Faculty of Agriculture Heralds New Vision, Dedicates International Center for Protected Agriculture in Semi-Arid Areas

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[img_assist|nid=266|title=From left: Robert H. Smith, Hebrew University President Prof. Menachem Magidor, and Environment Minister Gideon Ezra |desc=|link=none|align=left|width=286|height=220]Faculty of Agriculture heralds new vision, dedicates International Center for Protected Agriculture in Semi-Arid Areas

November 12 2007 - With the support of Robert H. Smith, the Faculty of Agricultural Food and Environmental Quality Sciences at the Hebrew University has adopted a “new vision” that will enable it to cope with the challenges of providing food to the world’s population in the 21st century. 

According to Prof. Eli Feinerman, dean of the faculty, “The new vision aims at development and implementation of innovative, daring and achievable solutions to provide healthy food for the developing world, while preserving environmental quality. The rapid rate of population growth and irresponsible human activity causing ecological damage are real threats facing the earth. The Faculty is working towards coping with the challenge of preserving our shared future and believes that only interdisciplinary research will achieve our goals.” 

In reflection of the Faculty’s new vision, the Faculty last week inaugurated the International Center for Protected Agriculture in Semi-Arid Areas, whose establishment was enabled by Robert H. Smith. The Center currently comprises state-of-the-art controlled and semi-controlled greenhouses where researchers at the adjacent Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture can propagate transgenic plants for their research.

In honor of Robert H. Smith and his key contribution towards realizing its “new vision”, the Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences also held a reception on Saturday night, Nov. 10. Robert H. Smith of Washington, D.C is a former chairman and today honorary chairman of the Hebrew University's Board of Governors and the holder of an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the University. Among those attending the reception were Hebrew University President Prof. Menachem Magidor; Hebrew University Vice President of External Relations Carmi Gillon; Environment Minister Gideon Ezra, daughter of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Dalia Rabin-Philosoph; Deputy Director of Production and Economics at the Agricultural Ministry Itzik Ben David, as well as prominent business figures.

“The Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences is one of the top faculties of agriculture in the world,” said Prof. Menachem Magidor, president of the Hebrew University. “The challenge is to find ways in which to provide high-quality food at lower cost, while at the same time not harming the environment. Implementation of this vision requires changes in the structure of the faculty, both in the physical and educational spheres,” he said.

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