What will happen when in the year of 2025 the world’s population exceeds 8 billion people, the stresses on food, water, energy and natural resources increase and Asian-style megacities with more than 20 million people become a reality? Will communications alleviate or exacerbate the problems?
Of all the disciplines, communications has seen a radical transformation in the last 20 years: the increase in the number of cell-phone users from two per 1,000 people in 1990 to more than 500 per 1,000 people today; and Wikipedia has gone from 100 million words in 2004 to more than two billion words in 249 languages today. In addition, social media is rewriting communications from one-on-one discussions to the mobilization of masses to support a variety of causes. As the pace of that growth continues, understanding where it is all going and what the lasting effects on our lives will be are of vital importance.
These and other issues will be explored at the Communications and Information Technology 2025, a conference that will bring together leaders from academia, industry and government. The conference will be hosted jointly by the University of California Irvine (UCI) and Tel Aviv University (TAU), both excelling in communications and information technology education, and will take place at UCI, October 16 and 17.
UCI is home to more than 600 telecommunications companies anchored by Broadcom and Qualcomm. TAU is a technological powerhouse in Israel, having educated a large number of scientists and engineers who have launched companies that have contributed to making Israel the “startup” nation of the world.
It is expected that a number of dignitaries and academic leaders from the university who are involved will attend as well as community leaders in business and technology. The conference is also open to any community member who wants to see a positive exchange between UCI and Israel.
In 2008, a small group of major OC Jewish community stakeholders sought to develop and implement a strategy to the challenges stemming from the hostile climate for Israel at UCI. The Rose Project, named after the Rose Foundation, which provided the seed funding, was born.
Jeff Margolis, co-chair of the Rose Project explained, “Our mission in OC has three goals: to enhance Jewish student life on campus, to develop self sufficient Jewish leaders and to communicate with the broader OC Jewish community.” He added that, “It wasn’t too many years ago that we had many negative activities around the campus community; we have worked very hard to develop a strong and constructive relationship with UCI.”
One of the first accomplishments of the board of the Rose Project was the development of a meaningful dialogue with the UCI administration to help UCI understand that the anti-Israel activity that was taking place on campus was part of a global effort intended to de-legitimize Israel. In addition, the council emphasized the value of a “wider academic lens on Israel that would serve to build a civil campus climate.” The council sought to develop positive opportunities to counter the negative things that were happening on campus.
“Dr. James Weiss, also a co-chair,” said Margolis, “is passionate about improving campus life for Jewish students and works very hard to counter the negative things.” Both are pleased at what their our efforts on the Rose Council are yielding.
The Rose Council’s efforts, along with those of the Consul General of Israel, David Siegel, led to Chancellor Michael Drake’s academic mission to Israel in March 2012. It was there that he signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with Hebrew University, Ben Gurion University and the Technion, and shortly after that with Tel Aviv University.
These agreements have opened the door to a wide range of academic exchanges, joint research initiatives, programs and projects between UCI and these Israeli universities. The Communications and Information 2025 conference is the first major conference, and one of the first programs/projects to emerge from these agreements.
“We are delighted with this particular conference,” said Margolis. “It is an example of how sustainable relationships can be developed around universal challenges, and how dialogue can be elevated to address greater issues. This is about people bringing ideas together and what we have are two powerhouses of technology: Orange County and Israel.”
There is, however, an even broader implication as a result of the number of MOU’s that were signed between Israeli Universities and UCI. “We have a medical student exchange between UCI and Ben Gurion University, “ said Margolis, “as well as a post doctoral exchange in physical sciences. This is a real example of exchanges and programming that I expect to proliferate between UCI and Israel via the Israeli University agreement.”
“This conference,” said Lisa Armory, Rose Project director, “supports and encourages UCI-Israel relations and will have a long-term impact on the campus climate for Israel. In addition, we believe that the scholarship that comes from these relationships will have a profound impact on global society.”
The long-range significance of this collaboration cannot be underestimated. Israel is full of wonderful people doing innovative things that have not always been the focus of media coverage that views Israel through the narrow lens of politics.
“We also want to engender a positive outlook for a greater relationship between Israel and Orange County, said Margolis. “We have a very robust ad thoughtful Jewish community – a very large economic community – and we should be thinking of other ways to speak about Israel other than political.” While the 2025 conference focuses on science, technology and academic exchange, future events will focus on other areas of mutual interest.
Colleen O’Higgins, director of development and external relations for the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UCI, sees this as a celebration. “It is setting precedent beyond working in silos and speaks to the power of working in collaboration and towards the greater good.”
As co-sponsors, the people at the Rose Project are immensely grateful for the support from the Samueli School of Engineering along with the UCI administration. “By providing so much support, they have made this vision a reality,” said Margolis. “It’s a great day for our community! And our community can look forward to many more such collaborations that will build bridges of understanding and cooperation between Israel and the Orange County business and academic community.”
For more information Communications and Technology 2025, see the the website: communications2025.eng.uci.edu/about.
Special Event Preceding
to Brain Waves
Monday, October 15, 7 p.m.
Samueli Jewish Campus
On the eve of Communications and Information Technology 2025, join Broadcom cofounder Dr. Henry Samueli, Israeli Consul General David Siegel and scientists from Tel Aviv University and UCI for a fascinating evening of conversation about the future of US-Israeli scientific collaboration and its impact on communications technology. Then get a sneak peek at the extraordinary ways we’ll communicate in 2025.
Admission is free with a reservation. www.jffs.org