American Friends Support New TAU Center for AIDS and Related Infectious Diseases Friday, November 14, 2008
Official opening includes international conference
Dr. Gary Nabel, Director of the Vaccine Research Center at the NIH in Bethesda, MD.
With the dedication of the Tel Aviv University Center for AIDS and Related Infectious Diseases on November 6, 2008, Israel's leading university reaffirmed its commitment to fighting AIDS' tragic toll.
Supporting essential research, The Center is headed by Prof. Amnon Hizi and Prof. Jonathan Gershoni, both leading experts in the field. Primary funding was provided by the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program of USAID, an independent American government agency providing disaster-recovery assistance abroad.
Devastation on a global scale
The official dedication was part of the Center's First Annual Conference at Tel Aviv University. In introductory remarks, R. David Harden, Deputy Director of USAID at the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv, described the harsh reality of the current HIV-AIDS global crisis — 33 million people worldwide are now HIV-AIDS carriers, a number that is approximately five times the current population of the State of Israel.
R. David Harden, Deputy Director of USAID, from the Tel Aviv U.S. Embassy.
But numbers alone do not provide a complete picture of the human toll of this terrible disease, Harden said. He described the life of just one man he had met — a father infected with the HIV-AIDS virus — and its devastating effect on the lives of his wife and children. "The impact of the HIV-AIDS virus on the lives of each and every infected person's family, which is multiplied many times over, creates a tragic economic and public health impact."
Harden commended Tel Aviv University for its commitment to the fight against HIV-AIDS and for "bringing excellence, innovation, and the power of Israel's finest minds to this struggle. For this, USAID, the American people, and the U.S. embassy are very grateful.”
Dialogue in the scientific community
The guest of honor at the Conference, American Dr. Gary Nabel, Director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, delivered a fascinating lecture on “AIDS Vaccines at a Crossroad: Past and Future Directions.” Following his presentation, the audience enjoyed an exciting and interactive scientific exchange featuring other respected scientists in the field.
The Conference, organized by Dr. Eran Bacharach, Prof. Amnon Hizi, Prof. Jonathan Gershoni and Prof. Karen Avraham, was supported by American Friends of Tel Aviv University and TAU, as well as by the Ela Kodesz Institute for Research on Cancer Development and Prevention.