Tel Aviv University (TAU), in collaboration with China’s university Tsinghua and Morningside from Hong Kong, held the first annual China Israel Innovation Forum (CIIF) at the Beijing Hong Kong Jockey Club Clubhouseon.
The invitation-only forum brought together influential individuals from academia, government, and industry – both from China and Israel – to explore the latest in technological developments and university-driven innovations.
“The China Israel Innovation Forum reflects the mission of leading universities like Tel Aviv and Tsinghua to be global forces for higher education and technological advancement, ” said Prof. Joseph Klafter, TAU President. Klafter co-chaired the event along with Prof. QIU Yong, President of Tsinghua University, and Mr. Ronnie C. Chan, Co-founder of Morningside and Chairman of Hang Lung Properties.
The union of Israeli and Chinese academia, government, and industry was unprecedented. “This forum is literally about improving the world, ” continued Klafter. “Through the power of partnership and collaboration we can take life-changing innovations from the lab to the marketplace and bring university discoveries to the general public.”
In 2014, TAU and Tsinghua University launched the XIN Center as a hub of research and innovation to address global challenges.
“After years of fruitful collaboration with Tel Aviv University, the FORUM takes our partnership to a higher level, ” said Tsinghua University President Prof. QIU Yong. “Tsinghua has always endeavored to cultivate innovative talent capable of tackling global challenges. By bringing together the leaders of China and Israel’s private, public, and academic sectors in the same place for the first time ever, this FORUM will help turn promise into possibility and ideas into reality.”
“What we have here are two of the world’s oldest civilizations coming together to transform the world through innovation, ” said FORUM co-chair Mr. Ronnie C. Chan, one of China’s most influential businessmen and a longtime friend of Israel and Tel Aviv University, from which he received an honorary doctorate in 2014. “This platform offers an opportunity to harness the power of China’s relationship with Israel to enrich humanity as a whole.”
The keynote address was delivered by Ambassador Dan Gillerman, former Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations. Matan Vilnai, Ambassador of Israel to China, offered opening remarks. The participation of these and other high-level diplomats and government officials reflects the esteem in which both countries hold this unparalleled gathering of leaders and power players.
FORUM sessions offered think-tank analysis of issues including globalization, cyber security, and the Internet of Things. Moderators included: Danny Yamin, VP of Microsoft Enterprise Strategy in China; Major General (Ret.) Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, Director of TAU’s Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center; and Dr. Yehoshua Gleitman, former Chief Scientist of Israel and Honorary Consul General of Singapore in Israel.
“It’s incredible to see this idea coming to fruition, ” said Orly Fromer, General Director of the FORUM and Director of Tel Aviv University’s new Chinese Alumni Association. “Four years ago we were just beginning our relationship with China and just starting to build this vast infrastructure. I recognized the magnitude of what we could achieve together and the infinite potential for educational and business collaboration between China and Israel. The FORUM is about realizing this potential.”
“The FORUM is just one of the ways in which TAU is re-defining what it means to be a world-class university in the 21st century, ” said Prof. Klafter. “It’s no longer about being ensconced in the ivory tower. It’s about going out into the world and enriching the marketplace through technology and innovation. And we are all shareholders in this exciting new venture.”