Bill Clinton
Bill ClintonTomer Neuberg/Flash90

University of Haifa on Tuesday announced that it will confer honorary doctorates on former President Bill Clinton and New York University (NYU) President Emeritus John Sexton on December 12 at the NYU campus.

In a statement, the University said it is honoring Clinton "for his commitment to the State of Israel over the years, from promoting coexistence in the Middle East to his close friendship with the late PM Rabin, and the Clinton Global Initiative's worldwide activity on social and economic sustainability."

"Sexton will receive the highest honor for his pioneering vision for higher education and for transforming NYU into the world's first Global Network University."

"During his administration, President Clinton promoted Middle East coexistence alongside Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's government. Those diplomatic successes laid the groundwork for the Abraham Accords, normalizing relationships with four other Arab states — the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan."

"Today, the Clinton Global Initiative has created resilient projects in the face of global climate change, promoting access to renewable energy and expanding efforts to support the sustainable use of natural resources. In addition, it works with farming communities in Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania to transform subsistence agriculture into a catalyst for social and economic change."

A law school dean and university president, Sexton shaped NYU as the first global network university, a circulatory system of research and learning anchored by comprehensive campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai supplemented by study away sites in over a dozen other capital cities on six continents.

Since becoming NYU’s President Emeritus, he has devoted substantial effort to bringing education to the world’s poor and refugee populations; to this end, he founded the Catalyst Foundation for Universal Education and founded and chaired the President’s Council of the University of the People.

A recipient of two dozen honorary degrees, Sexton also has received ACE’s Hesburgh Award for lifetime achievement, the NASPA President's Award for outstanding support to students over an extended period of time, and the IIE’s Dugan Prize for distinguished work in international education.

Time Magazine named him as one of America’s ten most influential college or university presidents. He has chaired the boards of the American Council on Education, the Independent Colleges of New York, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Federal Reserve Bank of NY.

His inspirational translation of his ecumenical worldview into the world of education is tellingly recounted in his latest book, Standing for Reason, which has impacted thinking about the role of higher education in the US and around the world. His previous book, Baseball as a Road to God, was a New York Times bestseller and is being adapted into a full length documentary by Major League Baseball.

The honorary doctorates for Clinton and Sexton align strongly with multiple cornerstones of University of Haifa’s mission. In the realm of shared society, University of Haifa has long been a place where Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, international students, and security personnel study and socialize together in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect on campus.

University of Haifa is also committed to promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals which includes a trilateral agreement with the UAE and Germany on joint research on climate change and pollution in the Gulf.

“Bill Clinton and John Sexton embody key pillars of University of Haifa’s mission through their important contributions to shared society, coexistence, and sustainability,” said University of Haifa President Prof. Ron Robin. “These honorary doctorates serve as a crucial reminder that our institution is committed to affecting social and economic change beyond our campus — locally, regionally, and globally."