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HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal receives Four Freedoms Award Freedom of Worship Medal

Written by iasworld on . Posted in News

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News source:
Majlis El Hassan

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal on Saturday was presented with the Roosevelt Foundation Four Freedoms Award Freedom of Worship Medal in Middleburg in the south-west of the Netherlands.

The Medal was presented to HRH by James Roosevelt Jr., grandson of President Roosevelt, in recognition of his longstanding commitment to the improvement of mutual understanding between the Islamic and Western worlds, and enhancing dialogue between Muslims, Christians and Jews.
HRH was accompanied to the presentation by HRH Princess Sarvath El Hassan. Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, HRH Princess Beatrix and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr Mark Rutte, also attended the event.

Presenting the Medal to Prince El Hassan, James Roosevelt Jr. said: “Throughout all of [your] efforts you have remained steadfast to your belief that we must enter into a dialogue between ourselves and the other, ‘for we have to comprehend before we move to understanding.’ You have also said that the road to understanding is sometimes long and difficult, but we should not let this discourage us…”

“Your dedication to religious tolerance and the fundamental right of each person to worship God in his own way has helped advance FDR’s Four Freedoms and for this we thank and honour you today.”

Accepting the Medal, Prince El Hassan said: “Pope Francis is visiting the Holy Land almost as we speak. In that Land, Jews, Christians and Muslims have shared heritage from millennia.”

“The Holy Qur’an says ‘we, therefore, provide with one another in doing good works’ (2:148). The road is long. But we cannot afford not to commit ourselves. Where there is faith, there is hope. And I would like to think of a patrimony for all of humanity. None better than Jerusalem which could, and indeed could not, become a centre, not for monologue for the need for dialogue, but for conversation in a civilised framework for disagreement.”

“When will we revisit our texts, heritage and history and when will our neighbor revisit his or her texts, heritage or history so we can speak of developing a shared ethic of human solidarity.”

“I think that it is time to bear in mind that until human dignity is at the centre of the construct of a new humanitarian architecture, it is impossible to think about the stabilization of populations on our planet”

“The correlation between justice, human dignity and sustainability is important. We can only be resilient in as much as we recognise promoting equities both economic and social on the one side and ethical on the other.”

The Four Freedoms Awards are presented each year to men and women whose achievements have demonstrated a commitment to the principles that President Roosevelt declared in his speech to Congress on 6 January 1941: freedom of speech and expression; freedom of worship; freedom from want; and, freedom from fear.

Picture courtesy of Stanowicki Fotografie

Muslim-Science.Com and MIGHT Launch Task Force on Teaching of Science in the Islamic World

Written by iasworld on . Posted in News, Online Resources, Uncategorized


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Kuala Lumpur, 16 May 2014:  Dato Zakri Abdul Hamid, The Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Prof. Nidhal Guessoum of American University of Sharjah, today, launched the Muslim-Science.Com’s Task Force on Teaching of Science in the Islamic World

The Muslim-Science.Com’s Task Force Initiative seeks to jumpstart a dialogue, discourse, and debate on critical issues and big questions at the intersection of science and religion within the Islamic World. In doing so, it also seeks to reclaim the narrative of science within the Islamic Community – a narrative that in the recent years has been imposed from outside rather than created from inside – and hence begin an inside-out process of scientific revival within the Islamic World.

 

“There is simply no conversation or discourse around some of the most critical aspects of science and society within the Islamic World,” says Dr. Athar Osama, the Founding Editor and Publisher or Muslim-Science.Com and the Project Director. “Without addressing these in a critical manner, we will continue to approach science in a piecemeal fashion without really making our mark on its development or fully benefiting from this activity,” he adds.
The Science Teaching Task Force will bring together 10-12 leading and diverse voices from amongst the leading scholars from within the Islamic World in a series of meetings to discuss and debate upon the challenges of teaching science in Universities in the Islamic World. The big question that the Task Force is seeking to address is: Are universities the main culprits in the sorry state of science in the Muslim world? What role(s) should they be playing? 

 

The Task Force is being Chaired by Dato Zakri Abdul Hamid – the Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Hosted by The Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT). Prof. Nidhal Guessoum – Associate Dean at the American University of Sharjah – shall serve as the Coordinator of the Task Force and Dr. Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, CEO of MIGHT as the Co-Convenor. Dr. Michael Reiss of University of London and Dr. Bruce Alberts of University of California at San Francisco – both with stellar credentials in Science Education – shall serve as Expert Resource persons to the Task Force.

