Shimon Peres delivered a speech by hologram yesterday to open the new Israeli Innovation Centre at the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation.
Peres said: “My vision for the Israeli Innovation Centre is to serve as a window to the future. A place for dreams. A place that expresses the desire to leave the next generation with a better and brighter future.”
Among the attendees was former Google CEO and founder of Endeavors venture capital fund, Eric Schmidt, former UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security, Baroness Joanna Shields, Facebook Vice President David Marcus, Vice President of China Wang Qishan and ambassadors from all over the world.
The main speakers were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vice President Qishan, Chemi Peres, and Chinese billionaire and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group Jack Ma.
Ma said: “This innovation centre is a gift for the 70th anniversary of Israel. After four days in Israel we learned two things: Innovation and chutzpa; the courage to challenge. In Israel innovation is everywhere … if you have a brain and heart, you can make anything possible … Israel is the country that knows that the most precious resource in the world is not oil, not gas, but the human brain.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu recounted conversations that he’d had with Peres. “When he spoke about innovation and peace, his eyes shone, his eyes sparkled. He had tremendous confidence in the youth and genius of Israel. And this is where we saw completely eye to eye.”
Focusing on how innovation could contribute to the Middle East, the Prime Minister said the idea is that peace and innovation go together. “Innovation is an engine of peace — not just an engine of progress. There are quite a few of our neighbouring countries that reach out to Israel because of innovation. And they want our innovation for civilian reasons: water, health, IT and solar energy. They look around the world and see Israel as a hub of innovation that can offer a safer, better and longer life for their people. It’s a boon to peace.”