Amos Shapira, a 6th generation Israeli and President of the University of Haifa, shared his optimism about the future of Israel with more than 200 people at Tamarisk County Club (TCC) in Rancho Mirage, CA. on November 19th.
Shapira, speaking on behalf of the American Society of the University of Haifa (ASUH), was the featured guest at TCC’s first education series of the 2014-15 season. A successful business leader as CEO of both EL AL Israel Airlines and CellCom, Israel’s largest mobile phone provider, Shapira had been president of the University of Haifa for 2 years. The evening was organized and chaired by Annette Shapiro, an ASUH West Coast Board member.
Citing the diverse student population at the University of Haifa as a potential model for an Israel characterized by tolerance and co-existence, Shapira said, “If students from the IDF can share knowledge with a Moslem woman in a burka in classes than there is hope that society in Israel can get along. The University of Haifa,” he explained, “is a mosaic for all of Israel society“.
Shapira spoke about the strong research and academic emphasis of the university and the need to increase the $7 million allocated for scholarships for the more than 18,000 degree earning students, many of whom are from lower income families.
His remarks also included a description of the effects of the Gaza War on the campus last summer. One of his saddest responsibilities was to visit a grieving faculty member who lost his grandson in the war. “It’s just not natural for a grandfather to bury his grandson,” he said.
President Shapiro was on the West Coast to visit donors and to meet with Dr. Sharon Nazarian, the ASUH West Coast Board Chair and Vice Chair of the National Board of Directors. He also discussed a possible UCLA/University of Haifa Student Exchange program with UCLA Chancellor Eugene Block and met with board members of the Magbit Foundation to explore additional scholarship support for UH graduate students.
For additional information on ASUH contact West Coast Director Sherri W. Morr at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.asuh.org.