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New STI Agenda Reflects Aspiration for Change in Islamic World

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On 10-11 September this year, the city of Astana, in northern Kazakhstan, hosted the first Summit on Science and Technology in the history of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Representatives of all 57 member states, including several heads of state and government, were there to adopt the organization’s first action plan oriented solely towards science, technology and innovation (STI), the OIC STI Agenda 2026. Moneef Zou’bi, who is Director General of the Islamic Academy of Sciences and co-author of the chapter on the Arab States in the UNESCO Science Report (2015), delivered a keynote speech to the summit. In this blogpost, he explains why this Agenda reflects a long-overdue aspiration for change in the Islamic world.

From the outset, the OIC STI Agenda 2026 strikes a refreshing tone. ‘Science is disruptive and flourishes in an environment of irreverence’, states the preamble.

Of the twelve priorities highlighted by the Agenda, nurturing the thinking mind by building a culture of science and innovation comes first. The Agenda observes that, ‘notwithstanding some important gains in the past decade, a true scientific culture is conspicuous by its absence. There should be no fears about the disruptive nature of knowledge and science, as this has been part of our heritage and traditions for centuries’… ‘Catch them young’, the Agenda urges, ‘so that critical thinking, integrity, curiosity, and creativity can flourish in the school systems’.

The reference to the golden era of Islamic science is not fortuitous. The Agenda argues that the marginal role science plays today in the Islamic world is a result of the loss of three key features that enabled Islam to enrich humanity’s accumulated reservoir of knowledge for 1000 years (circa 6th-16th centuries in the Gregorian calendar). The first of these three features is the recognition that science cannot emerge without a scientific culture which appreciates precision, learning and inquiry, encourages curiosity and criticism and interacts with the rest of the world to exchange ideas and share information.

The second feature is the recognition that science needs patronage and political support to flourish. During the golden age of Islamic science, the Umayyad and Abbāsid periods, science blossomed thanks to rulers’ direct and indirect political patronage. At the OIC Summit in Astana last September, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed establishing a forum similar to the G20, in order to utilize such a grouping to develop science and economies in the Islamic world.

The third feature is the recognition that science needs openness and diversity to prosper. Interdisciplinarity was the norm for Islamic science of the classical period, with no subject being out of bounds. Critical thought was supported and promoted by philosophy and debate was encouraged.

The Agenda embraces all three features. It encourages critical thought and creativity and calls upon governments to invest in every sphere of science: education, basic science, big science, etc.. It also encourages member states to establish science and technology funds to nurture joint bilateral and multilateral projects.

Targets for greater investment in research

The Agenda fixes a number of targets for investment. For instance, the fifth priority concerning improving the quality of higher education and research invites member states to ‘consider doubling the annual expenditure by 2025 on scientific infrastructure and research and development (R&D) in those countries which spend less than 0.3% of GDP, and aim for a target of 2.0% in countries which are at a relatively advanced level, in accordance with the relevant national laws in each member state’.

Currently, the two OIC countries with the greatest research intensity are Malaysia (1.30% of GDP in 2015) and Turkey (1.01% in 2014). When you consider that both countries have doubled their research intensity since 2004, the 2% target for 2026 seems within reach. Malaysia is even planning to reach this target by 2020. Turkey has even greater ambitions, with the government’s Strategic Vision 2023 document advancing a 3% target for the year the Republic celebrates its centenary in 2023. The world average in 2013 was 1.70% of GDP.

The great majority of Islamic countries spend much less of their GDP on R&D, according to the UNESCO Science Report. Burkina Faso, Oman, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have all hovered at the 0.2% mark for the past decade and spending levels have actually dropped in Iran and Pakistan to about 0.3% of GDP. Qatar devotes about 0.5% of GDP to research and Kuwait 0.3%. It is hard for oil-rent economies to have a strong research intensity, owing to their high GDP. This said, Saudi Arabia actually now spends a respectable 0.87% of GDP on R&D, according to figures published by the Ministry of Higher Education1 in 2013.

The situation can evolve rapidly with sufficient political backing. Egypt raised its research intensity from 0.27% to 0.72% of GDP between 2004 and 2015 and even inscribed the 1% target in the Egyptian Constitution of 2014. The United Arab Emirates published data for the first time in 2011 and, by 2015, had – jointly with Saudi Arabia – the greatest research intensity of any Arab country: 0.87% of GDP.

