JOIN THE LIVE INTERVIEW
Thursday, August 18, 17:00 Israel time
Tamar Uriel-Beeri, managing editor of Jpost.com, interviews Vlad Shmunis, founder and head of Ring Central, the US-based communication provider, in a fascinating and frank discussion focusing on the assistance he provides to Tel Aviv University and his advice for newcomers to technology and other fields.
The Ukrainian-born Shmunis speaks of his contributions to Tel Aviv University’s Emergency Fellowship Fund for Graduate Students. “I am from Odessa,” says Shmunis, “and I never thought I would live to see rockets flying into my hometown, which is a beautiful port city. There is a huge humanitarian crisis, and we were looking for ways to help. Tel Aviv University was looking for key donors to help bring talented Ukrainian scientists and provide them a career path.”
Uriel-Beeri and Shmunis also chat about the Shmunis Family Anthropology Institute, which connects researchers in Israel and abroad to study humankind’s past, and the Shmunis School of Bio-Medicine and Cancer Research, which improves human health through science. Both Institutes are headquartered at Tel Aviv University.
Regarding the Anthropology Institute, Shmunis notes, “The land of Israel is the cradle of Western civilization. The land is full of artifacts, which are unique, given how many civilizations went through there, and how many cultures have passed through.” The Institute has 15,000 artifacts dating from 1.5 million years ago to the present and holds the world’s largest collection of prehistoric artifacts.
Shmunis says that cancer, unfortunately, touches most people, either directly or indirectly, and the Shmunis School of Bio-Medicine and Cancer Research, which is comprised of twenty-seven laboratories headed by world-leading scientists, combines approaches at the molecular level, the cell level, and the level of the whole organism in innovative research. “You can think of each lab as a small startup company,” says Shmunis, and we’re happy to provide them with a way to see if their ideas are good.”
As founder of Ring Central, a $2 billion company with 5,000 employees, Shmunis says he is constantly trying to push the company forward. “My advice to entrepreneurs, researchers, archaeologists, and anthropologists, and anything that people do, is to follow your heart. If you believe in what you do and keep at it, the chances are you will get very, very good at it.”