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U.S. university heads in Israel to establish academic ties

JTA

July 3, 2013 | 10:19 am

A delegation of U.S. university presidents and chancellors met with their Israeli counterparts and viewed cutting-edge research, including the ReWalk headquarters.

The nine visiting university heads were in Israel to investigate opportunities for academic partnerships and collaboration through Project Interchange, an institute of the American Jewish Committee.

In Tel Aviv, they visited the start-up PrimeSense, a high-tech company that has revolutionized the way digital devices, including the Xbox 360, see and understand the world by focusing on vision to provide digital devices that have a 3-D perception of reality.

At the ReWalk headquarters in Yokneam, the visitors met Argo Medical Technologies founder Dr. Amit Goffer, a quadriplegic who developed the ReWalk exoskeleton unit, which allows those with spinal cord injuries to walk again.

“I was amazed to watch two paraplegics walk independently using the ReWalk robotic device and moved when they showed how leaving their wheelchairs has transformed their lives,” said Rockefeller University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, also the head of its Laboratory of Brain Development and Repair.

The group, which will be in Israel through Saturday, is scheduled to meet with senior government, academic and civil society leaders across the Israeli social and political spectrum, and travel to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders.

Previous visits of university heads through Project Interchange have resulted in collaborations including the Cornell-Technion technology and science campus and a partnership between the University of Michigan and Ben-Gurion University to develop renewable energy technology projects.

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