University for Life

During my latest travels through the Middle East I’ve visited Ben Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Ben-Gurion University is a major center for teaching and research – more than 19,000 students are enrolled in the Faculties of Engineering Sciences, Health Sciences, Natural Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management and the Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Studies. It is a fun plale and you can feel that students really love being there.

Although our discussion with some BGU students on 2stars4peace turned out to be rather frustrating (more to come on this one), the campus walk was truly inspiring. Thanks again to Anne Berkeley who arranged everything for us!

What interested me most was the community department of BGU – a model each and every university in the world should look at and learn from! BGU is located in the south of Israel, in the Negev Desert. Poverty, unemployment, social problems are omnipresent. With its community program BGU is addressing these issues. Since 1976 the University’s Community Action Unit focuses its human and academic resources on the educational and social problems of the region – with some great results on both sides: Students get involved – whether by living in Open Apartments or participating in the Leadership Training Program – and making a difference for those who need it most.

In the following brief interview Vered Sarussi, Director of the community department, gives some brief insights on what is going on …

Update:

And here is an example what the students are doing: