Award for Julie Bishop

November 25, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been presented with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s highest award…the Torch of Learning.

Michael Dunkel, Shy Arkin,  Julie Bishop, Harry Triguboff and Robert Simons

Michael Dunkel, Shy Arkin, Julie Bishop, Harry Triguboff and Robert Simons

Michael Dunkel, President of NSW AFTHUJ introduced Shy Arkin, Vice President for Research & Development , (HU) telling guests the university was “the start-up of the start-up nation” and an in its 90 years it had produced eight Nobel Laureates.

Arkin presented Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs with the HU’s most prestigious award, the Torch of Learning. This award honours individuals who have the highest standard of professional achievement and whose careers are equally dedicated to leadership, scholarship and humanitarianism.

“We acknowledge the changing face of the political climate and adverse environment that one has to navigate and command. Under your stewardship Australia has changed its voting patterns at the UN in favour of Israel and that the Australian government rejects the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. The people of Israel are extremely grateful for this and on behalf of them, we thank you” he said.

In reply, Bishop said she was deeply honoured to receive the award and to be included among such distinguished company as the late Sir Zelman Cowan and Ruby Rich-Schalit, a co-founder of the AFTHUJ and a “champion of human rights and advocate for womens’ education and empowerment”.

“The university remains a world leader in education, creating and nurturing great thinkers from more than 65 countries” she said.

Bishop said that the research benefitted many countries, citing drip irrigation as an example which has “transformed farming in Australia and our ability to grow crops in our drought-prone country”.

Embracing innovation is a key to the future and Australia recognises Israel’s emergence as a major high-tech leader.

“The State of Israel is a source of optimism in a region struggling to contain a vast array of negative and pernicious forces. The Middle East is one of the most contested landscapes and least understood regions in the world” she said.

The Minister spoke about how communications and technology will continue to transform our lives but also recognised that these tools can be used for disruption as well as for good.

In stating the Australian Government’s commitment to Israel she said:

“As Australia’s foreign minister I can confirm, without hesitation, that Australia is, and will remain, a staunch friend and supporter of the State of Israel. Australia fully supports the right of the people of Israel to live securely within its borders in peace and security.”

“We will not hesitate to call out antisemitism discrimination where we see it, wherever we see it, particularly the pernicious BDS campaign which is still allowed to operate in this country” she said.

Deep brain stimulation for sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease and super sophisticated video surveillance are just two examples of research undertaken at The Hebrew University (HU) that have resulted in practical applications.

In a whirlwind look at research and innovation, Arkin presented examples of excellence in research which have now been developed by what he terms “technology transfer”.

“What results come from research?  Saving lives is the result” he said.

Innovations include an anti-cancer drug, a new type of filter installed in portable water purification, a recirculating water system which prevents environmental pollution and a drug for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease order to slow its progression.

Translating research into applications has resulted in applications used daily worldwide such as cars fitted with Mobileye active technology – technology that is saving lives.  For the visually impaired there is a tiny camera which is fitted to spectacles and verbally relays vital information to the wearer, all innovations developed at HU.

Rounding up, Charlie Brown told guests about Australian innovations such the black box created in the 1950s and carried on aeroplanes – only now it’s orange so it can be found. Australia did not create wifi, but the CSIRO worked to create faster wifi.  Household appliances like washing machines using wi-fi will soon become available and wi-fi that can be used to allow a watering system to be activated from across the world.

The Strone Roam, which aims to cut down overseas phone roaming bills, and the Foresight Alpine Helmet for snowboarders, skiers and bicycle riders which will have an inbuilt computer are Australian products in development.

Charlie Brown, Technology Editor for Chanel 9’s Today Show acted as MC.



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