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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.
Fortunately, the Weizmann Institute is blessed with a global circle of close and dedicated friends, whose support I am sure can be relied upon as it confronts these complex times. Regardless of the new circumstances, we must forge ahead with projects that will help ensure our place at the forefront of scientific research. We have created an internal "fund for the encouragement of excellence" to support outstanding scientists as they move ahead, paving the way for a better future. This effort will extend to all areas of research conducted on this markedly interdisciplinary campus. In addition, we are expanding research in proteomics, submicron research, and nanochemistry, and will soon acquire an fMRI facility.
Exciting times lie ahead for the Weizmann Institute, though it seems that a few hurdles will need to be cleared along the way. I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank the outgoing Chairman of the Board of Governors, Gershon Kekst, and the outgoing Chairman of the Executive Council, Yehoshua Maor. The Institute has the good fortune of welcoming Stuart Eizenstat and Avraham Ben-Naftali who accepted these positions, respectively. I would also like to express my appreciation to the members of the Executive Council who recently came to the Institute despite the difficult regional situation and the members who were not able to be here but sent us heartwarming letters. As I get to know more of the Weizmann Institute family, I am confident that together we will surmount any obstacle that may lie in our path. I look forward to working with the entire family to meet the challenges ahead.