The Fondation Weizmann.be pour la science is a non-profit, private entity. Its aim is to promote the Weizmann Institute of Science in Belgium and to support its research projects via appropriate public relations activities as well as selective fund raising, in particular in the form of sponsorships, donations and legacies.
One of the Foundation’s regular activites is the sponsoring of promising students attending Belgian secondary schools, who qualify for participation in the annual 4 weeks International Scientific Summer School (ISSI) on the Weizmann Institute of Science campus, before continuing their tertiary education in science. This year two promising young women have been selected.
The Foundation is chaired by Mr Christian Hendboeg.
Mrs Diane Culer, Prof. Pierre Klees, Prof Maurice Sosnowski, Mr Paul de Schietere de Lophem, Mr Eric Hemeleers and Mr Roland Louis are directors.
The Belgian Foundation was founded in 2006, replacing the Belgian Committee, which had been established in 1973 by Prof. Georges Schnek, who also served as the first Secretary General until 1979. He was succeeded by Mr Louis Culer, who held this position for 20 years until 1999, followed by Prof. Marc van Montagu until June 2006.
Among the former Chairmen of the Committee were the former Belgian Prime Minister Theo Lefèvre (1973-1975), Prof. Piet de Somer, Rector of the “Katolieke Universiteit Leuven” (1975-1980) and Prof. Jean Brachet (1980-1972). Two Nobel Laureates, Prof. Christian de Duve and Prof. Ilya Prigogine, were members of the Academic Council.
The Weizmann Institute and the Belgian Connection
In 1932, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first President of the Weizmann Institute of Science and of the State of Israel, visited Albert I, King of the Belgians. He told the King of his plans to establish a scientific research center in Palestine, and also expressed some apprehension that the scientists he was trying to recruit in Europe might find the barren desolation of the land disheartening. He mentioned that he wished he had someone who could turn the dessert into a blooming garden, like the royal gardens he saw before him.
The King thought that a young Jewish landscape architect on his gardening staff might be able to help. The introduction of this young man, Yehiel Paldi, to Dr. Weizmann marks the beginning of the Weizmann Institute gardens. Paldi accepted Weizmann’s invitation to come to Rehovot “for just three months”, a decision which turned into a lifelong commitment of labor and love to make the new desert campus what Dr. Weizmann hoped it would be: a faithful external representation of the Institute’s substance, reflecting an endeavor of high and rare quality, both beautiful in itself and beneficial to its users.
The warm relationship between the Belgian royal family and Dr. Chaim Weizmann and his wife Vera continued in subsequent years. Dr. Weizmann met King Albert I and his queen when they visited Palestine in the early 1930’s. In 1938 he visited King Leopold III and the Queen Mother in Paris, a meeting at which the King asked how he could alleviate the position of the Jews and even offered to go to America to talk things over with President Roosevelt.
In 1959, Queen Elizabeth, then Queen Mother, lunched with Vera Weizmann at her home in Rehovot. As a memento of her visit, she left a photography signed by her, which is still prominently displayed in Dr. Weizmann’s study.
In 1964 King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola visited Israel and met Vera Weizmann in Jerusalem, bringing greetings from the Queen Mother.
Mr. Hendboeg studied at the Université Saint-Louis from which he gained a Master in Business Finance (1985) after a Degree in Translation and Interpretation in 1979.
His professional career started at the Bank Brussels Lambert Headquarters in the Capital Markets Department of which he became a Senior Manager. From there he went to Singapore still working for the same bank but as a Head of Trading and Sales. He left the bank in 1990 to join Mignon, Hanart, Declerck, Licensed Stockbrokers , as a board member and after 5 years a Managing Director. After other positions in the finance industry Mr. Hendboeg path lead him to the IT industry in 1999 by developing one of the major players in the internet and technology industry in Belgium with subsidiaries in France, Luxembourg and Hungary.
He was also a member of the Board at RSB SA (holding company in the food and catering industry,restaurants)
Since 2003 he is a Managing Director at Clinique Antoine Depage which is a Pluridisciplinary Specialized Medicine Clinic and an important institution in the Brussels health sector.
