2024 Honorary Degree Recipients

JUNE, 2024

Batia Shani

Batia Shani was born in 1954 in Haifa during the period of austerity (Tsena). Her parents, holocaust survivors, came to Israel with a Maapilim boat a few years before she was born.

Batia was educated in Haifa, served in the IDF during the Yom Kippur War and states that her profound feelings of belonging to the City of Haifa influenced her decision to study social work at the University of Haifa. In the course of her studies and professional training she worked with bereaved families in the Ministry of Defense as well as in the ICU department of Beit Lowenstein, the largest rehabilitation hospital in Israel.

Batia was always surrounded by family that had a great love and appreciation for aesthetics and the arts. Despite this familial appreciation for the arts, her parents did not encourage her to pursue this discipline as a profession as they wanted her to be able to support herself, a pragmatic attitude shared by many of those who survived the holocaust. In the many years she spent practicing her studied profession and helping many families, she also practiced art which provided her with source of strength and wellbeing. In the late 1980’s, when her family moved to the United Kingdom, she was accepted into the Royal School of Needlework and finally was able to study and fully immerse herself in embroidery.

Batia turned art into her main occupation 30 years ago, while living and working in New York, London, Milan, and Israel. Her creations are a manifestation of her personal and professional background as a caregiver. Years of tending and caring for those wronged by society, victims of domestic abuse, trafficked children and refugees, have found their way into her art. 

In her creations, Batia uses fabrics from used clothes, old tablecloths and upholstery. Each piece of fabric has a story to tell and is, in essence, reinvented in the art when presented with colorful imagery that evolves in the creation process. 

Since the 1990’s she has exhibited her work at many art fairs, galleries and museums around the world including Israel, London, New York, Tokyo, Paris and Basel.

Batia and her partner Shaul have been active philanthropists for many years. They are committed to causes that bridge the gaps in Israeli society and strengthen the periphery. Their friendship and support of the University of Haifa will enabled the University to establish The Shani Family Art Gallery and Senate Building on the beautiful Mt. Carmel Campus. 

Batia is a mother of 3 and grandmother of 6.

Excerpts from Citation:
“In recognition of his 

Morris Kahn

Morris Kahn was born in South Africa in 1930 to humble beginnings. In 1956 at the age of 26, he Made Alya with his late wife Jacqueline and his two sons, David and Benjamin.

Foresight and business acumen were key to achieving his first large-scale success in the business world with the establishment of Israel’s Golden (Yellow) Pages in 1968. Morris built the first World underwater observatory in Eilat. In 1978, Morris co-founded the Aurum Group, and proceeded to establish companies in diverse fields, Golden Lines and Golden Channels, and was instrumental in the entry of global corporations AT&T and AIG into the Israeli market.

In 1980 Morris co-founded Amdocs, which served as the foundation upon which Israel later built itself as ‘The Startup Nation’. His large-scale, diversified business activities contributed to the development of the Israeli economy and created thousands of jobs. 

In recent years Mr. Kahn has increasingly focused his attention on philanthropy and venture philanthropy.  One of the most significant philanthropic projects Morris is most proud of is SpaceIL –

״Beresheet ״– A mission to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon as part of a Google competition, with two main objectives: firstly, to ignite the “Apollo effect” in Israel, inspiring passion and interest in space exploration among Israeli people; secondly, to cultivate international private business opportunities for the private space industry in Israel.

Morris is equally passionate about medical research, driven by a desire to save lives and alleviate suffering among others, cutting-edge cancer stem cell research, including the establishment of a laboratory for fertility preservation among cancer patients in Tel Hashomer.

From his youth Morris has been a fervent advocate for justice and equality, he emerged as a leading champion of the Quality of Government Movement, while passionately supporting and being involved in initiatives close to his heart – making cataract and Trachoma surgery available to Ethiopian villagers, operating a therapeutic horseback riding center for soldiers suffering from PDHD and the disabled. He is a major donor at Save a Child’s Heart, an NPO for life-saving cardiac surgery for children from developing countries.

Today, at the age of 94 with his grandchildren and great grandchildren by his side, Morris continues his far-reaching philanthropic activity. His exemplary leadership has inspired generations of entrepreneurs and young dreamers. His desire to do good for humanity and to ensure the prosperity of the world and Israel’s future continue to be his guiding principles.

Excerpts from Citation:
“In recognition of his 

Honorary Doctorate Conferees
of the University of Haifa