The United Arab Emirates has achieved a similar feat when it comes to researchers. When it published related data for the first time in 2015, it immediately took the lead for the number of researchers per million inhabitants (2 003 in full-time equivalents), ahead of the traditional champion for this indicator in the Arab world, Tunisia (1 787). Among Muslim countries as a whole, only Malaysia had a higher ratio (2 261). The world average was 1 083 per million.

Data are unavailable for about one-quarter of Muslim countries but, according to the UNESCO Science Report, a growing number are developing national STI observatories to ensure better data collection and analysis in order to inform policy-making. Examples are Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia. For its part, the African Union established an African Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation in Equatorial Guinea in 2011 which publishes pan-African R&D data in the African Innovation Outlook every three years. As of 2010, Mali and Senegal devoted 0.58% and 0.54% of GDP to R&D, respectively.

Time is of the essence

It will be imperative to capture the moment. Many politicians in OIC countries are under pressure from their populations to succeed in terms of achieving strong national economic growth, cutting unemployment and raising living standards.

The economic fallout from the current insecurity in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen will ultimately be felt by all Arab countries, slowing the influx of foreign direct investment and hurting real estate markets. This will cause a slowdown in economic growth and push up unemployment in the region. Both Arab states reliant on exporting goods and services to the USA and European Union and those that normally receive aid from these quarters may be affected.

In parallel, OIC countries are conscious that, if they do not manage to adapt their workforces to the new knowledge economy, they will face growing unemployment. After relocating much of their production to the developing world in the 1980s, industrial countries are now investing in advanced manufacturing to revitalize their domestic manufacturing sector. In what has been dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technological fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, informatics and cognitive sciences are converging to blur the boundaries between the virtual world and reality, services and industry. Artificial intelligence is transforming society at a breakneck pace, changing the face of fields as disparate as medicine, manufacturing and cybersecurity. On the factory floor, robots and other cyber-physical systems are being designed to monitor production and make independent decisions.

This revolution is producing technological and organizational changes in manufacturing that are already reducing demand for unskilled labour in both developed and developing countries. It is no wonder that the OIC STI Agenda 2026 lays such heavy emphasis on high technology. It states, for instance, that ‘computational chemistry and computational biology now offer the possibility of manipulating atoms and molecules to create totally new entities, systems, membranes, materials and also fuel cells, which are critical for energy storage’.

A reinvigorated organization

The OIC is experiencing something of a revival that is particularly noticeable in the area of STI. This revival began in June 2011, when another summit in Astana decided to rename the Organisation of the Islamic Conference the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to signal the start of a new era and emphasize the cooperation aspect of the organization’s mandate, particularly with regard to other international bodies and United Nations agencies.

The OIC was founded in 1969 as a political organization grouping Muslim-majority countries. In 1981, the heads of state of the OIC decided to establish a number of specialized bodies to enhance co-operation between member states in a number of areas, including science and technology. This task was entrusted to the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Co-operation (COMSTECH), based in Islamabad (Pakistan). The Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) soon followed and was launched in Amman (Jordan) in 1986. Since the 1980s, a lot of effort has been expended by individual OIC countries and offshoot organizations to develop science and technology in member states but success stories have been few and far between.

The OIC Summit in Malaysia in 2003 adopted a yardstick for measuring progress in science and technology in member states, Vision 1441. The year 1441 in the Islamic Hijri Calendar corresponds to 2020 in the Gregorian calendar. Vision 1441 contained both collective and individual targets. Collectively, OIC countries were to account for at least 14% of the world’s scientific output by the year 1441, through greater investment in science and technology, including research and development (R&D). Individually, OIC countries were to develop a competent workforce of at least 1441 researchers, scientists and engineers per million inhabitants and to devote at least 1.4% of GDP to R&D by the year 1441.

These three targets are, of course, extrapolated from the 1441 figure. This approach was chosen to ensure that people, especially top decision-makers, could relate to these targets. The choice of indicators is fortunate, particularly as the latter two have been chosen by the United Nations as the yardsticks for measuring progress worldwide towards Sustainable Development Goal 9.5, which encourages all countries to ‘enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors … including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending’.

