French President Hollande Visits Tel Aviv University
French President François Hollande visited Tel Aviv University during his recent state visit and spoke to a large gathering of members of the French-speaking community in Israel. He met with Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, and with Prof. François Heilbronn, President of the French Friends Association of Tel Aviv University. The two presented Hollande with a unique gift: a signed original edition of a book written by former Prime Minister of France Léon Blum (1872-1950).
The event was held in Tel Aviv University’s Miriam and Adolfo Smolarz Auditorium at the initiative of the French Friends of TAU.
In his speech, President Hollande said that the students of Tel Aviv University “should be proud of this excellent academic institution” and noted that the University had one of the largest and most active departments of French language and culture in Israel.
During Hollande's visit, it was announced that a representative of the French Foreign Ministry would be appointed to advance scientific collaboration between France and Israel, and would be based on the TAU campus.
President Hollande was accompanied on his Israel trip by a delegation of MEDEF – the largest union of employers in France, with over 750,000 member firms. They were in Israel to explore projects showcasing Israeli innovation in science and technology.
In his welcoming greetings to the delegation, Prof. François Heilbronn hailed Israel as “the promised land of innovation, and of scientific, academic and economic success. “ He noted that Tel Aviv University was at the forefront in the fields of nanotechnology, information technology, cyber security, medical research and environmental sciences.
“The French Friends that I represent dedicate themselves to developing partnerships between Tel Aviv University and French universities,” said Heilbronn, noting that 9 students from Sciences Po are currently studying at the University, while 14 TAU students are at Sciences Po.
The visit of the MEDEF delegation was followed by a second delegation representing 60 high-tech companies from France. After hearing lectures by Shlomo Nimrodi, CEO of Ramot at Tel Aviv University, and Professors Gad Ariav and Moshe Zviran of the TAU Faculty of Management—Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration, the French group visited the laboratories of leading TAU researchers in geophysics, life sciences and biotechnology, nanoscience and nanotechnology, mechanical engineering and environmental sciences.