In China this week, Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter signed agreements with two leading Asian universities to further academic collaboration in the areas of scientific and technological research and contemporary Israel studies. Both Chinese universities rank among the top five colleges and universities in the nation.
In a statement, Prof. Klafter said that the agreements reflect "the considerable esteem in which the Chinese hold Israeli innovation and the high academic standards of Tel Aviv University." The new agreements are a result of several visits by Chinese delegations to the Tel Aviv campus, part of TAU's continuing effort to globalize its research and training.
The XIN Center at Tsinghua University
On September 10, 2013, Prof. Klafter and Prof. Chen Jining, President of Tsinghua University, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of a joint research facility to be known as the XIN Center. Named for the Chinese word for "new," XIN will advance interdisciplinary and international scientific and technical innovation, provide optimal conditions for creativity, and promote activity in scientific fields that impact society in China, Israel, and around the world.
As part of the XIN project, an investment fund will be established to finance ventures initiated by XIN Fellows. Investors in the 100 million Chinese yuan ($16 million USD) fund will include the government of Beijing and alumni from Tsinghua University.
The chief scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Avi Hasson, hailed the agreement, noting that XIN will serve as an excellent model for multifaceted collaboration between academic institutions and industry. "I want to congratulate all parties involved and wish upon them a fruitful and successful collaboration," Hasson said.
The Israel Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Prof. Klafter also signed an agreement with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) to promote contemporary Israel studies through the TAU-SJTU Israel Center, the first of its kind in China. The center will provide Chinese and international students with the knowledge and critical skills needed to understand contemporary Israeli affairs, with a focus on politics, history, law, economy, and culture.
Through the auspices of the Israel Center, TAU and SJTU will exchange faculty and students, pursue joint research, and host activities on both campuses. At the same time, the center will serve as a think tank for policy recommendations to further Sino-Israeli relations and China's Middle East policies.
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