 

Dato Zakri Abdul Hamid, the Chair of the Task Force and also the Convenor of Malaysia’s Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) noted that “It is critically important that the Islamic World develops the capability and alternate platforms to critically evaluate its own weaknesses and strengths by bringing together a diverse and disparate group of experts and stakeholders and create a discourse that is driven from inside rather than outside. We hope this Task Force will bring forth a consensus that could lead to policy action across the Islamic World.

 

Professor Nidhal Guessoum, the Task Force’s Convenor, stressed that “It is important that a rigorous and multi-facted review of the teaching of science at Universities in the Muslim World be undertaken by international experts. The relative weakness of our institutions of higher learning, particularly in science, cannot be always attributed to lack of funding or inadequate administrative systems; pedagogy, culture, and other factors need to be investigated. This project is both highly pertinent and timely.”

 

The Task Force shall meet in Kuala Lumpur in the second week of December 2014 to deliberate upon submissions made by Task Force Members, experts, and non-members subsequent to a general call for evidence and agree upon a consensus document and a report that could make recommendations to governments, universities, and other institutions around the Muslim World.

 

Dr. Yusoff Sulaiman, Chief Executive of MIGHT and the host of the Task Force added “it is a great honor for MIGHT to host such luminaries from across the Islamic World and beyond for this fascinating and impactfull dialogue. This will certainly go a long way in our efforts to maintain science as a part of our living culture.”  

 

The Muslim-Science Task Forces Initiative is funded partly by John Templeton Foundation and the Science Education Task Force is brought together with the partnership and support of MIGHT, The Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS), and the Akademi Sains Malaysia (ASM).

 

Attachment: Task Force Launch Poster
Annex: Terms of Reference of Teaching of Science Task Force

 

Contacts:
Dr. Athar Osama
Founding Editor and Publisher, Muslim-Science.Com

 

and Project Director, Muslim-Science.Com Task Forces Initiative

 

Prof. Nidhal Guessoum
Associate Dean, American University of Sharjah
and Convenor, Task Force on Teaching of Science in the Muslim World
t: +971 6 515 2512
Mansurah Raisa Ab Rahim
Media Relations, Group Communications
Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology
Prime Minister’s Department

t: +603 8315 7807

 

 

IAS DG visits KACST

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Dr Moneef Zou’bi, DG-IAS, visited on Thursday 8 May 2014 the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he was received by H E Dr Mohammad Ibrahim Al-Suwwayyel, the President of KACST.

IAS DG was briefed on the activities of KACST in a number of areas within the Saudi STI system as well KACST pioneering work in STI policy developement, water desalination technology as well as satellite technologies.

KACST is an independent scientific organization administratively reporting to the Prime Minister. KACST is both the Saudi Arabian national science agency and its national laboratories. The science agency function involves science and technology policy making, data collection, funding of external research, and services such as the patent office. KACST has currently over 2500 employees.

It is woth noting that KACST lists among its activities the followng main thrsut areas:

• A sustained planning mechanism for all scientific disciplines.
• Scientifically knowledgeable and capable government agencies.
• A developed R&D infrastructure with fully functioning centers of excellence in all scientific disciplines.
•  Strong interaction between the private sector and research centers.
• Regional leaders in patent ownership and issuance. Advanced incubator systems and output.
• World leaders in strategic technologies including water and oil and gas.
• Enhanced interaction networks between all scientific agencies.

IAP Statement on Synthetic Biology

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Release Date:
7 May 2014; 19:00 CET

Contact:

Prof. Volker ter Meulen

IAP Co-chair

Email: [email protected]
Peter McGrath
IAP Coordinator

Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Tel: +30 040 2240 571; +39 040 2240 680

 Trieste, Italy, 7 May 2014 – IAP – the global network of science academies – today issued a statement on ‘Realising Global Potential in Synthetic Biology: Scientific Opportunities and Good Governance’.

In the statement, IAP highlights the different areas in which researchers are currently working with synthetic biology – for example, producing less expensive pharmaceuticals and other high-value chemicals, and next-generation biofuels. In the near future, synthetic biology will likely also find applications in biomedicine, agriculture, land and water decontamination, biosensing, new materials, nano-machines, and even in novel approaches to information processing.

