Ten US University Presidents Visit Israel on Trip to Promote Academic Collaboration
The presidents of ten American universities and colleges are visiting Israel this week on a trip to promote bilateral academic ties.
The 17-member delegation — organized by the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Project Interchange — includes the heads of Cornell University, California State University at San Bernardino, Tulane University, Northern Arizona University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Sonoma State University, Tufts University, University of Minnesota, University of San Diego, and University of Vermont.
The group will meet with the leaders of top Israeli institutions — such as Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University, and the Technion — to discuss joint research and exchange opportunities, and learn about their success with technology transfer, the process by which universities identify and capitalize on research with market value.
Israel has been recognized as a world leader in this arena, with the chairman of the Israel Tech Transfer Network noting earlier this year that while the Technion has a fraction of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s budget, its income from commercialized research is similar.
During their trip, the delegation will learn about Israel’s social and entrepreneurial landscape, regional and security challenges, and its approach to global humanitarian aid. The sessions will feature Israeli Jewish and Arab experts from “across the political and social spectrum,” AJC said.
They will also meet with Palestinian experts on society, higher education, and entrepreneurship in Ramallah.
Mike Fitts, the president of Tulane University, said he was excited by the opportunity “to address longstanding societal problems in the environment, healthcare, energy and numerous other areas” with Israeli universities.
His sentiments were echoed by Sonoma State President Judy Sakaki, who shared that this would be her first visit to Israel.
“I … look forward to the opportunity to explore partnerships with my colleagues in higher education including those at some of Israel’s most esteemed universities,” Sakaki said.
Project Interchange trips for American university presidents have aided in the formation of multiple partnerships, including the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, the University of California and Israel Innovation Authority Partnership, and the Miami-Dade College-Tel Aviv University Memorandum of Understanding and Startup Nation Conference, AJC noted.
The group said it has brought about 6,000 leaders from more than 100 countries to Israel since 1982.