Dr. Shai Ben-Ami
Shai has always had a deep love of animals and zoos and has visited dozens of zoos and aquariums around the world in his professional capacity to gain first-hand insight into various methods used for the care of rare animals. He began to volunteer at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo in his teens and has over 20 years of working experience as a zookeeper, guide, educator and public speaker. Shai holds a master's degree from the University of Regensburg in Germany and a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem devoting his thesis to the ways in which zoos present and contextualize their history in both America and Europe. As part of his studies, Shai interned at the headquarters of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) in Amsterdam where he gained international experience in policymaking, communication, and social media. In 2022, Shai completed his PHD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His doctoral thesis deals with the history of animal collections in Israel. Shai was an integral part of the team which established the Israel Aquarium in Jerusalem. As part of the conceptual planning for the facility, Shai developed the education plan and signage. He established the Aquarium’s new education department which included creating annual work plans, developing training programs and personally training the new education team which consisted of 60 guides speaking five languages. He went on to manage the education team for three years after the opening of the facility. He was also an integral part of the marketing and PR team for both the Jerusalem Zoo and the Israel Aquarium, authoring the monthly Aquarium newsletter to hundreds of subscribers as well as creating social media content on a daily basis. Shai also has experience in donor relations, funding applications and donor reporting.