Michael Vaknin, who co-chairs ISEF’s Development Committee together with Avi Abergel, was one of 13 children born to a Moroccan immigrant family in the development town of Ramle in central Israel.

Dr. Vaknin earned his BA and MA as an ISEF scholar at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem before receiving his PhD in economics and finance at Columbia University as an ISEF International Fellow, working as a research assistant to Nobel Laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Edmund Phelps. Michael also met his wife, Fany Vaknin, thanks to ISEF’s International Fellowship Program, where Fany was studying architecture–the very first architect to come out of the Negev town of Yeruham.

Until recently Chief Economist at JP Morgan Private Bank, Dr. Vaknin has also been Senior Global Markets Economist at Goldman Sachs International in London and economist at the Falk Institute for Economic Research. He has also lectured on international finance and monetary economics at Columbia University

“As ISEF alumni, we motivate others from a similar background to pursue higher education. We serve as role models for our families and communities. We pass our success on to others.”



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