Confronting an Ever-Changing World; University Confers Four Honorary Doctorates

The rapid speed of change is forcing people to confront issues in different ways. “The world is different politically and conceptually,” Bank of Israel Governor Jacob Frenkel said at the ceremony for the conferment of honorary doctorate on himself, Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, Swedish Professor Karl Göran-Mäler, Hebrew University Professor Dov Noy, and Mexican philanthropist Dr. Enrique Feldman.

Commenting on the different countries and different disciplines of the honorees, Frenkel said, “we share something in common. We believe in the future. The only way this belief can become operational is in dealing with and contributing to education.”

But the education of the future will be different from that of the past because everything has changed so much. Where there were once two superpowers, there is only one. Whereas there were different kinds of political systems, “democracy has won the day all over the world.” Where there was once a divided Europe, there is now a united Europe. “We have a different world.”

Whereas in the past there was a race to accumulate data, there is now no longer any advantage in that respect because the Internet makes information accessible to everyone at the same time. “The advantage is in knowing how to analyze and interpret data. That’s what education is all about.”

Even warfare has changed, and not just because of advanced weaponry and technology. “In the old days,” said Frenkel, “if you wanted to destroy a country, you dropped a bomb. Today you drop a rating on the world capital markets.”

Frenkel underlines that special emphasis must be placed on building the national economy towards the needs of the next decade, and this will necessitate increased government expenditure on human resources, including education and research and development. Frenkel also stressed the need for creating expanded physical infrastructure for transportation and communication needs. Increased expenditure for infrastructure, he said must take precedence over other costs.

Göran-Mäler, while grateful for the honor accorded him, said that he regarded it more as recognition for his field of environmental resources and economics, which are vital life-supporting services.

Noy, who can claim credit for the establishment of folklore as a scientific academic discipline, commended the University of Haifa for its pluralistic approach in honoring a professor from another Israeli university.

Feldman, a second-generation donor to the University, who earlier int he day had laid the cornerstone for the Faculty of Education Teaching Building, recalled that the first donations for the establishment of the University of Haifa were given at the home of his parents in Mexico City. Then prime minister Levi Eshkol had approached his father to hold a fund-raising reception on behalf of the budding university, and the younger Feldman had continued in his parents’ footsteps.

Feldman said that he had been raised on the Yiddish slogan “az man hot, darf man geben” - if you’ve got it, you’ve got to give it.

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