Just two and a half years after Ambassador Michael Oren was heckled on stage at the University of California Irvine (UCI), a new era has dawned. Thanks to what Shalom Elcott, CEO of Jewish Federation & Family Services, called “proactive engagement” – and to what Rose Project Co-Chair Jeff Margolis described as “finding the holy grail of how to message Israel to the community” – the Jewish community of Orange County, UCI and the state of Israel have bonded in a way that “delegitimized the delegitimizers” and gave everyone involved reasons to celebrate a new chapter in the story.
On Monday, October 15, more than 300 community members filled the Samueli Jewish Campus at the Jewish Federation of Orange County to acknowledge the tremendous strides made in the partnership between Israel and the University of California, Irvine. The event launched a two-day high-tech conference titled “From Bluetooth to Brain Waves: The Extraordinary Ways We’ll Communicate in 2025.” The conference was the first major project resulting from the memorandum of understanding signed by Tel Aviv University and UCI earlier this year. Students and faculty heard from a team of leading scientists from TAU and UCI who are on the cutting edge of the communication revolution.
The community event joined together Dr. Henry Samueli, philanthropist and chairman of Broadcom Corporation; Consul General of Israel David Siegel; Margolis: Elcott; Dean Greg Washington of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Dean Ehud Heyman, of the TAU Iby and Aladar Fleishmann Faculty of Engineering. The speakers commended the incredible turnaround in the relationship between UCI and Israeli academic institutions.
This past April, UCI Chancellor Michael Drake visited Israel on an academic mission. His trip forged six collaborative research agreements and student and faculty exchanges with Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University and the Technion. The trip was facilitated by the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles.
“This is an achievement unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Consul General David Siegel. “I am so proud to be here to recognize and celebrate the Israel-UC Irvine partnership. There has been a remarkable shift away from political controversy on campus. The Israel of the future, just like UC Irvine of the future, is dedicated to building lasting relationships and solving critical issues facing the world in the 21st century.”
Margolis described the conference as “the productive result of a five-year effort by the Orange County Jewish community, in close cooperation with the Consul General of Israel, to create natural points of synergy between Israel, UC Irvine and the Orange County business and academic communities.”
The Israeli Consulate will continue working with universities in Southern California to focus Israel-related activities on campus on the core mission of today’s academic world which is to foster education and scientific research. Consul General Siegel hailed the new Israel-UCI partnership as a national model for bridging communities and sharing resources for the greater good.
On October 24, the Irvine Global Innovation Summit was hosted by Irvine Global Innovation Group (IGIG) at UCI. The international conference on technological innovation invited researchers from Israel and UC Irvine to participate in dialogue and promote research collaboration.
This year’s summit highlights IGIG’s current project, promoting the collaboration between the UC Irvine and the Israeli high-tech and biotech industry. The target audiences for the conference were faculty, corporate and student researchers from Israel and UC Irvine, specifically in the fields of engineering, medicine and information computer science. The conference encompassed an array of panel discussions and research presentations to inform both parties of highlighted projects and resources. Its objective is to explore possible methods of collaboration between researchers for R&D partnerships.
Irvine Global Innovation Group is a student-led organization created to explore cutting-edge research opportunities from an international perspective, while building professional relationships with foreign firms. Its current objective is to develop an innovation-driven partnership between firms in the State of Israel and the University of California, Irvine. The group is currently focusing on collaboration between the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and the schools of medicine, biological sciences, health sciences and physical sciences for this particular initiative.
Frank Williams is the founder and CEO of the Irvine Global Innovation Group. He is responsible for developing partnerships with foreign institutions to establish research and development collaborations. While collaborating with the University of California Irvine students and faculty, he aims to further possible methods of collaboration.
Interestingly, IGIG is not a Jewish organization, and many of its student leaders and participants are not Jewish. The point is simply to establish a global strategic partnership that could benefit economics, research initiatives and student exchanges between Israel and UCI, Williams said.