On Wednesday, November 25, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem hosted a special delegation of senior officials from the Kingdom of Bahrain, from the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence. The delegation was headed by Dr. Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, chairman of the Center’s Board. The delegation toured the Mount Scopus campus and the parties signed an initial memorandum of understanding on joint activities, including developing joint educational programs for leadership development, innovation and technology programs, student exchange programs, and more.
Hebrew University President Prof. Asher Cohen presented to Dr. Shaikh Khalid the University’s different campuses and the activity upon them, the University’s ties to Jerusalem, the Hebrew University’s record of achievements and spin-off companies, the University’s involvement in the community, internationalization, innovation, and the University’s motto.
Rector Prof. Barak Medina presented the University’s commitment to providing all members of Israeli society the opportunity to pursue an education, along with the University’s mission for diversity. He addressed Dr. Shaikh Khalid and said, “We’re interested in establishing joint leadership training programs with institutions in Bahrain, possibly with other universities. I’d also be happy to involve a number of our departments, including Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic Language and Literature. We offer dozens of scholarships and hundreds of students from Israel and abroad study in these departments, obtaining international success. We’re waiting to establish partnerships in these fields, as well as in Religious Studies. Other areas for potential cooperation are agriculture, environment, and food security. In terms of innovation and entrepreneurship, we’re interested in fostering collaboration with our innovation center and through the Jerusalem School of Business Administration.”
Dr. Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa: “This is a historic moment for us. My generation has wasted time with hatred, wars, and violence – as everyone knows. I believe we have a chance at cooperating towards peace and reciprocity, improving the feelings in our region. Bahrainis and Israelis both have long histories, as does the Hebrew University. Your excellent reputation proceeds you worldwide, and most importantly – you want to encourage coexistence among the younger generation. We have a chance to work together and there will be many more opportunities to come.”
He added: “People in Bahrain have changed in recent years. If you mentioned Israelis twenty years ago, it would evoke war, violence, and hatred. Today it’s different. Now is the time to seize the opportunity we’ve been given and use it to create a better future for the younger generation. A few days ago, I told friends I was visiting Israel. They replied that they’d also like to visit. I told them we should thank g-d for giving me the opportunity to visit Israel before my time on this earth is up. I hope that we can help our younger generation become ambassadors of peace and coexistence.”