Tag: Tel Aviv University

The Magnificent TAU Trees

They paint our campus in a variety of colors throughout the seasons, provide us with shade on hot sunny days and fill our souls with gladness. Our campus wouldn’t have been the same without them, and what better time than Tu B’Shvat to celebrate them? Below are some of the most interesting trees of Tel Aviv University. How many do you recognize?

 

The Root of the Matter

While most of the trees on campus boast broad, branched out branches, there is one tree that attracts attention for the opposite reason, namely its impressing branched-out roots. This fascinating fig tree (Ficus) ain’t planning on going anywhere – you can find it between the Dan David building and the Library of Exact Sciences, its roots extended with a radius of about five meters across the courtyard.

 

 

Summer-Time Snow

If you’ve ever visited the secret courtyard behind the building of the Faculty of Engineering during the hot summer months, you may have noticed that the green grass appears to be coverd in soft and airy snow. While it may not be real snow, it is fun to pretend that’s what the seeds from the white silk floss tree (Ceiba insignis) are. When the fruits of the tree ripen, they open up and a swollen crest bursts out – it looks just like a cotton ball – containing small brown seeds that are quickly spread everywhere.

 

 

Red Flame

At the beginning of summer, our campus is painted in a fiery red, thanks to the beautiful Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia), also known as ‘flamboyant tree’ or ‘peacock tree’. The trees are a delight to the eye for every passerby, and during this time of the year the lawn in front of the Gilman building becomes a favored destination for avid campus photographers, eager to document the breathtaking blossom from every possible angle.

 

 

Pretty in Pink

During spring, the courtyard between the Faculty of Exact Sciences and Dan David is painted pink and feels like a beautiful paradise, thanks to the spectacular flowers of the Bauhinia variegata. As the grass gets sprinkled with pink petals that slowly fall from the trees, the world looks really perfect for a moment, so we highly recommend you to bring your camera and come for a visit in April.

 

 

 

The Tree of Knowledge?

Strange-looking trees are growing in front of the George S. Wise Senate building, with large and impressive flowers and reddish fruits with an intriguing and tropical appearance. What’s the name of this strange tree, you ask? This is none other than a large-flowered magnolia tree, named after the French botanist Pierre Magnol. When its red seeds are exposed from its fruits, a small feathery tail is also revealed, allowing for flight and levitation, reminding us how ingenious and sophisticated nature is.

 

 

 

European Fall

How many songs do you think have been written about the season of fall? While that was meant as a rhetorical question, if you google “songs about fall”, you’ll get an idea. How is it that, even as the leaves dry out at the end of their life cycle, they are nevertheless so beautiful and inspiring? Get a small taste of European fall on Tel Aviv University campus, as the chestnut trees put on a display in shades of orange and brown next to our law school and the memorial monument of the Dan David building.

 

 

The above mentioned trees are only a small selection of the trees of our campus. According to Ilan Sharon, Head of TAU’s Yard Gardening and Maintenance Department, several thousand trees grow here, including pines, almonds, groves, palms and more. And let there be no doubt: We love and appreciate them all.

 

What is your favorite tree on campus? Give it a big hug, document the moment and tag us on Instagram with hashtag #tau-campus.

Wishing those of you who celebrate a Tu B’Shvat Sameach!

TAU and Goethe University Establish Joint Center for Interfaith Studies

First-of-its-kind academic collaboration between Israel and Germany.

Academic collaboration between Israel and Germany is growing, and for the first time, Tel Aviv University in Israel and Goethe University in Frankfurt will establish a joint center. With a focus on interfaith studies, the center will promote research on religion, in particular the monotheistic faiths – a field in which both institutions specialize. The two universities will conduct joint research, hold academic conferences, and train students and researchers in this field.

The agreement for launching the new center was signed during a dedicated “Germany Week” organized at TAU by TAU International and the Student Union of Tel Aviv University, the first is a series of international events led by TAU International and the TAU Student Union, promoting internationality and a global campus by focusing on the cultures of different countries and bringing them to the TAU community.

