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December 19, 2017 4:58 pm

Technion Becomes First Israeli University to Open Campus in China

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Technion President Peretz Lavie speaking at the inauguration of the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology. Photo: Lin Jian.

The Technion — Israel Institute of Technology became the first Israeli university to inaugurate a campus in China on Monday.

The Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) is a result of a 2013 partnership between the leading Israeli school and Shantou University in China’s southern Guangdong province.

The campus — the first the Haifa-based Technion has opened outside of Israel — is “the brainchild” of leading Hong Kong investor and philanthropist Li Ka-shing, American Technion Society spokesperson Kevin Hattori told The Algemeiner.

The project was funded with a $130 million grant from the Li Ka Shing Foundation — the biggest sum ever gifted to the Technion — and some $147 million of Chinese government funding.

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Li attended the inauguration ceremony alongside Technion President Peretz Lavie — who recited the Jewish “Shehecheyanu” blessingand a number of Israeli and Chinese officials.

“China offers the Technion a broad platform to realize its academic excellence,” said GTIIT’s chancellor, Li Jiange. “We in turn must learn from the Technion and Israel what innovative thinking is.”

The Technion’s Aaron Ciechanover, a distinguished professor of biochemistry and Nobel prize winner, said “the opening of the Technion campus in China is a testament to the excellent relations between China and Israel and, no less important, to the great appreciation of the Chinese giant for Israel’s scientific and engineering achievements and to the education leading to them.”

“It is important to remember,” he added, “that we also have something to learn from the Chinese — planning and carrying out large-scale projects, adhering to timetables and boundless industriousness.”

Over 200 undergraduate students are currently enrolled in their first year at GTIIT, studying either chemical engineering, materials engineering, or biotechnology and food engineering. The students — who are expected to become GTIIT’s first graduates in 2021 — will receive a Technion diploma.

The GTIIT “forms an anchor in the Far East that complements the Technion’s partnership with Cornell University,” Hattori explained.

The partnership between the Technion and Cornell was formalized through the formation of a joint institute at the new Cornell Tech campus, which was dedicated in New York in September.

At the time, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the Technion “one of the reasons why Israel is the global leader in tech and innovation.”

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