As you read this, I hope you are appreciating positive changes in our daily lives. If you are like me, you’re doing fewer Zoom meetings, and more in-person meet ups. And isn’t it nice to go to restaurants, or movies, or shops once again, without worrying whether people near you will make you sick?
Right now, we are all doing our best to return to “normal.” But a question I often hear lately is, “What does normal even look like now?” Are we going to go back to the way everything was before the pandemic? Or are we going to learn from what we went through, in the hopes of creating a better and more sustainable “normal” for the future?
I am certainly hoping for the latter, and in this issue, you will meet fascinating people who can help us get there. First, there is Reece Smyth, a new member of BSF’s Board of Governors, who is already serving as Chair. Reece is the director of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Science and Technology Cooperation, which promotes and protects American scientific leadership and uses science, technology, and innovation to advance American foreign policy interests. Reece comes to the BOG with an impressive background in international trade and diplomacy. He is not a scientist, but he has worked closely with scientists throughout his career. I believe the BOG will greatly benefit from his expertise in forging international relations and partnerships.
You will also meet current and former BSF grantees who have played key research roles during the pandemic – and who are using what they have learned to tackle the BSF-supported research they were involved with before anyone ever knew about COVID 19. They are examples not only of talent, but of ingenuity. Using techniques developed in Israel and the United States, they prove once again why both nations are at the vanguard of scientific innovation.
As Israel and the United States continue navigating the pandemic – albeit with thankfully less restrictions — they do so under the direction of a new President in America and a new Prime Minister in Israel. Without a doubt, politics have been front and center for people in both nations. But science should never be beholden to politics. Science yields only to discoveries, truths and questions.
I think there are many important questions in the scientific community right now. What have we learned from this pandemic? How can we do better when the next pandemic emerges? How do we improve on technology – and at the same time keep our sense of humanity?
We will never find the answers to these questions individually. But collectively, we can – and we must. Science has always played a key role in the histories of both Israel and the United States. That’s why we must continue working together and sharing our discoveries with the world. At BSF, we strive every day to help Israeli and American scientists do just that.
Anton F. Post, PhD