Former Consul General in New York explains how TAU teaches collaborative skills

“We live in an age of information overload,” says Professor Ido Aharoni. “The human brain was never designed to handle so many stimuli simultaneously.” Aharoni, who is driving on the highway during our Zoom conversation, is apparently immune to this phenomenon and can talk and drive at the same time.

Perhaps Aharoni’s ability to multitask is due to his spending twenty-five years as a member of Israel’s Foreign Service, serving as Israel’s Consul General in New York and the tri-state area from 2010 to 2016. Aharoni spent fourteen years as Israeli diplomat in the United States. Currently, he is a Global Distinguished Professor of International Relations at New York University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. A graduate of Tel Aviv University, Aharoni is a member of the institution’s Board of Governors and is a visiting professor at the university during the summer.

Because humans can’t handle information overload, he suggests, people yearn for simple solutions in the face of increasing complexity, which, in his view, explains the growing strength of authoritarian regimes and populist leaders. Lockdowns during the COVID pandemic, he says, are another example of a simple answer to a very complex problem. Aharoni believes that the pandemic caused massive trauma on a global scale, “perhaps even greater than World War II because it corresponded to the deepest and most intimate fears of all human beings on the face of this earth.”

TAUi will host a live webinar, on November 14 at 4:30 pm IST, where you can hear from leaders in academia, biotechnology and international diplomacy and learn how you too can become a member of the global community. Click here to register.However, just as the world recovered from World War II by creating the United Nations, a collaborative organization, so too, says Aharoni, the world of 2022 and beyond will recover through greater global solidarity. Aharoni says that this penchant for cooperation can already be seen in how companies look for ways to make a more meaningful difference in people’s lives. “We are seeing a shift from ‘for profit’ to ‘for a purpose,’” says Ido.

The increasing level of global cooperation, he says, can be seen in the development of the COVID vaccine itself, which was accelerated thanks to the work of more than 130 different teams collaborating around the world. “Scientific achievement is a global achievement,” he says.

Being a truly global citizen in Ido’s vision means “being engaged in increasingly collaborative forms of relationships, partnerships and looking not only at the transactional bottom line, but also at the bottom line for social good.”

Aharoni recalls that when he entered the Foreign Service, globalization had a completely different meaning. “In those days,” he explains, “globalization meant the transfer of goods, ideas, foreign exchange, and human resources across borders. Hyperconnectivity came along and created a situation where if you are a dentist living in Raanana, you have much more in common with a fellow dentist who lives in Sydney, Australia, than with your next door neighbor who is interested in something completely different. . Communities are cross-border by definition. If you run a marathon and are in contact with other marathoners from around the world, then by definition it is a cross-border community. And that will be the future. “

Tel Aviv University’s International Program, Aharoni says, is uniquely capable of developing the global and cooperative skills for the future that he talks about. First, its location in Tel Aviv, Israel’s most cosmopolitan city, provides a wide vantage point to see the world. In that way, Aharoni says, it resembles New York University, the most cosmopolitan American university located in the most cosmopolitan American city. Aharoni is very familiar with life in the United States and has worked and studied in the country for a total of twenty-two years since the 1980s.

“Tel Aviv University is an important asset of the Tel Aviv brand,” explains Ido. “What makes Brand Tel Aviv unique is that, unlike many other Israeli locations, everything revolves around the future. Israelis tend to obsess over the past. But Brand Tel Aviv is progressive, inclusive, energetic, vibrant, bubbly, continuous, relevant, and young. Tel Aviv University is being viewed by many around the world as the embodiment of these compelling brand attributes. In that sense, the relationship between TAU and TLV is very similar to the healthy connection between NYU and NYC. “

Second, Aharoni says, Tel Aviv University’s educational programs are designed to be interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. “I teach during the summer session, he explains, and I have had the pleasure of interacting with Palestinian, Chinese, Mexican, American, Canadian, French, Japanese, Greek and British students who call to come study together. That is a wonderful concept. Because it is widely known for its inclusive nature and high degree of tolerance, Tel Aviv University is very attractive to students from all over the world. The campus is as international and cosmopolitan as can be, with a host of courses offered in English and world-renowned departments such as the Tisch School of Film and Television and the Coller School of Management.

Beyond the university surroundings, examples of global cooperation involving Israel abound. Aharoni says that Israel’s recent participation in the Glasgow Climate Change Conference is an example of a shift in collaborative attitude that is taking place in this country. When the last climate change conference was held in 2016, he notes, the Prime Minister of Israel did not attend and the Israeli Minister of the Environment decided to attend only at the last minute. By contrast, Prime Minister Bennett participated in this year’s conference, along with a 120-member delegation.

Cooperation, collaboration and global solidarity are the watchwords of the future, and Tel Aviv University’s international program is uniquely positioned at the forefront of this new world. Ask Ido Aharoni.

TAUi will host a live webinar, on November 14 at 4:30 pm IST, where you can hear from leaders in academia, biotechnology and international diplomacy and learn how you too can become a member of the global community. Click here to register.

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