First Israeli University Inaugurated in China

December 18, 2017
By: Office of the Technion Spokesperson

The Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology will train future innovators who will shape the world

The Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) was inaugurated today in Shantou, China. The project, which brings together Israeli spirit coupled with Chinese strength, is the result of an historic partnership between the Li Ka Shing Foundation, the Guangdong Provincial Government, the Shantou Municipal Government and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The ceremony was held on the GTIIT campus this morning, in the presence of Mr. Li Ka-shing, who conceived the idea and Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie included: Shantou Mayor Zheng Jiange; Haifa, Israel Mayor Yona Yahav; Israeli Consul General to Guangzhou, Nadav Cohen; Israeli Consul General to Hong Kong, Ahuva Spieler; Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Israel Council for Higher Education, Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats; Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Technion Distinguished Prof. Aaron Ciechanover; Technion Board of Governors Chairman Lawrence Jackier; representatives of the Chinese Government; and hundreds of guests from around the world.

Guests officiating at the GTIIT inauguration ceremony include (from left) Mr Zheng Jiange, Mayor of Shantou Municipality; Professor Peretz Lavie, President of Technion; Mr Richard Li, LKSF Director; Professor Aaron Ciechanover, Vice Chancellor of GTIIT; Mr Nadav Cohen, Consul General of Israel in Guangzhou; Mr Huang Ningsheng, Vice Governor of Guangdong; Mr Zhu Xiaodan, former Governor of Guangdong; Mr Li Ka-shing, LKSF Chairman; Mr Chen Liangxian, Secretary of the CPC Shantou Municipal Committee; Mr Li Jiange, Chancellor of GTIIT; Professor Yaffa Zilbershats, Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Israel Council for Higher Education and Professor Jiang Hong, President of Shantou University (credit: Li Ka-shing Foundation)

In his speech, Technion President Lavie discussed the great resemblance between Jewish tradition and Chinese culture: The Jewish and Chinese cultures both have long histories of written tradition, both emphasize ethics at the center of the tradition and both hold learning as a core value. President Lavie thanked philanthropist Li Ka-shing, whose profound vision, legendary generosity and deep devotion were instrumental in the realization of the project, and blessed the inauguration of the GTIIT that occurred during the Hanukah Holiday, with the Hebrew blessing: “Shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu la’z’man ha’zeh” (Who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.

GTIIT was established with the support of the governor of Guangdong Province, the Shantou Municipal Government, the Chinese Government and the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF). It is intended to train an elite group of scientists and engineers who will influence China and the world as a whole, mainly in aspects related to the environment. The Institute will also promote cooperation between Shantou University and the Technion, where such partnerships are already underway in the field of medical sciences.

To watch a video about the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology, click here.

The new university is headed by GTIIT Chancellor Li Jiange, who said, “China offers the Technion a broad platform to realize its academic excellence. We in turn must learn from the Technion and Israel what innovative thinking is.”

On behalf of the Technion, GTIIT is led by Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Technion Distinguished Prof. Aaron Ciechanover. Prof. Ciechanover 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 that we also have something to learn from the Chinese – planning and carrying out large-scale projects, adhering to timetables and boundless industriousness. There is no doubt that all parties involved in the project will reap considerable benefits from it.”

Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie (credit: Lin Jian)

The inauguration of the campus takes place just two years after the groundbreaking ceremony for GTIIT, which was held in December 2015 before an audience of 5,000. At that ceremony, the late ninth President of Israel Shimon Peres said: “The establishment of a Technion campus in China is one more proof that Israeli innovation is breaking down geographic borders. China is one of Israel’s major partners in technology and high-tech, and both countries have much to share with, and learn from, one another.”

Immediately following today’s inauguration ceremony, participants proceeded to the opening of a new exhibition that was designed especially for the event. Titled, “Technion Wisdom – The Art of Science,” the exhibition presents 37 noteworthy research and innovation achivments by Technion researchers and alumni. The exhibition’s curator, Anat Har-Gil, gave each of these developments an artistic interpretation that renders them accessible to the general public.

The events surrounding the inauguration also include a scientific conference with the participation of researchers from Technion and Shantou University. Lectures on various topics will include marine biology, coastal planning and medical science.

About the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology

Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT), situated near the Shantou University campus, is a high quality, innovative and research-oriented university. The new campus covers 100,000 square meters and includes 13 buildings, 29 classrooms, 14 teaching laboratories and 55 research laboratories. Six buildings serve as dormitories for students and faculty.

Last year, the Chinese Ministry of Education granted accreditation to the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology, which will “operate and promote advanced degree (Masters and PhD) programs based on Technion’s extensive experience in this field. Masters and PhD degrees will be issued by Technion.” The Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology shall strive for economic growth and social development based on the areas where Technion excels, and in accordance with the environmental challenges faced by China.

The new Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of technology campus (credit: GTIIT)

According to the letter of approval from the Chinese Ministry of Education, the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology will have approximately 3,000 students in its first decade (2017-2026), including 300 postgraduates. The GTIIT’s initial undergraduate programs are in Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and Food Engineering, and Materials Engineering. Its graduate programs are Chemical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Food Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The fields of study for PhD degrees will be in engineering and the sciences, according to the fields of specialization of the faculty members of the Institute.

Looking forward, GTIIT will also include academic faculties in Science, Engineering and Life Sciences. In the years ahead, the Institute will grow in terms of its area and the number of students and faculty, but in order to maintain the high level of instruction this growth will be accomplished gradually. In 2036, the Institutes student population is expected to be around 5,000, including around 1,000 graduate and doctoral students. The area of the Institute will also grow accordingly, from its current area of 100,000 square meters to 400,000 square meters.

The cooperation between the Technion and the Guangdong Province has already led to several other agreements, including a memorandum of understanding for scientific cooperation between the State of Israel and the Guangdong Province, economic cooperation agreements and a twin city agreement between the cities of Haifa and Shantou.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.