November 24, 2011 Quebec can benefit from Israeli tech know-how: Charest

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Premier Jean Charest greets Doreen Green, chair of the Canadian Technion Society, and gala honoree Stephan Ouaknine.
Premier Jean Charest greets Doreen Green, chair of the Canadian Technion Society, and gala honoree Stephan Ouaknine.

Canadian Jewish News

Janice Arnold, Staff Reporter, Thursday, November 24, 2011

MONTREAL –  Premier Jean Charest hailed Israel as a country that Quebec would like to do more business with, expressing admiration for its excellence in technology and science.

Charest was the guest speaker at a Nov. 17 fundraising dinner for the Canadian Technion Society (CTS) in honour of one of Quebec’s most successful high-tech entrepreneurs, Stephan Ouaknine, who learned much about startup ventures during the time he lived in Israel.

Charest praised the contributions the almost-century-old Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has made to the world, noting that three of its professors have won Nobel Prizes.

“But how could it be otherwise in Israel, an extremely small country with just seven million people, in an often hostile environment, politically, geographically and for its security.

“Israel is also part of Quebec, an important part of our lives that we share with you.”

Charest said he’d like to see greater links with Technion and other Israeli institutions to share expertise. “Science and technology are an important motor for the creation of jobs and wealth,” he said.

That kind of collaboration will be especially important to fulfil Charest’s $80-billion Plan Nord, the development of the vast territory of Quebec north of the 49th parallel, $47 billion of which is to be invested in the development of sustainable energy resources.

Charest expressed admiration for Ouaknine and what he has accomplished already at the age of 37. He said Quebec’s economy needs people with the vision and boldness of Ouaknine, the founder of Blueslice Networks, which he sold to Nasdaq-listed Tekelec. His new company is Inerjys Ventures, a fund for the development of renewable energy and its distribution.

Charest was also generous in his praise for the Jewish community.

“I want to express gratitude for the extraordinary Jewish community and what it has done for us. This is one of the greatest, if not the greatest places in the world to live.

“Here we can be a Montrealer, a Quebecer, a Canadian and love the State of Israel at the same time, and there is no contradiction,” he said. The declaration received enthusiastic applause from the audience of about 300 at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim.

He stressed that Quebec values diversity and wants to attract talented immigrants from around the world.

Even before he spoke, the premier was enthusiastically received, with guests chatting and taking their photos with him, and he got a standing ovation when he went on stage.

Ouaknine, the son of Moroccan and Egyptian immigrants, left Montreal for Israel after receiving his undergraduate degree at McGill University. After six years in Israel and one in New York, he returned to Montreal, and continues to have business interests in Israel.

Israeli Consul General Joel Lion officially invited Charest to visit Israel, which he has never visited.

Proceeds from the event will go toward research at Technion on alternative energy sources to fossil fuels. Nine faculties are working in this area, from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Philanthropy and investment for profit can coalesce for the benefit of humanity and the environment, Ouaknine believes, and he advocates greater public-private partnerships, something he has in common with Charest.

Ouaknine said his goal is to grow Inerjys into the first multinational provider of renewable energy through the development of more efficient storage. It’s an ambition he presented this year at the Clinton Global Initiative, a gathering called by former U.S. president Bill Clinton of influential world leaders.

A love of nature was instilled in him at an early age, including the summers he spent at the Y Country Camp, he said.

Ouaknine is also determined make more younger people aware of Technion and bring in a new generation of leadership to CTS.

November 10, 2011 CTS Engages Next Generation

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news_id124Canadian Jewish News

Michelle Bitran, Intern    Thursday, November 10, 2011

TORONTO –  The Canadian Technion Society (CTS) is literally refusing to grow old.

The organization, which creates awareness and fundraises for Haifa’s Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, has been around since 1943, but in the last year, it’s been focusing its efforts on the 25-to-45 crowd with its Generation Next project.

The goal is to “pass down the philanthropic role from one generation to a new one,” said Scott Woodrow, CTS board liaison to the Generation Next group, which includes about 25 young professionals who are interested in learning about fundraising for the Technion and spreading the message about the institution in Canada.

The young, enthusiastic crowd that has signed up comes from a range of different professional backgrounds.

“We have venture capitalists, we have  architects, real estate agents, lawyers – you name it, we’ve got it – all people that took an interest in the Technion,” said Hershel Recht, CTS’ national development director and the main organizer of Generation Next.

Though the idea to form Generation Next originated in 2004, it had been put on the back burner until last year. Now that the group is in full swing, Recht is enthusiastic about the impact it will have. “Over the last year, it’s back,” he said “and it’s back with a vengeance.”

The group’s first event was held last March, with businessman and philanthropist Seymour Shulich addressing the crowd about his personal story as well as about why the Technion is crucial for Israel’s development.

For its next event, Generation Next has planned a trip to Israel later this month. The group of 16 who have signed up will be taken to see the Technion and examine its impact on the thriving high-tech industry in Israel. The one-week trip is being heavily subsidized by a donor, and Recht is certain it will be an eye-opening experience.

“It’s a one-week smash, bang – this is Technion, this is high-tech in Israel,” he said with his typical enthusiasm, adding that, as supportive as the Generation Nexters are, it’s impossible for them to fully understand the Technion’s impact without seeing it for themselves.

The itinerary promises a peek at Better Place, the electric car company founded by a Technion graduate, as well as a visit to the Elite chocolate factory, where food and biotechnology graduates help create delicious treats. The group will also listen to several speakers and have the chance to take in the sights and sounds of Israel’s cities.

Torontonian Moran Drori, 29, only joined the group about a month ago, but the ninth-generation Israeli snatched up the opportunity to go on the trip. She said the first-hand experience will help her spread the word about the Technion when she gets back to Toronto.

“It’s not just about going to the university, it’s about going…to the places where the Technion is involved to see the fruit of the labour,” she said.

Recht added that the trip will also allow the Toronto community to make professional connections with Israelis, so that both sides can benefit from new partnerships.

According to Recht, Generation Next is going to forge a new path when it comes to young Jewish organizations. He wants to keep it focused on emerging technology and its creators, rather than on the glitz and glamour of traditional fundraising parties. “We’re not looking for parties. That’s not us,” he said.

After the trip to Israel, Generation Next will get back to planning its growth in Canada. Recht is confident the group of enthusiastic young people he has brought together is a strong one. “Ten years from now, they’ll be the board for Technion.”

November 7, 2011 Notice of the 2011 Annual General Meeting

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The Annual General Meeting of members  
of the Canadian Technion Society
will be held on
Sunday, November 13, 2011, at 10:00 am
Park Hyatt Hotel
4 Avenue Road

Via video conference
Technion President, Dr. Peretz Lavie
Nobel Laureate, Professor Dan Shectman

Guest Speaker
Mark Talesnick
Founder of Technion’s Engineers Without Borders


Board of Directors Meeting to Follow

RSVP: 416 789-4545 or
Dietary Laws observed