Peres 311 reuters.
(photo credit: Reuters)
President Shimon Peres, though only five months shy of his 88th birthday, still
qualifies as one of Israel’s most frequent fliers.
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Only a month after his
return from a state visit to Spain, Peres is off again today – this time to
Geneva and London. He had hoped to continue from London to Washington for a
meeting with President Barack Obama, but attempts to arrange the tete- `å-tete
did not produce the desired result.
The most exciting part of the
president’s visit to Switzerland will be his tour of CERN, the European
Organization for Nuclear Research that is located near Geneva on the
Franco-Swiss border. Founded in 1954, its work soon progressed from the
study of the atomic nucleus to higher-energy physics, primarily the study of
interaction between particles. Most of CERN’s current activities are
directed toward building the Large Hadron Collider, a project that involves
global scientific cooperation. This kind of cooperation is part of CERN’s
mission statement. The organization is dedicated to bringing nations together
The work on the Large Hadron Collider is conducted deep
within the bowels of the earth. The circular tunnel which the experiment uses is
100 meters underground, with a 27 kilometer circumference.
CERN will be
the president’s last stop in Switzerland on Tuesday before leaving for
Today, he will have a working meeting with Swiss President
Micheline Calmy-Rey; and this evening he will launch a $10 million joint
Israeli-Swiss research fund in which the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and EPFL
(Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) will cooperate in the sphere of brain
research. Peres is a passionate advocate for brain research and frequently
brings up the subject both in official speeches and in private conversations. He
is eager for Israel to become the world’s major authority on brain research, and
firmly believes that the nation’s scientific talent, which has proved itself in
other fields, will also shine in this field.
In London, Peres will
deliver an address to some 200 government leaders, prominent politicians from
the opposition and outstanding figures from academia and the media at the
prestigious Chatham House, which is the popular name for The Royal Institute of
International Affairs. The event, marking 60 years of bilateral ties between
Britain and Israel has been arranged by Chatham House in conjunction with the
Israel Embassy. Peres has agreed to answer questions following his address, and
given some of the areas of dispute on matters of policy between the UK and
Israel, this part of the visit is almost guaranteed to generate wide coverage by
the British media.
On Wednesday afternoon, Peres will have a working
meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, and in the evening will
attend the gala 80th birthday party at the Royal Albert Hall for former Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who will be hailed by heads of state and high profile
representatives of culture, science, politics and sport as someone who can
honestly claim to have changed the world. Gorbachev’s life and
achievements from childhood to Perestroika, his international peace efforts, and
the establishment of his charitable foundation will be incorporated into the
multi-faceted program that features entertainers from Russia, the United,
States, Germany, Belgium, and Britain.
Tickets to the party’s concert
range in price from 400 pounds to 2000 pounds each. Proceeds will be divided
between the Gorbachev Foundation and the MacMillan Cancer Support
Peres will join Gorbachev on stage together with Kazakhstan
President Nursultan Nazarbayev for the presentation of the Gorbachev Awards in
the three categories in which Gorbachev instituted reforms.
Glasnost – contribution to the development of the culture of an open world;
Perestroika – contribution to the development of global civilization; and
Uskorenie – contribution to the development of modern science and
The Glasnost nominees are CNN founder and philanthropist Ted
Turner; film producer and director Steven Spielberg, who established the
Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation; and rock singer and
philanthropist Bono, the lead singer with U2, who, for more than twenty years,
has supported initiatives to fight poverty and disease.
nominees are Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, the British physicist and computer
scientist credited with inventing the World-Wide Web; Martin Cooper, the
inventor of the world’s first handheld mobile phone; and the former president of
Brazil Luiz Inacio da Silva, who rose from the humblest roots to lead his
country into economic reforms and who laid the foundations for the BRIC
alliance, which has driven global economic development.
Ukorenie nominees are Google co-founder Sergey Brin; philosopher and social
scientist Jurgen Hubermas; and engineer Evans Wadongo who invented the solar
In September 2003, Gorbachev came to Israel to attend the
80th birthday of the opposition leader Shimon Peres, which was held at Tel
Aviv’s Mann Auditorium. Gorbachev is a member of the International Board
of Governors of the Peres Peace Center.
Before leaving London on
Thursday, Peres will meet with leaders of Britain’s Jewish community.
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