A remarkable conference will held in Israel on October 20-22. Entitled The Israeli Presidential Conference 2009, Facing Tomorrow, and conducted through the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, it is the second annual conference of this name initiated by President Shimon Peres.
This article on the conference from the Jerusalem Post highlights 3 technologies – A biomass that could replace coal, a new type of engine that runs on a fifth of the gas of the internal combustion engine, and a smart faucet that saves water and energy.
The photo from the article shows Tamarisk Trees, found in Israel, which the company Mihar Bio-Energy says could furnish a renewable energy source to replace coal.
The panel on alternative energy links to a fascinating array of companies and ideas that will save our planet. Speaking of energy, the 86 year old (!!) President Shimon Peres is to be congratulated for his foresight and foreward thinking to establish this conference. But the conference is also much than just scientific advances, as reflecting the breadth of interests and concerns of Peres. The introduction states
“I have learned that out of the greatest crises fascinating opportunities can emerge. Such opportunities are uncovered by those with a loving heart and an optimistic spirit.”
Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel
The Conference focuses on our mutual tomorrow – investigating the trends that are shaping the future and exploring actions that could and should be undertaken towards the betterment of tomorrow for Israel, the Jewish people and the world at large.
As one example of the very impressive list of speakers, the official welcome session includes
Oren Nahari, Israel Editor of the Foreign News Desk, Channel 1
Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, Israel
President, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Professor Ada Yonath Israel
Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2009
Professor Ruth Gavison, Israel President, Metzzila Center for Zionist, Jewish, liberal and humanist thought
Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil, USA Inventor and Futurist; Founder, Chairman and CEO, Kurzweil Technologies Inc.
Bernard-Henri Lévy, France Public Intellectual, Philosopher and Author
Dr. Javier Solana, Spain European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The session on new media includes Josh Silverman, President of Skype and Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia.
Have a look through the very user friendly website
which details the speakers and topics and often links to the different websites. It also states that some of the plenary sessions will be broadcast on the website, so that will be worth a look.
It almost seems trite to remark that at a time of significant stress globally and for Israel, a conference like this provides a very welcome breath of fresh air and encouragement to all who are concerned about pressing issues such as Pollution, Climate Change, and making the best of limited resources.
For anyone who will be in Israel at the time, including Australian students on programs there, the conference sounds like a great opportunity. It is a source of pride to organisations such as Australian Friends of the Hebrew University
and to all who look to the future.