Others may be canceling participation in conferences in Israel because of the Gaza war — but not tech pioneer Steve Wozniak. He flew in over the weekend to attend a conference on education, noting he’s safe and sound.
Wozniak, along with the late Steve Jobs, was one of the two founders of Apple. Wozniak worked with Jobs on the early versions of Apple’s computers and other technologies, leaving the company in 1981 after recovering from plane crash injuries. Since then, he has been involved in a number of ventures, establishing and working with several companies, as well as education — even teaching fifth-grade math for a time.
One of the issues Wozniak feels strongly about is how technology can help kids learn better. On Monday, he will be talking about that issue at Eduaction, a conference on all things educational sponsored by Mifal HaPayis (the Israel Lottery). Profits from Mifal HaPayis, which runs games like lotto, scratch card contests, and other legal gambling ventures, go into the educational system, generally to build classrooms and community centers and to sponsor programs in schools in depressed areas. Wozniak — making his first trip to Israel — is set to be one of the keynote speakers at the conference, which will take place in Holon, south of Tel Aviv.
Wozniak will be joining top Israeli officials, including Education Minister Shai Piron, Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, mayors, university presidents, cultural figures, members of parliament and religious leaders — including a representative of the Vatican, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who represents the Catholic Church’s interests in local holy sites.
Not joining the event is Amy L. Chua, author of the bestselling “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” Chua, who canceled her participation in the event at the last minute, was set to discuss issues affecting education for immigrant families who are not used to the culture of their adopted country — an issue that was relevant for her as the daughter of Chinese immigrants to the US, and to many Israeli families as well. Organizers of the conference said that Chua pulled out “because of the security situation” in the country.
Wozniak, in contrast, arrived in Israel safely and soundly, according to his Twitter feed. Conference organizers said they were very happy Wozniak could make it to the event, adding that they “appreciated his decision” and were “looking forward to hearing his thoughts on education and technology.”