Message from the Chair

Mr. Abraham Ben-Naftali

December 2014

Dear Friends,

It is my honor to write to you as the new Chair of the International Board of the Weizmann Institute of Science. I am thrilled to begin my tenure at a time of rapid scientific achievement at the Weizmann Institute and in Israel in general.

Out of the 200 or so members of the International Board, close to 70 are scientists, either active or retired. The rest of us are lay people from around the world and from many walks of life: industrialists, financiers, economists, lawyers, accountants, engineers, entrepreneurs, managers, and many others. What do we all share? Or, why are we here?

I believe the answer may be found in the words of W. H. Auden:

“The true men of action in our time, those who transform the world, are not the politicians and statesmen, but the scientists. Unfortunately poetry cannot celebrate them, because their deeds are concerned with things, not persons, and are, therefore, speechless. When I find myself in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes.”
                                              The Dyer's Hand (1963) “The Poet and the City”

Together with the thinking of the great philosophers – Eastern and Western, ancient and modern, religious and secular – it is the curiosity-driven investigations of scientists that has fueled humanity’s progress thus far in its journey to understand the world. I believe that for us, trustees of the Weizmann Institute, the answer to the questions posed above is our admiration and high regard for the work carried out by those whose guiding beacon is science for the benefit of humanity. It is our sense of wonder and amazement at the Institute’s scientists’ feats and our belief that their outstanding work can change the world.

I would like to thank the International board for electing me as Chair, and offer my special appreciation to my predecessor, Mr. Mandy Moross, whose capable leadership has benefitted the Board for the past nine years. And thank you all for supporting this remarkable institute.

                                                                                                         Will all best wishes,


                                                                                                             Abraham Ben-Naftali