Thank you, Your Excellency Vice President Wang Qishan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, for your meaningful words, and for being here today for this special event for Israel and for the world of innovation.
His Excellency Wang Qishan, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China,
Prime Minister of the State of Israel Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Partners, friends, honored guests,
We are excited and proud to welcome you to the grand opening of the Israeli Innovation Center at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.
We have just had a glimpse of Israeli technology and innovation at their best – with my father’s powerful words still resonating in our hearts. His vision was for the Innovation Center to serve as a window to the future.
On July 21st, 2016 we laid the corner stone of the Israeli Innovation Center together with my father, President Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Huldai. Today we see this dream, whose seed was sown on that July day, become a reality.
During that ceremony, you, Mr. Prime Minister, said that the future belongs to those who innovate. Indeed, the future belongs to those who dare to dream, and to those who choose to move forward, and lead us into a new era.
We live in a period of transition, in which scientific and technological progress is becoming more important than natural resources. This is an age in which the strongest nations are those that rely on mind, rather than might.
The Innovation Center is the story of Israeli innovation. The story of my father. The story of the transition from the old world into the new world. And the story of the future – for young people, for every person.
Israel was born from a dream, from the vision of our founders. Out of necessity they innovated – agricultural developments for sustenance, clean water for drinking, energy for warmth, defense for protection, and shelter for families to call home. Israel, the Startup Nation, was built on innovation from its very first days.
My father, who was immensely proud of Israel and its becoming the innovation nation, knew that Israel’s most meaningful resource was its human capital. He always said that Innovation should be used to make a better world, and we must continue harnessing its power in the pursuit of peace and a shared future in our region.
This is why, several years ago, the Peres Center for Peace added the word “innovation” to its name – as a testament to our commitment to never cease to advance peace, and position Israel at the forefront of global innovation. Over our 22 years of existence we have consistently strived to advance Israel’s prosperity, and to promote peace among Israelis and between Israel and our neighbors.
The Innovation Center that we are inaugurating today proudly presents Israel’s greatest achievements, showcasing the positive impact of Israeli innovation around the world. It will promote Israeli innovation locally, regionally, and globally, while encouraging each and every child, of all cultures, religions, and backgrounds, to believe in themselves, to take the initiative, to explore, to shape their future, and to lead. As Pablo Picasso famously said, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” We will be here, helping you find the keys you need to open the door to a better tomorrow.
We hope to see Israel serve as a meeting point between East and West, convening conversations, enhancing business ties, and promoting cooperation. Today we are proud to host a distinguished delegation from China, led by His Excellency Wang Qishan, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, and we extend a warm welcome to Mr. Jack Ma, Founder and Chairman of the Alibaba Group.
Like Israel, China stands at the forefront of global technology, and the relationship between Israel and China is rapidly expanding.
I am convinced that, following this delegation’s visit, it will become even stronger.
This is just the beginning of the journey. We are waiting, excitedly and impatiently, for the breathtaking discoveries and thrilling encounters yet to take shape. My father ended his last book “No Room for Small Dreams” with the story of a painter who was asked to identify his most beautiful painting. The artist turned to a blank canvas and replied, “the one I will paint tomorrow”.
We invite you all to see us as your canvas on the journey forward to prosperity and peace. The keys to innovation are in your hands.
Thank you to the staff, partners, friends, and supporters who all made this dream become a reality. Without you, none of this would have come to fruition.