Sylvan Adams, Canadian-Israeli businessman and philanthropist, makes a transformational USD$100 million donation to Israel's sole university in the southern Negev Desert, Ben-Gurion University (BGU). The funds are allocated for an extensive plan aimed at advancing education and campus life at BGU, while rebuilding and strengthening the south, which is especially important in the wake of the Oct. 7th attack against Israel's southern border communities. On that dark day, when Hamas terrorists rampaged through the southern communities, Ben-Gurion University lost 82 members of its community including students, staff, faculty and their family members.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Ben-Gurion University Canada (BGU Canada) will utilize these funds for BGU to play a critical role in reconstructing the Negev, advancing the vision of Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, as articulated over 70 years ago.
The official donation announcement was made at the "NEGEV STRONG Gala – An Evening of BGUnity," held at The Westin Harbour Castle Conference Centre in Toronto last night. Mr. Adams was joined by his wife, Margaret, BGU President, Professor Daniel Chamovitz, and other notable Canadian donors and supporters of the university.
Mr. Adams said, "After the October 7th massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas, it is crucial that we strengthen Israel's south to ensure that Israelis feel safe and secure to rebuild their lives in the Negev. Israel's first Prime Minister David-Ben Gurion had a vision: he understood that the Negev is the beating heart of Israel, the growth and future of the country. We are telling our enemies and the world at large that we are here to stay. As such, the imperative to inject life into the Negev, is more important now than ever. We must make sure that the desert remains the launching point of Israel's future, despite the pogrom that our people endured there only 58 days ago. Ben-Gurion University, located in the capital of the Negev, has brought to life David Ben-Gurion's vision – a vision of making the desert bloom, and I am proud to make this gift to BGU, an important pillar of our country."
With three campuses located in Be'er Sheva, Sde Boker and Eilat, BGU is the largest employer in Israel's desert region which makes up two-thirds of the country's landmass.
"We are profoundly grateful to the Sylvan Adams Family Foundation for this transformative commitment to our university's future," said BGU President, Professor Daniel Chamovitz. "This gift will help guide the way forward for our community as we look to rebuild an even stronger Negev, together. We enter this next stage with a focus on six key areas of impact, among them: the future of the Negev and Israel,
technologies for the future, climate change, sustainability and the environment, and global health."
Mitchell Oelbaum, President of Ben-Gurion University Canada, the Canadian fundraising arm of BGU said: "Twenty-thousand students attend BGU's campuses, and the university employs 6,700 people, the vast majority of whom live, work and play in the southern part of the country. Our university has been a catalyst for economic and social development for over 50 years in this area of Israel. In recent months, our students, staff and faculty persevered in the face of one of our country's darkest moments. This gift comes at the perfect time for renewal."
BGU Canada's incoming Chief Executive Officer, Andrea Freedman shared a similar sentiment, adding, "This incredible transformational gift comes at a time of unprecedented need in Israel. With great appreciation and gratitude to the Sylvan Adams Family Foundation, the Negev has been bolstered and strengthened."
About Sylvan Adams:
Sylvan Adams is a Canadian-Israeli businessman and philanthropist dedicated to strengthening and promoting Israel's positive global image. Since moving to Israel in 2016, Sylvan has devoted himself to serving his country, referring to himself as the "self-appointed Ambassador at-large for the state of Israel." Sylvan aims to show the world what he calls "normal Israel", tackling its often-negative portrayal in the media by revealing the beautiful reality of the country to large audiences around the world. He has promoted this "normal Israel", and strengthened Israel's international standing and global brand, by bringing world-class cultural and sporting events to the country .
Sylvan is owner of the Israel – Premier Tech (IPT) professional cycling team, competing at the highest levels of the sport (the first Israeli team to do so in any sport), including the Tour de France. IPT carries Israel's good name around the world to huge live and television audiences. IPT is more than just a cycling team, it has a social mission; promoting coexistence, peace, and national pride all over the globe. Sylvan believes that sport is a special tool that enables people from different backgrounds, races, religions, and ethnicities to come together and foster respect, sportsmanship and friendship through competition. In recognition of his work in advancing people-to-people initiatives between Israel and its Arab counterparts, Sylvan was one of the few Israelis invited to the signing of the historic Abraham Accords at the White House in the summer of 2020.
About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev:
BGU was inspired by the vision of Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who believed that the future of Israel lay in the Negev region, a desert area comprising more than 60 percent of the country.
Today, BGU is a world-renowned institution of research and higher learning. Transcending the boundaries of academia to create a new model of education and research, the university impacts people's lives in the Negev region, throughout Israel and around the world.
With some 20,000 students and three campuses in Be'er-Sheva, Sde Boker and Eilat, BGU is truly an oasis of innovation, leading research in cyber and homeland security, alternative energy, desert and water research, global health, autism research, medical technologies, high-tech and robotics, Israel studies, culture and Jewish thought.
About Ben-Gurion University Canada:
Ben-Gurion University Canada (BGU Canada) is the Canadian fundraising arm of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). With four main offices across the country including Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal/Ottawa, and headquarters in Toronto, we are proud to have a presence in some of Canada's major Jewish hubs, offering our communities an opportunity to connect with Israel, the Negev Desert and BGU. Through a series of live, virtual and interactive events, campaigns, galas and one-on-one advocacy, BGU Canada tells the story of how Israel's only university in the Negev desert is making a global impact.
SOURCE Ben-Gurion University Canada
For further information: English language media inquiries: Galit Solomon, National Director, Marketing and Communications, Ben-Gurion University Canada, [email protected], 647-207-0864; French language media inquiries: Simon Bensimon, Executive Director, Montreal and Ottawa, [email protected], 514-937-8927 ext. 103