Israeli President Shimon Peres touted the role of technology as an instrument for peace during a talk Wednesday at the annual Launch Conference in San Francisco.
The brief appearance at the high-tech event marked the final day of Peres' four-day tour of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, during which he visited some of the Bay Area's top tech companies.
He is the first incumbent Israeli president to visit the Bay Area.
Peres, 88, visited Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park on Tuesday and was set to tour Google headquarters in Mountain View later Wednesday.
Speaking to a few hundred high-tech entrepreneurs, investors and experts at the San Francisco Design Center this morning, Peres answered questions from Israeli high-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi and Launch Conference founder Jason Calacanis.
The president said he wanted to get a first-hand glimpse of the “new ideas” coming to life among the region's top tech companies and entrepreneurs during his visit.
“There is a very close relationship with our country and the Silicon Valley, and it makes us very happy and very hopeful,” he said.
When asked about the role tech-driven social media had in last year's Arab Spring, Peres credited young protesters who used websites like Facebook to help mobilize and oust dictators.
“The Internet is simply one of those instruments that make a change,” he said. “People will bring peace by talking together … the public affects the government, so let's have the clients make the peace, not only the managers,” he added, drawing a round of applause and cheers from dozens of rows of audience members sitting behind laptops.
By Bay City News on March 8, 2012 12:00 am.