As I write this, I am filled with excitement to be meeting face to face with everyone at the Board of Governors after a three-year hiatus! Over the past year the University kept moving forward at an incredible pace in implementing the Strategic Plan presented two years ago at our first virtual board meeting. Having fulfilled many of the plan's stated goals, we had an opportunity to pause and ask, who is Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at age 52? How has our DNA evolved since our modest beginnings in Beit Hias? How has over half a century of development influenced our mission? We used "branding" as a tool to dissect these questions. Branding is often confused with marketing changes in logos, but for us "branding" was an opportunity to expose the culture of our university. We engaged hundreds of academic and administrative staff, students, and supporters, exploring their individual experience in the BGU mission. We discovered that the BGU DNA encodes common values which arise from our unique vantage point in the Negev desert, and that understanding, and enables us to achieve the remarkable. Our unconventional perspectives are at once geographic, multicultural, and cross disciplinary, and this leads us on both a personal and collective journey to change the world. We do this in the spirit of David Ben-Gurion, who believed in limitless possibilities. We do this by going boldly, by daring to actively seek out new challenges. We do this by cultivating a spirit of entrepreneurship that permeates our campuses. We do this by expanding opportunities, by embracing our diversity as a lever to enhance our excellence and our integrity. We do this together, as our true superpower is in the collective connections of faculty, staff, students, and partners, all working for a greater purpose. this unique point of view is what sparks our creativity, motivates our journey to

And we do this in the Israeli spirit of innovation, striving to extend the Negev's potential and our startup spirit throughout the world. Indeed, this spirit is one of the reasons that the world is increasingly coming to us to learn from our experience. For 50 years we've been studying how to live in our desert and finding answers to real-world problems. That experience has made us a key destination for universities, industries, and policy makers alike, grappling with the issues of climate change and sustainability. For example, last July we had the honor of hosting H.E. Mariam Almheiri, the United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Food and Water Security, at the University dedication of the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Food Security in the Desert. I led delegations to Morocco and to the UAE, where we signed MoUs with several universities. Numerous other visits to the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in our Sde Boker Campus and to the School of Sustainability and Climate Change in the Marcus Family Campus have cemented our leading position in these critical fields. Delegations from Europe and Asia continue to flock to our cybersecurity center to learn and to build collaborations. And our entrepreneurship center, Yazamut 360°, is recognized not only as the premier such center in Israel; it is leading courses as universities from around the world line up to learn "our secrets." David Ben-Gurion was Israel's first entrepreneur, and it behooves us to continue to move boldly to ensure that his startup, the State of Israel, continues to thrive. BGU continues to be a beacon lighting the way forward.

Prof. Daniel Chamovitz


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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