ATS Executive Vice President Jeff Richard (l) with Ambassador Ron Dermer
On the eve of the Presidential Forum, Guardians gathered for
a VIP event with two special guests: Ambassador Ronald Lauder, President of the
World Jewish Congress, and Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer.
Both provided insight into the current state of affairs in the Israel/U.S. relationship.
“When the world needs more water . . . better ways to irrigate
its fields . . . new apps for its phones and computers, who does it look to?" Ambassador
Lauder asked. Despite the growing BDS movement,
the answer, of course, is Israel. “Countries that don’t know much about Israel
. . . have nothing but admiration for the brilliant technology that comes from
the Jewish State,” he said.
Ambassador Dermer spoke of the Technion’s role in creating
what he calls the Innovation Nation. “The Secret to Israel’s success is
chutzpah, which is the culture of questioning. The Culture of
Innovation=Technion,” he said.
Day 1: Policies and Analysis
to r) Mark Dorner, 21st Century Leadership Development program participant, introduced
Stuart Rothenberg, political analyst; with Jeff Richard, ATS Executive
|(l to r) Sandy Hittman, Chuck Levin and Jeff RIchard enjoying the view of the White House from the Top of the Hay
The Forum kicked off with a behind-the-scenes briefing from
political analyst Stuart Rothenberg,
who shared his views on the current roster of presidential candidates from both
sides of the aisle, and why this race is different than previous ones.
This was followed by a private White House Policy Briefing
at the Executive Office Building at the White House, which has been the scene
of many notable events in U.S. history. We were privileged to hear firsthand
from Obama Administration officials from the Departments of State and Treasury,
who are key players in foreign relations and security.
Breaking for lunch at the Top of the Hay, the crown jewel of the historic Hay Adams Hotel with
panoramic views of the White House, we had the opportunity to exchange views
with Ambassador Dennis Ross on the
Iran nuclear deal and the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Ambassador
Ross, who helped shape U.S. foreign policy under five consecutive presidents,
was interviewed by journalist Nicholas
Lemann. Participants were so absorbed in the interview, you could hear a
pin drop when Ross and Lemann talked about how complicated the Iran deal has
been, and will likely always be. Lemann is a writer/editor for The New Yorker
and former Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Technion Science Meets the Smithsonian
|Technion President Peretz Lavie (l) presents the Nano Bible to Smithsonian Institution Secretary David Skorton
One of the highlights of the Forum was a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of American
History, where Technion President
Peretz Lavie presented Smithsonian Institution Secretary David Skorton (former Cornell
University President) with the Technion
Nano Bible, to be placed in the Dibner
Library of the History of Science and Technology. They were joined by Nancy
Gwinn, Director of the Smithsonian Libraries; Scott Berrie, Vice President,
Board of Trustees, The Russell Berrie Foundation; Technion Professor Uri Sivan, creator of the Nano Bible at the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute; and Brent Dibner, grandson of Bern Dibner, for
whom the library is named.
Bern immigrated with his family to the U.S. from Ukraine as
a child. He studied electrical engineering, fought in a strategic bomber
command during World War II, patented electrical power cable inventions, and
fell in love with the history of science and technology.
A former Vice President of the ATS New England Region, Brent
inherited his love for the Technion from his parents and grandfather, but came
to know the university firsthand when he worked alongside Technion
researchers as a naval architect and marine engineer at the shipyards in Haifa
in the 1970s. “It is our challenge to link our children to this legacy, and to
give the opportunity to see the Technion in the flesh.”
here to watch the video of the Nano Bible presentation.
Dialogue with Dr. Qanta Ahmed
Dr. Qanta Ahmed and Technion President Peretz Lavie
was particularly fascinating, as we joined President Lavie in dialogue with Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a devout Muslim known
for her outspoken stance against radical Islam. Weeks before the horrific
attacks in Paris, we examined the global threat of ISIS and other such
extremist groups. Dr. Ahmed is Associate Professor of Medicine at the State
University of New York, Stony Brook, and an author and journalist. President
Lavie and Dr. Ahmed held a session with a similar format at the June 2015 Board
of Governors meeting, which can be viewed online by clicking here.