The signing was attended by the German Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer, TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat, and the President of Goethe University, Prof. Enrico Schleiff.

“Tel Aviv university has a wide network of collaboration with German universities, more than with any other country in Europe,” says Prof. Milette Shamir, TAU’s VP in charge of international academic collaboration. 

“This collaboration includes hundreds of joint research projects as well as hundreds of German students who come to our campus each year. The joint center expands this collaboration in an important new direction and tightens our existing partnership with Goethe University Frankfurt, one of the leading universities in Germany. We hope that in the near future the two universities will expand collaboration to several other areas of common strength.”

 

German TAU Students celebrating the International “Germany Week” on Tel Aviv University campus (Photo: Raphael Ben-Menashe)

The Start of an Even Closer Cooperation

Prof. Menachem Fisch, who heads the initiative at TAU says, “I am thrilled to be part of the establishment of a unique, first-of-its-kind center for the study of the monotheistic faiths and their mutual development. This is a worthy initiative, and one more building block in the academic collaboration between the two countries.”

Prof. Enrico Schleiff, President of Goethe University notes that, ”What we are agreeing upon today is, as far as I am aware, unprecedented – at least in the humanities in Germany.” 

“It is not merely a formal cooperation between a German and an Israeli university, but rather the development of a highly visible, joint institutionalized international research center. The center is cross-departmental on both sides and working in an area of study that is most relevant to the German and the Israeli society alike: the history of and the present challenges in religious diversity, difference and conflict in pluralistic societies. It will focus on questions regarding inter-religious dialogue, religious fundamentalism and conflict, but also on the rich cultural heritage and the potential inherent in religious traditions. This center is the start of an even closer cooperation.”

Susanne Wasum-Rainer, Germany’s Ambassador to Israel says, “Academic exchange and cooperation is not only a constitutive pillar of German-Israeli relations. It is also a contribution to strengthening research and scientific progress as a global endeavor, in science as well as in the humanities. By declaring their will to establish a joint Center for the Study of Religious and Interreligious Dynamics, the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and the Tel Aviv University address one of the urgent questions of our time, the role of religious communities in a changing and conflictual world.

“This MOU marks a new milestone in the special relationship between the two universities and is also another bridge of understanding between Frankfurt and Tel Aviv. The new center will for sure contribute to a better inter-religious dialogue from different angles and perspectives,” concludes Uwe Becker, President of the German Friends Association of Tel Aviv University

TAU Ventures Raises $50M to Boost Israeli Startups

Israel’s first university investment arm leverages academic power to enrich startup ecosystem.

Tel Aviv University’s own investment arm, TAU Ventures, recently announced that it has secured $50 million for a new fund to invest in startups, with the potential to top-up to $70 million. According to Prof. Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University, “TAU Ventures provide entrepreneurs with a platform for significant opportunities in innovation and extends the power of academia beyond the campus boundaries.”

TAU is consistently ranked as a top university producing entrepreneurs, its alumni ranked 5th globally and 8th in the world for entrepreneurship. The fund intends to invest in 15 to 25 companies founded by Israeli entrepreneurs, and – as part of TAU Ventures’ mandate – all the companies will be run by at least one TAU alumnus/a or TAU student.

Combining Forces between Academia and Industry

Housed in the Miles S. Nadal Home for Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship, TAU Ventures invest much more than money in their portfolio companies, creating value for entrepreneurs by offering unique TAU resources, including: 

  • A Global Network – High-quality and sizeable network across the globe
  • Expert Knowledge – Connecting entrepreneurs with relevant sources of knowledge across campus
  • Man Power – In shape of TAU students who are interested in either joining the startups as interns (for which they earn credits for their studies) or as full time workers
  • Free Office Space – In close proximity to the TAU Venture team, who are comfortably seated in a 1000m² offices near the campus.

“It enables students to integrate practical experience with leading startups during their studies, and at the same time, it enables entrepreneurs to enjoy the diverse qualities of the campus,” says Prof. Porat.

