Letter from Our CEO

October 6, 2023


Dear Friends,

As I look outside at our sukkah, I am reflecting on the past few weeks and how quickly time flies. With Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the first days of Sukkot behind us, it is only Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah and the Jewish holidays are over. This year is a big one for Israel, as it marks 75 years of independence. There is much to say about the current political situation in Israel and the ongoing demonstrations around the judicial reform process, but it brings us a great deal of pride that Tel Aviv University (TAU) is an academic leader, a beacon of academic freedom, and a force for shaping the next generation of Israelis. Professors and University leaders are united in their quest to provide top quality education to their students and thereby strengthen Israel.

There are Tel Aviv University alumni who use their multidisciplinary education to make the world a better place by designing solutions to world problems. There are also those who are not TAU graduates, but are honored by the University and acknowledged with an honorary doctorate. I was thrilled to see that Katalin Karikó, a recipient of a 2022 Honorary Doctorate at TAU, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the mRNA vaccine discoveries that made the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines possible.

There are many global leaders who are associated with the University and many are part of the faculty. Most recently, Dr. Ronen Hoffman, a renowned diplomat who served as the Ambassador of Israel to Canada, joined Tel Aviv University as the leader of an exciting new leadership gap year program, Exploration, Leadership, and Innovation (ELI). ELI at TAU is the first of its kind, combining classroom instruction with immersive learning and visits to key sites; networking opportunities within Israel’s Startup Nation; workshops focused on areas of excellence at TAU such as cyber security and artificial intelligence; meaningful service-learning projects; Hebrew learning at TAU’s multi-level Ulpan; leadership learning from experts in fields such as politics, entrepreneurship, media, and technology; and extracurricular and group bonding activities including through field trips across Israel. The program will be run through the Lowy International School and is an exciting opportunity for students who are looking for a unique gap year program in Israel. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out.

Tel Aviv University's impact and work is global, helping to position Israel as a source of solutions to world problems. For example, Professor Ram Fishman, a development and environmental economist, focuses his research on sustainable development, particularly water, agriculture, and climate change in low-income countries. He is a senior lecturer of public policy at TAU and is the director of the Nitsan Lab, which aims to bridge the gap between Israeli innovation and low-income users in developing countries through intensive field work. He and his team collaborate with engineers in the developing world to enable technology to help sustainability, bring clean water, improve agriculture, and make lives better. He and his students are the only group in Israel doing this type of work abroad.

Professor Tova Milo, the first female Dean of the Faculty of Exact Sciences, is also the first woman in Israel to serve as the head of a university’s computer science department. She founded "Precision," a mentoring program for the advancement of women in exact sciences and is making great strides in supporting woman in the fields of STEM. She and her work were recognized by Forbes Magazine, which selected her for its 2023 Women of the Year Power Women List in Israel. To learn more about Professor Milo, please listen to this episode of TAU Unbound.

If you are interested in learning more about firsts and hearing directly from Tel Aviv University researchers and leading alumni, I encourage you to consider registering for FALL 4 TAU, a three-day gathering in Los Angeles, November 10-12. This weekend event will showcase TAU in a multitude of sessions featuring leading experts and world-class researchers. You can view the program here and register here.

Wishing you a Shabbat shalom and chag sameach (happy holiday).

Jennifer Gross
Chief Executive Officer