Jerusalem, June 13, 2011 - Respected British philanthropist, Trevor Pears CMG, will be among ten distinguished figures to receive honorary doctor of philosophy degrees on Sunday, June 19, at the opening session of the 74th meeting of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Board of Governors.
According to Hebrew University president, Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, the honorary doctorate is being awarded to him "in recognition of his outstanding commitment to social justice and in tribute to his profound friendship for Israel and the Hebrew University."
Combating global challenges
Trevor Pears is the executive chair of Pears Foundation, which he established with his brothers Mark and David. He is a staunch proponent of international development, while Pears Foundation has also played an important role in campaigns against genocide.
In the field of international development, Pears has become a strategic partner of the Hebrew University in harnessing Israeli knowledge and expertise to help address major challenges facing the developing world.
The Pears Scholars Programme has enabled dozens of students from Africa and Asia to attend the Hebrew University's world-class international graduate programmes in public health and agriculture. The programmes' alumni now hold senior positions across Africa and Asia, managing disaster relief and public health programmes, and promoting agricultural development - equipped with the skills to combat some of their country's most pressing challenges. [See video links below for current students' stories.]
Graduate Dr. Norbert Rakiro, who is now the assistant director of community health systems for Intrahealth International, says that the program equipped him to manage cholera and polio epidemics in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Southern India.
Another graduate of the program has been working with UNICEF in Pakistan, assisting the flood affected communities in the country.
"When asked to single out one programme that best sums up the thinking and philosophy of our foundation, my answer is always the international Scholars programme at Hebrew University," says Trevor Pears.
In addition, Pears Foundation has invested substantially in British-based development NGOs through programmes in Ghana, Honduras and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in an Israeli international development charity in Nepal as well as in research on the history and current position of Israel's bilateral aid budget.
In Britain, the Foundation has invested in educational programmes that build understanding between people of different backgrounds. These include the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Shared Futures which links children across faiths, and the Jewish Social Action Hub (JHub) which supports social action and innovation among British Jews.
The Foundation also invested in the establishment of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck College, at the University of London, as well as a nationwide Holocaust education training programme at the Institute of Education and posts in Israel studies at British universities. In Israel, Pears Foundation has helped to address societal disparities through support for organizations that promote equal opportunities for Israel's Arab citizens.
Promoting British-Israeli academic exchange
In an effort to encourage academic cooperation between Israeli and British universities, the Foundation worked with the British Council to create the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX), a £1 million joint initiative supported by the British and Israeli Governments.
In order to increase scholarship about Israel at British universities, the Foundation has invested in lectureships in Israel and Middle Eastern Studies including at the University of Oxford, University of Manchester and SOAS as well as assisting with the newly created European Association for Israel Studies.
Creating socially responsible business leaders of tomorrow
However, Pears Foundation also realizes that philanthropy on its own is not enough. To this end, through the Pears Business Schools Partnership, they are encouraging MBA students in Britain - the business leaders of tomorrow - to consider the role of business in society and their contribution to the public good.
In the Queen's New Years Honours List of 2011, Trevor Pears was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George for his services to the community and British-Israel relations.
"I am privileged to accept this Award on behalf of my brothers, my family and my team at our foundation," said Trevor Pears in response to the conferring of his honorary doctorate degree by the Hebrew University. "We are immensely proud to be involved with the Hebrew University and, in particular, these fantastic programmes."