On May 26, 2015 CABGU Quebec welcomed 370 people to a Gala Dinner at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim honouring two exceptional members of Montreal's business community, Gerry Apostolatos, partner at Langlois Kronström Desjardins and Martin Thibodeau, President, Quebec Headquarters, RBC Royal Bank.
The honourees had chosen to support the acquisition of cutting-edge equipment for the development of desalination methods at BGU's Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research. The event was enhanced by imagery based on water – every element from the invitation to the video featured drops, waves, splashes and sprays of water. CABGU Quebec President Larry Nachshen summed it up very poignantly by inviting everyone in the audience to raise a glass of water - and then try to imagine what it is like for the millions of people in the world who are deprived of this luxury.
In their speeches Gerry and Martin informed the audience that 97% of all water on Earth is saltwater, and of the remaining quantity only one-third is usable, and must be shared by 7 billion people. It is estimated that half of the Earth's population will lack adequate water by 2030. Both paid tribute to the major role that BGU plays in the quest for safe and adequate water resources. They also described their impressions of Israel, both having visited recently, using terms like “magical, meaningful and memorable” (Martin), and “an absolute miracle” (Gerry).
Consul General Ziv Nevo Kulman brought greetings from the State of Israel, and was followed by a number of speakers introduced by Tony Loffreda, Gala emcee, with wit and warmth.
Lt-General, the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (ret'd) delivered a stirring talk as Keynote Speaker. He referred to his experiences during the 1994 Rwandan genocide as Force Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Forces, and alerted his audience to the tragic use of child soldiers in several trouble spots around the world. He emphasized the importance of humanity over political and economic interests, a message that resonated with his listeners.
Prof. Rivka Carmi, President of the university, delivered greetings from BGU and received the audience's warmest wishes for her upcoming honour as Commander of the Order of the British Empire and also for being selected as one of the “50 Most Influential Jews” by the Jerusalem Post.
Kudos to Gala Co-Chairs Robert Elman and Allen Quallenberg for their steadfast commitment and expertise, and a very special thank you to Etty Bienstock, who looked after the dinner arrangements with panache.
See full photo album here.
Pictured: Larry Nachshen, President CABGU Quebec, Robert Elman, 2015 Gala Co-Chair, Lt.-Gen., The Hon. Roméo Dallaire (ret'd), Martin Thibodeau, 2015 Gala Honouree, Prof. Rivka Carmi, President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Gerry Apostolatos, 2015 Gala Honouree, Allen Quallenberg, 2015 Gala Co-Chair, Ellayne Kaplan, Executive Director CABGU Quebec
See full photo album here.
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