TAU Helps U.S. University Presidents Discover the "Start-Up Nation" Thursday, July 12, 2012
American university officials visit Israel to promote international academic collaboration
Delegation seeks to expand academic collaboration. Photo: Project Interchange.
When a delegation of presidents and chancellors from U.S. universities travelled to Israel at the beginning of July, for a conference to explore opportunities for academic and research collaborations with Israeli institutions, Tel Aviv University was a top stop on the itinerary.
The University Presidents' Seminar, sponsored by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee, promotes academic ties between Israel and the U.S. by introducing American university officials to Israel's world-class research and educational facilities, demonstrating why this small country has become synonymous with innovation.
During their trip, delegates met with their counterparts at Israeli institutions, business and NGO executives, and academics, and participated in sessions on education, social welfare, ad economic development among others. Highlights included a meeting with venture capitalist Jon Medved, who shared insights into what makes Israel the "Start-Up Nation."
Visiting the home of innovation
Harvey Perlman, chancellor of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln showed a particular interest in agricultural technology, genetic research in plants, and brain biology — all areas in which Israeli innovators excel. The University of Nebraska is currently setting up a brain biology institute like Tel Aviv University's new Sagol School of Neuroscience — a discipline which provides ripe opportunities for collaboration, Perlman says.
"Israel is a leader in technical innovation," said North Carolina State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, a participant on the trip. "Sharing information on the strong ties between higher education and industry will provide meaningful examples for N.C. State's continued efforts to support a strong economy in North Carolina."
The participants were also introduced to the complex issues facing Israel and the region, meeting with senior Israeli government and military officials and community leaders across the political spectrum. They also travelled to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders and visited the city of Sderot to learn what life is like under the threat of daily rocket fire.