What does it take to be a global citizen today?

Speakers at Tel Aviv University International Event highlighted TAU’s role in educating students worldwide.

What does it take to be a global citizen today?

Tel Aviv University International held a live webinar on Sunday, November 14, entitled ‘What does it take to be a global citizen today?’ The webinar featured four distinguished speakers who discussed the heightened importance of international education in today’s interconnected world and the role that Tel Aviv University International plays in educating students worldwide.

Professor Milette Shamir, Vice President for International Collaboration at Tel Aviv University, the first speaker, explained that universities, which have been committed to the free circulation of knowledge and the pursuit of truth, “have had international travel and mobility built into their very DNA” since their inception. “Universities have always depended on their students and faculty traveling from place to place and crossing national borders in search of new knowledge,” she said. 

Overseas programs have become very popular in recent years, and Professor Shamir said that between 2000 and 2017, ‘study abroad’ programs grew by 150% and became a feature in almost every university.  Professor Shamir noted that Tel Aviv University offers a variety of different international educational experiences, including full degree programs on the BA and MA levels, dual-degree programs offered in conjunction with leading US universities, such as Columbia, Berkeley, Northwestern, and Johns Hopkins, and virtual mobility programs that take place on Zoom.  She cited a class in social work that takes place virtually in Tel Aviv and a German university, in which students in Israel and Germany compare the treatments of refugees in both countries. An engineering class, held in conjunction with the University of California at Irvine, gives students from Israel and the United States the opportunity to discuss new technologies for water creation, which is especially significant in California, which has experienced water shortages. 

Professor Shamir pointed out that international study experiences can enhance students’ intellectual development, increase their employability, and help students acquire a wide range of additional skills. She added that the pandemic has shown that the world is far more interconnected than people realized, and international studies can create and foster connections with people worldwide. In her remarks, she also announced the opening of a new BA program in management and liberal arts with courses that focus on entrepreneurship. 

The second speaker, Tzipi Ozer-Armon, Tel Aviv University Alum and CEO of Lumenis, reviewed her global career at firms such as SanDisk, Teva, and Lumenis and explained why Tel Aviv University is a place where one can acquire the skills necessary for a global profession. Ozer-Armon studied economics at Tel Aviv University and received her MBA in finance and marketing. Recalling her move to London and her interviews with consulting firms in the UK, Ozer-Armon said that her university studies equipped her with the skills that she needed at a time when few had heard of the school. Today, she said, Tel Aviv University is known around the world for its quality education. She extolled the virtues of international study and said that it could help in communication between different cultures. Ozer-Armon added that study in Israel, with its entrepreneurial nature and the large number of startups and unicorns it produces, can help prepare students for the rest of their lives. 
The third speaker, Professor Ido Aharoni, Tel Aviv University Alum, Global Distinguished Professor at NYU, and former consul general to New York, discussed the origins of Israeli creativity and how it became a nation of problem-solvers. “Israel is producing more scientific papers per capita than any other nation, and academically and scientifically, it is really punching way above its weight,” he said. Aharoni also cited the unique, forward-looking, youthful spirit of Tel Aviv and mentioned the classes that he has taught at Tel Aviv University, which consisted of students from around the world as opportunities to build bridges between Israel and its neighbors. In the post-COVID world, he said, “The world is going to engage in a more collaborative form of international relations in a more collaborative form of business.” As a result, he pointed out, global citizens will need to engage in partnerships and collaborations. In addition, he said, businesses are shifting from a profit-only vantage point to one that also focuses on purpose and meaning. 

Professor Aharoni concluded by stating that creativity is a muscle that needs to be flexed and used. “Creativity can be taught, and that is exactly what they teach at Tel Aviv University.”

David Ryan, Global Outreach and Recruitment Manager for Tel Aviv University, the final speaker presented the range of different programs available in the Tel Aviv University International program and the various English-language programs offered. Ryan showed a video about the school that stresses that “the best way to study a multicultural society is to live in one.” He offered a ‘snapshot’ of the university, with its nine faculties, 400 labs, 30,000 students, and 2,000 international students. In 2021, he said, Tel Aviv University was ranked fifth in the world for entrepreneurship, just behind Stanford MIT. UC Berkeley and Harvard by startup genome. 

The event concluded with an online ‘after-party’ session on the Tel Aviv Global Sofaer MBA program, which featured in-depth discussions with alumni of the program, who discussed the advantages and unique features of the university’s face-to-face MBA program. 

Applications are now open for the 2022-23 academic year and prospects can visit the Tel Aviv University website at: international.tau.ac.il