Tel Aviv University has established the first research center for Israel Studies in China, at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, which was inaugurated last week in the presence of both university presidents.

JTU President Zhang Jie said the center aims to “achieve three main goals: Research on contemporary Israel and Sino-Israeli relations; promotion of academic and students exchanges; as well as technological cooperation.”

Jie also stressed the importance of “the long historical relations between Shanghai and the Jewish people.”

“The only place on earth that sheltered Jewish people during World War II was Shanghai. We are happy to continue this relationship today,” he said.

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter pointed out that the project is “unique in terms of its focus on contemporary Israel” and will “open a window to the state of Israel, its history, law, economy and culture, for Chinese and international students.”

Ambassador to China Matan Vilna’i and Consul-General in Shanghai Shalom Cohen were also at the ceremony. The center will be located at the Shanghai JTU School of International and Public Affairs.

“After one year in China I have realized that even though the Israeli and Chinese people are presumed different, they are actually a lot alike,” Vilna’i said during the inauguration. “They are both new nations, with people who have a rich ancient history and have both become powerful and influential countries.”

The opening ceremony also marked the launch of a photography exhibition titled “Jewish People in Shanghai,” which presents past and present Jewish life in Shanghai.

TAU has also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tsinghua University in Beijing for the establishment of a study center aiming at “strategic cooperation in innovative research and education for the mutual benefit of both nations.”

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