Morgan Freeman Presented With The Jake Eberts Key Of Knowledge Award By Canadian Friends Of The Hebrew University Of Jerusalem

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Event raised $2 million for Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC)

TORONTO, ON, May 7, 2013 - Last night Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman was honoured with the Jake Eberts Key of Knowledge Award at a gala reception hosted by Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (CFHU). The award celebrates Freeman's dedication to combating racism and promoting knowledge and education worldwide. The gala was held at the Toronto Centre for the Arts and was attended by more than 700 guests. 

A Celebration of Excellence honours individuals who have changed the world and impacted lives through the advancement of knowledge. The event raised $2 million for the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada, Canada’s premier institute in Israel and a symbol of the scientific cooperation and friendship between both countries. Funds raised will also establish the Morgan Freeman Scholarship Fund for international students participating in the Public Health and Community Medicine Program at Hebrew University.

Hebrew University's president, Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, presented the award to Morgan Freeman. Prof. Ben-Sasson said, "In presenting this Award, the Hebrew University and its Canadian Friends association pay tribute to your long-standing commitment to humanitarian relief the world over, your affirmation of the dignity and autonomy of every human being, and your commitment to advancing education — values that we share in common. The Hebrew University, Israel’s first and leading institution of higher education, is a meeting place for peoples of all beliefs and backgrounds, and an institution whose goals to seek truth and serve humanity are pursued in a spirit of openness, pluralism and tolerance. In the words of Albert Einstein, one of the Hebrew University’s visionary founders, 'A university is a place where the universality of the human spirit manifests itself.'" 

“Last night was a tribute to an extraordinary actor and humanitarian, Morgan Freeman. But it was also a tribute to all the educators, teachers, and change makers of this world; people who get up every morning and believe they can make a difference,” said Elan Divon, executive director of CFHU Toronto. "Yes we raised a significant amount of money towards scientific and medical research at the Hebrew University, but our impact goes well beyond that. By bringing together a Hollywood icon, a Kenyan Ambassador, and an Israeli scientist, we were able to demonstrate the universality of education, and what we can achieve when we invest in human capital and young minds.” 

A special Q-and-A with Freeman was moderated by two-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, Paul Saltzman and hosted by Jian Ghomeshi. Guests also enjoyed a tribute video featuring Shirley Douglas, actress and political activist; Marc and Craig Kielburger, co-founders of Free the Children; Piers Handling, director and CEO of TIFF; and Robert Lantos, founder of Serendipity Point Films.

Notable guests included:

  • Morgan Freeman
  • Paul Saltzman
  • Ronnen Harary, event chair
  • Dr. Amir Amedi, renowned IMRIC brain scientist
  • Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations and Hebrew University Alumni
  • Shirley Douglas
  • Barry and Honey Sherman
  • Ronnie and Bunnie Appleby
  • Ralph and Roz Halbert
  • Gerry and Tootsie Halbert
  • Leslie and Ana Dan
  • Ellis and Sharyn Jacob
  • Helga Stephenson
  • Martin Katz
  • Bob, Sheila, Randy and Risa Masters
  • Karen Radomsky and Harry Simpson
  • Barbara Bank
  • David Eberts

The Jake Eberts Key of Knowledge Award is named in honor of the late film producer Jake Eberts, who in 2011 received the first-ever Key of Knowledge Award in recognition of his dissemination of knowledge through film and his significant philanthropic contributions. Throughout his 35-year film career, Mr. Eberts helped create many Academy Award-winning films, including Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Driving Miss Daisy and Dances with Wolves, and such notable documentaries as Prisoner of Paradise, Journey to Mecca and Oceans. His final project, Jerusalem, is an Imax 3D production due for worldwide release later this year. 

Click here to view a photo gallery of the reception.

About Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
Founded in 1944 by Canadian philanthropist Allan Bronfman, Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University (CFHU) promotes awareness, leadership and financial support for The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It does so by establishing student scholarships, supporting academic research and faculty exchanges, and recruiting Canadian students to attend the Rothberg International School. In addition, CFHU builds partnerships between Canadian and Israeli scientists through Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC). Through IMRIC, Israeli and Canadian scientists are working together to find solutions and better treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart- and brain-related disorders. In 2008, CFHU undertook a $50-million campaign to fund IMRIC and provide its researchers with the equipment, infrastructure and facilities they need to carry out their work.

About the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada:
The Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) brings together the brightest minds from across Israel and Canada to find solutions to medical problems such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and brain related disorders. Today, IMRIC enjoys 15 partnerships with Canadian institutions such as The Rick Hansen Foundation, McGill University, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and Toronto Western Hospital.

About the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Ranked among the top academic and research institutions worldwide, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's leading university and premier research institution. Serving 23,000 students from 70 countries, the Hebrew University  produces a third of Israel’s civilian research and is ranked 12th worldwide in biotechnology patent filings and commercial development. Faculty and alumni of the Hebrew University have won seven Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal in the last decade. The Hebrew University was founded in 1918 by visionaries including Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber and Chaim Weizmann. It is located on three campuses in Jerusalem and a fourth in Rehovot.


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CFHU is dedicated to supporting IMRIC through direct funding and by developing key collaborative medical research partnerships between Canada
and Israel.


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