The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology.
The Technion World Tour is a three-year tour that takes supporters and donors around the world to see the innovations happening at all of the Technion campuses. The first tour in 2016 went to the university in Haifa, Israel. In 2017, the tour visited the brand new Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech located on Roosevelt Island, NY. And in 2018, the final leg of the tour will travel to Guangdong Technion-Israel-China tech triangle, the first Israeli university in China.
A highly engaged group from the Phoenix area participated in the October 2017 tour – Randi and Alan Jablin, Paul Stander and Julee Landau.
Randi Jablin is currently the American Technion Society steering committee chair and has been involved with Technion for 10 years. She started her involvement in 2008 as part of a two-year leadership development program called the 21st Century Club. “There were about 15 of us from around the country, and it culminated in a trip to Technion in Israel in 2010,” says Randi.
One of the conditions from her involvement with the 21st Century Club was that she take on a leadership position in her own community. That led her to become the steering committee chair. She plans two to three programs a year for donors and supporters in Phoenix. The Technion National Board meeting will be held in Phoenix this coming March.
Randi feels that Technion is at the forefront of solving most of the world’s challenging problems. “They have grad students and undergrads working on security, health, medicine, finding cures for disease, technology, artificial intelligence and on and on,” she says.
She says some of the highlights from the tour were a presentation by Dr. Amit Goffer, Technion graduate, entrepreneur and inventor of ReWalk, a mechanical exoskeleton for paraplegics, and his newest invention, UPnRIDE, which is a mobility device that allows those confined to a wheelchair to stand upright and be mobile.
She also enjoyed listening to Dean Kamen, inventor the Segway Human Transporter and founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST is a program to interest students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This year it will serve more than 300,000 students ages 6-18 in more than 60 countries around the world.
Randi’s third favorite presenter was Professor Hossam Haick. He is the creator of the artificially intelligent nanoarray, a device that can sniff out 17 specific diseases in a person’s breath. “When I went to Technion in 2010; he had just started working on it, and he showed my husband and me,” says Randi. “It’s gotten a lot more advanced since then, and it is in trials currently. He also mentioned developing patches that could be placed on a person’s skin and help with diagnosing diseases.”
Paul Stander was equally impressed with all of the presenters.As a Cornell alumnus, he is glad that Cornell is collaborating with Technion. “I was just impressed with the vision; the futuristic approach, a combination of innovation and willingness to challenge – looking at new solutions and new ways of doing things – without any boundaries,” he says. “The scientists from Technion are so brilliant, Dr. Irwin Jacobs was there – it was just an impressive gathering.” (Dr. Irwin Jacobs, with his wife Joan, Cornell alumni, provided the transformative gift that enabled the creation of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.)
As a physician, he was aware of their biomedical research and had been a supporter. “I had been at an AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C., a couple of years ago and there were people from Technion talking about the BDS movement and how Technion’s achievements were making it hard for people to boycott Israel,” says Paul. At that same conference, the Technion-Cornell collaboration was announced, and Paul mentioned that he was a Cornell alumnus. When he got home, he received a call from Technion. The relationship has grown from a combination of what he refers to as “overlapping interests.”
Paul is planning on going on the World Tour in China later this year. “I’ve never been to China, so I figured this would be a good way to go for the first time,” he says.