“I’m happy about the given trust of the investors in TAU Ventures and I’m sure that combining forces between academia and industry will provide in the near future significant technological achievements that will benefit the entrepreneurs, the university and society at large.” 

TAU Takes Leading Role in Early Stage Investments

TAU Ventures was established in 2018 by Managing Partner, Nimrod Cohen, together with Tel Aviv University, with the interest in taking a leading role in early stage investments across a wide range of sectors (fintech, foodtech, drones, etc.) in Israel. This is part of a successful trend in the United States of leading universities including MIT, Berkeley & Stanford establishing venture investment arms. 

“Many investors prefer to operate in A or post-seed stages, as they would rather see a product that has already reached the market. We are covering the critical early stage, enabling new companies to emerge,” says Cohen.

Israel’s first university investment arm has proven to be a huge success: TAU Ventures’ first fund of $20 million began in 2018 and made 18 investments including: SWIMM, Xtend, Gaviti, MyAir, Castor, Medorion and more. The first fund IRR is in the top 10% compared to all US funds from the same size and vintage.

All investors from the previous fund have now reinvested in the current fund. Both funds were led by Chartered Group, which brings together leading entities from Japan, plus new investors, including Family Offices in the US, Canada and Europe.

Featured image: TAU Ventures Team, clockwise: Inbal Perlman, Jennifer Schwartz, Ella Iwler and Nimrod Cohen

Cybermania

How did Israel become a global cyber-power?

Did you know that 40% of all private cyber investments in the world are invested in Israel? Or that a third of the unicorn companies – private start-ups worth more than a billion dollars – are Israeli? How on earth did Israel become a cyber-power, amongst the first countries in the world to recognize the significance of the cyber revolution?

Israel – A Global Cyber Powerhouse in Absolute Numbers

“It’s a unique phenomenon,” says Prof. Eviatar Matania, founding head and former director general of Israel National Cyber Directorate, a member of Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center and head of TAU’s International MA Program in Cyber-Politics and Government and the MA in Security Studies and an adjunct professor at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government.

“Israel leads in various indices in the world of technology and security, but always in relative terms, i.e. per capita or by relative size. In cyber, on the other hand, Israel is a global powerhouse in absolute numbers: 40% of all private investments in the world in cyber reach Israel, and every third Unicorn company is Israeli. Today, cyber accounts for 15% of Israeli hi-tech exports, which is about half of the total exports of the State of Israel, and it will only grow.”

In Cyber, We’re All Neighbors

Prof. Matania established and served as the head of the National Cyber bureau and later as the director general of the National Cyber Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office, reporting directly to the PM, from 2012 until 2018.

“The tipping point of Israel’s journey to become a cyber-power was a visit by then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to [Israel Defense Forces’ Intelligence Corps] Unit 8200 in 2010,” continues Prof. Matania. “Netanyahu was astonished by what he heard from the soldiers. He understood that the new world of cyber posed an extraordinary risk to Israel, as the country would be vulnerable to attacks from anywhere in the world.”

“It should be understood that regarding cyber, everyone is everyone’s neighbor – Israel is a neighbor not only of Syria and Egypt but also of Russia and China. At the same time, Netanyahu was able to see the cyber opportunity for a small country like Israel, which specializes in both technology and security, to take the initiative.”

 

The IDF is awarded the Cyber Shield Award for its contributions to Israel’s cyber ecosystem at Tel Aviv University’s annual Cyber Week 2021. From left to right: Major General Lior Carmeli, Major General Tamir Hayman, Gili Drob-Hiesten Managing Director ICRC, TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat and Prof. Isaac Ben Israel

Building a National Cyber Ecosystem

Netanyahu had a three-vertices cyber system designed, at the top of which stands security and its two bases being academia and industry. Major General (Res.) Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, today head of the Cyber Center at Tel Aviv University, was tasked with leading Israel’s national cyber venture – the purpose of which was to formulate a comprehensive national cyber plan. This was the first of its kind in the world. Netanyahu set a tangible goal for the project: For Israel to be one of the five leading cyber powers in the world. 

