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Dr. Tamar Golan
Tamar Golan (December 18, 1933 - March 30, 2011) was an Israeli journalist and diplomat, who was known especially for her work promoting ties between Israel and Africa, and for her effort to increase knowledge and awareness to African culture in Israel.
Tamar was born in Haifa in December 1933. As a young girl she was active in "Hashomer Hatzair" youth movment. She served in the "Nahal" brigade of the Israeli Defense Force, and joined a group of soldiers who were sent to voluneer in Kibbutz Lahav, north of Beersheba. In 1961 she travelled to Africa for the first time where she and her husband, the late Avihu Golan, joined an Israeli delegation to Ethiopia and served there as a educators.
Tamar returned to Kibbutz Lahav following her husband's death in Ethiopia. Since the loss of Avihu, Tamar wore only white, an African costum symbolising grief. In the late 60's Tamar was accepted to Columbia University, New York, where she completed her PHD studies in International law and Government with a focus on Africa. She then worked as a journalist in several Israeli media outlets, the British "Observer" and in the BBC African news section. However, most of her journalism work was for the Israeli Maariv Newspaper, reporting from African and Arab countries.
During the 70's she worked as Maariv reporter in Paris, where her appartment was a focal point for African leaders, Israeli and Arab politicians, artists and journalists, who mingled together and were often inspired by the charismatic personality of Tamar. She built a network of contacts with influential figures in Africa and in France, and received requests from Israeli officials to help maintain the contacts with African leaders, especially following the Six Day War, following which many African countries disconnected their diplomatic relations with Israel.
In 1994 Tamar was chosen to be the first Israeli ambassador to Angola. She served there from 1995 until 2002, then returned to Angola later on, upon the request of the Angolan president, José Eduardo dos Santos, in order to help establish a taskforce, under the auspices of the UN, for the removal of landmines.
Upon her return to Israel, Tamar settled at Kibbutz Lahav and lived there for the rest of her life with her close friends. Tamar, together with Dr. Yunes Abu Rabiya and Mr. Dodik Shoshani, and with the Support of Baron Eric De Rothschild created the "Coexistence Fund" that helped Bedouin youths obtain higher education. Tamar also became involved at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and at 2006 initiated a student volunteering program in Africa, the program became an annual delegation to several African Countries running every year since. At 2009 she established the Africa Centre at the Ben-Gurion University, which is named after her today and continues to develop and promote African Studies and activism on campus and in the community.
Tamar was a dedicated Africanist who believed, above all, in the pursuit of human rights for all. Tamar believed in teaching from a personal point of view. She shared with students her own unique experiences, in particular her encounters with influential African leaders. For Tamar, the mandate of the Africa Centre went beyond academic studies. She strove to have her students experience Africa in all its diversity and complexity, respecting its many cultures and peoples, developing a sensitivity for the difficulties facing Africa, and encouraging a personal commitment on the part of the students to actively work on problem-solving on behalf of Africa.
Dr. Tamar golan passed away at the age of 77 in Haifa, her hometown.
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others".
“There is a raw and elemental energy in Africa that does not seem to exist anywhere else in the world. It may have something to do with the fact that Africa is the birthplace of all humanity. For all humans, to go to Africa is to go home.”
Quote from the book LIGHTENING BIRD by Lyall Watson
Books and Articles by Dr. Golan
Africa Africa, 1988 ( With Amnon Dankner)
Gorilaz and Diplomacy, 2006 (With Dr. Tamar Ron)
Dr. Golan in the Media
Avi Cohen - Ambassador of All