Four months after Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed the Abraham Accords peace agreement establishing normalization between the two countries, there are practical results: Two universities, one in Israel and the other in the UAE, have signed a collaboration agreement to promote medical research and improve public health in the two countries Israel and throughout the Middle East.
Sixty-five-year-old Bar-Ilan University (BIU) in Ramat Gan (near Tel Aviv) – which combines cutting-edge scientific research with education steeped in Jewish values and social responsibility and has faculties in Jewish studies, medicine, engineering, law, life sciences, exact sciences, social sciences and humanities –signed the agreement with 22-year-old Gulf Medical University (GMU) – which offers medical and health professional education in the field of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, nursing, medical laboratory sciences, anesthesia and surgical technology and medical imaging sciences and postgraduate programs in toxicology, public health, clinical pathology.
Researchers from BIU’s Azrieli Faculty of Medicine met in the United Arab Emirates with the heads of GMU – considered one of the leading private medical universities in the region – before the signing of the agreement.
In attendance at the agreement’s signing ceremony – held on January 11 via Zoom – were representatives from the management of both universities, including BIU president Prof. Arie Zaban and GMU chancellor Prof. Hossam Hamdy. Additional BIU representatives included Shlomo Zohar (chairman of the Council of Trustees); rector Prof. Amnon Albeck, deputy president Prof. Moshe Lewenstein; vice-president for research Prof. Shula Michaeli; CEO Zohar Yinon;, Dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Prof. Karl Skorecki; associate dean Prof. Eric Shinwell; associate dean for research Prof. Chaim Putterman; and Prof. Mina
Zaban said: “One of the most significant achievements of the Abraham Accords is the opportunity for academic collaborations between universities in Israel and the UAE. Research and education in both countries will advance dramatically thanks to their human capital, which until now was unable to join forces for a common goal. We at Bar-Ilan University are proud to pave the way for such collaborative efforts in the fields of medical science and public health – fields in which we already play a leading role in Israel, by means of our innovative Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee. I have no doubt that additional BIU faculties will soon follow suit and widen the scope of collaboration between Bar-Ilan and universities in the UAE.”
Hamdy commented: “The meeting here in Ajman between our researchers and researchers from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was incredibly exciting, as is the signing of this agreement, which will at last allow us to move forward with our ambitious plans for collaboration. We have waited for this moment for a long time, and as soon as the Abraham Accords were signed, our management seized the chance for a mutually beneficial cooperation with our counterparts in Israel. We hope,” he concluded, “to visit Israel shortly, and that the management of Bar-Ilan University will likewise visit us here.”
Skorecki explained that “in the fields of medical science and public health, Gulf Medical University is considered a top university, both in the UAE and the region at large. They are very interested in learning from our work with the diverse populations that live in the Galilee, and I am honored that they have chosen the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine as a partner in their research and educational efforts.”