British Embassador Mr Matthew Gould was awarded Yesterday an honorary degree from Ben Gurion University
www.diplomacy.co.il would like to congratulate , Mr. Matthew Gould on receiiving the honorary award from Ben gurion University.
Your achievements indeed merit this award.
Wishing you success and best of luck
Silvia Golan Executive Director and team
Follow the embassador speech
Ben Gurion University, 26 December 2012
You have done me a huge honour.
You have allowed me to fulfil one of my lifelong ambitions, namely to get a doctorate without doing any work.
I am hoping you will now find a painless way for me to run the marathon.
This award is a source of both pride and humility.
Pride because it reflects the progress we have made in the mission I set myself as Ambassador when I came to Israel two years ago.
To build links between our universities.
To get our scientists working together.
A year ago, in this university, we brought that vision to life, with the first UK/Israel Conference on Regenerative Medicine, bringing together over two
hundred scientists, including from 20 British universities.
This year, we have launched seven major research programmes between Britain and Israel, each one with the potential to benefit mankind by finding new regenerative therapies for some of the world’s most awful diseases.
We have seen links flourish between British and Israeli universities. Like the one between this university and Oxford, a partnership that I know brings real pride to both sides.
But as well as pride, there is humility.
Humility because this has been an effort of many people, each of whom has been pivotal to our progress. My teams at the British Embassy and the British Council have worked miracles on a weekly basis.
My co-chairs in the UK/Israel Life Sciences Council, your President Rivka Carmi, and Professor Raymond Dwek, are two of the most extraordinary, dedicated, inspiring, motivated and brilliant people I have had the honour to work with.
Humility because everything we do is an expression of our values, and it is through our actions that we give voice to those values.
Like our belief in science as a potential force for good, above politics, beyond nation, that can unite, and heal.
Like our belief in academic freedom, as the essential underpinning of any liberal and tolerant society that values knowledge and accepts debate.
Like our rejection of academic boycotts, because we believe that boycotts divide people and reduce understanding, when what we need is to bring people together.
Our mission, of building scientific and academic links between our nations, is deeply unwelcome to some, who would rather go down the route of boycott than engagement.
My Government has stood firm by this mission, in part because of the knowledge that universities in Israel are places where the measure that counts is excellence, not agreement.
And that we are working with a country whose politicians and commentators may hate some of the arguments that are made in the universities, but treasure the academic freedom that allows them to be made.
Now in every country there are voices calling for limits to the freedoms we treasure, on the basis that they prefer enforced agreement to free debate.
To them we must say clearly that you cannot make a society stronger by placing limits on debate. That free speech is only tested when it becomes the freedom to disagree and to challenge.
To them we must say that there will be a unimaginable price to be paid by any society that replaces excellence as the academy’s measure with political convenience.
It may not be a price which is paid right away. But over time it will corrode and undermine precisely that which gives our universities, and our societies, their strength and their worth.
And so I accept this award with pride, and with humility, and with the hope that it is an affirmation of the values that underpin all we have been trying to achieve together.
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