who is currently a fellow at BC Children’s and Donna Jones, Manager of Economic Development for the City of Surrey. UBC Professor Penny Gurstein, and St Paul’s Hospital cardiologist and innovator Dr. Alan Rabinowitz were also meeting and greeting both having recently returned from visits to Israel that included meetings with colleagues at Ben-Gurion University. Present were also Professor Adele Diamond who will be delivering a 4-week course at Ben-Gurion University in December on Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Development in Cross-Cultural and Biological Perspective and BCGEU Vice President Paul Finch who will be travelling to Israel in a few weeks were also present.
Guests remained engaged in conversation into the sunset on a gorgeous Vancouver evening going home with packages of Israeli sunflower seeds to plant and to eat.