“The national cyber system that I headed was the first of its kind in the world,” says Prof. Matania who, together with Amir Rapaport, founder of the Israel Defense magazine and “Cybertech” conferences, has written the book Cybermania: How Israel Became a Global Powerhouse in an Arena That Shapes the Future of Mankind on how Israel evolved into a cyber-power.

“Large budgets were invested in academia and industry and in building dedicated cyber defense capabilities. For example, six cyber research centers have been established at universities, including at Tel Aviv University, and the Chief Scientist has directed investments in startups in the general direction of cyber activities. Additionally, government projects invested in defense initiatives by former intelligence corps soldiers.”

According to Prof. Matania, Israel’s cyber capabilities – in the private sector, in the government and in the defense establishment – also leverage its political achievements. “When Israel signs a cyber-defense alliance with Cyprus and Greece, it does not necessarily need Cyprus or Greece to upgrade its cyber defense – but in return for defense we get payback in other areas. Israel has become synonymous with cyber.”

Tel Aviv University and Rutgers University Strengthen Ties

Latest move to boost TAU’s global presence includes US-Israel tech exchange.

Tel Aviv University and Rutgers University have inked a deal to enhance the existing partnership between the two universities and establish a TAU presence at the New Jersey Innovation & Technology Hub. The Hub— an over 50,000-m², $665 million project—will house a new Rutgers Translational Research facility for applying scholarly findings into practical applications, and the university’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Amplifying Existing Alliance

The agreement between the two universities comes amid a wave of new initiatives aimed at strengthening Tel Aviv University’s global ties. Other recent strides include a new dual master’s degree program with Johns Hopkins University and TAU’s launch of Israel’s first completely online MBA.

TAU and Rutgers University have previously collaborated on projects, including a monthly series of joint scientific symposia exploring research topics such as COVID-19, cybersecurity, gene therapy, nanomaterials, and ancient and modern identities in Yemen. The new agreement will amplify the universities’ alliance by establishing a research grant program to seed what are expected to be enduring collaborations across disciplines between Rutgers and TAU.

The grant program will provide seed funding for up to five collaborative research projects, each with two principal investigators—one from Rutgers and one from TAU—as determined by a selection committee.

No Limit to the Power of Partnerships

TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat and Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway signed the agreement in a ceremony last week at the Tel Aviv campus. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy joined the ceremony virtually.

The partnership between the two universities began in 2020 with a trip by a New Jersey business delegation to Israel to strengthen economic ties and deepen connections between the two nations. The latest agreement signing was a part of this year’s mission sponsored by Choose New Jersey, a nonprofit organization that helps companies and corporations expand their business into the US and New Jersey.

“I traveled to Tel Aviv to sign this memorandum of understanding in person because this is an important initiative that reflects Rutgers’ commitment to excellence and our recognition that there is no limit to the power of partnerships,” Holloway said. “Our growing partnership will advance educational and scientific exchanges that will not only benefit our students and faculty but our local economies and the people in our communities.”

Porat added, “TAU and Rutgers share the strategic goals of enhancing research through global collaboration and of strengthening the ties between academia and industry.”

Featured image: TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat and Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway at the signing ceremony on TAU campus 

TAU’s Tisch Film School Among Global Best

Achievement comes as our alumni win international Emmy for “Tehran”.

The nonstop (lights, camera,) action at Tel Aviv University’s Steve Tisch School of Film and Television has earned it another international distinction. Industry experts have named the School among this year’s top 21 film schools outside the United States, in a survey released by popular American entertainment magazine The Wrap.

Israel’s Sole Chart-Topper

TAU’s Film School is the only Israeli institution listed in the ranking that includes other global powerhouses such as the London Film School, the University of Television and Film Munich, and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Contributing to the selection of The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, the outlet noted Tel Aviv University’s standing as the largest institution of higher education in Israel and the Tisch School’s extensive international relationships, including with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The TAU School is named for Academy Award-winning filmmaker and philanthropist Steve Tisch, whose generous support has catapulted the establishment’s world-class capabilities and offerings.

