German Minister Promises 10 Million Euros For Minerva Centers At Hebrew University

Israeli Minister Declares Education A Top Election Issue At First Minerva German-Israeli Science Festival In Jerusalem

Jerusalem, October 17, 2012 — Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research announced today that her country will contribute 10 million euros in the coming year to the endowment fund that supports the Minerva Centers, at the opening of the first Minerva German-Israeli Science Festival at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The festival, which showcases the accomplishments of Minerva Centers and presents new Centers to the public, is produced with the assistance of the Hebrew University’s Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

A subsidiary of the Max Planck Association, the Minerva Foundation was the first agency established on behalf of the Federal German Ministry of Education and Research with the sole purpose of funding high-quality research in Israel and stimulating cooperation among research partners in the two countries. The Foundation has established 30 centers in Israeli universities, where both German and Israeli scientists work together in all fields of research.

Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson opened the festival by telling Israeli and visiting German ministers, “You were right to come to this place to open this festival. The beginning of the State of Israel was here, in 1918, when the cornerstone of the Hebrew University was laid. Just 30 years later the State of Israel was declared — one of the few countries where the university was established even before the state.” He added, “Make sure that education is at the forefront of the country's strategy. The most important thing is the next generation — the children who are now in elementary school. We have an obligation to expose them to basic science."

Israel’s Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar said, “We're not just talking about education but also doing. We did it with deeds, not words, during the last term, and in the upcoming elections the topic of education will be one of the most important issues." He added, “The research the Centers carry out is at the cutting edge of science, and the continuation and renewal of the Minerva Centers is of mutual interest to both Israel and Germany.”

German Federal Minister of Education and Research Dr. Annette Schavan said, ''The Hebrew University has brought forth world-acclaimed scientists and researchers inspiring amazing research, and it is heartwarming to celebrate the first Minerva Science Festival in this place. Minerva Centers represent the earliest cooperation between our states, and these scientific relations allowed the creation of trust and the growth of diplomatic relations.” She added, “We have to offer young people attractive lives and work in research in both Germany and Israel, and I am happy to say that the ministry will this year provide an additional 10 million euros for the financial stability of these Centers.”

Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Daniel Hershkowitz said, “The opening of this festival comes in the context of the blooming relationship between Germany and Israel. The language of science bridges gaps and differences between nations and native languages, and that is the path to advancing peace and friendship not just between two countries but the whole world.” He added, “The year 2013 is an election year both in Germany and in Israel, and probably the only language that can address all fields – international security, economic issues and social matters – is the language of science.”

The Scientific Director of the Minerva Foundation, Prof. Martin Stratmann, said that many leading scientists from Israel and Germany have spent time in each others’ countries, and stressed the importance of continuing this approach with future generations. “For me the Minerva Foundation serves as a platform for the continuing exchange of ideas and people, a task that must be re-embarked on every time a new generation of scientists emerges from the ranks.”