Changing of the Guard

Professor Daniel Chamovitz will assume the presidency of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on January 1, 2019, replacing outgoing Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Rivka Carmi, who will step down following 12 years as head of the University. Chamovitz will become BGU's 7th President.

Prof. Chamovitz, a native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, studied at both Columbia University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received his Ph.D. in Genetics. Most recently, he served as Dean of the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University, where he was awarded the prestigious Alon Fellowship for outstanding young researchers.

While at Tel Aviv University, Chamovitz founded its Manna Center Program for Food Safety and Security. He has published more than 50 academic articles and book chapters, and serves on the editorial boards for several leading academic journals in his field. Prof. Chamovitz's critically-acclaimed “What a Plant Knows" (2012) has been translated into 18 languages.

“Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has a different mandate from any other university in Israel," Prof. Chamovitz says. “Of course, BGU must aim for research excellence – that is the essence of academia. At the same time, however, we must take care not to detract from our ability to impact the wider community, in Beer-Sheva and throughout the Negev region.

“We have a tremendous advantage: Our students. They certainly have keen eyes to identify the human and environmental capital that give this region so much potential, and I'm looking forward to working together with them to maximize it.

Prof. Chamovitz stresses that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is uniquely positioned to take a leading role on the national and international stage to become a global university with a local impact.

“For a long time, the University has offered a wide range of academic subjects in the exact sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities, as well as professional programs, and successfully attracted excellent researchers who choose to begin their academic careers here. Our modern campus, which will expand with the North Campus, as well as the Advanced Technologies Park, present opportunities for entrepreneurship and interaction with the private sector that we could only have dreamt about in the past.

“So we will strive for excellence in the three main areas that define BGU, and which are implied in the very name: Research, academia and social outreach," he said.

Montreal - BGNetwork



Dr. Orna Berry, Israel’s Chief Scientist and Director of the Industrial Research and Development Administration (1996-2000) and most recently Vice-President, DELL-EMC Centres of Excellence and R&D, described in depth how Ben-Gurion University (BGU) has fueled the rapid growth of Israel’s Negev region. A nexus of outstanding faculty, highly-qualified students and motivated tech investors, BGU has become the backbone of progress in the South.

The facts are impressive – At Beer-sheva’s Advanced Technology Park, a venture that includes the most important names in cyber security, AI, datascience and machine learning, BGU graduates make up 60% of the current workforce. With the move of the Israel Defence Forces’ elite intelligence units into the Negev, BGU’s contributions will be more vital than ever – soldiers will be able to pursue their education while they serve and the University will provide invaluable expertise.

What are the underlying themes of this remarkable modern Zionism? According to Dr. Berry, Israel will gain its global market share through quality and collaboration.

Yael Berry-David, Orna Berry’s daughter, recounted how fourteen years ago, as a young mother new to Beer-sheva, she gradually noticed stirrings of cultural activity in the city. As she became involved in the art, music and theatre scene, she realized that participating in these areas made the prospect of remaining in Beer-sheva not only palatable but attractive. She has remained committed to nurturing culture in the region and is particularly proud that a play from Beer-sheva’s Fringe Festival was performed recently in Montreal.

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