Dear alumni, friends and supporters in the UK,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you following a day of heavy fighting in the South and rockets launched at civilian populations in the South and Central Israel. As you are undoubtedly aware, our nation finds itself in a state of war.86
A large number of our staff, faculty and students have been called up for active reserve duty as we brace for what promises to be a long and difficult confrontation. We are doing our best to stay in contact with them and offer our support .
We seek to maintain routine operations, as much as possible. However, as a precautionary measure, we have suspended exams and all large assemblies. As for the next coming days, we have instructed most of our staff to work from home. Given the bombing this morning on Israel’s northern border, we have opened our bomb shelters on both the Mount Carmel and City Campus.
We are aware of the impact of events on those who reside in the line of fire. As such, the University has opened its doors to residents from the South and offered them use of our dormitories.
We will continue monitoring the situation and have yet to decide whether we should commence the school year next week or defer the opening date. All university presidents are coordinating activities, and we will try, as much as possible, to align our plans and responses.
Dear friends, this surprise attack and its aftershocks are unprecedented both in their scope and tragic loss of human life. We have yet to comprehend its impact on our society. I want to reiterate our unwavering commitment to delivering a safe campus for our entire University of Haifa family and greatly appreciate your concern and support during this most trying time.
Thank you and keep the faith.
It is with great honour that we share the excitement of our Trustee, Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of autism research at the University of Cambridge, as he is knighted for services to people with autism.
From the press-
He said: “This honour came as a complete surprise, and I accept it on behalf of the talented team of scientists at the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, and on behalf of the Autism Research Trust, the charity that has supported us.
“The basic needs and human rights of autistic people and their families are still not being met by statutory services, due to insufficient funding, so we are creating a new charity, the Autism Centre of Excellence, to address this gap.”
Prof Baron-Cohen has made major contributions to the study of autism prevalence, screening, genetics and neuroimaging, among other areas.
A biopharmaceutical company called ProteKt Therapeutics is currently aiming to develop a drug for treating early stages of Alzheimer’s disease based on the research of the university's professor Kobi Rosenblum. His findings indicate that inhibiting an enzyme believed to play an important role in the development of the disease, in partnership with pharma, may give hope for a new type of treatment to be developed.
With traditional treatments not proven to be beneficial, ProteKt Therapeutics believes developing their new mechanism could have a significant effect on the the disease and hope the same treatment, when developed, could help with other neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Huntington and Parkinson’s.
Rear Admiral (Ret.) Shaul Chorev, a political science expert renowned in his field had been appointed as the new Director of the university's Ezri Centre for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies. He has recently given a private briefing to the American Society of the University of Haifa about the aftermath of the Soleimani assassination which we invite you to watch here.
Professor Chorev is also the Director of the Haifa Research Centre for Maritime Policy & Strategy and the Reuven Chaikin Chair in Geostrategy. He has held several key national defence positions, making him a treasured asset to the Ezri Centre.
Sandbar and dusky sharks have been sighted around the Hadera power plant in recent years, in what the university's scientists are calling a “legitimate and rare phenomenon.” This annual gathering is believed to be caused by man-made factors as well as the rising temperatures of the Mediterranean Sea.
A recent study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that climate change is steadily heating the Mediterranean Sea by 0.4 degrees every decade, making the region among the hardest hit in the world.
The university's top predator team is working on how to protect this understudied and endangered shark population, which has already been depleted by over 90% since the 1950s.
One of the researchers described this spectacle a harbinger that “helps us assess what will happen to different species when waters elsewhere reach the temperatures we have here now.”
To view the shark congregation, click here.
Archaeologists at the University of Haifa have recently revealed that hundreds of basalt vessels unearthed in the Levant and dating to the Chalcolithic period, contain strange markings, which appear to have meant something to people at the time.
Professor Danny Rosenberg of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology said, “there were rules, and they were not just aesthetic rules. What they were for, we don’t yet know.” The basalt bowls were labor-intensive to make, and given that pottery, which can be worked much more quickly, was also in use at the time, the researchers believe the stone vessels must have held a traditional appeal.
The University of Haifa research of the triangles will be published in an upcoming edition of the academic journal the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
The assumption that salmon would have been crucial to the early diet of ancient Arctic inhabitants has finally been proven thanks to the Department of Marine Civilizations at the University of Haifa, which developed a new method for identifying salmon remains.
“The new method, using mineral markers to identify salmon remains, will enable researchers to better understand life in the ancient Arctic and the juncture between the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and early farming communities,” explains Professor Ruth Shahack-Gross who led the study.
The method developed will also enable archaeologists in the future who are working in the ancient Arctic periods to collect evidence of salmon consumption, and perhaps other relationships salmon may have had with Arctic river ecosystems.
