Prominent figures from the world of high technology gathered today at an event entitled "Leadership and Innovation" held to mark the anniversary of the death of Israel's ninth president, Shimon Peres. Among those who attended were Peres’s son and chair of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, Chemi Peres; social entrepreneur Adi Altschuler; founder of Innovation Africa, Sivan Yaari; Professor Hossam Haick of the Technion; Cisco CEO John Chambers; Check Point Gil Shwed; Orit Gadiesh chair of management consulting firm Bain & Company; and Accel Partners partner Joe Schoendorf.
Addressing the conference, President Reuven Rivlin said, "Only this morning a study was published by the Chief Economist and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which shows again, in black and white, that integration into Israeli high-tech is still a function of family background, socioeconomic status and locality of residence, rather than talent, ambition and hard work. We must change this picture. A clear and practical work plan is needed alongside a courageous vision and uncompromising implementation.”
Referring to a government plan to encourage human capital, Rivlin said, “This is an important program that understands the reality, and understands that the burning need for engineers, programmers, and developers is nothing less than a national necessity.
“Everyone here today has a responsibility, a role, and an opportunity to make the Israeli innovation industry continue to be the pillar of fire before of the camp for many years to come. This was the dream of my friend, Israel’s ninth President, Shimon Peres. This was his belief, and now it is in our hands,” Rivlin concluded.
In a panel discussion on innovation and the future, John Chambers said that he had recently met with dozens of startups around the world. "Technology is developing rapidly and the State of Israel must boost its competitiveness. Within a few years, 50% of the jobs we know today will become irrelevant. This is the time to bring new sections of the population into innovation," he said.
"Network security is becoming the most important subject in the field, with criminal and terrorists using cyber warfare, and that's something that could paralyze our lives," Shwed said, adding, "Unfortunately, we are much more vulnerable than we think."
Chambers concluded the panel by saying, "I have never been more optimistic than I am now about Israel as an innovative country that impacts the world." He also said that France had lately become an advanced startup country and that "it will be the economic engine of Europe and will overtake Germany and Britain."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 13, 2017
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