When Prof. Ekmeleldin Ihsanoglu took the helm in 2005 as Secretary-General of the OIC, he encouraged member states to include a major component on STI in their Ten-Year Plan of Action to 2015. Owing to a lack of financial resources, interest among decision-makers in implementing the Plan of Action gradually dwindled, at least in the field of science and technology. In the higher education sector, however, a growing number of universities joined the ranks of the world’s top universities, including several from Malaysia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The number of scientific publications catalogued in international journals also tripled. This was partly a result of the growing number of researchers and partly thanks to pro-active policies designed to attract foreign experts to OIC campusesor, indeed, persuade highly cited international researchers to adopt an OIC-based university for their second affiliation. Despite these positive trends, OIC countries generally still lag behind other fast-developing nations.

The OIC’s STI Agenda 2026 was drafted by COMSTECH and discussed at a number of meetings in Pakistan, as well as at the OIC Secretariat in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia). It is an ambitious document that is perhaps less utilitarian than it ought to be. It places great emphasis on mechanisms for building collective competence in a wide array of areas ranging from water, food and agriculture to energy, the basic and applied sciences, along with large multinational projects, in addition to strengthening international linkages with the best in the world. Recommendations and targets in this document are aspirational rather than prescriptive, with each government setting its own list of national targets to reflect its particular circumstances and ambitions.

The OIC STI Agenda 2026 will remain a stand-alone silo, unless a core group of countries commit to pursuing its ambitious recommendations and, ‘critically,’ allocate the financial means needed to realize its exciting ideas.

1 Ministry of Higher Education (2013) Actual Expenditure on Scientific Research and Development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the fiscal year 1434/1435 H (in Arabic). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Higher Education, Secretariat for Planning and Information, General Directorate for Planning.

Source: Moneef Zou’bi and Susan Schneegans, with excerpts from the UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2015). See in particular the chapters on the Arab StatesMalaysiaWest AfricaCentral and East AfricaCentral Asia, the countries around the Black Sea basin and the Caricom countries (for Suriname and Guyana)

The 2017 Mustafa(pbuh) Prize laureates were honored in the award ceremony

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During the Mustafa(pbuh)  prize ceremony held today in Tehran attended by senior Iranian officials, foreign delegations and representatives of OIC countries along with over sixty prominent scholars and scientists  from Islamic countries, the laureates were honored and praised for their pioneering achievements.
MSTF Media reports:
On December 3rd, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Great Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)  in the award ceremony taken place at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall, the Mustafa(pbuh) Prize Laureates received their prizes.
Prof. Erol Gelenbe from turkey and Prof. Mohammad Amin Shokrollahi from Iran were the laureates of 2017 Mustafa(pbuh) Prize in Information and Communications Science and Technology and Information Theory.
Prof. Romain Murenzi the Executive Director of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS)  in his speech on the early of the event, named the laureates as a roles model for society who are constantly portray a strenuous effort in carrying social responsibilities and specify an appropriate symbol of precious world in society. They are the one who also play an important role in broadening the scientific borders for public welfare. He also praised the MSTF initiative in granting this prize and described it as a successful example on top of its agenda, attempts to create a hub for attracting the attention of people around the world towards capabilities of Islamic world and lay the ground for international scientific collaborations more than ever.
He further added, “ The Mustafa (pbuh)  Prize is a popular prize and movement and today a number of distinguished figures of Islamic and global community have been invited to contribute to this great movement. The prize offers an opportunity for everyone to be a part of world scientific activity and may this honor and divine privilege be bestowed upon us, Inshallah.”
While highlighting the headlines of MSTF plan, Prof. Murenzi described MSTF’s scientific activities for instance,  “Science & Technology Exchange Programs (STEP), (KANS) Knowledge Application and Notion for Society described as a strategy would lead to Synergy in science and technology, like the golden era of Islamic civilization definitely will bring about a significant increase in the realm of science and technology for humanity that from its spring all the ethnic groups are quenched and Islamic nations will be more powerful.
Since 2013, Mustafa(pbuh) Prize initiated by MSTF, has been granted biennially to the laureates in the ceremony on anniversary of  the Holy Prophet of Islam, to the top researchers and scientists from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states in  four categories, including: “Information and Communication Science and Technologies, Life & Medical Sciences and Technology, Nano Science and Nanotechnologies and all areas of  Science and Technology”.
Recipients in each section receives the Mustafa(pbuh) Medal, a Diploma and $500,000  financed through the endowments made to the prize. In fact Prize is given to those scientists and technologists whose achievements have significant effect on human life.
The first round of Mustafa(pbuh) Prize was held in 2015 in Tehran and Prof. Omar Yaghi from Jordan in the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Prof. Jackie Ying from Singapore in Bio-nanotechnology category, were the recipients of this award.

