- Talma Gotteiner
Tel-Aviv Jaffa: The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation
Suitable for families, students, business tourism and more, a visit to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation is a must-see for all those who want to understand why Israel has been termed "The Start-Up Nation".
Shimon Peres initially established the Peres Center for Peace in 1996 to bring people together - people of all ages, genders, cultural backgrounds and religions from Israel and around the region through mutual interests in innovation, medicine and healthcare, business and entrepreneurship, education and more.
Since his death in 2016, the original Peres Peace House (designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and local architect Yoav Messer) has been transformed in line with his vision to exhibit the world’s first interactive innovation hub.
The Israeli Innovation Center, opened to the public in February 2019. It highlights the global impact of Israel’s achievements - from Cherry Tomatoes and Drip Irrigation to Waze and Mobileye - and explores how to expand the “Start-up Nation” into the “Start-up Region”. In parallel, it continues to run its scalable and impactful programs designed to bridge the region’s communities.
As you approach the entrance to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, a giant sign reminds you to “DREAM BIG.” It’s framed on one side by the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea, and on the other, by a contemporary building, commissioned by Shimon Peres and completed in 2009, that now houses the Israeli Innovation Center: four floors of Israeli innovation past, present and future.
Visiting the Israeli Innovation Center
The guided tours take about an hour and a half and include a number of exhibitions.
The Hall of Inspiration: The starting point of your guided tour. As you enter the lobby you are struck by the films showing on the screens that take up the entire right wall and continue onto the circular screens scattered on the ceiling. The films depict the global innovations developed in Israel: in agriculture, medicine and healthcare, aerospace and security, hi-tech, and information communication technology.
Secrets of Innovation room: In this "chamber of secrets" you are invited to chat with one of 18 life-sized innovator holograms from across the hi-tech, agriculture, cyber and medicine sectors. The holograms portray their speakers in Hebrew, English, Arabic or Chinese and present their inspiration and the problem they were trying to solve. Behind each hologram screen you can find some of the personal artifacts and books that inspired the innovators and that they have donated to the exhibit.
Shimon Peres’ Study: A replica of Shimon Peres’ study houses his desk, as well as artifacts including his Nobel Peace prize, his collection of his role model David Ben-Gurion dolls. The accompanying film describes his personal history and the highlights of his career.
Innovation Nation Room: Follow the interactive timeline and a chance to see original examples of Israel's technological and medical chievements, including the first Israeli Airforce flag in space and the capsule endoscopy (a miniature camera in a pill that takes photos when traveling through the gastrointestinal tracts).
The Capsule: An unrivalled VR experience, The Capsule, designed with input from Roey Tzanana and Yuval Noah Harari features technology provided by Inception, to enable users to play futuristic games in which they perform medical procedures, travel into space or design the city of the future.
The Israeli Expo: DSV and Intuit are the hosts for this floor which was curated in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Trade and the Israeli Innovation Authority. The room is divided into four islands showcasing the 45 most exciting Israeli innovations today:
1. ICT – Information, Communications and Technology 2. Aerospace and Security 3. Healthcare 4. Agriculture and Energy
Above each Island is a loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority representing ancient innovation from days of old, bringing full circle the idea that this region has always been a basin of innovation.
The Peres Center is proud to partner with Israel’s leading organisations, and friends from across the globe. This unique network of partners and supporters include the Israeli Innovation Authority, the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Trade and several innovation partners: Adama – Crop protection and innovators in global food security; Orbotech – Innovators in electronics; Checkpoint – One of Israel’s innovators in cyber security since 1993; Intel – Computing; IAI -- Israel Aerospace Industries; and the Manufacturers Association of Israel.
One of the country's leading non-profit NGOs, the Center has hosted delegations of global leaders in politics and business to learn about Israeli breakthroughs, connected professionals to the local start-up ecosystem, and supported youths from all backgrounds to discover their inner techie, entrepreneur, and peacebuilder.
Flagship programs the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation runs:
In parallel to the educational exhibition, The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation is a leading non-profit and non-government organization focused on developing and implementing novel programs that promote peace and build bridges. It serves hundreds of thousands of participants of all ages, religions, genders and cultural backgrounds. It runs special programs in Innovation, Sports, Cultivation of Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Medicine and Healthcare, Business and Environment. The programs are implemented with a network of local, regional, and international partners. These include:
Starting-Up Together - Launched in 2017, this program encourages underrepresented communities in Israel to become involved in entrepreneurship, innovation, and the high-tech sector while promoting shared-living and creating a sense of community among its Israeli Arab and Jewish participants. Starting Up Together is conducted in collaboration with the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation.
CityZoom - Launched in 2018, CityZoom brings together innovators, local and multinational companies and city governments by implementing meet-ups between industry leaders, municipal stakeholders and academics. Partners include Tel Aviv University, Atidim, the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, and Digital Israel.
Strengthening Private Sector and B2B Cooperation - Together with local, regional, and international stakeholders, the Peres Center identifies opportunities and facilitates trade and economic growth. Ongoing programs work to assess needs, build capacities, and foster a connection between the Israeli and Palestinian economies, while promoting people-to-people cross-border interaction.
Startup-Link - The project brings together experienced Israeli innovators and young Palestinian entrepreneurs to strengthen ties and mutual understanding and invigorate the Palestinian innovation ecosystem.
SharakehTech – Partnership for New ICT Horizons - This program connects the Israeli and Palestinian hi-tech sectors and promotes cooperation, thus strengthening innovation in the Palestinian private sector and forging unique cross-border business relationships.
Sport in the Service of Peace – Twinned Peace Sports Schools - Launched in 2002, twinned groups of Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestinian girls and boys come together through sport, breaking down barriers and building lasting friendships. Over 20,000 participants from 60 communities have participated in this program.
A member of 8 international networks; 19 delegations sent abroad; recipient of 8 awards including: Beyond Sport 2016 "Leadership in Sport Award"; Peace and Sport, Monaco 2011 "Best NGO"; the Wingate Award 2010 "Best NGO in the Field of Peace and Sport".
YaLa Young Leaders – Launched in 2011, this program connects almost 1 million young people from around the MENA region through Facebook and virtual platforms. Over 1,500 participants from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Sudan, Algeria, and more have participated in in-depth virtual training programs. 4 regional face-to-face conferences and 5 on-line conferences have been held.
Training Doctors - Launched in 2005, Training Doctors trains Palestinian physicians and medical personnel in Israeli hospitals for 2-5 years, creating a network of Israeli and Palestinian medical professionals. To date, over 260 Palestinian healthcare professionals have been trained, in turn treating over 1.5 million Israeli patients.
Saving Children - Launched in 2003, Saving Children has provided lifesaving treatment to Palestinian children in Israel when treatment is not available within the Palestinian healthcare system. Over 12,500 children have been treated to date. Best, Talma