Even in these darkest of times, there is hope. And there is the Technion. It was with that spirit and resolve that the American Technion Society Board of Directors meeting recently took place at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

Some of our Israeli guests made appearances via Zoom instead of in person and some of our agenda and activities were appropriately tempered, but as Technion President Professor Uri Sivan has repeatedly told us since October 7, we will move forward which is the only option during trying times.

We reported that in just three weeks, more than $800,000 was raised for the Technion’s Emergency Student & Security Support Fund. At the time of this writing, that amount has risen to $3,560,706.

There were many highlights over the three-day meeting. Prof. Sivan gave an update about how the Technion community is responding to the war. While the semester for all Israeli universities has been postponed until December, it is likely to be delayed longer. About 25% of the Technion’s student body are serving in the IDF. You can learn more about the Technion response and how ATS is helping by visiting our resource page.

We were treated to impressive and fascinating workshops on quantum technology by Professors Yossi Avron and Ido Kaminer and moderated by Technion alumnus Yaron Hadad. The promised advances the quantum revolution will bring include unmatched cybersecurity and unimaginably powerful computers that will also impact medicine, security, sustainability, and astrophysics. Their cutting-edge research updates gave the board great confidence in the direction of the Technion and the wise investment of ATS donor funding.

Our dinner reception on Saturday night, October 28, was an inspiring evening. The Albert Einstein Award was presented to The Helen Diller Family Foundation. Their support of the Helen Diller Quantum Center advances the frontiers of quantum science and shapes discoveries that will benefit human progress around the world. The award was accepted by Helen and Sanford Diller’s daughter and son-in-law, Jackie and Dan Safier.

Alice Kalman, vice chair of the Technion Student Association and an undergraduate in the Faculty of Biology, was our special guest. A poised young student, Alice is currently serving as an IDF officer deploying the Iron Dome to protect Israel’s population. Her resilience and attitude were admirable and inspiring to all of us.

On Sunday afternoon, we experienced an exciting visit to the Uber Campus, where we toured its new innovative space with Lior Ron, CEO of Uber Freight and Technion alumnus. He shared groundbreaking developments they are working on in freight and logistics involving autonomous trucks that left many of us wondering about stock opportunities.

The final dinner brought even more special guests and treats. Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest Marco Sermoneta joined us. He shared powerful reports on Israel’s war with Hamas and praised the Technion’s role in the country’s defense. We also enjoyed a riveting conversation between Guy Nattiv, director of the new film, “Golda,” and Kira Makagon, ATS national board member and chief innovation officer of Ring Central. Guy’s personal stories and insights about Golda the person and “Golda” the film were especially resonant given the historic comparisons that have been drawn between the Yom Kippur War and the current war with Hamas. We were touched by Guy’s openness when speaking about recent experiences with anti-Zionism in Hollywood since October 7.

Finally, among all the exciting events, we also held very productive committee meetings and conducted the business of the American Technion Society. The board engaged in lively discussion resulting in meaningful outcomes. Part of that included how we commence with honoring of the Technion’s centennial in a meaningful yet respectful way given current events.

While venues, themes, and type of events may change, we will “move forward” with this momentous commemoration. Afterall, the Technion helped build the nation and it will continue to help build the nation for the next century and beyond.

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