The event was attended by Deputy Minister of Finance, Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen; Acting Director-General of the Ministry of Finance, Acc. Doron Cohen; Deputy Director of the Budget Department, Mr. Yonatan Regev; Head of International Affairs Department, Mr. Oded Brook; Director-General of the Academic Administration Council for Higher Education (CHE) & Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC), Mr. Moshe Vigdor. China was represented at the event by the Chinese Ambassadress to Israel, Ms. GAO Yanping, and India by the Indian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Navtej Sarna.
The first program to be launched today - for attracting post-doctorate students – is meant to bring about a strengthening of the research ties with India and China by attracting outstanding researchers to Israel while exposing them to research capabilities in Israel and creating bonds with leading Israeli researchers. This program will be put into effect both in the universities and in the Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research.
The second program – for attracting students – is designed to draw hundreds of outstanding students to study in universities in Israel in combined programs with Israeli students and also to integrate them into extra-academic programs enabling them to familiarize themselves with the country. These students will remain in Israel for a relatively long period of time, a fact which is expected to increase their exposure to what is happening in the country, making them “ambassadors” for Israel on their return home.
As part of these programs, scholarships will be awarded to hundreds of students and researchers who will come from China and India to the research universities and to the Volcani Institute. All this activity will be financed by an overall budgetary allocation of up to some NIS 44 million per annum.
Over and above these programs efforts are presently being made to promote joint research between Israel and India and China. Further to which, teams are working to work out a final outline for cooperation between the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) and the Chinese Research Foundation (NSFC) and joint work is in progress between teams of the governments of Israel and India in order to create a framework for financing joint research projects between researchers of the two countries.
China and India are two of the most outstanding economies in the international landscape and are enjoying impressive growth rates and almost unprecedented economic development, while their importance and centrality from all economic aspects and points of view is increasing steadily and is expected to continue outstanding in the future. In light of these facts, the government of Israel ascribes strategic importance to the strengthening of the economic, commercial and academic ties with these countries.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Yuval Steinitz, said at the event: “Today, jointly with the Ministry of Education and the Council for Higher Education we are launching a strategic long term program that will create long term educational, cultural and strategic bonds between Israel and the nations of India and China. We are launching a program to build up in-depth ties in research, academia, in the technological industries and in agricultural research, between Israel and two growing economic powers.
Minister of Education and Chair of the Council for Higher Education, Mr. Gideon Saar, said: “China and India occupy an important place in the new world and the promotion of ties with these countries is of strategic importance to the State of Israel”. The Education Minister noted that he had instituted the study of Chinese language and culture in the educational system as well as the meaningful steps that were presented today for academic research cooperation with China and India. Minister Saar said: “These steps form part of a forward looking move and operate for the upgrading of the various types of connections – economic, cultural, academic-research – between the peoples and the countries”.
Chinese Ambassador to Israel, Ms. GAO Yanping: “The new research and development project in the educational domain that has been launched by the Ministries of Finance and Education is important to both countries. Cooperation in the educational domain contributes to the economic and commercial ties between the countries and reinforces bilateral relations. In the 20 years since the forging of diplomatic relations between China and Israel, a great deal of cooperation has taken place in various domains, some of which has already borne fruit. The Chinese government is launching numerous projects for foreign students, including Israeli students, and is offering scholarships in a diverse range of fields and in the various university degree studies in China. Details of these programs may be found on the website of the Chinese Embassy. We look forward to a fruitful future of cooperation between our countries in the domains are education, science and technology”.
Indian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Navtej Sarna, welcomed the initiative of the Israeli government, remarking: “Israel and India have progressed in the past 20 years since diplomatic relations were established, especially in the economic, technological and scientific fields”. The Ambassador thanked the cabinet ministers for the cooperative educational ventures, the incentives and the scholarships, adding that the move would strengthen the human capital bonds between the two countries.