BGU was founded in 1969 to transform the Negev, the desert region in the southern part of Israel that composes approximately 60% of the country’s landmass. Named after David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, BGU is dedicated to fulfilling his vision to make the desert bloom with agriculture, science, technology and innovation.

Today, some 45 years later, BGU is Israel’s fastest growing institution of higher education, most sought after by students and faculty alike. With an international reputation for multidisciplinary research, a modern 21st century campus, and a dynamic student body, the University jumped 12 spots to #18 in the QS World University Rankings Top 50 Under 50 having risen nine spots from the previous year.

BGU remains true to its founding purpose by actively promoting high-technology, desert preservation, water resource management, alternative energy, international health services, and education in the Negev region, while also building bridges of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors through initiatives in science, research and development. As a measure of its success in these areas, BGU was ranked the 81st most sustainable university in the world and the first among Israeli institutions, according to the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, which analyzes current conditions and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in universities all over the world, and tied with Princeton University at #91 in the annual list of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2013.

Beer-Sheva’s Advanced Technologies Park, located adjacent to the main BGU campus and the Israel Railways intercity rail station promotes technology and the commercialization of cutting-edge research and innovation being developed through BGU and affiliate institutions, such as the Soroka University Medical Center and the National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev. One of the fields in which BGU has become a leader is cybersecurity. Check out this video Negev Stories: Cyber Solutions to learn more about the University and the Negev’s role in the area.

In the last 10 years, BGU’s student population has tripled to more than 19,000, and is expected to continue to grow. Its diverse student body hails from cities and villages all over Israel and includes native born Israelis, Jews and Arabs, including Bedouins, as well as new immigrants from Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union and other countries.

BGU is a known favorite among students and it is easy to understand why. A recent survey conducted by Israel’s Council for Higher Education rated BGU the #1 university by Israeli undergraduate students. Students from around the country come to BGU not only for the incredible academic opportunities, but also for its vibrant and engaged campus atmosphere. BGU is unique for Israeli universities in that the majority of students live on or near campus, creating a unique environment for study abroad students. Approximately two-thirds of the student body involved in some kind of volunteering or community engagement, and participants in the OSP are highly encouraged to take advantage of BGU’s active student life.