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Bill Gates to Receive Inaugural Einstein Award From American Friends of The Hebrew University
Jul 07, 2008 (10:07 AM EDT)


NEW YORK, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The and the American Friends of The (AFHU) named Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft Corp. and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the recipient of the first Einstein Award.

Gates will be honored at a gala dinner to be held in New York in December 2008. Proceeds from the dinner will help to fund cutting-edge plant and animal science research at The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences in Israel. The Faculty, which is the first and only degree-granting academic institution of its kind in Israel, has become a world leader in the development of innovations such as drip irrigation, soil solarization, aquaculture, functional foods and new techniques for wastewater reclamation.

"The Einstein Award represents the creation of a continuum of great minds and was inspired by the legacy of Albert Einstein, a founding father of our university who wrought a profound revolution in human understanding of our world," said President, Professor Menachem Magidor. "The award pays tribute to today's most original, creative and effective thinkers. Bill Gates is a most worthy recipient-like Einstein, he is a leader whose actions stem from the knowledge that human progress includes alleviating human suffering."

As the founder, chief software architect and chairman of Microsoft, Gates led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software, services, and solutions. He began his major philanthropic efforts in 1994 when he created the William H. Gates Foundation, which focused on global health. Three years later, he and Melinda Gates created the Gates Library Foundation, which worked to bring public access computers with Internet connections to libraries in the United States. The two groups merged in 2000 to form the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Today, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is organized into three programs -- Global Development, Global Health, and United States. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources -- have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. The foundation supports grantees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Internationally, it supports work in more than 100 countries.

Stated AFHU President George A. Schieren: "We are truly privileged to be honoring Bill Gates, who in addition to his revolutionary approach to information technology, is making a profound difference in the lives of millions worldwide confronting hunger, resource scarcity and health threats-all of which Israel faced and has successfully overcome since 1942, when The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences was established."

The Robert H. Smith Faculty is currently rolling out its "Feeding the World through Sustainable Agriculture" campaign. Departments are being organized to form a pioneering interdisciplinary four-Institute model. Physical campus improvements and program innovations will enable scientists to accelerate their work in addressing world hunger, malnutrition and environmental threats, particularly as affects people in developing nations and semi-arid climates. In addition to educating Israel's students, the Faculty's Division of External Studies educates international students from more than 150 countries.

The , located on three campuses in Jerusalem and a fourth in Rehovot, is one of the world's leading academic and research institutions. More than 24,000 students from over 70 countries choose for its seven academic Faculties in the Humanities, Sciences, Social Sciences, Agriculture and Medicine, and to take advantage of extensive opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research. Faculty and alumni of The have won six Nobel Prizes within five years.

In 2007, The Institute of Advanced Studies was accepted into a consortium of ten of the world's leading academic institutions. The University has consistently been ranked among the top 100 academic and research institutions worldwide in independent surveys. Forty percent of Israel's civilian research emerges from The , which has been ranked 12th worldwide in biotechnology patent filings and commercial development by the Milken Institute of Los Angeles.

American Friends of The (AFHU) is a national, not-for-profit organization based in the United States. AFHU, working in close partnership with The , provides programs, events and conducts fundraising activities in support of The internationally recognized community of leading scholars and scientists. AFHU helps to ensure Israel's well-being by nurturing the nation's greatest asset: the intellectual strength of its people.

MEDIA CONTACT: AFHU CONTACT: David Kaiyalethe Joyce Grossman Dukas Public Relations AFHU National Office david@dukaspr.com jgrossman@afhu.org 212.704.7385 ext. 119 212-607-8540

CONTACT: David Kaiyalethe of Dukas Public Relations, david@dukaspr.com,+1-212-704-7385 ext. 119; or Joyce Grossman, AFHU National Office,+1-212-607-8540,

Web site: http://www.afhu.org/