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HomeNewsFormer Consul-General in NY explains how TAU teaches collaborative skills

Former Consul-General in NY explains how TAU teaches collaborative skills


“We live in an age of information overload,” says Professor Ido Aharoni. “The human brain has never been designed to deal with so many stimuli at once.” Aharoni, who drives on the highway throughout our zoom call, is seemingly immune to this phenomenon and can talk and drive at the same time.

Perhaps Aharoni’s ability to perform multiple tasks stems from his twenty-five-year stay as a member of Israel’s Foreign Service, and served as Israel’s Consul General in New York and the Tri-Nations between 2010-2016. Aharoni spent fourteen years as an Israeli diplomat in the United States. Today, he is an Outstanding Global Professor of International Relations at the New York University School of Arts and Sciences. A graduate of Tel Aviv University, Aharoni is a member of the institution’s board of trustees and a guest lecturer at the university during the summer.

Because humans cannot cope with information overload, he suggests, people crave simple solutions in the face of growing complexity, which he believes explains the growing strength of authoritarian regimes and populist leaders. Locking during the corona plague, he says, are another example of a simple answer to a very complex problem. Aharoni believes the epidemic caused enormous trauma on a global scale, “perhaps even greater than World War II because it corresponded with the deepest and most intimate fears of every human being on earth.”

TAUi will host a live online seminar, on November 14 at 16:30 IST, where you can hear from leaders in academia, biotech and international diplomacy and learn how you too can become members of the global community. Click here to register.However, just as the world recovered from World War II by creating a United Nations, a cooperative organization, so too, says Aharoni, the world of 2022 onwards will recover through increased global solidarity. Aharoni states that this bias for collaboration can already be seen in how companies are looking for ways to bring about more significant change in people’s lives. “We see a transition from ‘for-profit’ to ‘goal’,” says Ido.

The growing level of global collaboration, he says, can be seen in the development of the COVID vaccine itself, which has been accelerated by the work of over 130 different teams collaborating around the world. “Scientific achievement is a global achievement,” he notes.

To be a truly global citizen in Ido’s opinion means “to be increasingly involved in collaborative forms of relationships, partnerships, and to look not only at the bottom line of transactions, but also at the bottom line of social good.”

Aharoni recalled that when he entered the Foreign Service, globalization had a completely different meaning, “in those days,” he explains, “globalization means moving goods, ideas, currencies and human resources across the border. You have much more in common with a fellow dentist who lives in Sydney, Australia, than your neighbor next door who is interested in something completely different. Communities are cross-border by definition. “And that’s going to be the future.”

Tel Aviv University’s international program, says Aharoni, is exceptionally capable of developing the global and collaborative skills for the future he is talking about. First, its location in Tel Aviv, the most cosmopolitan city in Israel, provides a broad vantage point for seeing the world. In this way, says Aharoni, it is similar to New York University, the most cosmopolitan American university located in the most cosmopolitan American city. Aharoni is well acquainted with life in the United States and has worked and studied in Israel for a total of twenty-two years since the 1980s.

“Tel Aviv University is a key asset of the Tel Aviv brand,” explains Ido. “What sets Brand Tel Aviv apart is that unlike many other Israeli locations, everything is about the future. Israelis have a tendency to be obsessed with the past. But Brand Tel Aviv is forward-looking, inclusive, energetic, vibrant, bubbly, non-stop, relevant and young. “Tel Aviv is perceived by many all over the world as the embodiment of these attractive brand features. In this respect, the connection between TAU and TLV is very similar to the healthy connection between NYU and NYC.”

Second, says Aharoni, the educational programs at Tel Aviv University are intended to be interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. “I teach during the summer session,” he explains, “and I had the pleasure of interacting with Palestinian, Chinese, Mexican, American, Canadian, French, Japanese, Greek, and British students, and they call to come and study together. It’s a wonderful idea. Because it is known for its overall character and level.” “Its high tolerance, Tel Aviv University is very attractive to students from all over the world. The campus is as international and cosmopolitan as possible, with a wealth of courses offered in English and world-renowned departments, such as the Tish School of Film and Television and the School of Koller.”

Beyond the university environment, there are plenty of examples of global cooperation with Israel. Aharoni says that Israel’s recent participation in the Glasgow Climate Change Conference is an example of a change in the cooperative approach that is taking place in this country. When the last climate change conference was held in 2016, he notes, the Israeli prime minister did not attend, and the environment minister decided to arrive only at the last minute. In contrast, Prime Minister Bennett attended the conference this year, along with a 120-member delegation.

Collaboration, cooperation and global solidarity are the keywords of the future, and Tel Aviv University’s international program is uniquely located at the forefront of this new world. Just ask Ido Aharoni.

TAUi will host a live online seminar, on November 14 at 16:30 IST, where you can hear from leaders in academia, biotech and international diplomacy and learn how you too can become a member of the global community. Click here to register.


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