National Library of Israel Receives Major Gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman for New Landmark Building in Jerusalem

A major gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman will establish the Stephen A. Schwarzman Education Center in the new National Library of Israel campus currently under construction in Jerusalem.

The National Library of Israel

Jerusalem – The National Library of Israel (NLI) has announced a major gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman to establish the Stephen A. Schwarzman Education Center in the new NLI campus currently under construction in Jerusalem adjacent to the Israeli Parliament (Knesset). The new campus is being designed by celebrated architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, and is scheduled to open in 2021.

Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Blackstone, is a renowned philanthropist with a history of supporting transformational education programs. In 2013, Schwarzman established Schwarzman Scholars, a highly selective, one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing that is designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders to confront the most pressing challenges of their time.  Other major gifts have included a new student center and performing arts hub at Yale University, and the transformation and renovation of the New York Public Library’s main branch.

The 3,900 sq. ft. Stephen A. Schwarzman Education Center at the National Library of Israel will include a multi-purpose space with capacity of 100 people for classes, lectures, performances and more​; three distinct spaces for facilitating a diverse range of activities and workshops; and state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure to connect with peers in Israel and around the world.

Innovative educational programming is a centerpiece of the renewed mission of the NLI, as it opens access to the cultural treasures of the Jewish people, Israel and its region to diverse users and audiences in Israel and around the globe.  NLI educational programming generates meaningful learning experiences based on the Library’s extensive collections, which include manuscripts, printed works, images, music and more relating to Jewish, Muslim and Christian history, traditions and cultures.  The Stephen A. Schwarzman Education Center will function as the primary location for these activities, serving people of all faiths, including tens of thousands of student visitors annually, and millions more online.

The new National Library of Israel campus will feature an open and transparent building showcasing the Library’s treasures with an iconic three-level main reading hall at its center. It will house a 430 seat auditorium, permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, digitization and conservation laboratories, state-of-the-art facilities for storing and presenting rare items and more. A landscaped park with a commissioned sculpture, “Letters of Light,” by renowned Israeli artist Micha Ullman, will feature prominently.

The new National Library of Israel building has been made possible through the generosity of the Rothschild Family (Yad Hanadiv), the David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Family of  New York and the Israeli Government.

© Herzog & de Meuron


Stephen A. Schwarzman:

“My hope is that the Stephen A. Schwarzman Education Center will serve as the crossroads for its new campus, bringing together future generations of students from around the world and creating a hub for cutting-edge innovation and education. Now, more than ever, our focus must be on fostering cross-cultural relationships. I’m pleased to support the NLI as it furthers this mission by sharing artifacts and resources from Jewish, Muslim and Christian history and encouraging deep cultural understanding.”

David Blumberg, Chairman, National Library of Israel:

“The new center will enable us to optimize impact for generations to come, engaging learners of all backgrounds with meaningful educational programming based around the National Library treasures. It will certainly be a highlight of our new home and we are very grateful to Mr. Schwarzman for his generosity and vision.”

Lord Rothschild:

“I couldn’t be more delighted that Steve Schwarzman has decided to establish the Stephen A. Schwarzman Education Center in our new National Library of Israel building. It is a truly great project, and I am happy indeed that Steve’s name will be there. With a wide range of cultural, educational, and technological initiatives, the National Library will attract new audiences, connect Jewish communities throughout the world as well as carry out its principal function of being the pre-eminent library not only to Israel and Jewish communities worldwide but, in addition, to all faiths.”

© Herzog & de Meuron

About the National Library of Israel

Founded in Jerusalem in 1892, the National Library of Israel (NLI) is home to the intellectual and cultural treasures of the Jewish people, the State of Israel and its region throughout the ages.  It is home to the largest collection of textual Judaica ever amassed, as well as world-class collections related to Israel, Islam and the Middle East, and the Humanities. NLI has recently embarked upon an ambitious initiative to transform itself into a cutting-edge global center at the forefront of knowledge dissemination and cultural creativity.  This process is being driven by the principle of opening access to its treasures through a wide range of cultural, educational, and technological initiatives, as well as through the construction of its new home adjacent to Israel’s Parliament (Knesset) in Jerusalem. The new home of the NLI, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is schedule to open in 2021 and will provide a world-class venue for NLI to engage new audiences, while continuing to serve as Israel’s pre-eminent library for people of all faiths.

About Stephen A. Schwarzman

Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Blackstone, Stephen A. Schwarzman founded the Schwarzman Scholars program in order to give the most talented future leaders the power to change the course of history. An active philanthropist, Mr. Schwarzman has personally donated $100 million to this effort and is leading a campaign to raise $500 million more to fully endow the program—the single largest charitable effort in China’s history coming from largely international donors. In both business and education, Mr. Schwarzman has dedicated his career to developing transformative solutions to some of the world’s great challenges. His charitable giving has included anchor support for the New York Public Library, the establishment of the Schwarzman Center at Yale University, and sponsoring educational opportunity for talented children.

About Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron is a partnership led by five Senior Partners – Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Christine Binswanger, Ascan Mergenthaler and Stefan Marbach. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron established their office in Basel in 1978. The partnership has grown over the years – Christine Binswanger joined the practice as Partner in 1994, followed by Robert Hösl and Ascan Mergenthaler in 2004, Stefan Marbach in 2006, Esther Zumsteg in 2009, Andreas Fries in 2011, Vladimir Pajkic in 2012, Jason Frantzen and Wim Walschap in 2014 and Michael Fischer in 2016. An international team of about 40 Associates and 380 collaborators is working on projects across Europe, the Americas and Asia. The firm‘s main office is in Basel with additional offices in Hamburg, London, Madrid, New York City, and Hong Kong.

Herzog & de Meuron have designed a wide range of projects from the small scale of a private home to the large scale of urban design. While many of their projects are highly recognized public facilities, such as their stadiums and museums, they have also completed several distinguished private projects including apartment buildings, offices, and factories. The practice has been awarded numerous prizes including The Pritzker Architecture Prize (USA) in 2001, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (UK) and the Praemium Imperiale (Japan), both in 2007. In 2014, Herzog & de Meuron were awarded the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP).

© Herzog & de Meuron

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