More than 1,200 entertainment industry insiders, educators, filmmakers and film pundits were among the anonymous experts polled for the sixth-annual edition of the ranking. The survey considered both graduate and undergraduate programs in its analysis, pitting large schools against small ones. The poll also incorporated a ranking of the top 50 US-based programs in 2021.

 

Cinema in the making in the center of Tel Aviv

Generator of Star Power

The ranking is the latest to recognize the internationally-acclaimed achievements of TAU’s film school, which Hollywood Reporter has listed multiple times among the top 15 international film facilities.

Founded in 1972, the Tisch School has fostered many local stars who have been instrumental in the celebrated evolution of Israeli cinema and TV, and in bringing local productions to the world stage. Films by TAU students are regularly screened at prestigious international festivals and have won numerous awards, while graduates include many of Israel’s most prominent filmmakers, scholars and critics.

TAU alumni Omri Shenhar and producer Alon Aranya together with Moshe Zonder, who studied at the Tisch School, co-created the hit series Tehran, which recently won the International Emmy Award for Best Drama. Additionally, Zonder and TAU alumni Avi Issacharoff and Michal Aviram teamed up to helm the acclaimed TV thriller Fauda. Other esteemed alumni filmmakers include Golden Globe winner and Oscar-nominated director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir, The Congress), Emmy and Golden Globe winner Hagai Levi (In Therapy, Scenes from a Marriage, The Affair), Emmy Award winner Maya Zinstein (Forever Pure), Emmy and Golden Globe winner Gideon Raff (Homeland, Prisoners of War, The Spy), Academy Award winner Dror Moreh (The Gatekeepers), Yaron Shani (Oscar-nominated Ajami), Tawfik Abu-Wael (Our Boys), Eitan Fox (Walk on the Water, Yossi & Jagger) and many more.

The School’s international status is also reflected in the number of renowned showbiz leaders who regularly visit and hold master classes on campus, among them the Coen Brothers, Roger Corman, Richard Gere, Liev Schreiber, Atom Egoyan, and Sarah Polley. Furthermore, the School hosted webinars with Hollywood legends Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, and Martin Scorsese during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

With Scorsese in our living rooms. The webinar that upgraded our days of Covid-induced self-isolation.

Academic Hitmaker for Nearly 50 Years

Prof. Yaron Bloch, head of the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, said: “I am delighted that the School, nearing its 50th anniversary, continues to evolve, lead and innovate while maintaining the highest levels of education.”

Noting the School’s unique edge and proximity to cutting-edge research across campus, he added, “Our students direct features films and are exposed to innovative research, encouraging them to combine cinema with disciplines like neuroscience, for example. Our students create artistic works through a variety of digital media platforms, and produce one of the most important student film festivals in the world (the Tel Aviv Student Film Festival), and direct documentary projects for major broadcasters.”

View The Wrap’s full ranking: https://www.thewrap.com/top-50-film-schools-2021-thewrap/ 

Featured: “Tehran” – the series that conquered the world. By TAU alumni Moshe Zonder, Alon Aranya and Omri Shenhar

TAU 8th in World for Entrepreneurship

Ranked first among universities outside the US that produce successful entrepreneurs.

For the fourth year in a row, Tel Aviv University graduates are at the top of global entrepreneurship: 912 TAU undergraduate alumni, who have founded 761 companies and raised $26.8 billion in venture capital, make Tel Aviv University 8th in the world and 1st outside the US among universities that produce successful entrepreneurs, according to financial data company PitchBook.

Proud of Our Alumni

“We are proud to be included, for the fourth year in a row, among the top ten of the Pitchbook index,” says Sigalit Ben Hayoun, head of the Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization. “The entrepreneurial spirit of Tel Aviv University graduates is recognized among the business community and entrepreneurs around the world, and again we are in 8th place in the capital raising category. This list includes the founding alumni of the leading companies: Pioneer, Monday, Iron Source and many more. We are very proud of our alumni.”

TAU also leads in PitchBook‘s world ranking of female entrepreneurs who have founded companies with venture capital backing, placing 20th for TAU’s female undergraduate alumni and ranking 14th for female graduates of the Coller School’s MBA program.

Coller School’s MBA Program 13th in World

In PitchBook‘s separate global ranking for MBA programs, TAU’s Coller School of Management ranked 13th of 25 in producing MBA graduates who have founded venture capital-backed companies. Harvard, Stanford, and Whaton MBAs placed at the top of this list, while the MBA programs at Yale, Oxford, Cornell, Duke and other leading institutions ranked after TAU’s Coller School.

Altogether, 351 alumni with MBAs from TAU have raised a total of $8.8 billion for founding 330 companies, with the highest investments registered in Wiliot, Fabric, BlueVine, Forter, Houzz and others.

Prof. Moshe Zviran, Dean of the Coller School of Management and Chief Entrepreneurship and Innovation Officer at TAU says, “We are proud of the high international positioning of Tel Aviv University and the Coller School of Management. Our place among the world’s leading institutions reflects the achievements of our alumni and their contribution to the establishment and accelerated growth of many companies. The extensive knowledge, insight and toolbox acquired by students in all our programs and specializations assist our alumni in their entrepreneurial activities, giving them significant added value in the global technological and business arena.”

Close Connection with Industry – Key to Success

One of the reasons for the success of TAU alumni in entrepreneurship is the close connection that Tel Aviv University has with industry in Israel and around the world. The University’s Entrepreneurship Center plays an important role in providing a variety of ways in which students can work on projects with industry, connect to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and sources of funding for start-ups.

“Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but everyone can study entrepreneurship,” says Yair Sakov, founder and head of the Entrepreneurship Center. “Each year, more than 4,000 students participate in the activities of the Center. The very exposure of such large and diverse audiences to the field, encourages creativity, innovation and in many cases leads to the establishment of start-ups. The center teaches entrepreneurial thinking and makes entrepreneurship tools accessible to students in all faculties, both as part of academic courses and in workshops, incubators and accelerators.”

Featured image: TAU students studying in group (Photo: Rafael Ben-Menashe)

TAU: First Israeli University to Launch Online MBA

Students can access competitive curriculum, ranked 13th globally, from anywhere in the world.

Would you like to study at a competitive international MBA program while traveling through Latin America or keeping a busy full-time job? Israel’s Council for Higher Education recently approved the Tel Aviv Online MBA program at the Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University, marking the first time an Israeli university will offer this prestigious, in-demand format. The degree is freshly launched and requires no on-campus presence. Applications for the program’s first semester this spring are already accepted.

The Online MBA degree will be taught in English and target outstanding students from all over the globe who wish to enhance their education and professionalism in business management within the entrepreneurial context – a field in which the Coller School is a world leader (ranked 13th in the world by PitchBook in the category of producing entrepreneurs!). The program offers two specializations—one in technology & information management, another in marketing management, both with a focus on entrepreneurship.

A Global Arena for Israeli Academia

The Coller Online MBA is an important step in promoting online learning and enhancing the competitive standing of Israeli academia worldwide. “The program will make Israel’s academic knowledge accessible to the world. The Coller School’s strong international reputation enables us to compete globally with the world’s best business schools and will attract the finest foreign management talents to be trained here. In addition, we believe that the past year and a half, during which we all had to learn how to work remotely, will increase the demand for this form of teaching,” the Coller School of Management said in a statement.

All the residential MBA programs at the Coller School of Management are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), placing it among the top 9% of business schools worldwide. The Coller School is the first business school in Israel to be awarded Eduniversal’s 5 Palmes of Excellence, a prestigious ranking.

We are very pleased that the program has been approved. It is a product of a strategic move that began two years ago, in which we gave a great deal of thought and effort to formulate the right ways for teaching our innovative content, while maintaining the high academic standards of the School’s existing programs,” said Prof. Dan Amiram, Vice Dean of the Coller School of Management.

“Via this program we wish to expand our global activities, adapting ourselves to the changing world and the dynamic, fast-developing job market. We identify a similar trend in the world’s leading universities, and aim to bring the quality and the knowledge of our outstanding researchers to the forefront of the international stage,” he said. 

