Pini Siluk

The New Face of Israeli Academia

Rosalie Lipsh-Sokolik from Kfar Chabad, Shir Tobiana from Haifa, and Rim Al Assam from Tel-Sheva are 3 of 49 doctoral students in the prestigious Ariane de Rothschild Women Doctoral Program, a project of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation. Each has made a commitment to scholarship, self-realization, and involvement in her community. And together, they are the new face of Israeli higher education and a reminder that, with enough will power and courage, social conventions can be overcome.

Promoting equal opportunities for women in academia and increasing the number of women — particularly those from Israel’s social and geographical periphery — studying for advanced degrees is a top priority of the State of Israel. The Ariane de Rothschild Program, which currently partners with five of the country’s leading research institutions, awards scholarships and research grants to promising female doctoral students from every background, geographical region, and religion in Israel, all of whom are determined to give back as much as they receive.

Take Rim, the first Bedouin woman to graduate with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in computer science from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. When not engaged in writing and research, Rim volunteers for three different nonprofits that help Bedouin high-school students envision and prepare for an academic future of their own.

The Ariane de Rothschild Program believes that diversity enriches all areas of life in Israel, including its college campuses. The program is another chapter in a long story of determined efforts to create a better society and state, a chapter that 49 women are writing as we speak.