ثلاثة أردنيين ضمن قائمة العلماء الأكثر تأثيرا بالعالم

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عمان – الدستور – امان السائح

حقق ثلاثة باحثين أردنيين مواقع ريادية ليكونوا ضمن قائمة العلماء الاكثر تاثيرا بالعالم لعام 2017 خلال السنوات العشر الماضية، وذلك وفقا لتقييم مؤسسة كلاريفت اناليتكس

Clarivate Analytics والمنبثقة عن مؤسسة تومسون رويترز، والتي تعتمد على اختيار الاكثر استشهادا بابحاثه.

وشملت القائمة ستة علماء عرب منهم ثلاثة من الاردن واثنان من الجزائر وواحد من مصر. 

ووفقا للتقييم فقد حصلت الجامعة الاردنية على احد التقييمات من خلال الدكتور شاهر المومني (زميل أكاديمية العالم الاسلامي للعلوم) وذلك للمرة الرابعة على التوالي ليكون أول عالم عربي يدخلها على مدى أربع سنين متتالية، وتبلغ الأستشهادات (Citations) للدكتور المومني 6271 ومعامل هيرش 44 حسب قاعدة البيانات سكوبس.

وحصل الدكتور زيد عضيبات من جامعة البلقاء التطبيقية للسنة الثالثة على التوالي، بعدد استشهادات 3803 ومعامل هيرش 34، 

والدكتور وصفي شطناوي من الجامعة الهاشمية هذه القائمة للسنة الثالثة على التوالي حيث بلغت عدد الاستشهدات لابحاثه 2000 ومعامل هيرش 25.

ومن الجدير بالذكر أن هذه القائمة تضم 3300 عالم في مختلف التخصصات العلمية والإنسانية، فقد احتلت جامعة هارفرد الأمريكية المركز الأول ودخل 159 عالما هذه القائمة تليها جامعة ستانفورد بــ 64 عالما.

كما حظيت القائمة برقم ملموس لعدد العلماء الصينين الذين زادت نسبتهم بــ 34% عن العام الماضي واحتلت المركز الثالث بين الدول بعد الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا.

 

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DECLARATION OF WORLD SCIENCE FORUM 2017

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PREAMBLE

Under the leadership of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan, the founding organisations of the World Science Forum, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Council for Science (ICSU), and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and all invited organisations and fellow scientists, we, the participants of the 8th World Science Forum, held from 7-10 November 2017 at the Dead Sea, Jordan, adopt the present declaration.

The World Science Forum (WSF), an outcome of the 1999 World Conference on Science, is a biennial event that since 2003 has been successfully assembling scientists and decision-makers from the world of politics and industry, representatives of civil society and the media to discuss critical global issues and the potential of science to address them holistically.

In line with the outcomes of the 1999 World Conference on Science (WCS), and taking into account the 2011 Budapest Declaration on the New Era of Global Science, the 2013 Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Science for Global Sustainable Development, and the 2015 Budapest Declaration on The Enabling Power of Science we reaffirm our commitment to the responsible and ethical use of scientific knowledge in addressing the great challenges facing humankind.

Science for Peace

Our world is empowered by science as never before. Scientific and technological advances are at a point where challenges to our health, environment and wellbeing may be defined and addressed in increasingly effective ways. Yet, despite these great strides forward, so many communities on our planet remain powerless and deprived of some of the very basic requirements for life, liberty and hope. So many more of our fellow human beings are at the mercy of fear, insecurity and instability in their lives and livelihoods. Additionally, the grave threats posed by climate and ocean change, pollution, and the inefficient management of natural resources and waste, continue to threaten our environmental, social and political stability at local, regional and global levels.