Synthetic biology itself is defined as the deliberate design and construction of customised biological and biochemical systems to perform new or improved functions. It draws on a wide range of disciplines and methodologies to design molecules, construct genetic circuits and assemble simple organisms. Indeed, scientists have recently demonstrated proof-of-principle by ‘building’ a yeast chromosome that remained viable in growing and dividing cells (Nature, 7 March 2014. see: go.nature.com/ktg1ic).

“This IAP Statement builds on the work of IAP member academies and regional networks such as the US National Academy of Science (US NAS) and the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC),” says IAP co-chair Volker ter Meulen. “Academies have explored key biosafety and other issues relating to the contribution that synthetic biology can make in tackling societal objectives such as in the areas of human health or food and energy security. We have also identified the technical challenges that must be overcome to develop the field, as well as what might prevent us from realizing the potential of synthetic biology.”

One such impediment to the wider uptake of synthetic biology could be its perceived impact on the environment or intentional misuse.

With regards to environmental issues, the IAP Statement calls for institutions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – which will meet in Montreal, Canada, this coming June – to take a balanced and evidence-based view of the potential benefits as well as risks of this new technology.

“It is vital that global policy is not intentionally or inadvertently encouraged to introduce excessively cautious restrictions on synthetic biology that would deter innovation to tackle pressing societal priorities,” confirms IAP’s other co-chair, Mohamed Hassan. “Indeed, one of the recommendations from our Statement is that basic research should be supported, especially among young scientists. And that interdisciplinary centres that include the social sciences and humanities are established that can constantly review the ethics and social issues emerging from research in synthetic biology.”

Other recommendations from the IAP Statement include:

  • The scientific community should engage with the public to clarify ethical and social concerns linked with synthetic biology;
  • Alternative models (e.g. patenting, open source) should be explored for owning and sharing research outputs;
  • Active discussions and debates on how synthetic biology should be regulated should be promoted; and
  • Guidelines for scientific responsibility and codes of conduct in synthetic biology research should also be promoted1.

“IAP, together with its member academies, accepts its responsibility in supporting the various elements to build a global commitment and to encourage collaboration between researchers, those regulating and enabling these technologies, and those who will be users and beneficiaries,” adds Volker ter Meulen. “We must collectively ensure that policy worldwide is sufficiently flexible to encourage research and manage innovation, while advising on sensible practices to mitigate risks.”

In parallel with the release of the statement, a ‘World View’ opinion article is being published in the leading scientific journal, Nature on 7 May authored by Volker ter Meulen.

###

1 IAC and IAP, Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise: A Policy Report (2012): http://www.interacademies.net/10878/19787.aspx

###

Notes for Editors:

• The IAP Statement on ‘Realising Global Potential in Synthetic Biology: Scientific Opportunities and Good Governance’ is available at: http://interacademies.net/10878/Scientific_Opportunities_and_Good_Governance.aspx

Translations into Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Portugese and Spanish are also being made available.

• In parallel with the release of the IAP Statement, a ‘World View’ is being published by Nature: www.nature.com/uidfinder/10.1038/509135a

• The Working Group responsible for preparing the IAP Statement ‘Realising Global Potential in Synthetic Biology: Scientific Opportunities and Good Governance’ consisted of:

–            Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) – Prof. Xianen Zhang

–            The Royal Society, UK – Prof. Peter Leadlay

–            Science Council of Japan (SCJ) – Prof. Daisuke Kiga

–            US NAS – Prof. Richard Murray

–            EASAC – Dr. Robin Fears (Working Group chair)

–            Global Young Academy (GYA) – Profs. Borys Wrobel, Marc Creus and Nico Dissmeyer.

• IAP is a global network of 106 of the world’s science academies. Launched in 1993, its primary goal is to help member academies work together to advise citizens and public officials on the scientific aspects of critical global issues. The IAP Secretariat is hosted by The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), for the advancement of science in developing countries, in Trieste, Italy, and IAP activities are supported by the Government of Italy and by contributions of science academies worldwide. More information about IAP can be found here.

• Through IAP, the world’s science academies have been producing statements since 1994, when they produced their first statement on population growth. Statements since then have covered topics including ocean acidification, biosecurity, sustainable development and deforestation. In November 2013, IAP released a Joint Statement with the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP), ‘Antimicrobial Resistance: A Call for Action’.

