October 11, 2015 — On October 15, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem will confer an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree upon Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India in a special ceremony. Following the conferral, President Mukherjee will deliver a speech.
The award will be conferred in recognition of President Mukherjee’s longtime exemplary public service as a leading diplomat and champion of social and financial reform; in tribute to his steadfast commitment to higher education; and in appreciation of his longstanding advocacy of the relationship with the State of Israel.
This historic first visit of an Indian head of state to Israel comes after 25 years of quiet diplomatic relations between the two countries. India and Israel have extensive ties in a wide variety of fields, ranging from security to agriculture and the environment. The Hebrew University, which produces one-third of all civilian research in Israel, is a leader in many of these fields.
Shri Pranab Mukherjee is the thirteenth President of India and a distinguished elder statesman. He has devoted his five decades of public service in India to championing social justice and advancing India’s international diplomatic and financial global standing. In 1991 he authored groundbreaking revisions to a resource allocation formula between India’s central government and the local states which subsequently became known, in his honor, as the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula.
Pranab Mukherjee was born in 1935 in a small village in West Bengal. His parents’ activities in the Indian independence movement highly influenced his formative years. He followed their commitment to India’s national movement with his 1969 election into the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament, signaling his official entrance into politics. Pranab Mukherjee has pursued a highly acclaimed political career, serving in an unparalleled number of ministerial positions, most notably as Minister of Finance, Minister of Defense, Minister of Commerce, and Minister of External affairs. He has been elected to the Rajya Sabha five times and twice to the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Parliament.
Pranab Mukherjee’s diplomatic talents helped him to spearhead significant national projects and advance a number of critical reforms on a range of issues including employment, public access to information, food and security, and telecommunications and transportation. A stalwart advocate of higher education, Pranab Mukherjee has used his influence to initiate connections with academia around the world and to establish India’s institutions for higher education as the cornerstone of a strong and sustainable society. He is the chairman of the prestigious Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata and serves as the chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) among a host of senior academic positions.
Pranab Mukherjee established India’s first agricultural bank and boosted India’s economy in the international arena as member of the Board of Governors of the IMF, World Bank, and Asian and African Development Banks. He served multiple terms as India’s Finance Minister which led to him being declared Finance Minister of the Year for Asia in 2010 by “Emerging Markets,” the journal of record for the World Bank and the IMF.
An acclaimed orator and scholar, he earned a master’s degree in history and political science and a law degree from the University of Kolkata. His years as an astute consensus builder and social reformer have led to his receipt of numerous awards including India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan in 2008 and the Best Parliamentarian Award in 1997.