Photo: Avivit Isaacson


The Office of the Vice President for Global Engagement is responsible for formulating and executing the University’s internationalization strategy. This is one aspect of the University’s strategic plan to become one of the world’s leading academic institutions. Naturally, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has disrupted and complicated much of our work. There were few academic delegation visits in the past two years and we have postponed most of the short international summer programs. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, in contrast, were allowed into Israel, but the relevant administrative procedures have been challenging. The past year has not been easy, yet it was an excellent year in terms of transformation and growth, precisely because the pandemic forced us to change perspective. This change in perspective is evident in several aspects of our work: MARKETING Our international marketing is managed by BGU International, in collaboration with the University’s Marketing Unit, yet separately, because of the different language, messages and needs of overseas audiences. After adapting this new perspective, we came to the realization that it was better to focus on strengthening our ties with existing partners in the established markets, rather than search for new collaborations. Therefore, we held a series of (virtual) meetings with my counterparts in

US institutions and promoted new agreements on student exchanges with some. Another change forced upon us by the pandemic was ending our traditional student fairs and replacing them with digital marketing. THE PAST YEAR HAS NOT BEEN EASY, YET IT WAS AN EXCELLENT YEAR IN TERMS OF TRANSFORMATION AND GROWTH, PRECISELY BECAUSE THE PANDEMIC FORCED US TO CHANGE PERSPECTIVE Online marketing, in fact, has made the A4BGU student recruitment office obsolete, and this year we transferred all student recruitment activities, with the exception of the Medical School for International Health, to BGU International. Over the past year, with the aid of new online platforms and with help from the Council for Higher Education, various embassies, government ministries, and organizations like Masa, we have held dozens of webinars with different geographic and disciplinary emphases, in various languages and locations all over the world, introducing BGU to prospective international students. BGU Prof. Louisa Meshi volunteered to liaison with the Russian speaking world and opened up new opportunities to recruit outstanding students, some of whom can utilize Masa scholarships for their studies.


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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