Photo Credit: Guangdong Nan Ya Construction Engineering Design Co. and Mochly-Eldar Architects

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology broke ground on Wednesday to launch the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in Shantou, in Guangdong Province, China. GTIIT, an historic partnership between the Technion and Shantou University, will offer high-level, innovative and research-oriented undergraduate and graduate education.

GTIIT will offer three units: the College of Engineering; the College of Science; and the College of Life Science. Areas of study will eventually include chemical engineering, materials engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, mathematics, physics, biotechnology and food engineering, biology, and biochemical engineering. Majors may be adjusted or replaced, depending on the need of Guangdong and the development of the GTIIT.

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The first class is planned for 2016 with an initial enrollment plan of 100 students for chemical engineering. Fully realized, the GTIIT is expected to enroll some 5000 students made up of 4000 undergraduate and 1000 graduate students.

Leading the groundbreaking ceremony were Ofir Akunis, Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Hong Kong business leader and philanthropist Li Ka–shing, Technion President Peretz Lavie, GTIIT Chancellor Li Jiange; GTIIT Vice Chancellor, Technion Distinguished Professor and Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover; and former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

GTIIT will create not just a new academic facility, but a new era of cooperative research between Israel and China in science, engineering and the life sciences. For the Chinese, the GTIIT brings the Technion’s expertise on creating a top-notch technical institute, as well as a stimulating dose of Israeli-style entrepreneurialism on a strategic level.

“Our unprecedented collaboration will be truly transformational for the Technion, Shantou and Chinese education. The combination of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel and the unbelievable scale and resources of China will result in a great partnership… Together we will create a major research institute that will help not only China and Israel, but also mankind in general,” said Technion President Peretz Lavie.

At the ceremony, former president Peres said “the establishment of a Technion campus in China is more proof that Israeli innovation is breaking down geographic borders. China is one of Israel’s major partners in technology and hi-tech, and there are over 1,000 Israeli companies active in China. I hope that the economic cooperation between these two countries will continue to expand, as both countries have much to share with, and learn from, one another.”

“In this day and age, no one has an iota of doubt that technological innovation underpins a country’s ability to create collective wealth, and that it is the key impetus to individual success. Creativity is the defining centerpiece of our time — powering us into the future. Establishing a creative paradigm is not easy to set right, only through education and the rule of law can we build a free and fair, fun and fruitful future for all,” said Mr. Li Ka-shing.

The investment in the collaboration will also benefit the research facilities and infrastructure at the Technion’s Haifa campus. It will also form an anchor in the Far East that complements the Technion’s partnership with Cornell University at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, in New York City. Finally, an industrial park planned for the GTIIT campus will serve as a foothold for Israeli companies to crack key markets in the US and China.

The GTIIT is endorsed by both the Guangdong Provincial Government and Shantou Municipal Government. Those two governments granted the land for the university, and the Li Ka Shing Foundation has been supportive in the preparation and construction of interim campus of the GTIIT. Mr. Li Ka-shing and his Li Ka Shing Foundation initiated the partnership between the Technion and Shantou University in 2013.

“I want to thank the Israeli Government and the partners at Technion, for facilitating the progress of human civilization through science and technology that has been the common aspiration of China and Israel. GTIIT will continue the fine tradition of Technion in Shantou, Guangdong Province so as to build the “Silicon Valley” in South China,” said Li Jiange, inaugural President of the GTIIT.

(l to r) Technion President Peretz Lavie, People’s Republic of China (PRC) Vice Minister of Science and Technology Cao Jianlin, Israel Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis, Governor of Guangdong Zhu Xiaodan, former Israel President Shimon Peres, Secretary of the CCP Guangdong Province Committee Hu Chunhua, Chairman of Li Ka Shing Foundation Mr. Li Ka-shing, PRC Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping
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