Prince Albert of Monaco Graces TAU Campus
The flags of Monaco, Israel and Tel Aviv University were flying high on June 12 in honor of the visit of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco to the Tel Aviv University (TAU) campus. The visit underscores the strengthening of ties between the Principality of Monaco and TAU, particularly in the fields of environment and sustainability.
Prince Albert met with Board of Governors Chairman Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, TAU President Joseph Klafter and other senior TAU officials. The meeting was followed by a festive ceremony, at which the Prince was awarded an honorary doctorate of Tel Aviv University. The ceremony, organized by the French Friends of TAU and the French-speaking Friends of TAU directed by Agnes Goldman, was held at the Porter School of Environmental Studies Building. In attendance were leaders, governors and supporters, including Dr. Giora Yaron, Chairman of the TAU Executive Council; Dame Shirley Porter, Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Governors; Prof. Yaron Oz, TAU Rector; Prof. François Heilbronn, President of the French Friends; and distinguished guests from Monaco.
The Prince’s visit to the campus was the next step in the burgeoning TAU-Monaco ties, which were bolstered last December when a TAU delegation led by President Klafter travelled to Monaco to meet with the Prince on issues of interest to both countries. Main areas of discussion related to the environment and smart city development, with a focus on alternative energy sources, protection of biodiversity and the halting of desertification through the wise management of water resources, among others.
A well-known supporter of the arts, His Serene Highness also met with students at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television (pictured below).
An international statesman and humanitarian
His Serene Highness Prince Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, was born in 1958. He is the son of Prince Rainier III (1923-2005) and Princess Grace, formerly American actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982). The Prince is highly active as an international statesman; as of today close to 140 countries maintain diplomatic relations with the Principality of Monaco. He is involved in a number of causes, among them chairing the Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM), an organization that promotes multilateral international research and facilitates exchange of information.
In 2006, the Prince launched the Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation, which is dedicated to combating climate change, preserving water and safeguarding biodiversity. Within Monaco and under his leadership, the government has promoted the development of public transport, ecological vehicles and renewable energies. The Principality aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.
For his accomplishments and engagement in the protection of the planet, Prince Albert II has received numerous distinctions from universities and international organizations around the world.
A sports advocate, the Prince is a former Olympian, having participated in five Winter Games in the bobsleigh competition, and serves as President of the Monaco Olympic Committee, member of the International Olympic Committee and Chairman of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission.
In his greetings, Chairman of the Board of Governors Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel noted that the ceremony was taking part during Israel’s 70th anniversary year. “Tel Aviv University was one of the first universities born to the young nation, which was still struggling for its recognition and survival,” he said. “Today our university fulfils the principles that brought this country to the present day – perseverance, determination, uncompromising excellence, rigor and a reverence for human capability.” Turning to Prince Albert, he continued, “Our honoree tonight exemplifies these principles across the broad range of activities and causes he pursues. He comes to us as a forward-looking statesman, as a national leader, as a humanitarian and, through his environmental and social responsibility, as a champion of the future.”
TAU President Joseph Klafter said, “We at the University are delighted to reciprocate the gracious welcome we received in Monaco last December. At that time we began forging a bond – particularly in the field of environment and sustainability – and this evening we are reinforcing that bond.” He noted that both the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Tel Aviv University advance research aimed at protecting the natural world. “At TAU our faculties of engineering and exact sciences are working on anti-pollution methods, renewable energy, water purification, green chemistry and smart cities. In the social sciences, our Mints Institute sends PhD students to Asia and Africa to test and evaluate sustainable agricultural practices in villages. And we just established a joint project with TATA to send teams from Israel to smallholder farms in India,” said Prof. Klafter.
“Looking forward, our mission at Tel Aviv University is to bring an innovative, problem-solving spirit to every discipline. Whether it’s coping with climate change, finding life-saving drugs, or fighting poverty – the University is determined to be a positive force in society. We therefore feel privileged and grateful for this opportunity to honor Prince Albert II, his foundation and the principality of Monaco for their positive and forward-looking contributions to society and humanity.
“Your Serene Highness, you set a high standard for committed leadership. You are an active supporter of important causes, among them medical care, economic opportunity and youth welfare, and you have upheld the tradition begun by your mother, Princess Grace, in championing the arts. You have advocated environmentally responsible and ethical development and you have proved a great friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” Prof. Klafter concluded.
In his response, Prince Albert spoke of his admiration for Tel Aviv University and said he enjoyed being in Tel Aviv, “a city that embodies international openness and a melting pot,” especially during Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations. He called on those present to join and stand together against the challenges facing our planet. “The contribution of all of us is needed,” he said.