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Former Presidents


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Former Presidents

Prof. Rivka Carmi

Prof. Rivka Carmi was born in Israel and is a graduate of Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She completed a residency in pediatrics, a fellowship in neonatology at the Soroka University Medical Center and an additional two-year fellowship in medical genetics at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard University Medical School.

She served as Director of the Genetics Institute at the Soroka University Medical Center and held several important academic administrative positions in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Promoted to full professor in 1995, she was the incumbent of the Kreitman Foundation Chair in Pediatric Genetics. In 2000, she was elected Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at BGU – also the first woman to hold this position in Israel – and served in that position for five years. Between 2002 – 2005, she also served as the Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Medical Deans.

Prior to her entry into the administrative arena of the University, Professor Carmi's research focused mainly on the delineation of the clinical manifestations and molecular basis of genetic diseases in the Negev Arab-Bedouin population. Author of over 150 publications in medical genetics, her research included the Identification of 12 new genes and the delineation of 3 new syndromes, one of which is known as the Carmi Syndrome. Her community projects were aimed at preventing hereditary diseases in the Bedouin community. She was deeply involved with the establishment of major biotechnology initiatives at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, primarily serving as the Acting Director of the nascent National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev.

Carmi was elected to serve as President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev by the University's Board of Governors in May 2006. She was the first woman to serve as president of an Israeli university. In August 2010, she also became the first woman to serve as the Chairperson of the Committee of University Heads in Israel. She served in that role until December 2012.

In addition to her duties as President, Prof. Carmi remained a member and served as a consultant of national, professional and public committees and organizations, was a scientific reviewer for various international journals and funding agencies and served on the editorial board of prestigious scientific journals. Honors she has received include: the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Yated organization for children with Downs Syndrome; the Achievement in Medicine Award by the Municipality of Beer-Sheva; the 2002 Award for Peace from the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program (CISEPO), to which she served as representative of the Israeli Medical Deans; the 2008 Women of Distinction Award of the Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America; in 2009, an award in excellence from the Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association (IAPA); in 2013 she received an honorary doctorate from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and in June 2015, Carmi received an honorary Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the name of Queen Elizabeth II.​

​Prof. Avishay Braverman

Prof. Avishay Braverman received his B.A. from Tel Aviv University and his Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University.  He has served as a Senior Economist and Division Chief for the World Bank, where he led research, policy work and project evaluation worldwide, focusing on balanced economic development and justice.

He was elected BGU President in 1990 and served in this capacity until 2006, at which point he resigned to pursue a political career. During his tenure, the nearly insolvent University that he found upon arrival was transformed into a fiscally-sound institute that has more than tripled in size as it transformed into an internationally-recognized research institute.

In March 2006, he was elected as a member of the Israeli Parliament representing the Labor Party.

Prof. Chaim Elata

Prof. Chaim Elata graduated from the Technion: Israel Institute of Technology, receiving his Master’s Degree in 1957 and his Doctorate in 1961.

He began his academic career in 1961, as an Associate Professor at the Technion and joined BGU in 1974, serving as the Head of the Mechanical Engineering Dept. and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences.  He left BGU for a short period in order to serve as the Chief Scientist for the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.  In 1984 he returned to BGU to serve as Rector, before being elected President in 1985.

Maj-Gen (Res.) Shlomo Gazit

Maj-Gen. Shlomo Gazit was an officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and director of Military Intelligence from 1974 to 1978. He served as the head of assessment in IDF intelligence before the Six Day War and in 1967 was appointed to lead "The Unit for the Coordination of Operations in the Territories."

In 1979-1980, he was a Fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and in 1983 he received his Master’s Degree in History from Tel Aviv University.

After his retirement from active military duty, Gen. Gazit was elected President of BGU and served from 1981 to 1985.

Ambassador Yosef Tekoah

Ambassador Yosef Tekoah studied at the University l’Aurure in Shanghai, China, graduating as a Licensie en Droit (LL.B.).  He received his MA at Harvard University, and in 1947-1948 he was an instructor at Harvard in International Relations.

A long time Israeli diplomat, he held a number of diplomatic positions in Israel and around the world, including posts as Legal Advisor, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

He left government service in order to serve as President of BGU from 1975 to 1981, after which he served as Chancellor of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, until his death in 1991.

Prof. ​Moshe Prywes

Prof. ​Moshe Prywes resigned from his position at the Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School in order to become the 1st President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He served as president from 1972 to 1975, at which point he resigned in order to devote his energies to creating a unique medical institution at BGU, which he dubbed "The Beer-Sheva Experiment."

He became the Founding Dean of the Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School.

Prof. Moshe Prywes passed away in 1998.