President of Ben Gurion University, Prof. Rivka Carmi, received an honorary Commander of the British Empire from British Ambassador Matthew Gould on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II on June 9, at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Ramat Gan.

Professor Carmi, who is a stem cell scientist, was presented with the medal and scroll personally signed by Queen Elizabeth II at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Ramat Gan.  She was given the honour for her significant work in deepening academic and scientific links between the United Kingdom and Israel.

“Rivka is an outstanding leader whom I hold in high esteem,” said British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, who presented Carmi with the honour. “She is also an outstanding and wonderful friend and partner in the mission to build scientific links between the UK and Israel. She has invested huge amounts of time to make it happen, and I could not have hoped for a better partner,” said Ambassador Gould.

Both Ambassador Gould and Professor Carmi have been founding co-chairs of the five year old UK Israel Science Council set up to improve scientific collaboration between the countries. The Council, consisting of some 20 leading UK and Israeli scientists, was launched by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague in November 2010. Hague described Britain and Israel as “scientific superpowers.”

Carmi thanked her colleagues in the council. “As co-chairperson of this council, I am fortunate to have the most outstanding Israeli scientists in my group and so fortunate to have as partner Professor Raymond Dwek of Oxford, who co-chairs for the UK and his British group of equally distinguished scientists.”

Carmi stated, “I am truly honoured to accept this award, in the past weeks since the announcement I have received many messages of congratulations and I have answered them all thus – I accept this not for myself but for Ben Gurion University and for Israel, both of which I am proud and pleased to serve.”

The Israeli professor also commented on the current BDS campaign against Israel, saying that she was both “disgusted and worried” by its momentum. “However, I believe absolutely that this is a lot of unpleasant noise made by a few ignorant individuals and that the amazing success of our joint Sciences Council is proof that I am right, and the best response.”

“At universities across Israel and the UK, including Ben Gurion University and Oxford, we will not be halted in our endeavours to use the great talent of our scientists to conduct cutting edge research and to bring new solutions to global issues –and to truly improve the life of people regardless of race, colour or religion,” she concluded.

It is encouraging to see the relationship between Britain and Israel being strengthened through our scientific and academic links.  Long may it continue.



Source: The Algemeiner