Technion mourns the passing of Shimon Peres, 9th President of the State of Israel, a dear friend of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.
“Israel is small in area and poor in resources, so we have no choice but to be great visionaries. To be a visionary is not a tangible quality, but visionaries can create a new reality.”
Shimon Peres (1923-2016) believed in the importance of science and technology for the advance of Israel. In recognition of this, he was conferred a Technion Honorary Doctorate in 1985.
Peres was a firm and steadfast advocate of Technion. In 2003, he was present at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Technion Sara and Moshe Zisapel Nano-Electronics Center; he participated in the signing ceremony of the Technion’s cooperation agreement with the École Polytechnique in 2013; and in 2015, he honored the Technion with his presence at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in China, where he said: “The establishment of a Technion campus in China is one more proof that Israeli innovation is breaking down geographic borders.”
Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie said today:
“Shimon Peres, the 9th president of the State of Israel, recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Technion and a true friend, passed away this morning. As a visionary, Shimon Peres believed in the power of technology to change human reality. In a letter he sent me in 2013 he wrote that “Technion researchers and scientists, many talented young people among them, contribute to the positioning of Israel as an original and daring global laboratory at the forefront of scientific development worldwide. There is no limit to your breakthrough and innovation. You guarantee the preservation of Israel’s qualitative edge into the future.”
He was a unique person, full of optimism and vision, who believed in the power of science and engineering in advancing humanity towards a better future. He supported the development of research in nanotechnology and laid the cornerstone for the Nanoelctronics Center named after Sarah and Moshe Zisapel at Technion. Nanotechnology Research, which at the time was a new and pioneering field, is today a central field of activity at Technion.
Peres liked visiting the Technion, and was always thrilled by the level of scientific research and technological innovation. A year ago he honored the Technion by participating in the groundbreaking ceremony of Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in China – an initiative he claimed to be evidence of Israeli innovation and its ability to cross geographical boundaries.
We lost a dear man today, a true friend and mentor. May he be of blessed memory.”
In 2014, as President of the State of Israel and as a 1994 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Shimon Peres participated in a panel on campus together with Technion’s three Nobel Laureates: Distinguished Profs. Dan Shechtman, Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover. “How lucky that the Technion was founded 24 years before 1948, thus laying the foundations for the future state of Israel,” said Peres. “Had Israel been founded before Technion, the road would have been much harder. There is hardly an important project in the country that didn’t begin at Technion: the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering trained the people who then established the Aerospace Industries; the Dimona reactor, too, was built by Technion people. I’m proud of the Technion – the institution that produced Israel’s first Nobel Prize Laureates in science.”
Later at the same occasion he related:
“David Ben Gurion, a great dreamer, once asked me to set up a football team that would win the world championship. I told him it was impossible, but to you I say that the Technion can be a world champion among all institutes of its kind. We must dare to dream, because Israel is small in area and poor in resources, so we have no choice but to be great visionaries. To be a visionary is not a tangible quality, but visionaries can create a new reality.”