(Hebrew University/Bruno Cherbit)
Mona Khoury-Kassabri

Professor Mona Khoury-Kassbari was elected Vice President of Strategy and Diversity at the prestigious academic institution.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

The Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced Wednesday that Professor Mona Khoury-Kassbari has been elected Vice President of Strategy and Diversity, becoming the first Arab to fill a senior vice president position at the prestigious academic institution.

Khoury-Kassabri will be responsible for broadening the ranks of the university’s academic staff and student body with members from underrepresented communities in academia, including ultra-Orthodox Jews, Arabs, Ethiopians and people with disabilities.

In addition, Khoury-Kassabri will be charged with implementing the university’s strategic priorities, among them raising the social, economic and environmental impact of the university, increasing the cross-disciplinary efforts among the university’s six campuses and adapting teaching methods to the post-Corona period.

Aside from being the first member of the Arab community to be appointed to such a senior position at the university, it also marks the first time that Hebrew U established a senior role to strengthen diversity and inclusion.

“I am deeply honored to be the first Arab to serve as a Hebrew University vice president,” Khoury-Kassabri said in a statement released by the university. “I feel confident that my experience both inside the classroom and in senior roles at the university will serve me well in promoting the strategic goals and inclusionary values of this great institution.”

Khoury-Kassabri is the dean of the Paul Baerwald School of School of Social Work and Social Welfare at Hebrew U and will continue in that position until the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.

“Multi-culturalism and diversity are at the very heart of Hebrew University,” said university president Prof. Asher Cohen. “Professor Khoury-Kassabri is the ideal candidate. She champions diversity without compromising on academic integrity or professionalism.”

Khoury-Kassbari holds three degrees from HU’s School of Social Work and Social Welfare. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago and was a researcher at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work before returning to Israel in 2014, when she was appointed adviser to the university president to increase Arab access to higher education.

She has served in key positions on various committees, including head of the Steering Committee for Israeli Hope in Academia, and was promoted to dean of the social work school in 2018. Her areas of research are school violence, juvenile delinquency and cyber-bullying.