In a rare show of academic cooperation, Professor Menachem Ben Sasson, president
of Hebrew University, met this week with Professor Habibollah Habib, president
of Kabul University in Afghanistan.
The meeting was held during a
conference at the Confucius Institute in Beijing, China.
According to Ben
Sasson, “a meeting between representatives from Israel and representatives from
Afghanistan is not something to be taken for granted.”
University president was thrilled to have “the rare opportunity to sit down with
the president of Kabul University and discuss bilateral relations and possible
collaborations between the Hebrew University and Kabul
During the hour long meeting, the two discussed policy and
geopolitical problems facing Afghanistan and Israel, as well as the similarities
in dealing with border disputes and neighboring countries. The two also talked
about the importance of science to both Israel and Afghanistan, due to the lack
of natural resources in both countries.
“Israel and Afghanistan may be
perceived as enemy states, but science is an international language that can
serve as a bridge between peoples and nations. It is our obligation as
researchers to encourage scientific cooperation of this kind,” said Ben
Ben Sasson presented a variety of original documents, written by
Albert Einstein, about the theory of relativity, the establishment of Hebrew
University and the offer to serve as president of the state of Israel. Einstein
was one of the founding fathers of HU and bequeathed his personal archives and
writings to the university.
More than 2,000 attendees, including
university presidents and Confucius Institute representatives from over 110
countries, attended the conference sponsored by the Chinese
The Confucius Institute promotes Chinese culture and language
in higher education institutions throughout the world.