Prof. Uri Sivan takes office as President of Technion

Prof. Sivan spoke movingly about his family, who arrived in Israel from Poland in 1936. His parents studied at the Technion after they had been banned from studying at universities all over Europe.

September 29, 2019 09:46
3 minute read.
Prof. Peretz Lavie (left) hands over the presidential gavel to Prof. Uri Sivan.

Prof. Peretz Lavie (left) hands over the presidential gavel to Prof. Uri Sivan.. (photo credit: SHITZU PHOTOGRAPHY/TECHNION SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

On Thursday 26 September, the presidential inauguration ceremony took place at the Technion where Prof. Uri Sivan took office as the 17th president of Technion. He took over from Prof. Peretz Lavie, who held the position for 10 years.

The attendees of the ceremony included MKs and faculty management and members including Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz; Haifa Mayor Dr. Einat Kalisch-Rotem, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry Distinguished Prof. Aaron Ciechanover; Board of Governors Chair Scott Leemaster; Technion Council Chair Gideon Frank and former Technion presidents.

Prof. Sivan spoke movingly about his family, who arrived in Israel from Poland in 1936. His parents studied at the Technion after they had been banned from studying at universities all over Europe - sharing the fate of European Jewry. He said, "The Technion today is stronger than ever, and we must leverage this to implement far-reaching reforms in our research structure, curricula, teaching methodologies, and collaboration with industry.

"The great challenges of the 21st century - human health, energy, environment, sustainability, advanced manufacturing, and education – require a multifaceted approach. Our success will be measured by our ability to create the necessary synergy to meet the challenges facing humanity. Education will change dramatically. All knowledge is at our fingertips, and universities will have to reinvent themselves in a world where information is accessible to all and updated exponentially.

He continued, "The universal values of equality, pluralism, tolerance, freedom of speech, integrity, and the pursuit of truth, which are constantly challenged around the globe, are the breath of academic life and should be defended."   

Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz said, “I wish to thank the people of the Technion for all that they have done for the State of Israel. Our future is dependent on research and development in the exact sciences, technology, medicine, and architecture. You are the engine that drives all of this. Especially in these days of uncertainty, it is tremendously important to have islands of stability, excellence and continuity like the Technion."

Outgoing Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie also spoke. "I set myself three main goals when I entered office: massive recruitment of outstanding young faculty, dramatic improvement in the quality of teaching and attitude towards students, and turning the Technion into a global university. In the global context, we have expanded the Technion's influence, and there is no doubt that the highlights were the establishment of the two new campuses in China and New York.

"In terms of improvement of teaching, the Technion has jumped from last place to first place among Israeli universities in student satisfaction. We also had tremendous success in recruiting new faculty members: Some 270 new faculty members joined the Technion ranks over the past decade, and they have made Technion younger and even more excellent. This is evident in the quantity and quality of scientific articles, research grants and prestigious awards."

Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Distinguished Prof. Aaron Ciechanover said, "The Technion may not be the best university in the world, but it is the institution to which the State of Israel owes its very existence. The Technion is responsible for the two most important pillars on which the state stands: security and economy. The Technion must continue to lead in science and technology while also addressing the ethical aspects, since there is no technological invention without ethical consequences."

Haifa Mayor Dr. Einat Kalisch-Rotem thanked Prof. Lavie for his work on behalf of the city of Haifa and its residents and presented him with a certificate of appreciation saying: "In appreciation of your exceptional and longstanding activity in promoting Technion as the leading institution in its field in Israel and in the world."

Prof. Sivan, 64 is married, a father of three and a resident of Haifa. He served in the IAF as a pilot and in 1991 joined the Faculty of Physics at Technion, being the holder of the Bertoldo Badler Chair. His research has covered a wide range of fields including quantum mesoscopic physics and the harnessing of molecular and cellular biology for the self-assembly of miniature electronic devices. He is the founding director of the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Research Institute (RBNI), which he headed between 2005 and 2010. More recently Prof. Sivan headed the National Advisory Committee for Quantum Science and Technology.

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