What’s the Deal?

The Online MBA is a two-year program, and students will be required to meet the Coller School’s high academic standards. Students will have the flexibility to study from anywhere in the world and earn their MBA while maintaining their current work schedule.

Students will be taught via high-quality digital courses produced according to top global standards, and developed using best practices in learning design and through strong collaboration between faculty lecturers, experts in modern technology and instructional designers. The learning experience will be interactive in nature, and includes video lectures, presentations, animations, discussion boards and other online elements.  Lecturers will be available for questions and will hold synchronous lessons to monitor students’ progress and the learning process.

Those who are interested in getting to know Israel closely, will have the opportunity to join an optional 1.5-week campus residency, to experience the dynamic start-up nation and gain firsthand knowledge of the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Apply for the Tel Aviv Online MBA here >>

Feeling at Home in Tanzania

Six TAU students who volunteer with Engineers Without Borders tell us about their project in Tanzania, where they are working to provide clean drinking water for local communities.

TAU students Yaeli Benovich, Shir Halevi, Sharon Berkovich, Dvir Ginzburg, Offir Inbar and Shir Aviram volunteer with the Engineers Without Borders – Tel Aviv (EWB-TA) chapter, and recently returned to Israel after a three-week delegation to Tanzania. The EWB team has been working for eight years at the Babati district in northern Tanzania, helping the locals develop sustainable solutions for making drinking water accessible to the local communities.

The students have installed unique low-cost rainwater harvesting systems in eight regional schools. The systems purify and conserve rain water during dry seasons and provide drinking water for thousands of students annually. During the recent trip, the group returned to two elementary schools and one high school to do maintenance and upgrades on existing systems. They also met with local authorities to discuss further development and expansion plans. 

– How did this specific project within the EWB organization come into existence?

“The Tanzania project started after an Israeli traveler was exposed to the medical problems and daily difficulties facing children and residents in the villages. In the Northern part of Tanzania, drinking water is scarce, and, when found, contains an extremely high concentration of fluoride. High fluoride concentration in drinking water causes severe medical issues, especially in children, such as skeletal deformities, dental problems, and more,” explains Dvir, a PhD student from Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Egineering and a long-time program volunteer.

– What solution(s) did you come up with?

“We developed a unique low-tech rainwater harvesting system that can be easily installed and implemented in regional schools, providing clean drinking water for more than 3,000 children. The solution is simple and sustainable. With proper use, the school’s roof can store enough water to meet the needs of the children and staff throughout the dry season. Filters and chlorine tablets ensure that the children drink clean water,” shares Dvir. 

The EWB team also partnered with the local Arusha Technical College engineering department to perform quarterly water quality testing and maintenance of the systems. During the last visit, the team returned to the College to discuss current collaborations, the College’s projects and further cooperation and directions for joint research.

In addition to developing the water purification systems, EWB students put a lot of effort into educating schoolchildren about the importance of consuming clean water. “We come to the schools and build the systems together with teachers and students. Our vision is that the principal and staff will be responsible for maintaining the system. For this purpose, we have written a system manual in English and Swahili and performed technical training for the staff,” says Sharon, a BSc student of TAU’s Faculty of  Exact Sciences and Faculty of Engineering.

 

The team builds the water systems together with the schools’ staff and students

The group also presented the schoolchildren with a colorful book that explains the importance of clean water and shows how to maintain the installed water systems. The students wrote the book themselves and had it translated into Swahili. At each school they visited, the team presented the teachers with the book, and organized an educational activity with the children, reading together and discussing the importance of clean drinking water in the tanks.

The team teaches local students about the importance of drinking clean water

What’s Next?

The team held dozens of meetings with village leaders, district heads, local water authorities and members of the parliament. “We want to cooperate with the water authorities to reach the areas with the most significant water challenges. The water engineers have told us which areas lack large water projects. We hope that we’ll have the resources and that’s where we’ll be heading next,” says Sharon.

