Mortimer B. Zuckerman honored for $100 Million STEM Initiative | האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Mortimer B. Zuckerman honored for $100 Million STEM Initiative


Donation by Zuckerman Institute will herald unprecedented collaboration between Israel’s major research universities

The President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, honored the American business leader and philanthropist Mortimer B. Zuckerman at the President's Residence in Jerusalem today, for the Zuckerman Institute’s $100 million initiative to provide scholarships to the next generation of STEM leaders in the United States and Israel. 

Photo, L to R: - Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund, former president of the Hebrew University, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, and Prof. Asher Cohen, rector of the Hebrew University, at the President's Residence on January 16, 2017 (Photo: Israel Hadari)

Mortimer Zuckerman launched the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program to support future generations of leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in the United States and Israel and, over time, foster greater collaboration between two of the world’s most advanced centers of scientific research.

President Rivlin said: “The essence of science is rules. But maybe the most important rule is that collaboration and modern development can only happen together. As an Israeli, I know that you, Mr. Zuckerman, are one of the great people that has helped us create something that allows Israel to be appreciated all over the world for its education and responsibility. It is a great honor to welcome you at the President's Residence today.”

The Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program will give the highest-achieving American post-doctoral researchers and graduate students the ability to collaborate with leading researchers at Israel’s top research institutions – the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Tel Aviv University; and the Weizmann Institute of Science – which are among the world’s most advanced.

Mr. Zuckerman said: "I was a guest in this country many times and have been fascinated and always moved by the many achievements of Israel. This is a society that knows how to develop and created a state that is absolutely a miracle. I have always admired what the Israelis could achieve in the country that is not rich in natural resources but rich in human resources. It is not oil, not gold or silver, but people who are willing to work hard and sometimes fight hard and I'm an advocate of Israel. I am deeply honored to be here.”

Mr. Zuckerman, Eric J. Gertler and James S. Gertler, Zuckerman Institute Trustees, Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Joseph Klafter, President, Tel Aviv University, Prof. Peretz Lavie, President, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Prof. Daniel Zajfman, President, Weizmann Institute of Science were in attendance along with a number of Zuckerman Scholars.

Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: "The Zuckerman STEM initiative will strengthen connections between the academic communities of North America and Israel, and enrich the science and knowledge emerging from both regions for the benefit of people everywhere. As a new generation of scientists begin their careers, this initiative will allow them to develop roots in the best institutions in both regions, and to serve as catalysts for collaboration going forward.

By providing American graduate students and post-doctoral researchers with exposure to Israel’s renowned cutting-edge research and startup culture, the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program will raise a generation of academic, scientific and industry leaders in the United States infused with a unique spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Prof. Peretz Lavie, President of Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, said: "Today, Israel is in the front-line of scientific research and Israeli universities are at a stage where they are attracting post-doctoral students from around the world, creating networks and fellowships. The power of this $100 million donation will help create coherent scientific endeavors.  Four leading universities working together is absolutely unprecedented.”

The program will simultaneously bolster Israeli research institutions as world-leading centers for innovative research by providing Israeli institutions access to large-scale funding needed to develop top-tier research labs, projects, and programs.

Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University,  said: "Through the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program, creativity will soar, discovery will soar, and the American-Israeli cooperation will soar farther than ever. We are deeply grateful for this vote of confidence in Israel by Mort Zuckerman."

The Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program will, over time, help strengthen the US-Israel partnership as Zuckerman Scholars return to the United States after building long-lasting relationships based in mutual collaboration. Israeli academic leaders returning to research institutions in Israel will similarly advance the overarching collaborative effort in science between the two nations as they continue to build bridges with their American colleagues.

Prof. Daniel Zajfman, President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said: “The Zuckerman program aims at supporting the collaboration of the best minds between Israel and North America. This is one of the better ways to make a major impact in the world of STEM and an efficient way to support the world of science and technology. I can already imagine, in 10 years, the room full of Zuckerman fellows who have gone through this program, the impact of their work in the various Israeli and North America research programs, and the incredible network which will be created among these people."

The first cohort of 14 Zuckerman Scholars began with the 2016–2017 academic year. In the next twenty years alone, the program intends to provide over $100 million in scholarships and related educational activities that will benefit not only the participating scholars and universities, but the public as well.

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Mortimer B. Zuckerman honored for $100 Million STEM Initiative