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Being on the Weizmann Institute campus at any time is like being on a beautiful and relatively tranquil island in the midst of, yet unaffected by, turbulent winds and eruptions. The campus is beautiful, no doubt. The science is compelling, no doubt. And that must not be taken for granted. The path of science leads to peace. There is, simply put, no more powerful weapon system and no more eloquent strategy for responding to turbulence than the pursuit of science and the arts in serious, constructive, purposeful, and meaningful ways. Of course, we dare not adopt those value systems that prize destruction over creation. The Weizmann Institute, therefore, is our response to a volatile and sometimes frightening world, speaking to the best within us, within civilization, as opposed to the terrifying worst alternatives. Thus we are committed, despite what takes place about us, to elevation – to aliyah – to reaching the highest possible levels of human potential.
While contemplating what to say in my first message for the Annual Report, I recalled having often heard comments, throughout my scientific career outside the Weizmann Institute, about its remarkable familial nature. During the months as President of this Institute, I have experienced this firsthand on numerous occasions. Having met members of all departments, scientific as well as administrative, and visited the supporting committees, I am moved by the warmth with which I have been greeted and I thank you for welcoming me into this family.
Academic excellence is never "maintained" – it must continuously be pursued. The formula, under both normal and abnormal circumstances, includes: innovative scientists, state-of-the-art equipment, an ambitious atmosphere, and friendly support.
Today the Weizmann Institute must maneuver through difficulties that have been imposed on it and over which it has no control. Partly financed by the government, it faces considerable cuts in funding due to regional tensions. On the international front, it must also deal with the reemergence of malevolent views that until recently one liked to believe were part of the past.