School Founder – Dame Shirley Porter

Dame Shirley Porter
Dame Shirley's Vision

"A world-ranked School of Environmental Studies that improves the lives of the people – and the land – of Israel, contributes to global welfare, and becomes an international hub for the environment is our aim".


Read Dame Shirley's vision

for the Porter School of Environmental Studies and the new Capsule Building 

The Porter School of Environmental Studies (PSES) at the Tel Aviv University (TAU) is the realization of Dame Shirley Porter's vision and commitment. Dame Shirley is a visionary as well as a practical woman; a former Lord Mayor of Westminster in London, she was appointed Dame by Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth in 1991.


During her many years of public activity, Dame Shirley gave special attention to the environment. Here in Israel, she wanted to establish a school that would advance environmental issues both in the academic and public spheres, and would contribute to the development of environmental solutions at both the national and global levels. It was quite natural for her to approach Tel Aviv University with this ambitious project: four generations of her family, Cohen-Porter, have been supporting the university since it was founded, and her late husband, Sir Leslie Porter, was TAU Chancellor. Dame Shirley is now an active member of the TAU Board of Governors.


Since PSES was established in the year 2000, Dame Shirley has been actively involved in the environmental work undertaken by the School in particular and TAU in general. She supports PSES's extensive activity, and further promotes the building of its innovative home, which she initiated. The Building is intended to be the first in Israel to be LEED Platinum certified (the highest American green building ranking), and is under last stages of construction. Additionally, as chair of the university's Development Committee, Dame Shirley has been leading TAU's Green Campus initiative.


Via the Porter Family Foundation Dame Shirley focuses her attention to funding environmental activity in Israel, as well as supporting the arts, education and health issues. Asa champion of the environmental movement in Israel, she was awarded the Green Globe award (aka Israel's 'Green Oscar'), by Life and Environment, Israeli Union of Environmental NGOs.


In 2014 the book Building for Change: The Porter School of Environmental Studies At Tel Aviv University was published.This book is a history of the Porter School of Environmental Studies since its inception at Tel Aviv University more than a decade ago: its donor’s initiative, vision and determination, its origins and the stages of its development and implementation, its role in Israel and in environmental research and education globally, and its team of dedicated researchers, teachers, students and administrators all working together toward a common goal.


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