I am no fan of ceremonies and speeches. The one yesterday was however one that I would not miss as the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzlya celebrated its 2010-2011 graduates. And two of the speeches at the rather long ceremony said things that really interested me and I will share them here.

Professor Uriel Reichman spoke about the history of the college that he founded in 1994. It’s a private college and no funding comes from the state budget. (for full disclosure the taxes we paid were approximately the double we would have paid in a state university). 1400 students graduated this year in one of the six schools specialized in law, computer sciences, business, economics, government and diplomacy, psychology. About a quarter of them come from other countries and more than half of those in the generation that graduated this year chose to make alyah and build their life in Israel. Approximately ten percent of the students who are coming from weaker economic families benefit from scholarships covering their studies. Combining the theoretic studies with the practical applications, encouraging free and independent thinking, creativity and personal initiative the college is today the best or among the best in all the fields it educates the students. I would add that the fact that the college is located in Herzlya transformed the city in many ways – some good, other like the increase in the cost of lodging not that good – but certainly they inject energy in the life of this northern neighbor of Tel Aviv.

The second speaker who impressed me was the head of the students union. I was expecting one of these speeches full of thanks for the professors, memories of the good time spent together and promises to meet in 10, 20 and 50 years. These were not completely absent, but there was also something else. The guy, towards his 30s, a man who like many other learned, worked, and went to the army service during his studies had his first daughter born a few weeks ago in the very hour when Israel transits from Memorial Day to Independence Day. He shared with the audience the feelings and wishes for his daughter – the dream to see her grow in a Jewish and democratic country, a homeland where any Jew can come at any time he decides to return and live in his country and where non-Jewish citizens can live their lives in full and equal rights, a country with recognized and safe borders, a country that is proud of what its citizens have achieved and standing in deeds by its moral principles, a country inspired by its history and tradition but where any man and woman can walk, dress and behave as they wish without interfering or imposing on the way other walk, dress and behave. A beautiful dream yet to become true that the graduates of this year will need to wok hard and sometimes fight to achieve.

And yes, I am the proud father of a BA graduate in Computer Sciences. Congratulations, son!