The gift is the largest ever to the Technion and one of the most generous in the history of Israeli higher education. A new era of research and innovation in science, engineering, and life sciences is opening in China with a joint venture between Israel’s prestigious Technion – Israel Institute of Technology – and Shantou University (STU) to build a new academic facility in Guangdong Province.
Here’s the letter transcript:
September 29, 2013
Dear friends and members of the Technion worldwide family,
I am delighted to announce that the Technion and China’s Shantou University have agreed to establish the Technion–Guangdong Institute of Technology (TGIT).
This landmark collaboration was made possible by a $130 million donation to the Technion by the charitable foundation of prominent Hong Kong entrepreneur and philanthropist Mr. Li Ka-shing, combined with a strategic investment of RMB 900 million (approximately $150 million) by the Guangdong Province to develop and operate the new institute – for an overall total of about $280 million. Moreover, a technological park will be built in close proximity to the TGIT campus, that will serve as a bridgehead for Israeli companies interested in the Chinese market.
The $130 million gift by the Li Ka Shing Foundation will be allocated to strengthening the Technion’s home campus in Haifa, for the benefit of our students and researchers. This remarkable donation is the single largest gift ever to the Technion, and one of the most generous ever received by an Israeli institution.
A number of leading universities from the U.S., U.K. and Australia have already launched academic programs in China, but the Technion is the first university whose China campus and operation will be fully funded by Chinese resources.
The Technion project in Guangdong is fully aligned with the policy of recent Israeli governments that have devoted much attention and efforts to broaden and strengthen Israel – China relations at all levels. The Israeli Council of Higher Education has declared the development of academic collaborations with China a strategic goal and has even allocated resources for scholarships to Chinese students coming to study in Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu visited China in May of this year and has signed a number of commercial cooperation agreements. During and after his visit, both PM Netanyahu and his Chinese hosts have given their enthusiastic blessing to additional collaboration agreements between the two countries.
The idea for the Technion-Shantou collaboration first arose during a meeting I had with Mr. Li Ka-shing about two years ago, and evolved over time through intense negotiations that were carried out successfully by Senior Executive Vice President Prof. Paul Feigin, Executive Vice President & Director General Prof. Arnon Bentur (who founded the Technion International School), and Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development Prof. Boaz Golany. All three worked closely with their colleagues from Shantou University on the detailed planning of the new institute.
We are proud that Mr. Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest man in Asia and a visionary entrepreneur who has made a major contribution to Israel’s economy through his successful and diverse investments, has chosen the Technion as his partner for this historic undertaking.
With this agreement the Technion has taken another major step forward in our quest to become one of the top leading science and technology universities in the world. Together with our partnership with Cornell in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute in New York City, and other strategic international collaborations, the Technion has become a world renowned powerhouse in science, technology and innovation — and this is manifesting itself east and west.
The Technion-Guangdong Institute of Technology will grant undergraduate and graduate Technion degrees, with studies beginning in the fall of 2014 in the field of civil and environmental engineering. TGIT faculty will be recruited partly from Shantou University, and others, from top universities around the world, will be identified by a search committee. All faculty, as well as post-doctoral fellows, will be trained at the Technion in Haifa. The degrees awarded by TGIT will be Technion diplomas, and all academic aspects will be governed by the Technion academic authorities to ensure that the curriculum and standards are equivalent to those at the Technion in Israel. Students will initially study at the Technion International School in Haifa until the campus is completed in Shantou.
The framework agreement for the establishment will soon be brought for the approval of the Technion’s and Chinese statutory authorities.
Yesterday, as I signed this historic memorandum of understanding in the presence of Mr. Li Ka-shing, the Israeli Minister of Science and the Governor of Guangdong Province, I was reminded once again of you, Technion friends around the world, whose decades of generosity, friendship and hard work have built an institution on the slopes of Mt. Carmel in Israel that has become a beacon of knowledge and innovation, and a powerful magnet for visionary leaders and philanthropists the world over.