Muslim-Science.Com Science Writers Award

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AtharMuslim-Science.Com along with partner institutions Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS), Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF), CRDF Global (CRDF), John Templeton Foundation (JTF) as well as Khwarzimic Science Society (KSS) and Burraq Planetary Society bring to you Muslim-Science.Com’s Science Writers Award – an Essay Contest geared to identify gifted science communicators from within the Islamic World.

Details are outlined here: http://muslim-science.com/essay-competition/

Muslim-Science.Com and its partners seek to promote a culture of science and scientific inquiry within the Islamic World. Communicating science is a very important part of this aspiration.

Up to $750 in prizes in two categories – Science Writers Award and Young Writers Award – an opportunity to get published, and a possibility of a virtual internship are on offer.

Please help us find these gifted science communicators by circulating this announcement through your respective networks.

 

Muslim-Science.Com Science Writers Award – Detailed Guidelines:

Introduction

Since time immemorial, Muslims have been playing a very progressive part in the field of science and innovation. There were over 20 Muslim Scientists during the Golden Age in history. Scientists such as Al-Khawarizmi, Al-Farabi, Ibn-e-Sina, Al-Biruni, Umar-ibne-Khayam, Al-Ghazali, Ibne-Rushd and Ibne-Khuldum, to name a few, are eminent figures, who have made tremendous contributions to the fields of medicine, astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry and so on and so forth.

But what about the contemporary world? Why haven’t Muslims fared well in science in the modern world? What would it take to reinvigorate the curiosity and fascination of science today? What does the future of science in the Muslim World look like?

These questions must form an integral part of a conversation and debate within the Muslim World. This conversation must be inspired, sparked, and carried forward by people – scientists-innovators and those from the broader society – who have the knack and passion for communicating science in a cogent manner. This conversation must begin at home.

Looking for the CARL SAGAN of the MUSLIM WORLD

Muslim-Science.Com is an online journal and portal dedicated to the revival of science and innovation in the Islamic World defined broadly as a geographical construct comprising 57 member countries of the OIC as well as people of OIC-origin living elsewhere in the West. It hopes to do so, by providing its readers and stakeholders in the Islamic World — and to those from the West — with a space for an informed, inspiring, and unbiased dialogue about Science, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in the Muslim Lands and by Muslims elsewhere, as well as important, but often overlooked, issues at the intersection of science, religion, politics, culture, and society in the Islamic.

The MSC’s Science Writer Award is the first of its kind Global Competition that seeks to encourage, inspire, and engage the creative writers, science communicators, and story tellers amongst us to write to create a discourse about science and innovation in Muslim Societies.

The Suggested Themes for the Essays are the following:

1) Using science to drive innovation: challenges and opportunities
2) Islam and Science: Is a reconciliation possible?
3) The Scientific Future of the Muslim World Shall be Different – Why or Why Not?
4) Societies’ Role in Inspiring Scientific Curiosity and Creativity
5) Why do I study science? (Special Theme for Young Writers)

The above ideas are illustrative of the broad themes and do not have to be the precise topics of the essays. The writers may exercise limited creative license around the above general areas.

Eligibility

The competition is open to all, be it students, leaders, professionals or the general public.

There is no age limit for the competition.

However, there is a special Student Prize to encourage youth participation for students under the age of 16 (High School).

Deadlines

Participants will be given a three month long time period, from 30th March 2014 to 30th June 2014, during which contestants may submit their essays for consideration.

However, all essays received shall be screened and those that score beyond a certain level shall be ‘shortlisted’ as Semi-Finalists and published on Muslim-Science.Com on a rolling basis.

An Internal jury will select the Top-10 entries out of these published essays which will then be judged by an External Jury for the two Top Prizes.

Prizes

MSC will give away prizes for the following:

i. The Muslim-Science.Com Science Writers Award – a cash prize of $500 for the best submission of the competition
ii. The Muslim-Science.Com Young Writers Award– a cash prize of $250 for the best submission by a student (the individual needs to be an enrolled student under the age of 16 at the time of submission of the essay )
iii. All Semi Finalists shall receive a Certificate of Participation by e-mail signed by Muslim-Science.Com
iv. The shortlisted student candidates will be given the chance to do a virtual internship (unpaid) with Muslim-Science.com for up to 3 months.