On 26th November, the University's Ezri Centre for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, hosted Her Imperial Majesty Farah Pahlavi in London at Maison Assouline to celebrate the launch of "Iran Modern: The Empress of Art" by Viola Raikhel-Bolot and Miranda Darling. Dr. Efrat Sopher, a University of Haifa UK Trustee who is at the helm of the Ezri Centre, led a Q&A session with the Empress, allowing for an intimate recount of very personal stories. The four women panel was a striking demonstration of the soft power that women hold at the highest level. The conversation flowed effortlessly from contemporary art and fashion, to empires lost, women in power, and the role women play in regime change.
The Ezri Centre was founded by the late Ambassador Meir Ezri, Dr. Sopher’s grandfather, to promote research and awareness, providing insight into the society, economy, politics, religion and culture of Iran and other countries of the Persian Gulf in order to bridge cultural differences.
We are thrilled to announce that "Forgotten Soldier" has won the Audience Choice Award at the UK Jewish Film Festival 2018. This film, commissioned by University of Haifa UK’s Co-Chair Lady Irene Hatter, tells the story of her heroic Dutch father Sally Noach and his risky rescue operation in Vichy France during WWII which saved the lives of hundreds of Jews.
The creation of this film was fuelled by an important mission, to promote holocaust awareness and education. It has already touched the hearts of many and will continue to be screened at festivals and educational institutes around the world.
The "Forgotten Soldier" trailer can be viewed here.
The Dylan Tauber Educational Complex, part of the University’s new Lorry I Lokey City Campus has officially been unveiled during a festive ceremony on October 24th, marking a promising start to the new academic year. The City Campus will house Israel's one-of-a-kind School for Data Science, located strategically in Haifa’s thriving downtown area where it will have an impact on the economy and the social fabric of the region.
University President Professor Ron Robin said in an interview, "At the end of this process, we will be a better research university—one that gives its graduates far more opportunities than any other university in Israel. We will be integral to the urban fabric of Haifa and the entire north.”
In addition to the city campus, the university has launched the construction of the Helmsley Health Discovery Tower in partnership with Rambam Healthcare Campus, and the laboratories of the University’s School of Marine Sciences are already operating from the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research building.
The Caravan Orchestra, a hybrid of the University's Music Department and Yiddish Summer Weimar (Germany) has won the 2018 Shimon Peres Prize of the German Foreign Ministry for outstanding contribution to the shaping of German-Israeli relations.
Dr. Abigail Wood, Head of the University's Music Department describes the Orchestra as "one of the most exciting, creative and exuberant music projects I’ve ever been involved in, mashing up Arab music, klezmer and pretty much anything in between."
To get a glimpse of the orchestra performing, check out this video.
A special thank you to the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation for providing scholarship support for students at the university's music department.
Mooly Eden, Chair of the University's Executive Committee was featured as a guest speaker at an event held in London by the University of Haifa UK in partnership with UK Israel Business, at the offices of White & Case law firm. Mooly gave a talk to near a hundred business professionals about the future of artificial intelligence & robotics. The audience were captivated and intrigued throughout the talk which was followed by drinks, canapés and mingling.
During a short official visit to Israel in October, Chancellor Angela Merkel is to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Haifa in recognition of her leadership grounded in principles of equality, freedom and human rights and in appreciation of her strengthened ties between Germany and the State of Israel. The ceremony will take place at the Israel Museum and will be attended by officials from both countries.
The University of Haifa won the first ever Defense Ministry tender for military colleges which is expected to bring several hundred military officers, commanders and members of the public sector to the university in the next coming years. “These men and women, who are dear to our hearts, operate day and night for the sake of the defense and security of the State of Israel, and we will provide them educational content of the highest standard”, university president Prof. Ron Robin said in a statement.
UK Co-Chairs, Lady Irene Hatter and Mr Peter Kadas hosted a gala dinner at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London to support Haifa’s International Holocaust Research Institute and to preview “The Story That Had to Be Told”, a film about WWII resistance hero, Sally Noach. The event included compelling guest speakers and was a wonderful success raising over $500,000. Thanks to the people who came and supported, Haifa's international students will get the training they need to educate the next generation about the Holocaust.
The university plans to grow by 100,000 square meters till 2030, enabling a 50% increase in student capacity. This would mean growing from an 18,000 student capacity to 28,000 using an immersive approach; integrating with the city and promoting a much needed urban rejuvenation. Though it may sound far-fetched, it is possible and already happening thanks to the support of the municipality of Haifa and a $10 million donation towards a downtown campus from American philanthropist Lorry Lokey. “This gift is an affirmation of its mission to improve access to education and bring more jobs, stability, and security to northern Israel by establishing a downtown campus”, Lokey said in a statement.
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