Since novembre 2016, Christian Hendboeg has been elected Member of the International Board of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Tel Aviv, Israël
Prof. Pierre Klees
Graduate civil engineer mechanic-electrician with the ULB (polytechnic school) in 1956, Pierre Klees begins his career with the ACEC in Charleroi. After a intensive training in nuclear energy and management in the USA, he continues its career with the ACEC of which he becomes managing director and general manager in 1985.
In 1990 he joins the airport of Brussels as managing director of BATC which he transforms into BIAC (International Brussels AirportCompany), limited company of public law, responsible for the services on the ground of the airport after fusion of RVA (Governed Air Routes).
In 2000 he is President of the board of La Poste, which he transforms into a public limited company. He is also independent director in several companies as well private as public and becomes
President of the Vinçotte group.
In the associative sector, he takes successively the Presidency of AIrBr (Association of the Engineers of the ULB),of the FABI (Federation of Belgian Civil engineers and agronomists) and SRBII (Royal Belgian Society of the Engineers and the Industrials).
President of the Belgian Association of the Directors, he operates the merger of it with the Dutch speaking equivalent to create GUBERNA of which he becomes member “Trustee ”.
In the academic sphere he creates in 1971 in the Faculty of Applied Sciences at ULB (Polytechnic school) the course “Centrales électriques nucleaires” of which he will be a professor until retirement in 1998 and succeeds in 1981 to the Professeur Paul OF GROOTE for the course “Economic aspects of nuclear energy”. He is currently professor Invité with the H.EF.F in charge of the course « Ethics and governance of the companies” in the economic category.
He’s honorary chairman of the Council for Applied Sciences of the Belgian Academy of Literature and Sciences ( CAPAS ).
Roland LOUIS is the Managing Director of Alexander Hughes Belgium-Luxembourg Offices. Alexander Hughes is an international Executive Search firm advising top management on vital recruitments to the company’s success: Executive and non-Executive Directors, senior Managers and recognized Experts.
Roland has more than 25 years professional experience at Management level with international firms.
After a first experience in the Audit sector at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, he joined the Bank & Insurance sector. Roland held during 15 years managerial positions in the Sales, Marketing and Operational departments of AXA, Allianz and Swiss Life.
Through his managerial experiences, he developed a passion for human resource and recruitment issues. He decided to join the Human Resources and Executive Search industries at international level.
Roland specializes in appointments for senior executives and board of directors across a wide variety of Belgian and international companies. His sectors of expertise at Alexander Hughes are Financial Services, Industry Environment and more recently Life Sciences.
Roland is also Business Angel and member of “Be Angels” (Belgium).
Roland holds a Master Degree in Business Economics from the University of Liège (HEC-ULg) and a Master in Executive Management (CEPAC) from Solvay Brussels School. Roland is married and has two children.
He speaks French, Dutch and English.
Current: Eeckman Art & Insurance, Eeckman Art & Insurance SAS,ORDAGO BVBA
Previous: Price Waterhouse Management Consultants, Union Chimique Belge – Pharmaceutical sector, Arias International -Furniture Industry
Education: Université catholique de Louvain
Paul de Schietere de Lophem
Born in 1953, Mr. Paul de Schietere de Lophem received a master in economics and in social communications. He served in the army as an officer in a tank battalion and he is now a commandant in the reserve. He started his career as a trader in green coffee mainly from Africa. Expanding his business to the markets of London and New-York he established contacts first with Merrill Lynch and then with Prudential Bache that he joined in 1983 till 1990. He left the international stock broking to become a Belgian stockbroker and got his license in 1993. He worked for a few institutions till he left Bank Degroof in order to buy his own company Axitis that he managed from 2003 till 2013. He recently sold the business to a 125-year-old Belgian stockbroker company, Weghsteen .Currently he is Director of the Cercle Royal Gaulois Artistique et Litteraire, President of the Cercle Ambiorix and member of the Club Royal des Guides ( my old regiment).
Prof. Maurice Sosnowski