Wednesday, April 4, 2012

FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM: Message from Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie.

A Creative Space: The Technion Gutwirth Ecological Garden,
April 2012, Picture by Technion student Guy Shahar

Welcome to this spring 2012 edition of Technion LIVE. In these days we are celebrating the redemption of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt through the festival of Passover. Also in this time, we celebrate 100 years since April 11th, 1912 - the day when the first cornerstone was placed to physically declare the intent to create a first center of higher learning for the Jewish people in what was then Ottomon-occupied Palestine. 

We must never forget the creative space that comes before a great inspiration. Whether it was the urge of Moses to redeem his people through a great leap of trust into the wilderness, or whether it was the early visionaries of the Technion - who saw that the Jewish people could be freed from centuries of bloodshed and antisemitism in the diaspora by taking physical responsibility for their destiny and by moving also with a great leap of faith into the unknown. 

Technion is a place that is world-renowned for innovation and for its record numbers of start-ups and patents. Yet, our innermost secret is the strength of our basic research - that which has won Nobel Prizes for three of our scientists. This basic research is a direct function of our ability to invest in creative space - where the scientists can move with freedom and curiosity - pursing knowledge and skills, following his or her inspiration, without conditions. Only academic institutes of research can give this. From the front-lines of research at the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI), through to the steady unveiling of the mysteries of life through the Lorry I. Lokey Center for Life Sciences and Engineering, through to dyamic programs like the Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP) which is now a national coordinator in research into solar fuels - this creative space of basic research is the potent key to discovery and progress.

A Happy Passover and a proud Technion Cornerstone Centennial to all our students, friends and alumni in Israel and around the world. May we join together as one humanity in taking responsibility for our global future in order to open more freedom, peace and progress for all.
Professor Peretz Lavie 

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