“We’re determined to expand our activity, and are already preparing our next journey. Our recent trip to Tanzania highlighted the great impact that our projects have for the locals. In our upcoming delegation, we’ll upgrade the water systems in selected areas and execute additional projects in other areas where people are suffering from a lack of access to clean water,” concludes Dvir.

The students have warm feelings about the country and its people: “We feel at home in Tanzania. Over the past few years, we have built close friendships with the community. We stay in touch via phone calls and messages, even when we’re back in Israel,” says Sharon with a smile.

 

Meeting with the directors of the water authorities

Companies and people interested in contributing and partnering with the project are invited to contact the team: ewb.il.tanzania@gmail.com 

Website: www.ewbta.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/afria-engineers-without-borders-tel-aviv

Featured image: Dr. Musa Chacha, Rector of Arusha Technical College, visits the water projects

TAU Initiates Model for Carbon Neutrality

Climate change efforts among University’s top priorities.

Against the backdrop of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, and following a comprehensive series of tests, TAU prepares to formulate a strategic plan for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated by its activities and promoting more efficient use of resources and renewable energy. The university places great importance on reducing its environmental footprint by using sustainable energy, recycling water and materials, reducing use of paper, introducing green purchasing procedures and other activities designed to reduce the campus’ carbon footprint, and eventually attain carbon neutrality.

Inspecting Footprints

To this end, a team of academic and administrative experts appointed by TAU’s Green Campus Committee headed by TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat, launched a comprehensive inspection to assess the overall carbon footprint (in terms of CO2 equivalent) and water footprint of all TAU activities both on and off campus. The analysis, which began approximately a year ago, included assessment of the following:

  • energy consumption from various sources on campus
  • water consumption
  • transportation to and on campus
  • construction inputs
  • pruning and gardening
  • waste production and food consumption
  • serving utensils and packaging at cafes and kiosks on campus, and more

The team will soon complete their mission and submit their findings to the Green Campus Committee and TAU’s senior management. Based on their report, TAU will formulate a strategic plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus and reaching carbon neutrality.

“It Can Be Done, And We Will Do It”

TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat: “As a leading academic research and teaching institution in the fields of ecology and environmental science, committed to addressing the climate crisis, TAU established an ‘initiative for carbon neutrality’ about a year ago – the first of its kind at an Israeli university. Currently we are completing the initial inspection, and its findings will serve as a foundation for a strategic plan that will significantly reduce the campus’ carbon footprint, and eventually bring us as close as possible to carbon neutrality. As a leading public university, it is our duty to lead the efforts for addressing the climate crisis on and beyond our campus. We hope that other institutions will join us. Time is running out and we must act immediately.”

“It is our duty to lead the efforts for addressing the climate crisis on and beyond our campus,” says TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat.

Prof. Marcelo Sternberg of the School of Plant Sciences and Food Security at The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, co-leader of TAU’s carbon neutrality initiative, added: “I am proud to be part of the team leading an historical move toward reducing TAU’s carbon footprint and turning it into a sustainable institution. The current climate crisis leaves no room for inaction. As a teaching and research institution, we can show the government and society the way to reducing the environmental footprint and ensuring a better world for future generations. It can be done, and we will do it.

Lior Hazan, Chair of TAU’s Student Union, added: “The climate crisis is spreading and intensifying, causing great concern. It is no longer something occurring far away, it is happening right here and now. We, the young people, have the power to change and work for a better future, in face of the gravest crisis of the 21st century, and academia is an excellent place to begin. Students must become leading ambassadors of this cause, since they are the future of society, industry, and leadership, and to this end, we must change and introduce change for the benefit of our planet. The Student Union takes an active part in TAU’s plan to attain carbon neutrality and continues to work for the rapid reduction of environmental damage.”

Ofer Lugassi, Vice President for Construction & Maintenance at TAU emphasized that the mapping of the university’s carbon and water footprints was carried out by a specialized external company, which made a great effort to include all activities on campus. 

Featured image: Students enjoying a moment on the increasingly greener TAU campus (Photo: Rafael Ben-Menashe)

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