Bar-Ilan University to Award Honorary Doctorate to Hubert Leven
Date: 2012-05-22 Hour: 12:35
This evening, in the framework of the 57th Meeting of the Board of Trustees, Bar-Ilan University will bestow an honorary doctorate upon Hubert Leven, in recognition of his vital contribution to Am Yisrael, in giving hope to the poor, improving educational opportunities, and fostering unity and civic pride in every sector of Israeli society.
Hubert Leven is President of the Rashi Foundation, one of the largest private foundations operating in Israel. Focusing on “venture philanthropy,” the Rashi Foundation establishes programs and creates the infrastructures needed to reduce educational gaps, promote young leadership, and find solutions for children and youth at risk. The Rashi Foundation is a Founder of the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee.
Head of the Rashi Foundation since its establishment in 1984, Leven also serves as Vice-President of Alliance Israelite Universelle (AIU) in Paris, a charitable organization established a hundred and fifty years ago by his great-grandfather in order to provide educational opportunities and aid for Sephardic Jews in the Middle East. Leven also serves as Executive Vice-President of KIAH (Kol Israel Haverim) in Israel, and is Director of both the Israel Center for Civil Society and the Jewish Funders Network in New York.
Born in Paris in 1938, Leven escaped to Switzerland together with his mother and sister, while his father served in the French resistance. After the war, Leven attended high school in both Paris and New York and completed a degree in physics at Middlebury College.
After joining his father’s brokerage firm in Paris, Leven raised funds for the French United Jewish Appeal and took on a leading role in the AIU. In the mid-80s, he left Leven S.A. – where he was then CEO – to join the executive Committee of the Perrier Group, the mineral water company run by his uncle Gustave Leven, the Rashi Foundation’s founder. He later returned to the brokerage firm, directing its operations until 2000.
Today, Leven lives in Geneva, Switzerland. A father of four and grandfather of eight, he devotes most of his time to running the Rashi Foundation, traveling frequently to raise funds for its various projects, and bringing a message of Jewish unity wherever he goes. “It is only natural for those who benefitted from the Alliance’s activities two or three generations ago to support the same organization, which is still fighting to save those who are at the bottom of the socio-educational ladder,” he says.
The honorary doctorate will be conferred this evening, May 22, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. in the Dahan Family Unity Park on Bar-Ilan University's North Campus. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the University website.