It is in this context that World Science Forum 2017 has assessed the role of science in building a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development. ‘Peace’ is far more than the absence of conflict. It implies an absence of fear and the full realisation of a whole and healthy life. It encompasses an equal access to the resources and potential of our planet. ‘Science for Peace’ signifies a call for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, and for the promise of hope and opportunity in the lives of all people in a world where borders must matter little as we struggle to build a better, and inevitably shared future.

‘Science for Peace’ recognizes the global nature of the challenges facing all humankind, and underlines our global responsibility to tackle them through robust science and evidence-informed policy. This must encompass energy, food, water and climate change, the alleviation of poverty and inequality, greater cultural and economic understanding between peoples, and the potential for science and research to create wealth and to provide opportunity within societies.

We are convinced that science and the ethical application of evidence-informed methods offer essential tools to address challenges that leaders and politicians are confronted by at national and regional levels, and we are committed to finding in science the language that connects people across borders, belief systems, and social and cultural barriers. We believe that we must fight for a voice in a world where culture is so often reduced to untruths relating to cultural identity. ‘Science for Peace’ is a banner for all humanity and a call to reject division, short-term and reactionary planning, and the growing gap between rich and poor.

Inquiry-based science education is essential for forming critical thinking to build and sustain peaceful, knowledge-based societies. Lasting peace may only be achieved in our world when scientific knowledge is more equitably produced and shared, when science and evidence-based thinking are supported and empowered in all societies, when diversity is cherished as a vital factor in science and research, and when the universal right to science is promoted and enshrined in regional and global fora. It is in this context that we call for the following:

1.      The equitable and sustainable management of natural resources is essential to avoid conflicts and to promote peaceful development

The global demand for food, water and energy has reached unprecedented and unsustainable levels as a result of a growing global population, increased consumption, inefficient resource management and the effects of climate change. Competition for basic resources is a key driver of inequality, uncertainty, instability and conflict. Future global security and prosperity for all will depend on how we respond to pressures on natural resources, and how these resources are managed, distributed and made accessible to all communities. Sustainable and equitable access is imperative to prevent and mitigate crisis, and to promote resilience and recovery.

World Science Forum 2017 explored the critical interdependency of water, energy and food as the most acute challenge to peace and security. In Jordan and the Middle East in particular, water scarcity poses a grave threat to stability. Scientists and science diplomats have central roles to play not only in developing technologies and management systems, but also in enhancing cooperation, institutions and knowledge exchange; improving water conservation and energy efficiency; building local capacity; and ensuring resilience through shared management of transboundary resources. Science offers channels of communication between states to overcome political tension and build trust.

We affirm the need to collaborate to improve governance, to inform technological choices and investments, and to build social and human infrastructures for equitable and sustainable management of resources.

The 2030 Agenda sets a blueprint for tackling these challenges across the Sustainable Development Goals but their interdependencies are not yet fully understood and require increasingly interdisciplinary approaches.

We endorse the three landmark UN agreements adopted in 2015 — the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We call for science to be given a central role in enabling the analysis and synthesis of evidence to inform their implementation, delivery, and compliance through research monitoring and evaluation.

2.      The preservation of scientific capacities, threatened by global migration trends, is key to peace, sustainable development, resilience and recovery

Peace and prosperity depend not only on economic or natural resources, but also on a society’s capacity to anticipate, identify and understand challenges, and to act effectively to generate and deploy scientific knowledge. The capacity to educate, attract and retain professionals in science, technology and innovation (STI) is essential for societies to follow sustainable development paths and is the main pillar of any attempt for successful recovery and reconstruction, following conflict, economic crises, and natural and anthropogenic disasters.

Individual causes for migration among scientists may range from career or economic benefits, discrimination of underrepresented groups, the limitation of academic freedom, and political instability, to famine and armed-conflicts. Regardless of the causes, continuous and long-lasting out-migration of skilled STI personnel undermines present and future capacities for innovation in all countries and leads to an acceleration in development gaps. Such global and regional migration patterns must be acknowledged as a shared challenge and leveraged to create future development opportunities.