Rules

1. Participants must prepare and submit one written submission in order to take part in the competition.

2. Only one submission will be accepted per participant.

3. The Written submissions may be submitted by email ([email protected]) or uploaded on the relevant section of Muslim-Science.Com (here).

4. Only original essays will be considered for the competition. However, previously published essays will be invalid. By submitting an essay, the writers grant Muslim-Science.Com the authority to publish the essay if selected and certify that the work is original and not plagiarized or previously published. Essays found to be plagiarized shall not be disqualified and not eligible for the contest.

5. The essay shall be no longer than 750-1000 words (max.)

6. A catchy but relevant title is to be given to the essay. However, Editors of Muslim-Science.Com reserve the right to modify the title before publishing, if necessary.

7. References must be given, wherever required.

8. The writer(s) may provide one or more relevant visual to go with the essay. The Editors of the Muslim-Science.Com reserve the right to use these visuals or use alternate visuals, if required.

9. Those competing in the ‘Young Writers (Student) Category’ must clearly identify themselves as a student and furnish the proof of their age.

10. Each essay must clearly state the name, email address, telephone contact, address, and the institutional affiliation, if any.



Athar Osama, PhD (Public Policy – The RAND Graduate School)
Young Global Leader (YGL ’13) – World Economic Forum (WEF) &
Fellow ’11 – World Technology Network (WTN)

Founding Partner, Technomics International Ltd.
Founder and CEO, Pakistan Innovation Foundation

Email: [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]
Tel: +44 1483 901916, +44 7711 198092 and +92 305 2266810

WGII AR5 Final Drafts

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The Final Draft Report, dated 28 October 2013, of the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2014:Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnera ability was accepted but not approved in detail by the 10th Session of Working Group II and the 38th Session of the IPCC on 29 March 2014 in Yokohama, Japan. It consists of the full scientific and technical assessment undertaken by Working Group II.

The Final Draft Report has to be read in conjunction with the document entitled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC 5th Assessment Report — Changes to the Underlying Scientific/Technical Assessment” to ensure consistency with the approved Summary for Policymakers (IPCC-XXXVIII/DOC.4) presented to the Panel at its 38th Session. This document lists the changes necessary to ensure consistency between the full Report and the Summary for Policymakers, which was approved line-by-line by Working Group II and accepted by the Panel at the above-mentioned Sessions. A listing of substantive edits additionally indicates corrections of errors for the Final Draft Report.

http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/

New IAS Publication

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Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development in the Islamic World: The Policies and Politics Rapprochement

 

Today, there are many issues plaguing the world, foremost among which are global poverty and environmental degradation, which are interlinked to sustainable development. A new international mindset is required that enables us as nations, acting collectively, to address such issues: to help the poorest countries to develop and to promote a fairer allocation of wealth and opportunity. We also need a new international consensus to protect our environment and combat the devastating impacts of climate change.

 

Aware of such realities, the IAS has decided to convene a multi-theme conference in the city of Kazan in Russia at the invitation of the President of Tatarstan to address such scientific themes and re-establish harmony between scientists, the decision-making community and the public, particularly in the domain of the environment. This is a particularly relevant issue for countries of the South, where many decision-makers have not seen the ‘light of science,’ in their quest to realise sustainable development. The conference also aimed to raise some questions on the storyline of Islamic science in the Islamic civilisation, and the relationship between science and the media.

 

This book includes the majority of the ‘thought-provoking’ papers that were presented at the 16th IAS Conference, which was held in Kazan (Tatarstan/Russia), during August 2008. A conference in which over 200 participants including IAS Fellows and invited speakers from outside Russia, academics, decision-makers, scientists, researchers as well as presidents/representatives of academies of sciences from all over the world, took part.

 

Copies available at US$30.00 inclusive of p&p from [email protected]

The University of Jordan (UJ) has awarded an Honorary Doctorate to IAS President, Prof. Abdul Salam Majali FIAS

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الأردنية تمنح المجالي درجة الدكتوراه الفخرية في العلوم الإدارية -1

In the presence of the Prime Minister, Dr. Abdullah Ensour, The University of Jordan (UJ) on Tuesday has awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Management Science to former Prime Minister, Prof. Abdul Salam Majali, President, IAS, for his contribution to science and knowledge for over 50 years.

