Networking was the theme of this year’s annual faculty get-together hosted by the Rector to mark the start of the academic year. Prof. Gad Gilbar, the University’s new Rector, outlined some of his plans and hopes for the coming years, including a School for Area Studies and a Center for Advanced Studies, and Mr. Jean-Paul Jessé, Ambassador of the European Commission to Israel, called for EuroMed networking.

Pointing out that “Europeans have been seeking us” in areas such as maritime studies, democratization of smaller states, multi-cultural contact, and others, Gilbar sees a great advantage to be gained by the University in forging ties with the European Commission.

For his part, Jessé, calling networking a political activity, said that cross-border cooperation needs understanding. The European ambassador went on to describeSocrates,” which is an attempt to develop a European dimension to education, asthe mother of all networking programs.” He admitted that the challenge of networking was not the same in the southern part, the area stretching from Morocco to Egypt, of the so-called EuroMed region. But he acknowledged that the fate of this section wasintimately linked to ours [northern Europe], like it or not.”

A Medcampus, in his view, would offer a channel for transferring knowledge. In this picture, there was room for Israel, Jessé said, seeingthe future of Israel as a typical partner.” But, he added, it had to be a triangle: Europe-Israel-the Arabs. “We can only gain by working together,” he concluded, in reverting to his opening theme.

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