Science must make an increasingly important contribution to the discourse surrounding migration: the science community must offer insights into the causes, benefits and challenges connected with migration, give voice to underrepresented stakeholders, and support the development of policies based on empirical evidence to respond to the causes and consequences of migration.

The debilitating effects of brain drain on equitable global progress in recent decades have been exacerbated by rapidly increasing dislocation and forced migration. In the Middle East and North Africa alone, war and civil conflicts have forced millions of people to leave their homes and with migration as their only option. Integration of migrant scientists is marked by inequalities in terms of countries of origin, gender or religion, and the underutilization of skills due to bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of recognition of qualifications.

In order to prevent an irreversible loss of human capital in science, it is imperative to introduce measures to help those displaced to continue their careers, and when the time comes to enable them to contribute effectively to rebuilding and reconstruction.

We call on science organizations, universities and governments to devise mechanisms to identify professionals among the millions displaced by war, economic hardship and climate change, and set recommendations that protect their status and their ability to create knowledge.

We underline the need for education and jobs programs to support mobility and integration of migrant and refugee researchers and students.

We call for the inclusion of migrant and refugee researchers in the negotiation process of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration due to be signed by UN Member States in 2018.

3.      Diversity is a key enabler of excellence in science, technology and innovation and is essential to optimise its relevance and impact

Diversity is a key enabler of scientific excellence and improves the social, environmental and economic impacts of science, thus contributing to prosperity and peace. For the scientific community to innovate effectively, it must reflect different methodologies, linguistics, life experiences and cultural values.

Diversity and inclusion should address all forms of discrimination. Conscious and unconscious biases and imbalances are even more apparent in leadership roles.

Uniformity breeds a recurring and self-affirming scientific monologue that impairs genuine innovation. The homogeneity of scientific communities discourages diversity from the earliest stages of science education.

We call for the recognition and promotion of diversity in science as an essential precursor to fully realising the potential of human capacities globally, to cherishing excellence, and to optimising the impact of scientific research for the benefit of humankind

We advocate for innovative measures and the assessment of gender-disaggregated data, as well as support for the design and implementation of science, technology and innovation (STI) policy instruments that positively affect gender equality in STEM.

4.      We commit to the fulfilment of the universal right to science

We reinforce and commit to promote the right for all to participate in the advancement of science and the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications as established in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).

In the five decades since the adoption of these core documents for peace and equitable progress, the world of science has seen fundamental and systemic changes and challenges: The emergence of new actors, new methods, transdisciplinary approaches requiring co-design and co-production of knowledge, increased responsibilities for the global scientific community, and the globalisation of commerce and industry. These changes have challenged partnerships among the stakeholders of science. This transformed global landscape calls for the empowerment of the right to science, and for a normative structure to support and expand its applications. This must be complemented by an interdisciplinary approach to the assessment of new scientific discoveries and technologies that embraces social scientists in mapping systemic impacts on societies.

We, the partner organisations of the World Science Forum, and all participants of World Science Forum 2017, commit to defend academic freedom.

We embrace the Principle of the Universality of Science adopted by ICSU member organisations, the renewed Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers adopted by UNESCO, the Statement on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility adopted by AAAS, and IAP’s Doing Global Science: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise.

We call for the stakeholders of science to join together in promoting and communicating the universal right to science as an essential precursor to building a fair and durable peace.

5.      We support the launch of a regional science forum for the Arab World

We recognise the importance of regional initiatives to strengthen cohesion within diverse scientific communities and to build partnerships among them. In this respect we support the organisation and promotion of regional science fora as powerful tools to initiate positive change focusing on regional challenges to science systems.

In this spirit we support the launch of an Arab Science Forum to draw together science and research communities, to focus scientific capacity to address regional challenges, and to connect regional science voices to the wider discourse of established regional fora.

We as partner organisations and participants of World Science Forum 2017 commit our support to the establishment of the Arab Science Forum.

World Science Forum 2017 concludes

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Dead Sea, Nov. 10 (Petra) — The World Science Forum 2017, which was attended by more than 3,000 science leaders from more than 120 countries, concluded at the Dead Sea shores on Friday evening.

During the closing ceremony, HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Scientific Society, highlighted the importance of the forum in exchanging research and studies among scientists in the region and worldwide.