“We are honoring a national figure, a march of accomplishments and a man who had a fingerprint in all positions he held and used to serve the nation,” Tarawneh said in a speech he delivered in a grand ceremony held for this occasion.
According to Tarawneh, UJ sought to honor Majali being a model for pioneering political behavior and a role model for all generations in our beloved country.
The president recited the Council of Deans’ order to award Prof. Majali an honorary doctorate degree in Management Science based on UJ’s policy on the awarding of degrees and honorary degrees and certificates.
Majali held several renowned positions in Jordan including Minister of Health, Minister of Education, and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs.
Majali made many contributions on the national, regional and international levels. He helped in passing and developing a number of national laws. Furthermore, he was the first doctor to hold a military rank and the fist president of the Jordanian Royal Medical Services.
Majali helped expanding education in Jordan. He participated in founding all of the University of Jordan and Princess Muna College of Nursing for the Jordanian Armed Forces. Moreover, Al-Majali was the president of The University of Jordan for 14 years during which he brought in the Credit Hours system.
Also, Majali has participated in many WHO and UNESCO conferences, and presided over the Jordanian delegation to the peace negotiations in the Middle East in 1991.
In his speech Prof. Majali recalled the founding of The University of Jordan in 1962 as one of the most important milestones at the time of His Majesty the Late King Hussein bin Talal, May God rest his soul.
Majali also urged universities to promote higher education and research centers by introducing smart environments that contribute to the development of scientific research aimed to boost development and production, In addition to promoting freedom, dialogue and respect among students on campus.
Majali expressed appreciation for UJ on this honoring, commending the first generation faculty and staff who was the principal force behind the development of The University of Jordan.
Prof. Kamel Ajlouni, Director of the National Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Genetics (NCDEG), delivered a speech in which he commended the biography of Majali since he was a medical doctor in the Armed Forces until he became Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense during the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations.
Tarawneh handed Prof. Majali the Honorary Doctorate in the presence of Jordan’s Senate President Abdul Raouf Rawabdeh and a number of current and former ministers, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Prof. Khaled Touqan and a number of heads of Jordanian universities, as well as the Secretary General of the Association of Arab Universities and senior staff at the University.

 

 

 

Water shortages may spark violence worse than the Arab Spring

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Prince El-HassanRefugees from Syria are exacerbating a looming energy crisis that threatens to plunge the Middle East into a wave of violent uprisings far bloodier than the Arab Spring, Prince Hassan of Jordan
has warned.

Unless Arab states unite to solve the region’s increasingly acute shortages, they will be starved of water and power in 15 years, he predicted.

The millions of refugees are piling intolerable pressure on the already creaking infrastructure of their neigh-bouring countries such as Jordan,sparking protests against blackouts and water queues.

“We are at a tipping point. It is not going to survive much further, because the populace won’t have it,” Prince Hassan,the uncle of King Abdullah, told The Times. The impetus for another series of revolutions would be less about the vote and more about “the
absence of basic services, such as water and energy”, he said.

He also predicted that new uprisings were likely to be far bloodier than those that began sweeping the Middle East and North Africa in 2010, due to the influence of extremists linked to al-Qaeda.
“They are going to be motivated by the level of the violence and professional cruelty that we have seen in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan to basically create a tsunami, a violent takeover of the
region. The downstream consequences of that are immeasurably destructive.”

Every tenth person in Jordan is a Syrian national. The influx of refugees has pushed Jordan from fourth to third on the list of countries most deprived of water, and there are concerns that sewage and waste from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, the second biggest in the world, are threatening underground water supplies nearby.

Despite this, Prince Hassan said, there has been no cross-border thinking about how to address the water problems that affect the entire region. By 2030, for instance, 45 million Iranians are expected to be on the move because of shortages, he said.

“You need to have the ability to think regionally, but that’s not encouraged,” he said, referring to sectarian divisions that are dominated by Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.

One answer might be the waters of the River Jordan, depleted over decades by the rival efforts of Syria, Israel and Jordan to divert its flow to their advantage. “This is the lifeline of the region. This is what should be developed.”

He suggested a supranational body — “above politics and above sticky fingers” — that would meet daily until Arab governments could go to the UN and express a collective view. It would also need to look at the depleted stocks of the Euphrates and the Tigris.

The proposals of Prince Hassan, who is chairman of the UN Advisory Board in Water and Sanitation, will go before Arab ministers in the spring. Does he think his plan has any hope? “I’m not an optimist in that I think everything’s rosy, but not a pessimist in that I think nothing is practical,” he said.

Roland Watson