Israeli ambassador Ido Aharoni talks about politics and innovation at Colgate

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Ambassador Ido Aharoni, consul general of Israel, visited campus recently to talk about his Middle East politics as well as his nation’s leadership in business innovation. At Colgate, both subjects always draw a crowd.

In addition to delivering a public lecture and meeting with about two dozen students interested in leadership and social innovation, Aharoni sat down with President Jeffrey Herbst in the Colgate studio, to record  a “Conversation on World Affairs.” Since 2011, more than a dozen interviews have taken place and can be found on YouTube and on President Herbst’s page on the Colgate website.

Entrepreneur Club students brought their copies of Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, the 2011 book that analyzes how Israel manages to be the world’s No. 1 producer of conceptual products, despite its small size, lack of natural resources, and relative youth as a nation.

Aharoni said it is because the necessary characteristics have been there all along: “refusal to accept limitations, permission to ask questions, and the permission to argue.” He also credited the “solid foundation of education and the centrality of learning in Jewish life.”

About the civil war in Syria, which Aharoni defined as primarily a religious rift between Shiites and Sunnis, he said, “I believe that what we are looking at cannot be referred to as a ‘spring’ because a spring implies something seasonal. I think we are looking at a historical, major shift that is probably the beginning of the undoing of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.”

For more, watch the or the full interview here.