Day 2: Technion Solutions to World Challenges
As water shortages proliferate around the world, most
notably in California, there is no
time to lose in the search for solutions. Seth
Siegel, author of the just-published book “Let
There Be Water,” spoke at our breakfast about
the growing divide between water availability and demand, and how Israel can
serve as a model for a solution. Many water initiatives have been developed at the
Lavie gave an insider’s briefing on
the Technion and its plans for the future, sharing what keeps him up at night. The current tension in Israel and around the world topped the list. “The Technion can be a model of tolerance for society, a university that puts education as its primary target,” he said. Twelve
years ago, the percentage of minority students was just 7 percent with a dropout
rate nearly quadruple that of the general student population. After instituting a
successful pre-university program for minority students, this population has
risen to 20 percent, with a dropout rate on par with the mainstream. “This is
co-existence,” he added.
President Lavie also talked about the challenge of growing
competition and how the Technion has shifted its focus to compete with elite
universities outside of Israel, growing its International School, and entering partnerships
like the ones in New York and China. Lastly, the President talked about the
university’s need to recruit top-notch faculty, and the ATS’s key role in
helping the Technion.
We then heard from Distinguished
Professor and Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover and Professor Ze’ev Ronai, about
the exciting new Technion Integrative
Cancer Center (TICC), which they co-lead. They were joined by TICC
professors Ester Segal and Avi Schroeder. Prof. Ciechanover spoke of the
current state of cancer research, and thanked supporters for helping make
Technion cancer research what it is today. Prof. Ronai, recruited from
Sanford-Burnham-Perbys Discovery Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, talked about
the Technion advantage in creating an integrative center—its ability to combine
engineering and the basic sciences with medical research and clinical trials.
Prof. Segal gave a personal account of her battle with stage-3 breast cancer,
and how that led to her current research designing silicon materials to deliver
targeted chemotherapy. Prof. Schroeder talked about his work in using
nanotechnology to manufacture cancer-fighting drugs inside the body at the
Click here to watch the video of their panel presentation.
Later that day, there was another exhilarating panel discussion with Technion entrepreneurs
whose companies and inventions are changing the world. While their products
range from breakthrough cancer therapy to a fashion start-up, their common
denominator is—a Technion education. The panelists included:
- Professor Emeritus Yoram Palti, a biomedical
entrepreneur and founder of Novocure Ltd., which pioneered breakthrough cancer therapy
- Assistant Professor Moran Bercovici, head of the
Microfluidic Technologies Laboratory, who developed a "lab on a chip"
- Dr. Eitan Konstantino, whose company, QT
Vascular, Ltd., deals with minimally invasive treatment of vascular disease
- Tomer London, an innovator in the payroll
industry and founder of Gusto
- Yael Vizel, founder of fashion start-up Zeekit,
which allows shoppers to try on clothes while online
ATS 75th Anniversary Celebration
co-chairs on stage for a celebratory toast at the 75th Anniversary celebration: (l to r) Mark Sheinkopf, Cyma and Ed Satell, and
(l to r) Technion President Peretz Lavie and ATS President Zahava Bar-Nir present the Guardian pin to Ruth Kurzbauer
our time together with an celebratory anniversary dinner, held at the Smithsonian’s National
Portrait Gallery, which was reserved especially for us. We had a private
viewing of the “Twentieth-Century Americans” exhibit while having our own
portraits drawn by artists. We then honored ATS heroes—the multigenerational
ATS families that have helped the Technion become the global leader it is
today. Larry Jackier, who served as the master of ceremonies, shared the
landmark accomplishments of the ATS over the decades and introduced the 75th Anniversary video, which traces the history of the ATS and how
it paralleled the growth of the Technion. Following the video, Janet Shatz
Snyder, a graduate of the 21st Century Leadership Development
program from Washington, D.C., spoke about her own family’s history of devotion
to the organization, and provided an inspirational look to the future.
would not be where it is today without the unwavering dedication of our
constituents. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the following supporters were
recognized for reaching new levels of giving:
Cathy and James
Deutchman, John Freiberg, Dr. Bernard Lublin, and Jeri
and Joel S. Rothman
Mentor: Linda Kovan
Robert Brand, Lewis
and Joan Lowenstein Foundation, Shirley and Marshall Mazer Family Foundation,
Zelda Panzirer, Drs. Phil and Fran Parker, Allen A. Stein Family Foundation and
Click here to view
photos from the Portrait Gallery event.