Some dream of Chinese on Christmas Eve and Ask “Why?”

Others dream of an entire Chinese school and ask, “Why not?”

Last week, over 5,000 people attended the groundbreaking in Shantou, Guangdong province for the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT), a partnership of Technion and Shantou University. Not even a fifth of that many people attended the launch of Technion’s partnership with Cornell in New York City. GTIIT had been announced in 2013, but plans for the groundbreaking took over two years.

Present at the Shantou ceremony were Mr. Li Ka-shing, famed Hong Kong industrialist; Peretz Lavie, president of Technion; GTIIT Chancellor Li Jiange; Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover, a leading Technion professor and GTIIT vice-chancellor; Shimon Peres, a former president of Israel; Zhu Xiaodan, the current Governor of Governor of Guangdong; Yona Yahav, current mayor of Haifa; Cao Jianlin, the PRC’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology; Hu Chunhua, Secretary of the Communist Party of China’s Guangdong Province Committee; Ofir Akunis, Israel’s minister of science, technology and outer space; and Hao Ping, the PRC’s Vice Minister of Education.

Shantou, a city of over 5 million residents, is located in the northeastern coastal area of Eastern Guangdong, also known as the Chaoshan or Teoswa area. Young residents speak Mandarin and Cantonese in addition to the local Teochew. Teochew cuisine is not as well known in North America and Israel as Szechuan, Cantonese, and Hunan. Teochew focuses more on fresh seafood, shacha sauce, strong oolong tea, and light steaming. Although Shantou was one of the four original Special Economic Zones, but the city didn’t develop as fast as Shenzhen, Xiamen and Zhuhai. If your neighbors play with a new Christmas toy in December, there is a good chance that it was made in Shantou and exported. Shantou is also home to the Shantou Yufeng Machinery Co. which makes a falafel frying machine. (Sadly the metro is adjacent to one of the largest, or perhaps the largest, electronic waste sites on Earth.)

GTIIT expects to start with 100 students and grow to a class size of 5,000. By comparison, Shantou University, which is also supported by Li Ka-shing, has an enrollment of about 9,500 students.

Professor Ciechanover said that Technion, “will contribute its extensive experience in training engineers who know how to apply what they have learned, and turn their knowledge into commercial products that focus on science and technology. Our Chinese partners will contribute their diligence and devotion, qualities that we Israelis are somewhat lacking. Therefore, this collaboration will benefit both sides.”

Ouch.. man…. lacking devotion and diligence?? What kung pao crawled up his transistor?

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