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February 16, 2012 3:31 pm

Technology and Iran Focus of NYC Speaker’s Trip to Israel

avatar by Zachary Lichaa

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New York City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn (left). Photo: wiki commons.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday from Israel, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn laid out the meetings – including one with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who she called “gracious” – and events she had been attending since her arrival.

Speaker Quinn spent most of her time with business, political, and defense officials across the country, but the main focus of her trip was technology and the threat coming from Iran.

“High tech, biotech, med tech, these are all things we’re working on a lot at the council and I really knew there was a lot I could learn by meeting people here. It’s certainly something I’m taking home from this trip and adding into my tech agenda back home.  London, Barcelona, and other cities are trying to become the next Silicon Valley – we need to make sure that’s in New York, and using experience from Israel can help us so we don’t lose that to Europe,” she said.

The speaker’s New York City ties allowed her to meet with members from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which recently partnered with Cornell University to build a state of the art technology university on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

“We met with some of the point people on the project – Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Students, those who will work with Cornell, and a woman who will be the logistical operations person on Roosevelt Island – and I think it’s good for them that we got to meet now that they’ll be working with the Mayor and New York,” the Speaker said.

On Iran, she said Israelis do believe that Americans stand behind them in opposition to the Islamic Republic developing a nuclear weapon, and that back home in New York, she is worried about security issues, particularly following attacks this week in India, Georgia, and Thailand.

“I’m very concerned about that, very very concerned.”

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