This month marks the celebration of the Chinese New Year, kicking off the “Year of the Dog.” 2018 also promises to be the “Year of Israel-China Technological Collaboration.”
One major reason is because just a couple of months ago, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and its Chinese partners inaugurated the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT), the first Israeli university campus in China.
GTIIT represents another major step forward in the Technion’s global expansion, which includes new partnerships like the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in New York along with the signing of memoranda of understanding with more than 200 universities and research institutes worldwide.
Consistently ranked among the top international science and technology research universities, the Technion has a longstanding reputation for advancing innovation that pushes the boundaries of human knowledge, changes industries, and saves lives. However, in China, New York, and elsewhere, Technion is exporting not just the products of its innovation, but also its process of innovation— the uniquely mentality for thinking outside the box, which is the lifeblood of the Israeli economy and has turned the country into the “start-up nation.”
This model is also rooted in an interdisciplinary research approach—unique to Israel’s universities and developed at the Technion—which brings together experts across fields to cultivate big ideas and address the most difficult challenges. This way of doing business has supported the Technion’s people as they have made immeasurable contributions to Israel and the world in medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation, nanotechnology, and many other fields.
Today this approach is taking root in China through the GTIIT. Established with the support of the Guangdong Province, the Shantou Municipal Government, the Chinese government, and the Li Ka-shing Foundation, GTIIT is training an elite group of scientists and engineers to shape China’s future. The Institute will also promote cooperation between Shantou University and Technion, where partnerships are already underway in the medical sciences.
It is no coincidence that Chinese leaders choose the Technion as its strategic partner for this major project. After more than two decades of extraordinary growth driven by industrialization, China understands that developing human capital is key to their country’s continued success and economic expansion. Israel’s experience transitioning from a developing country to a high-tech powerhouse offers important lessons, and Chinese leaders understand the central role that the Technion has played in spurring this development.
GTIIT is an investment in the Chinese people, with great potential to spawn new companies and drive economic activity in Guangdong, while advancing solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing China and the world—from reducing air pollution, to developing alternative energy sources, to addressing health crises like cancer and lung disease.
GTIIT is also a testament to the power of philanthropy. The institute would not be possible without the vision and generosity of Li Ka-shing, whose foundation granted $130 million to the GTIIT initiative in 2013. Li’s philanthropic work demonstrates the potential of a single person to change many millions of lives.
I’m excited to be leading a delegation of Technion supporters to visit the institution from Oct. 28-Nov. 10, 2018, for the Technion World Tour China. We will tour the new Technion Guangdong campus along with some of most culturally significant sites in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and elsewhere, and meet the leaders some of China’s most influential start-ups and investment companies.
Until then, the Technion has much to celebrate for Chinese New Year 2018. May the Year of the Dog be marked by a flood of innovation and success as Israel and China grow their exciting partnership.
Kung Hei Fat Choy!