Technion broadens the connection between Israel and China.
The Chinese New Year, celebrated last month, is a time for starting over and welcoming good luck, happiness, prosperity and longevity.
I witnessed exactly this when I traveled to China recently with my wife, Eleanor, and other American Technion Society members, as well as a large number of Technion faculty, to be present for the opening of Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT).
The university is located in Shantou, in the Guangdong province on the southeast coast, and reflects a partnership between the Technion, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, and the Guangdong provincial and Shantou municipal governments.
The ceremony was inspiring: Brightly colored dragons sinuously danced across the stage to mighty drum beats while Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie greeted the guests in Hebrew and English. Thanks to the collaboration, including the generosity of Li Ka Shing, one of the most prominent philanthropists in China, GTIIT is poised to become a center of global innovation — a leader in research in engineering, ecology and life sciences.
The campus is already full of modern, architecturally interesting buildings —13 buildings, 29 classrooms, 14 teaching laboratories and 55 research laboratories. Many Technion faculty members are in residency already, forming working relationships and friendships with leaders of GTIIT and of Guangdong province.
Some 3,000 students are expected to attend the school in its first decade, and we were also able to mingle with a number of those enrolled in the first class at GTIIT. Many of them acted as volunteer guides and escorts.
They told us they were excited by the strengthening of China-Israel cooperation — whether through GTIIT, the Technion Technology Fund (which has a great deal of support from Hong Kong investment bankers), or an expansion of the relationship between the Technion and the Li Ka Shing Foundation.
It’s a great honor to be part of the institution chosen to create a university that builds the deepening China-Israel relationship. That crystallized for me the ways the Technion has truly become a global university.
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.
But GTIIT represents another major step forward in the Technion’s global expansion, which includes 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.
We share knowledge to enhance the lives of people around the globe. Israel is a small country but intellectually mighty. I agreed with GTIIT’s chancellor, Li Jiange, who said: “China offers the Technion a broad platform to realize its academic excellence. We, in turn, must learn from the Technion and Israel what innovative thinking is.”
I can’t wait to see how much good luck the new year has brought by then.
Larry Jackier of West Bloomfield is chairman of the board of governors of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.