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Marie Bashir Inspires Budding Young Scientists at Technion Australia Cocktails

Photography by Giselle Haber.

Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO was the honoured guest at a cocktail party held by Technion Australia at the Sydney Jewish Museum on Lag B’Omer. Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, awarded Professor Bashir an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) in 2016 and community members were delighted to see it presented to her by Technion Australia President, Dr. Ruth Ratner at the event.

Left: Dr Ruth Ratner, and Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO

Right: Dr Ruth Ratner, Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Hilary May Black

The Honorary Doctorate was awarded to Professor Bashir for her “significant contribution to psychiatry and mental health; in tribute to your public service and leadership in building understanding between peoples of all backgrounds; and for your support and friendship to the Jewish People, Israel and the Technion”. Professor Bashir became Technion Australia’s Patron in 2015.

Dr. Ratner also launched the “Technion Australia Marie Bashir Scholarship Fund”, open to all Australian students to undertake courses or exchange programs at Technion, and particularly to assist those from indigenous or disadvantaged backgrounds, causes close to Professor Bashir’s heart.

The event celebrated the unprecedented selection of 5 Australian students, out of 60 world-wide, to attend SciTech, Technion’s prestigious International Summer Science Camp in July 2017. Hannah Whitmont from Moriah College was the thrilled winner of the Technion Australia 2017 SciTech Scholarship. She will be joined at SciTech by Moriah College school mates Matthew Blau, Leila Freedman, and Jaime Levine and Masada College student, Olivia Chen.

Left: Leila Freedman, Jaime Levine, Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Hannah Whitmont

Right: Matthew Blau, Jaime Levine, Hannah Whitmont, Leila Freedman

Left: Hannah Whitmont, Dr Ruth Ratner

Right: Norton Whitmont, Eric Slobedman, Kaley and Hannah Whitmont, Jenny Slobedman, Stevie and Theo Whitmont

Left: Jaime and Kevin Levine, and Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO

Right: Kevin, Jaime and Sheryl Levine

Left: Ramona and Leila Freedman

Right: Robbie, Matthew and Lauren Blau

Dr Ratner says, “It’s wonderful to see the students’ excitement about this very special opportunity to travel to Israel and work with Technion academics on valuable research projects. They particularly loved meeting Professor Bashir. Her Honorary Doctorate from Technion and many other achievements are a real inspiration to them.”

Erika Strazdins, winner of the 2016 Australia-Israel UNSW Medical Students Elective Award, spoke about her exchange semester at the Technion undertaking melanoma research with Technion’s world-class researchers as a “life changing experience” and says she strongly encourages other students to study at Technion.

Special Guest, Noa Bentor from the International School at Technion, was on hand to tell guests about the exciting new Gap Year program at Technion, specifically catering for the Australian academic year. The program offers a blend of academic studies in science and engineering, leadership development workshops, Hebrew language classes, volunteering, cultural experiences and unforgettable discovery tours. Unique to the program is a series of visits to some of Israel’s leading high-tech laboratories and start-ups.

The Jewish News reported on the event here.

For more information about SciTech, Technion Australia’s scholarship program and the new Technion Gap Year program contact Technion Australia’s Executive Director, Hilary May Black at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Technion Australia Appoints New Executive Director

Technion Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of its new national Executive Director, Hilary May Black.

President, Dr Ruth Ratner, and the Board of Technion Australia are looking forward to a new and exciting future for the society.

We are in the process of updating our branding and will be expanding our activities significantly in the coming months,” says Dr Ratner.

First up for Technion Australia in 2017 is “SciTech”, an exceptional opportunity for talented Year 10 – 12 students to join Technion’s International Summer Science Camp in July/August 2017 at the Technion in Haifa, Israel.


Professor Dame Marie Bashir new Technion Australia Patron

Dr Ruth Ratner, President of Technion Australia and TSA Environmental Research, has announced that Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO has agreed to become Patron of both organisations.

Professor Bashir was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa (Honorary Doctorate) by Technion in 2016 for her outstanding and significant contribution to psychiatry and mental health; in tribute to her public service and leadership in building understanding between people of all backgrounds; and for her support and friendship to the Jewish People, Israel and the Technion.

“Professor Bashir has had a long association with the Sydney Jewish Community and has been a strong supporter of the Technion, attending a number of our events over recent years,” Dr Ratner, said.

“We value her support and in particular her counsel. She is a wonderful role model to both young and old,” she said.

“We are very honoured that Professor Bashir, a woman who has reached the pinnacle of her medical, academic, and civil lives, has chosen to identify with the Technion, Israel’s leading scientific, engineering and technological university, and one of only five such universities to also have a medical faculty,” she said.

Professor Bashir said that although she had been honoured with a continuing number of patronages of worthy groups she was humbled and proud of Technion Australia’s request.

The Technion is Israel’s oldest university, recognised world wide for its scientific, engineering and technological prowess, and is acknowledged as the engine room of much of Israel’s development, high tech and economy.


New Australian partners

The Technion has signed Memoranda of Understanding with Macquarie University in Sydney and University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth as part of its ongoing program to become a global university.

“The Technion, Israel’s foremost high tech, scientific and engineering university, is continuing to build collaboration with other leading universities throughout the world,” said Technion Australia president Dr Ruth Ratner.

“With its track record in innovation and particularly through its alumni, entrepreneurship, the Technion is a hotly sought after partner by the world’s leading universities. It receives requests every day and as a relatively small university (13,000 students and 600 faculty) it has had to become selective in choosing partners.”

“In this context, for the Technion to sign agreements with two Australian universities within 6 months is a testimonial to the quality of research at these universities and a reflection of the high esteem that each holds for the other,” she said.

Both agreements facilitate student exchange and academic exchange as well as research collaboration.

The UWA agreement was signed by UWA Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Robyn Owens, and Technion Executive Vice President Research, Professor Wayne Kaplan, during the annual Technion Board of Governors’ Meeting. Australian Technion Governor, Peter Hersh, hosted a UWA delegation at the Governors meeting.

The Macquarie University agreement was exchanged at a small ceremony in Sydney by Technion Australia president and Australian Technion Governor, Dr Ratner, and Macquarie Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Sakkie Pretorius.

Technion Australia is working with UWA and the Technion Automated Systems Program to develop a major research collaboration in the area of automated system for marine gas engineering. The project was selected after discussions with a number of potential partners, industry groups and the Western Australia Government.

“Our aim is to develop a project that will benefit both Australia and Israel. UWA has a world leading position in marine gas engineering and the Technion has a similar reputation in automated systems. The continuing challenges of gas fields in the North West Shelf off Western Australia and new discoveries of gas off the coast of Israel make this a national priority in both countries,” Dr Ratner said.

Macquarie University has leading researchers in fields as varied as biblical archaeology, quantum physics, environmental sciences and biomedical engineering. Similarly to the Technion it is breaking new ground in multi-disciplinary research.

“There are already a number of individual collaborations underway and there is much enthusiasm at Macquarie to partner with Technion researchers in a major project,” Dr Ratner added.

The Technion also has agreements with University of NSW, Sydney University, University of Technology Sydney, Newcastle University, Melbourne University, Monash University and Swinburne University.