This morning we made our way — not without misadventure due to a dead battery — from the city of Haifa to the Tel Aviv suburb of Rehovot, where we visited another of Israel’s premier institutions of higher education, the Weizmann Institute of Science. Unlike Brandeis, Weizmann is focused exclusively on research and graduate education, with no undergraduate component at all. But President Daniel Zajfman and I found common ground over our shared commitment to world-class research and outstanding opportunities for young scientists.
Professor Alon Chen, an expert on the biology of stress, gave us insight into his groundbreaking work and highlighted the affinities between Weizmann’s program and Brandeis’ strengths in neuroscience. And Professor Lia Addadi, dean of the Feinberg Graduate School, expressed her strong interest in attracting some of our top students to visit at Weizmann.
In the afternoon, we visited another sort of scientific institution, Teva Pharmaceuticals, in Petach Tikva. We visited Teva at the invitation of Dr. Yehudah Livneh, Ph.D. ’81, whom I had met for the first time earlier this year. Teva is both a manufacturer and distributor of generic drugs and a developer of innovative pharmaceutical products. Yehudah is vice president for corporate Intellectual Property and legislative affairs, and he assembled a group from across the company to talk with us about possible intersections of research interest and ways that Brandeis students might be involved in Teva’s work. It was a fruitful exploration of the kind of relationship that we are seeking in Israel and around the world as we work to build synergies between the various parts of the global Brandeis community.
Eight nights ago we launched this trip with an alumni event in Jerusalem; tonight, as the trip comes to a close, we were privileged to meet with another group of Brandeis alumni and friends at the beautiful home of Jay Ruderman ’88 and his wife Shira in Rehovot. The event was an occasion for me to reflect on the many exciting prospects and connections that this visit has created, in the company of people who care deeply both about Israel and about Brandeis. We were fortunate to have among Jay and Shira’s guests three members of Knesset — Avi Dichter, Eitan Cabel and Tzipi Hotoveley — who recently visited Brandeis as Ruderman Fellows. I was also pleased to meet Gilad Erdan, the Israeli minister of the environment, who served as an adviser to the Ruderman Fellows program.
Tomorrow, on our final day, I will be participating in two events as part of the Israeli Presidential Conference under the auspices of Shimon Peres. Alongside leaders of other universities and institutions with global reach, I will be speaking on a panel addressing the future of higher education in an era of rapid change.