Leading academics David Agus and Dan Gilbert and activist Ayaan Hirsi-Ali debated the question “Will Tomorrow be Better” at the afternoon plenary session of the 2103 Israeli Presidential Conference.
Hirsi-Ali, a Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the Founder of The AHA Foundation, a women’s rights organization, focused on a number of different aspects of how she thinks tomorrow will look, but stressed the need for society to be unafraid of failure. “Cultures that encourage experimentation will outlast the others - as long as we continue trying and failing, we will be on top of the world.”
Discussing Israel’s tomorrow, Hirsi-Ali said the future of the Jewish State is not hard to predict. “Israeli leaders have put effort into maintaining a peace process with the Palestinians - but Israel has no peace, rather a modest word called quiet - Israel is stronger than it was 10 years ago, and the more Israel's enemies wish for its destruction, the stronger it becomes.There will be a sustained campaign against Israel's right to exist and Israel will consistently be painted as the aggressors,” she said. “If Israel's tomorrow seems hard to contemplate, we must think about Israel's yesterday - if you continue to be as resilient as you are, that tomorrow will be better.”
Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, focused on education as being the key to the success of tomorrow’s society. “Knowledge can be used for good or evil, but it is never in itself good or evil - we can decide which way our society goes by means of education - education is the magic bullet.”
In his remarks he took the time to point out that the shape tomorrow will take depends on how society responds to a variety of threats. “Our brains,” he said, respond to threats that have one of four factors: intentionality, immorality, imminence and instantaneousness - the human brain is obsessed in all things human - this is why we care about underwear bombers and not about the flu, about kidnapping and not obesity - our brain is built to respond to human threats - this is why there is no war on global warming but a global war on terror - global warming makes us worry, but we don't get worked up about it.”’
Facing Tomorrow 2013 takes place from June 18-20, 2013 at Jerusalem's International Convention Center. The conference is organized in partnership with Hebrew University.
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About Facing Tomorrow 2013
The Fifth Israeli Presidential Conference 'Facing Tomorrow' will be held from June 18-20, 2013. The first conference took place in May 2008, one week after Israel celebrated its 60th year of independence, and on the basis of its success became an annual event. The conference is centered around discussions, panels and plenary sessions aimed at answering one question: how can we foster a better tomorrow for the international community, Israel and the Jewish world. For more information, please visit www.presidentconf.org.il