Israel’s Technion University Becomes Global Powerhouse

February 27, 2012 2:41 pm 0 comments

Mayor Michael Bloomberg Meets with Cornell University President David J. Skorton and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie on Feb. 23, 2012. Photo: Edward Reed.

Over the course of 10 years (and counting) under Dr. Peretz Lavie’s watch, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has invested in more than just science.

In an effort to increase the school’s number of Arab-Israeli students, Technion’s Landa Equal Opportunities Project provides services like health programs and academic preparation for Arab students in the Upper Galilee, dramatically decreasing their dropout rate.

“When I read the proclamations calling the Technion an ‘apartheid university,’ I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry,’” Lavie, the university’s president, said in an interview with JointMedia News Service.

Lavie was in New York to discuss the city’s ongoing partnership with Technion and Cornell University. New York announced the partnership last December, with the goal of creating an unmatched engineering campus on Roosevelt Island, which lies between Manhattan and Queens along the East River.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the campus is expected to generate $23 billion in economic activity, enhance job creation in the city, and generate 600 companies expected to provide 30,000 jobs over the next three decades. “Thanks to this outstanding partnership and groundbreaking proposal from Cornell and the Technion,” he said last December. “New York City’s goal of becoming the global leader in technological innovation is now within sight.”

Officially called “Cornell New York Tech, Home of the Technion-Cornell Institute of Innovation,” the massive academic project is affectionately known simply as “the Island.” The institute will be looking for students with entrepreneurial spirit, ready to experiment and to drive the economy, according to Lavie. London, Amsterdam and several U.S. cities have already asked the Technion to act as a consultant for similar efforts.

Lavie told JointMedia News Service that Technion’s strategic goal is “to be among the ten leading technical universities in the world, joining such schools as MIT, Cal Tech, Stanford, and Georgia Tech in the United States, and the leading universities in Europe, Asia and India.”

“I truly believe globalization is very important for high academic education to attract the best faculty and students and stay at the top of your field,” he said.

Lavie looks at science as “a most effective bridge, perhaps a means of overcoming political differences.”

“Science is a language shared even by enemies, he said. “It can bridge the gaps and help in the political conflict.” He noted that, “Some of the most successful collaboration between Palestinians and Israelis is in the field of science.”

Asked about the parameters of the Cornell-Technion partnership, Lavie stressed that a “precondition for participation” was that Israel could not take funds from its own budget for investment in New York. The Technion will not invest its own money in Roosevelt Island, but will take part in joint fundraising. Individual donors—some who have made contributions to both universities—will be approached. Combining foundation grants, economic development money and private contributions, Lavie said he is “sure we will be able to complete funding by 2017,” when the first two major buildings on the campus are slated to be ready.

“We have a fantastic partner in Cornell and its leadership,” Lavie said. “Cornell has taken the project with open heart and sees us as equal partners. We will collaborate in a way that is rare in an academic institute.”

True to his vision of science as a bridge builder, Lavie looks at “the Island” development as a “long bridge connecting Haifa and Manhattan, opening a window to the entire world.” He envisions PhD students spending a year in Haifa during the course of their studies. Israeli companies, many of which have research facilities within 10 minutes of the Haifa campus, will have a connection to Manhattan to develop joint research projects, while burgeoning Israeli scientists will have a way to return to Israel.

In a bit of academic jousting, Prof. Menachim Ben-Sasson—president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem—shed light on the significance of the Technion Cornell partnership.

“I hate to say it, but your achievement is not a Technion achievement, but a national achievement, recognition of the top quality in Israeli education,” Ben-Sasson told Lavie.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated magazine featured an extensive profile on Orthodox-Jewish college basketball player Aaron Liberman on Wednesday.  The article details Liberman’s efforts to balance faith, academics and basketball at Tulane University, a challenge the young athlete calls “a triple major.” Sports Illustrated pointed out that Liberman is the second Orthodox student to play Division I college basketball. The other was Tamir Goodman, the so-called “Jewish Jordan.” As reported in The Algemeiner, Liberman started his NCAA career at Northwestern University. According to [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.