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Event Honoring Bill Gates Raises Over $1.5 Million for Sustainable Agriculture Research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Founder of Microsoft and the Bill & MelindaGatesFoundationLaudsUniversity for its Breakthroughs in the Field

NEW YORK, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the American Friends of The Hebrew University (AFHU) awarded Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft Corp. and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with its inaugural Einstein Award at a gala dinner on December 2 at the New York Hilton.

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Proceeds from the dinner, currently in excess of $1,500,000 and expected to continue to climb, will help to fund cutting-edge plant and animal science research at The Hebrew University's Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences in Israel. The Faculty, which is the first and only degree-granting academic institution of its kind in Israel, has become a world leader in the development of innovations such as drip irrigation, soil solarization, aquaculture, functional foods and new techniques for wastewater reclamation.

The prestigious Einstein Award was inspired by the legacy of Albert Einstein, a founding father of The Hebrew University, who revolutionized human understanding and whose actions were rooted in the belief that true progress requires the alleviation of human suffering.

In accepting the Einstein Award, Mr. Gates noted the incredible progress that has been made in recent decades in improving health around the world, and cited specific breakthroughs by The Hebrew University that have drastically improved the human condition, such as drip irrigation. Describing the arid soil and ongoing acute water shortage in Israel, Mr. Gates recognized that these very conditions will become more pervasive as effects of climate change and population growth are seen globally, making the current research even more of an imperative.

"Bill Gates truly embodies the values and ideals of The Hebrew University and indeed the Einstein Award," said George Schieren, president of AFHU. "He is a pioneer who has transformed the world, first through revolutionary technological innovation, and now through his selfless pursuit to eradicate disease and hunger. His dedication to meeting the nutritional needs of millions around the globe mirrors the continuing efforts by Hebrew University researchers to feed the world through sustainable agriculture."

One of the highlights of the evening was a video presentation, narrated by renowned actor and longtime supporter of AFHU, Billy Crystal, which showcased the work of the Robert H. Smith Faculty -- clearly demonstrating how it is improving health, nutrition and living conditions for people most at risk in communities around the world. Robert H. Smith served as the event's emcee, Einstein biographer Walter Isaacson delivered the keynote address and Ambassador Sallai Meridor spoke on behalf of the State of Israel.

For more information about the Einstein Award and The Hebrew University please visit Media inquiries should be directed to David Kaiyalethe at Dukas Public Relations at 212.704.7385 or

About The HebrewUniversity of Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, located on three campuses in Jerusalem and a fourth in Rehovot, is one of the world's leading academic and research institutions. More than 24,000 students from over 70 countries choose Hebrew University for its seven academic Faculties in the Humanities, Sciences, Social Sciences, Agriculture and Medicine, and to take advantage of extensive opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research. Faculty and alumni of The Hebrew University have won six Nobel Prizes within five years.

About the American Friends of The HebrewUniversity

American Friends of The Hebrew University (AFHU) is a national, not-for-profit organization. AFHU conducts fundraising activities in support of The Hebrew University's internationally recognized community of leading scholars and scientists. AFHU helps to ensure Israel's well-being by nurturing the nation's greatest asset: the intellectual strength of its people.

    MEDIA CONTACT:                               AFHU CONTACT:
    David Kaiyalethe                             Joyce Grossman
    Dukas Public Relations                       AFHU National Office                  
    212-704-7385                                 212-607-8540

SOURCE American Friends of The Hebrew University
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