He called for employing science for peace and social security and in addressing various global issues, underscoring the importance of developing knowledge while preserving values and priorities.

He pointed out the need to bridge the gap between education and society and achieve social justice. The Prince also stressed the importance of supporting youths and promote their capacity, noting Jordan’s ability to shoulder the burden of refugees from a large number of countries in the region. He said that Jordan was able to overcome problems and crises in the region.

HRH Princess Sumaya Bint Al Hassan, President of the forum, said the event called for the need for sustainable management of natural resources to avoid conflicts and promote peaceful development. The forum released a statement calling for the need to maintain scientific capacity as the key to peace and sustainable development.

Princess Sumaya also announced the launch of a regional forum for science in the Arab region, stressing the importance of such regional initiatives aimed at enhancing cohesion within the scientific communities and building partnerships among them.

//Petra//
10/11/2017 – 09:41:34 PM

Princess Sumaya says hosting World Science Forum confirms Jordan’s position as place for dialogue

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AMMAN — HRH Princess Sumaya, the president of the Royal Scientific Society (RSS), on Tuesday welcomed leading international scientists and policymakers to the RSS as she convened the second meeting of the steering committee of the World Science Forum 2017 (WSF). 

The princess, who chairs the WSF 2017, said it was a great privilege for Jordan to plan and host in November the “world’s most prestigious science forum” for the first time in the Middle East.

The eighth WSF will be held at the Dead Sea under the heading of “Science for Peace”, according to an RSS statement. 

The meeting, which is known as the “Davos of Science”, will examine how science, technology and innovation can help create a better future for the world. 

“For the first time, WSF will have an Arab and Middle Eastern focus as the world’s leading scientists and policymakers make Jordan the focus of attention for debate and discussion,” the statement said.

Princess Sumaya voiced hope that the WSF 2017 would act as a launch pad for cooperation in science, technology and innovation across the Arab world. 

The princess said she was delighted that the WSF, and the global attention it attracts, would confirm Jordan’s position as a place for dialogue and the exchange of ideas.

 

 

 

Building Humanity’s Common Future

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HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal

Published at 11:47 PM October 28, 2017

 

The Islamic world must invest in science, technology, and innovation

Politics rather than policy is clouding the biosphere of most countries in the Islamic world. Science policy in the Arab region is not stable due to instability of the region.

The question is how the 2030 agenda for sustainable development (UN-SDGS), can pave the way for global peace and prosperity with such political instability. Does stability come with policies in science, technology, and innovation (STI) to create the “niche” of political stability that the Islamic world has hardly enjoyed?

There are areas where some countries in the Islamic world has succeeded in providing political stability with sound policies, and has created a stable democratic governance with change and continuity, and emerged strongly in STI and economy.

Malaysia is a country which has succeeded in generating wealth per capita to overcome unemployment and poverty and to compete with OECD countries and has developed a unique democratic system with full participation of all segments of the society based on tolerance, equity, and justice.

They have created a sustainable political system leaving no one behind with sound policies in economics, science, technology, and innovation (STI), generating high-tech exports dependent heavily on the R&D and technology transfer. This is a model which could be studied carefully for prosperous and future progress of the Islamic Umma.

The Islamic world cannot live on the glories of the past, although we have to underline the success stories in our history to give us the impetus to trigger with vigour the development of our present and future quality of life and put human dignity, at the centre of development.

The Islamic world faces problems in knowledge-use more than in knowledge creation. Without translating academic research into policy and public awareness, research will be read by few people who constitute the elites who are disconnected from the masses of the society.

The Islamic world cannot live on the glories of the past, although we have to underline the success stories in our history to give us the impetus to trigger with vigour the development of our present

There is a gap between scientists and policy/decision makers. Universities are the centres of creating knowledge and its transmission, and where minds are shaped. The creation of knowledge occurs through research, free-thinking, exploration, and the exchange and debate of ideas.

The transmission of knowledge is done by teaching and training of the next generation, which not only receives the distilled, confirmed facts and theories in various branches of knowledge, but also learns to dissect them, check for any flaws, and construct more robust frameworks of knowledge for the world.

