SOURCE: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

November 17, 2008 15:00 ET

Diabetes Breakthrough and Affordable Solar Energy Among Presentations

Israel's First Female U.N. Ambassador Makes Los Angeles Debut at Beverly Hills Symposium Featuring World-Renowned Researchers From Ben-Gurion University in Israel

BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(Marketwire - November 17, 2008) - Speaking before a capacity crowd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Nov. 16, Israel's first female U.N. Ambassador -- Gabriela Shalev -- told the audience, "As the most highly educated country in the Middle East and the region's only democracy, Israel's top priority today is continuing scientific and technological research that ultimately benefits each and every one of us -- Israelis, Angelenos, Californians, Americans and, in fact, humanity as a whole." Shalev, who was making her first visit to the Southland since being appointed to the U.N. post in September of this year, served as the keynote speaker at the Southwest Region of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's "Excellence In Research Symposium."

During her keynote address, Shalev -- who most recently served as President of the Academic Council and Rector of Ono Academic College in Israel -- credited her homeland for many modern-day innovations ranging from cell phones to sun-heated water tanks and grocery-store scanners. Recognized internationally for her expertise in the field of contract law, Shalev went on to note that the State of Israel -- per capita -- is the preeminent leader across a broad spectrum of research fronts including medical advances, cost-effective alternative energy, and environmental preservation. The newly appointed ambassador told those on hand that many of these research achievements can be traced to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, home to nearly 20,000 students and one of Israel's fastest-growing institutions of higher learning.

Shalev concluded her remarks saying, "I came to Los Angeles not with a delegation of diplomats or politicians, and not with a U.N. resolution to deal with. Today I have the honor and privilege to stand before you as I am heading a delegation of professionals, scientists, men of creation and innovation." After outlining the achievements of several Ben-Gurion University researchers who were among the symposium's speakers, Shalev noted that their accomplishments made her "a very proud Israeli and an even prouder citizen of the world."

In addition to Shalev's keynote address, the symposium featured presentations by several world-renowned researchers from Ben-Gurion University, including:

--  Dr. Eli Lewis, who just published a breakthrough study showing that
    use of an easily accessible drug can protect transplanted cells that
    reverse diabetes and restore glucose control in type II diabetes patients;
--  Professor David Faiman who has pioneered a new method of concentrating
    sunlight, which was recently licensed to Zenith Solar, that's capable of
    achieving solar-energy concentration that's 1,000 times greater than that
    produced by a standard solar panel and does so on a surface that is
    measurably miniscule in comparison to an average solar panel; specifically,
    on a four-inch by four-inch photovoltaic cell that produces energy far more
    cheaply than solar panels;
--  Dr. Alon Friedman is a leading researcher and expert on brain function
    and brain disorders, specifically stress-related brain damage, epilepsy,
    and neurodegeneration, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
    Friedman additionally is developing therapies designed to prevent the
    occurrence of epilepsy following brain trauma;
--  Professor Zeev Wiesman is currently studying oil residues that can be
    recycled as biodiesel, biogas fuels, animal feed, and fertilizer.  He also
    is renowned for his research in plant-derived biofuels utilizing a low
    resolution, nuclear magnetic resonance system to achieve a blend of seeds
    that are high in oil content and that can potentially be used by the global
    biodiesel industry.

During the event's luncheon, Ruth Flinkman -- a Century City resident and Santa Monica business owner -- was honored for her longtime support of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a world-renowned institute of research and higher learning with campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer, and Eilat in Israel's southern desert. Home to Israel's second-largest hospital, Ben-Gurion University has a student population of nearly 20,000. Founded in 1972, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, plays a vital role in helping the University fulfill its unique responsibility to develop the Negev, reach out to its local community and Arab neighbors, and share its expertise with the world. For more information, visit

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