May 15, 2000


James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, and Professor Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees for the United Nations, among the recipients of Honorary Doctorates at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, will receive an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev during the30th Anniversary International Board of Governors Meetings, to take place May 21 – 25, 2000.


According to the University spokesman, James Wolfensohn will receive the honorary doctorate in recognition of his carrying the banner in the struggle against poverty, ignorance, disease, and hunger around the world.  In his position as President of the World Bank, his leadership has enabled the formation of new relationships amongst governments, organizations, and public and private institutions, with the goal of creating vital conditions for better global economic growth. James Wolfensohn has led global efforts, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, for addressing the problems of the poorest and most disadvantaged nations. At the same time, he has not forgotten the individual human being—the starving child, the uneducated youth, the ailing woman, or the unemployed father—wherever they may be found.  James Wolfensohn will also be recognized for the energy and boldness with which he has implemented new approaches and long-term policies at the World Bank, among which are his initiative for debt-reduction for the poorest nations as well as a comprehensive framework for sustainable development.


In addition to Wolfensohn, doctorates will be bestowed upon the following honorees during the celebratory Board of Governors Meeting:  Lord Norman Foster, one of the world’s leading architects, Prof. Sadako Ogata, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Prof. Jacob Frenkel, former Governor of the Bank of Israel, Zvi Alon, Senior Industrialiast in the Hi-Tech field (NetManage Inc.) and major benefactor, Prof. Michael Ozer Rabin, a distinguished mathematician and among the most important contributors to the computer field in Israel, and Ing. Pedro Dondisch, philanthropist and major benefactor of BGU.  


Lord Norman Foster will receive an honorary doctorate for his considerable contribution to modern architecture.   World-renowned Lord Foster is a recipient of the Pritzker Prize and has set several milestones in the history of architecture.   In its decision to bestow an honorary doctorate upon Lord Foster, the University describes him as possessing “a tremendous talent for rendering the spirit of the era in his creation of multi-purpose structures, which are used as meeting places for diverse peoples— cultural centers, government centers, research, technological and commercial centers, as well as international transport hubs—the important crossroads on the arteries of modern life.”


Prof. Sadako Ogata will receive an honorary doctorate in recognition of her devotion to the defense of human rights.  Prof. Ogata has studied and taught about the condition of human rights in war-torn areas, and has educated her students not to turn away from suffering and injustice.    Prof. Ogata has represented Japan in the General Assembly of the United Nations, and in its Committees for Human Rights, where she has repeatedly spoken out on issues of justice in which she strongly believes.   Prof. Ogata has been a voice for all those who suffer throughout the world, and she has also been instrumental in the efforts to put an end to arms proliferation.    


Prof. Jacob Frenkel will receive an honorary doctorate for his contribution to the world economy, and to the Israeli economy, both as a distinguished academic researcher and authority in the complex discipline of international economics, as well as in his prominent positions in both national and international institutions.  Prof. Frenkel has served as a member of the council of the “Group of Seven,” as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank of Inter American Development, as the Chief Economist and Director of Research of the International Monetary Fund, and as the Governor of the Bank of Israel.


Zvi Alon’s influence on the world of computers, declares the University, has been indispensable.   Zvi Alon has created the tools and standards which enable the functioning of the internet, organize the various activities in this medium, and allow every individual to take part in this information revolution.  Having a sweeping vision of the future of computer technology, Alon has agreed to share the fruits of his developments with his competitors, thus contributing to the improvement of communication between people from all around the world.  


Prof. Michael Ozer Rabin is among the leading scientists in Israel, whose pioneering work in the field of mathematics and computer science earns him a place of honor among the founders of this young science.   Prof. Rabin broke new ground in his research and his discoveries have led thousands of researchers to significant achievements. 


Ing. Pedro Dondisch will receive an honorary doctorate for his extensive philanthropic work among the Jewish community of Mexico, and for his generous financial support of the State of Israel and Zionism, particularly in the areas of education and aliyah.  



Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a major center for teaching and research with more than 15,000 students enrolled in its five faculties.   In keeping with its mandate, the University has played a key role in promoting industry, agriculture, and education throughout the Negev, and is a world leader in arid-zone research, offering its expertise to many developing countries.   Through growing ties with the Arab world, it is also working to lay the foundations for scientific and academic cooperation throughout the Middle East.  

For further information, please contact Amir Rozenblit, BGU Spokesman. Tel.: 972-7-6461802 / 972-7-6477717/6; Fax: 972-7-6472803; E-mail: