· President Rivlin began the memorial and said: "Everyone who sits here today has a responsibility to ensure that the Israeli innovation industry continues to be a pillar of fire lighting the way - this was the dream of my friend, Shimon Peres."
· Chemi Peres: "My father's legacy looks to the future, and it requires all of us."
· John Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco Systems: "Now is the time to introduce new communities into the world of innovation. When I visit Israel, I meet with heads of startups from all walks of life - and that's amazing to me. This is the true meaning behind startups in Israel "
· Gil Shwed, CEO of Check Point Software Technologies: "Technology allows me to stay here, to be a part of this nation, to be part of the dream of Zionism and of Israel, but technology allows me to also still be a part of this global world."
The events marking one year since the passing of the Ninth President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, began this morning at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa. Leaders and heads of global companies gathered together to continue his legacy and the flagship initiative that he launched just before his passing.
The President of Israel, Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, opened the event at the "Leadership and Innovation" conference in memory of President Peres and said: "Integration into Israeli high-tech is still dependent on family background, socio-economic status and geography rather than talent, ambition and hard work. We must change this picture. A clear and practical plan is needed alongside a courageous vision and uncompromising implementation. A new program focused on encouraging more participation in the high-tech sector, which was approved by the government this past January, recognizes that the burning need for engineers, programmers, and developers is no less than a national need. This is a program that understands that we must direct our students to focus on relevant fields, we must invest in training and, of course, in meaningful and impactful placements. This is an important program that must now be implemented, and it will succeed only with a combination of determined effort and joint leadership from all of those whose hold dear this country and its future. This includes all of us. Everyone who is sitting here today has a responsibility to ensure that the Israeli innovation industry continues to be a pillar of fire lighting the way - this was the dream of my friend Shimon Peres. That was his belief, and now it is in our hands."
Chemi Peres, Chairman of the Board of Directors and son of the late Ninth President Peres, said: "My father's vision was of the future. We will continue to realize his vision here, at the Peres Center, and give every young person and child the right to dream big. My father's legacy looks to the future, and it requires all of us. The Israeli Innovation Center, which will open in a year, will tell the story of Israel as the innovation nation, but will also ensure that Israel will remain a global leader of innovation."
John Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco Systems: "Shimon Peres would say to take the vision of hope and translate it into the impossible, then take the impossible and make it probable. He made me better as a leader. Every CEO who met him can say that the vision of the Ninth President made them a better leader."
Chambers added: "Technology is developing rapidly, and the State of Israel must accelerate to remain competitive. In a few years, fifty percent of today's professions will be irrelevant, and Shimon understood this and acted to prepare the State of Israel for this revolution. Now is the time to introduce new communities into the world of innovation. When I visit Israel, I meet with heads of startups from all walks of life - and that's amazing to me. This is the true meaning behind startups in Israel."
Gil Shwed, CEO of Check Point Software Technologies: "Technology allows me to stay here, to be a part of this nation, to be part of the dream of Zionism and of Israel, but technology allows me to also still be a part of this global world."
Heads of global companies, including John Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco Systems, Gil Shwed, Co-founder and CEO of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd, Orit Gadiesh, Chairman of Bain & Company, and more came together in Israel to honor the memory of the late President Peres and to advance his flagship initiative – the Israeli Innovation Center, which is set to open in 2018 at the Peres Center. The conference on "Leadership and Innovation" at the Peres Center focused on ways to strengthen the State of Israel as a hub of innovation and technology and its powerful impact on Tikkun Olam.
Shimon Peres, the Ninth President of the State of Israel, was a man of vision and action, who saw before him the advancement of the State of Israel and its transformation into a hub of innovation and technology, uncompromisingly striving toward peace.
Three months before his passing, together with President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he laid the cornerstone for the establishment of the Israeli Innovation Center. This Center will champion the development of contemporary Israeli innovation for the sake of Israel's future generations and its advancement in the global arena.
The Israeli Innovation Center, set to open in September 2018, expects to receive hundreds of thousands of visitors from Israel and around the world, including: heads of state and ministers, companies, entrepreneurs, business delegations, soldiers and students. Every visitor will be exposed to the story of the Innovation Nation, to Israeli entrepreneurs, and to the top Israeli innovations in a variety of fields through interactive technological displays. The Center will be spread out over 2,500 square meters (located at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation on the shores of Jaffa), and will include displays centering on four main themes.
1. The entry level will showcase top Israeli innovations that have changed the world, and will house a unique digital library, the first of its kind. Here visitors can ask questions about Israeli inventors and receive answers to the stories of Israeli innovation, as well as the driving force behind the human capital from which innovation is formed. It will include: WAZE, USB technology, Mobileye, drip irrigation, cherry tomatoes, and more.
2. The story of Israeli Innovation - Today, many are searching for the "magic pill", the answer to how Israel became such a powerhouse of innovation. Spearheaded by Professor Gili Drori of the Hebrew University, together with a team from the Peres Center, this question was studied in-depth and now, for the first time, the full story of how Israel became the innovation nation will be told in one place. The answer will include contributions from the IDF, security industries, the government, academia, the private sector, and entrepreneurs.
3. Contemporary Israeli Innovation: Visitors will experience an interactive platform that will enable them to become familiar with pioneering Israeli companies in a variety of fields. This exhibit will be updated regularly, and will be a source of knowledge, inspiration and pride for visitors. The entire complex will constantly evolve, directing visitors, entrepreneurs and international investors to the specific fields most interesting to them including agritech, cyber technology, digital medicine, the internet, and more.
4. Future technologies: What professions will exist in the future? What challenges await us? Leading Israeli companies will present future developments in: virtual reality, internet and cyber technologies, medical developments, advancements in food, education, laser technologies, and outer space. This space will enable every child, soldier and visitor to think outside the box and to find creative solutions to future global challenges.
Additional Memorial Events:
A memorial event will be held this evening, with attendance by the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, senior members of the security industry, the Peres family and friends, honored guests from Israel and abroad, and partners of the Peres Center.
Tomorrow (Thursday) at 11:00, President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin will speak, together with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, at the official State Memorial in memory of the late President Shimon Peres. Also in attendance: Top Israeli political leaders, children from schools named after Shimon Peres from Kfar Saba, Nazareth and Rosh Ha'ayin, as well as high-ranking guests, family and friends.
Photo Credit: Aviv Hofi