The late president Shimon Peres addressed the inauguration of the Israeli Innovation Center via a hologram message on Thursday where he touted his brainchild as a place to inspire the next generation of future technology leaders.
The speech entitled a “spiritual will” was released by Peres’ family for the first time since it was written by the former statesman before he died in 2016.
“My vision for the Israeli Innovation Center, established here within the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, is to serve as a window to the future. A place for dreams. A place that expresses the desire to leave the next generation with a better and brighter future,” Peres said in the message.
Hundreds of tech investors, entrepreneurs and members of foreign delegations gathered at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa for the opening of late president flagship innovation center that after years of construction, was finally opened as part of Israel’s 2018 Innovation Summit.
That’s so Peres, to give a speech from beyond the grave as a computer generated hologram. He would be so proud. https://t.co/a3DwPsBQ4T
— Eylon Levy | אילון לוי (@EylonALevy) October 25, 2018
“The future is made of the dreams of today – we must continue to work on developing the vision of tomorrow, not simply on remembering the past. We have the power to create change and the opportunity to have an impact. A revolution against convention is necessary. It requires daring, dissatisfaction, and healthy and vibrant chutzpah,” the message continued.
“We must caution ourselves: Technology without values will endanger humanity, while values without technology will bring about hunger and stagnation.
“The Israeli Innovation Center will tell the extraordinary and inspiring story of the State of Israel as the ‘innovation nation.’ A home of optimism and hope. A place for cooperation and coexistence between all sectors of Israeli society, and a link between Israel and the world.
“The purpose of this place is to spread ideas near and far — to bring peace and prosperity closer, to make a positive change both in spirit and in reality — for us and for our neighbors, and for humanity as a whole,” the hologram ended.
The innovation center will exhibit Israel’s evolution into the world-class Start-up Nation we see today, showcasing invention prototypes and significant entrepreneurs who were influential along its journey. Spread over four flours, the interactive hub will also allow visitors to explore the future of Israeli technology.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the inauguration alongside China’s Vice President Wang Qishan. Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba; and former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt were also present.
“I remember the conversations that I had with Shimon. When he spoke about innovation and when he spoke about peace his eyes sparkled. He had a tremendous confidence in the youth of Israel and the genius of Israel. And I think it’s important to understand that here’s where we saw completely eye to eye,” Netanyahu said in speech at the inauguration.
The Israeli Prime Minister also commented on the connection between technology and peace with neighboring Arab countries.
“They look around the region, they around the world, as do other countries, and they see Israel as a hub of innovation that can offer a better, safer, richer life and a longer life for their peoples. And this is happening right here and right now in the Middle East. It’s a boon to peace,” Netanyahu said.
In a career spanning seven decades before his death, Peres held nearly every major office, serving twice as prime minister and lastly as president from 2007 to 2014.
He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo peace accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.
Peres was also an architect of Israel’s nuclear program, with the country now considered the Middle East’s sole nuclear-armed nation, although it has never declared it.