Vancouver Gala 2022

The Cause

a global crisis

The challenges of climate change are no longer local. They increasingly affect everyone, worldwide. From the proliferation of forest fires and floods, the increase in daily temperatures to the melting of polar ice caps, rising ocean levels and even more extreme weather events, global climate change is a threat to life on this planet as we know it.

At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, finding solutions to climate change is a priority out of necessity.

Located at three campuses in the Negev desert, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has spent five decades learning how to thrive in the desert through solution-based research. Researchers at the university have tackled the challenges of water scarcity and food security, developed advanced energy and cooling technologies and studied the effects of an increasingly hotter environment on human health.

The new school builds on BGU’s well-established strengths to further facilitate the multidisciplinary integration of its researchers and research programs.

The School of Sustainability and Climate Change, the first and only one of its kind in Israel, will offer several tracks for undergraduate and graduate students from Israel and abroad. These tracks will prepare them for the increasing demand and variety of jobs addressing the multiple aspects of the climate crisis.

The mission is to provide students with a wide range of tools to develop practical and sustainable solutions in the framework of international research.

BGU’s accumulated experience, its unique desert location, and its innovative problem-solving approach, mean that it is uniquely positioned to lead cutting- edge teaching and ground-breaking research.

Our Honouree

a lifelong builder of community

Mr. Martin Thibodeau is an energetic, inspiring and authentic business leader with a strong sense of community.

He assumed the role of President of British Columbia, Royal Bank RBC in 2017 where he leads a team of over 7,000 employees in B.C., dedicated to providing financial advice and services to over 1.5 million personal, small business and commercial clients.

Martin’s signature has been his sincere interest in the well-being of others. He has always had a special place in his heart for the Jewish community and Israel.
Since arriving in BC, he has worked to build meaningful relationships with multiple partners in our Jewish community including the Jewish Community Centre and the Jewish Federation among others.

In the wider community, Mr. Thibodeau is the Cabinet Chair for the United Way of the Lower Mainland, a Governor of the BC Business Council, a member of the Board of Directors for BC Children’s Hospital, Science World, Ocean Wise, Peter Dhillon Center for Business Ethics, Urban Development Institute and CABGU BC & Alberta.

At RBC, Martin serves as Co-Chair for the Diversity Leadership Council.

  • In 2015, Martin was honoured by CABGU in Montreal together with Maitre Gerry Apostolatos at a Ben-Gurion Gala Dinner supporting water research.
  • In 2018, RBC Royal Bank created a cybersecurity partnership with BGU where they invested $2M in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to develop advanced cyber security techniques.
  • In 2020, RBC Royal Bank, British Columbia sponsored the first two research fellowships at BGU’s new School for Sustainability and Climate Change.
  • In November 2022, Martin will lead the RBC CABGU Summit to Ben-Gurion University and Israel.

It is truly remarkable how much he and RBC Royal Bank have done to enhance the capacity of our community programs and agencies.

Martin is married to Caroline Desrosiers. They have three adult children.


Lorne & Melita Segal

Melita Segal, D. Litt. (Hon), and Lorne Segal, O.B.C., D.Litt.(Hon.), LLD.(Hon.), have spent their lives doing business while doing good – strengthening and contributing to the future of our Metro Vancouver community while building a culture of philanthropy and inspiring others to follow in their leadership.

Lorne is President of Kingswood Properties, a Director of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Chair of the Coast Mental Health Courage to Come Back Awards and founding Chair of We Day Vancouver. Lorne has been a good friend of our honouree since Martin arrived in BC.

It is truly remarkable how much he and RBC Royal Bank have done to enhance the capacity of our community programs and agencies.

Martin is married to Caroline Desrosiers. They have three adult children.


Professor Daniel A. Chamovitz

We are honoured to welcome Ben-Gurion University President, Professor Daniel Chamovitz as our guest speaker.

Professor Daniel A. Chamovitz Ph.D. was elected President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in August, 2018. Professor Chamovitz is a native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. He studied at both Columbia University in New York City and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he obtained a PhD in genetics. Professor Chamovitz is an internationally recognized research scientist promoting plant sciences and their contribution to feeding the growing world population.

“For the past 50 years we have been learning how to thrive in the desert. It is clear to everyone that the field of sustainability and climate change is what sets Ben-Gurion University apart from every other university in Israel.”

View the Event Video

Event Gallery

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors!

Adam Korbin & Isabella Bertold
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram