Or, how a developing country became a developed country in half a century, and positioned itself as a world leader in new technologies in just 70 years
Israel: the garden of innovation
In the beginning there was a need: a need to take a barren, historic homeland and make it bloom; a need to rebuild the Jewish homeland and create a better future for its people. For over a century, Technion has provided the spirit of innovation that responds to the need: anticipating the problems of tomorrow with pioneering solutions born out of an infinite source of potential.
Often cited as father of the Start-up Nation, Technion Alumnus and serial innovator Yossi Vardi was first to describe Israel’s meteoric ascent into the community of prosperous nations, coining the term: from Jaffa to Java.
“People here are daring, willing to try, to sacrifice their best years in order to build something meaningful,” he said in honor of Technion’s cornerstone centennial. “If you look at the history, Israel was always a startup nation. A bunch of people came to this part of the world 120 years ago when nothing was here: Israel was a start-up; the kibbutz movement was a start-up; and Technion was a start-up. If you look into the virtues of Israelis you see that our main advantage is to come with an idea from an empty chaos, to create proof of concept and to build around the beginnings. If there had been no Technion, I think we wouldn’t have the kind of technological infrastructure or high-tech industry of today. Everything started in the Technion.”
70 years ago, the State of Israel was born, but this wasn’t the end of Technion’s work, rather the start of a whole new challenge. Never before did the fate of a nation rest so unequivocally on the education of its young people. Israel needed infrastructure, medicine, water and energy. It needed innovators, decision-makers and entrepreneurs. For all of this, the people looked to Technion.
“An Institute of Technology of a high level is one of the most vital needs of the State of Israel at this time,” said Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. “We are a small, poor people; our country is largely desolate; we are surrounded by hostile nations who threaten our existence. We are compelled to create, at an unprecedented rate, sources of livelihood for masses of our brethren who are returning to their homeland… For these great and difficult tasks we must call on the aid of the latest achievements of both pure and applied science and the most advanced improvements of technology.”
Technion was fast to meet the urgent needs of the fledgling nation, turning out top-quality engineers at vast speed. Yet Israel’s Institute of Technology was at the same time firmly rooted in the future. Reaching for the skies in 1949, Technion recruited Prof. Sydney Goldstein from Manchester University to chair Israel’s first department of Aeronautical Engineering. Within a decade, Technion had vastly expanded, leaving the original building in midtown Hadar to serve the young State of Israel and the world from the upper slopes of Mount Carmel.
At Technion, the fulfilment of a need is the starting point. The core of Technion power comes from vision – the vision to create a better future. This is a place where your imagination gets to work; where you are part of the global dynamo of reinvention – where everything is possible.
“I have seen with great satisfaction how the Technion has been indispensable to Israel’s agriculture, industrial development, economic growth and national security. Its engineers, scientists and architects have literally built the State of Israel.”– Albert Einstein