2012 Gala

2012 Gala Raises Awareness and Support for the Open University of Israel

The 2012 Open University Foundation Gala Celebration at The Pierre Hotel on Monday, December 10 set new records for attendance and support for the Open University of Israel.  Nearly 300 guests enjoyed the festive evening, which featured a cocktail reception and dinner and dessert buffets. 

(Click here to view photos from the Gala)

“We’re delighted that so many of our friends and supporters joined us to celebrate the extraordinary progress and vital importance of the Open University in Israeli society,” said Mrs. Ingeborg Rennert, President of the Open University Foundation.  “We were proud to recognize outstanding individuals who have made important contributions to education in the State of Israel, and Jewish life here in the U.S.”

2012 Gala Honorees – Senator Joseph Lieberman and Hadassah Lieberman, Galia Maor and Alberto Sutton.

Honored at the Gala were:

  • Senator Joseph Lieberman and Hadassah Lieberman, who received the Yigal Allon Award – Senator Lieberman, completing his fourth term in the U.S. Senate, and his wife, Hadassah, a daughter of Holocaust survivors, have addressed America’s most pressing issues – education, the environment, national security and equal opportunity for all – during their distinguished careers in public service. 
  • Galia Maor, presented with the Max Rowe Award – A member of the Open University Council for 24 years, Ms. Maor is one of Israel’s most prominent banking and financial leaders.  She was President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank Leumi Group from 1995 to 2012, guiding the bank through the recent financial crisis to re-emerge as the largest bank in the State of Israel.
  • Alberto Sutton, winner of the Young Leadership Award – Mr. Sutton, a Founder and Principal at Middlegate Securities, is a leader in the Sephardic Community in New York City. 

(For full bios of honorees, click here)

OUI President Hagit Messer-Yaron with OUI graduate Gillat Kol.

Professor Hagit Messer-Yaron, President of the Open University of Israel, extended greetings and provided a brief overview of the Open University’s new programs.  Gillat Kol, an Open University graduate and now a doctoral candidate at the Weizmann Institute, spoke about how scholarships to Open University funded by American donors transformed her life.

All speakers reaffirmed the unique and vital role the Open University plays in Israeli society. “Over the course of nearly forty years,” said Galia Maor, “the Open University has made higher education available to all.  At the same time, it has remained a high-quality instituition, with the highest academic standards.” 

After explaining that Israel must have “inclusive growth” by strengthening the capabilities of low socio-economic groups, Ms. Maor concluded “This is precisely the importance of the Open University – With its flexible acceptance criteria, it represents a real affirmative action mechanism, allowing individuals from every sector of the population to acquire education, to achieve a productive professional life, and to contribute to economic growth.”

(For remarks from all three Honorees, click here)

Gala Chair Mimi Hass-Perlmen, left, and Open University Foundation President Ingeborg Rennert.

“I thank our wonderful Gala Committee and all our generous honorees, friends and supporters for helping us to celebrate the Open University,” said Gala Chair Mrs. Mimi Hass – Perlman.  “The funds raised will help Open University achieve its mission of extending access to higher education to all segments Israel’s population.”