In addition to the knowledge production and scholarship and the shaping of critical and creative minds, one of the main goals and raisons d’être of universities worldwide is to develop within society a culture of inquiry, intellectual rigour, and promotion of evidence and merit.

This spirit is what led to the Islamic Golden Age of science. Indeed, the Muslim world is widely credited for having established the first universities in the world, going back as far as 859 AD.

And indeed, those universities created knowledge by translating books from scholars of previous civilisations, by hosting scholars and giving them the means and the freedom to explore all the ideas that they wished to analyse, and by training students and disciples in intellectual work, from the purely philosophical, theological, or theoretical, to the most directly applicable techniques.

However, after a Golden Age of knowledge and science that lasted many centuries, the Islamic world went through a long period of decline, which was followed by Western colonisation, and by the 20th century, it was trailing all other nations in knowledge production and dissemination.

Today, and after huge efforts (financial and otherwise), only a few universities from the Arab world can be found in the Top 400 of the major world university rankings, and none in the Top 100.

New knowledge, particularly knowledge related to technology, drives the economic systems. Economic agents, including firms and governments, are forced to adapt to technical change in order to survive in a competitive environment.

While governments should act as facilitator, technology capabilities must accumulate in enterprises.

This will only be possible if we strengthen our universities and R&D organisations and create effective linkages between them and industry. It will be the increasing use of knowledge in the production processes and service industry which will determine the growth of our GDP.

Our ability to compete or survive in the globalisation of economic systems depends on our commitment towards the development of our human capital and ensuring a continuous learning process within the government institutions and enterprises to create a culture of innovation.

Innovation is concerned with enhancing national productivity and national competitive performance.

Dynamic innovation systems involve interplay between a number of different parts of the society which include the government, private sector, universities, and research institutions.

The transition of our economy from an agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based economy involves a mosaic of complex interactions in which a large number of players would be involved.

The universities will need to play a central part in this transition through knowledge creation, its use and diffusion of new knowledge into the society through establishment of technology parks, business incubators, access to venture capital, and other such schemes.

The new world order requires us to prepare our children to face the challenges of the global economy.

This involves a substantially different type of education to be imparted, focused not only on the mastery of subject matters but also on the development of the various other skills such as the ability to think critically, innovate, communicate effectively, work effectively in teams, develop entrepreneurship and risk-taking skills, and the ability to face and manage changes in a flexible manner.

This would require a massive focused national effort.

I have no doubts that the cross-fertilisation of ideas coming out from this conference will enhance our ability to pursue the development of the quality of life for the Umma.

HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal is former crown prince of Jordan. This article is an abridged version of an address delivered at the 21st Science Conference of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences held in Konya, Turkey, October 7, 2017. 

 

Source: http://www.dhakatribune.com/opinion/op-ed/2017/10/28/building-humanitys-common-future/

21st Islamic World Academy of Sciences Conference

Written by iasworld on . Posted in News

Science, Technology and Innovation for Global Peace and Prosperity

 Konya, Turkey

8-11 October 2017

The Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) convened its 21st international science conference in Konya, Turkey, during 8-11 October 2017. The theme of the conference was ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Global Peace and Prosperity.’

Held at the Dedeman Hotel in Konya, the IAS Conference was an open activity in which over 120 local and international participants representing over 30 countries participated. Among the participants were Fellows of the IAS, local scientists from the various universities, young university students, expatriate Turkish scientists as well as representatives of Asian, African and Western academies of sciences. Prior to the conference, the 21st meeting of the General Assembly of the IAS as well as the 40th meeting of the IAS Council were convened.

The 21st IAS Conference was organised and sponsored by:

  • Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS), Amman, Jordan;
  • Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA), Ankara, Turkey; and
  • Necmettin Erbakan University, Konya, Turkey.

It was co-sponsored by:

  • Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development (AFSED), Kuwait, Kuwait;
  • Economic Cooperation Organization Science Foundation (ECOSF), Islamabad, Pakistan;
  • Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia;
  • OIC Standing Ministerial Committee on Scientific and Technological Co-operation (COMSTECH), Islamabad, Pakistan; and
  • Arab Potash Company, Amman, Jordan.

The conference addressed a number of key issues in the domain of science, technology and innovation (STI) for peace and prosperity.