Queen Elizabeth to honor Ben-Gurion U. president
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Queen Elizabeth to honor Ben-Gurion U. president

Rivka Carmi named honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire for deepening UK-Israel scientific ties

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Ben-Gurion University president Rivka Carmi will be honored by Queen Elizabeth II. (Dani Machlis/Ben-Gurion University)
Ben-Gurion University president Rivka Carmi will be honored by Queen Elizabeth II. (Dani Machlis/Ben-Gurion University)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev president Rivka Carmi will be honored by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II next month, Buckingham Palace announced recently.

Carmi will be named an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) “for her work to deepen scientific and academic relations between the UK and Israel,” the university said in a statement

Carmi, the first female president of an Israeli university, has led BGU since 2006. A pediatrician specializing in neonatology and medical genetics, she is being honored by the Queen for her work on joint scientific endeavors pursued by the UK and Israel.

Carmi is founding co-chair of the UK Israel Science Council. Since 2010, the Science Council has promoted academic collaboration, such as cutting-edge stem cell research toward combating some of the most hard to cure diseases.

“I am thrilled to accept this honor, which recognizes the increasing links between the UK and Israel, especially in science. The UK Israel Science council, set up at the behest of [British] Ambassador [to Israel Matthew] Gould, has been a flagship initiative, demonstrating the great potential for collaboration between our two countries. We are committed to improving the health of all nations and sharing our scientific discoveries,” said Carmi.

“I am delighted that Her Majesty has chosen to honor Rivka with this award. Rivka is an inspiration to me and many others,” said Gould.

“Her leadership and commitment to strengthen science collaboration between our countries has made a huge difference. Israel is lucky to have her as a leader; Britain is lucky to have her as a friend.”

According to a British Embassy spokesman, Gould will bestow the honor on Carmi on behalf of the Queen at the British Ambassador’s residence in Ramat Gan some time in June.

The Order of the British Empire was created in 1917 by George V. It is the order of chivalry of British democracy, and it is bestowed upon individuals who have contributed valuable service in a variety of fields. Citizens from other countries may also receive an honorary award for services rendered to the UK and its people.

According to the British Embassy spokesman, one Israeli citizen receives an honorary CBE appointment per year on average.

Recent Israeli recipients include the late London-born journalist David Landau, defense electronics maker Elbit Systems chairman Dr. Michael Federmann, dean of the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University Dr. David Newman, and ultra-Orthodox leader Isaac Schapira, who Gould said devoted many years to building friendships between British ambassadors and the Haredi community in Israel.

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