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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

Written by iasworld on . Posted in Uncategorized

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.

IAS Founding Patron Prince Hassan honoured

Written by iasworld on . Posted in Uncategorized

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AMMAN — HRH Prince Hassan and French journalist Jean Daniel received the Averroes Prize in Morocco on Saturday.

The prize is awarded to Mediterranean figures whose work and actions are in line with the teachings and philosophy of Averroes (Ibn Rushd in Arabic), the renowned Moroccan Andalusian thinker.

The award ceremony took place in the presence of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and other senior officials and diplomats, according to a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

The Averroes prize rewards two contemporary thinkers, one from a northern and one from a southern Mediterranean country in recognition of their contribution to developing a new humanism for the 21st century in the Mediterranean and beyond.

During the ceremony, Prince Hassan said Averroes was a bridge between the East and the West, adding that the award is a call to promote dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

The prince called for “a new moral charter” for improved relations between civilisations, religions and cultures.

He also highlighted the importance of dialogue among followers of various faiths, relying on common grounds rather than differences, which also need to be respected, according to the statement.

For his part, Daniel, founder and executive editor of Le Nouvel Observateur weekly, described Averroes as a free man and a humanist who marked his period by his philosophy and thinking which constituted bridges for dialogue between the East and West, according to the statement.

The award is co-sponsored by Cadi Ayyad University in Morocco, Cordoba University in Spain and Italy’s Mediterranean observatory.

IAS Patron Prince Hassan receives the Averroes Prize in Morocco

Written by iasworld on . Posted in Uncategorized

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The prize is awarded to Mediterranean figures whose work and actions are in line with the teachings and philosophy of Averroes (Ibn Rushd in Arabic), the renowned Moroccan Andalusian thinker.

The award ceremony took place in the presence of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and other senior officials and diplomats, according to a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

The Averroes prize rewards two contemporary thinkers, one from a northern and one from a southern Mediterranean country in recognition of their contribution to developing a new humanism for the 21st century in the Mediterranean and beyond.

During the ceremony, Prince Hassan said Averroes was a bridge between the East and the West, adding that the award is a call to promote dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

The prince called for “a new moral charter” for improved relations between civilisations, religions and cultures.

He also highlighted the importance of dialogue among followers of various faiths, relying on common grounds rather than differences, which also need to be respected, according to the statement.

For his part, Daniel, founder and executive editor of Le Nouvel Observateur weekly, described Averroes as a free man and a humanist who marked his period by his philosophy and thinking which constituted bridges for dialogue between the East and West, according to the statement.

The award is co-sponsored by Cadi Ayyad University in Morocco, Cordoba University in Spain and Italy’s Mediterranean observatory.

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IAS Endorses IAMP Statement on Antimicrobial Resistance

Written by iasworld on . Posted in News, Uncategorized

IAP&IAMPCALLFORACTION18Nov2013_Page_1Trieste, Italy, 18 November 2013 – IAP – The Global Network of Science Academies, and the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP) today issued a Joint Statement on ‘Antimicrobial Resistance: A Call for Action’.

In the Joint Statement <<http://www.interacademies.net/IAP_IAMP_Nov2013.aspx>>, IAP and IAMP highlight the critical role that antimicrobial (including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic) drugs play in today’s medical practices, but also that there have been dramatic increases in the number of pathogens developing resistance to these drugs.

“The global pandemic of antibiotic resistance in both community care and hospital-associated infections represents a major health and economic burden and this crisis is being exacerbated by a relative lack of innovation in generating new antibiotics,” says the Joint Statement, warning that: “We are in danger of returning to a pre-antibiotic era.”

If the current major public health problem of antimicrobial resistance is to be reduced, and if a much worse crisis is to be averted, IAP and IAMP propose a series of 10 recommendations.

Among the recommendations are a call for immediate action to include the issue of antimicrobial resistance in the global sustainable development agenda; the promotion of integrated world-wide surveillance systems that should include both human and animal diseases (so-called “one-health”); education programmes for the prudent use of antimicrobials for medical and veterinary professionals, as well as for patients and the wider public; and the need for additional research – including building research capacity in developing countries, with the aims of better understanding the determinants of resistance and of devising new therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines.

On the release of the Joint Statement, IAP Co-Chairs Professor Mohamed Hassan (Sudan) and Professor Volker ter Meulen (Germany) commented: “Over the past few years, academies of science have compiled a broad range of recommendations for policy development to combat the ever-increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance. By joining with the InterAcademy Medical Panel and releasing this statement, we hope to raise the visibility of these recommendations, bringing them to the attention of policy-makers worldwide so that appropriate action is taken.”

Prof. Lai-Meng Looi of the Akademi Sains Malaysia and Co-Chair of IAMP, said: “As a practicing medical pathologist, I have seen first-hand the devastating effects that drug-resistant bacteria and other pathogens can have on patients, and how doctors and health-care practitioners have restricted choices in how they treat certain conditions. This statement should serve as a wake-up call to the global community that the current situation is not sustainable.”

Prof. Detlev Ganten, President World Health Summit Charité Berlin, chair of the board, Charité Foundation, and also Co-Chair of IAMP, added: “As a society, we are coming round to the concept of “one-health”, whereby we take a holistic view of human and veterinary medicine as a single, inter-connected system. The misuse of antibiotics in agriculture and the need for surveillance systems around the world, especially in developing countries, are just two of the issues that we need to address urgently, and which are among those highlighted in this Joint Statement.”

In parallel with the release of the Joint IAP-IAMP Statement, a Commentary is being published by The Lancet Global Health: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(13)70086-X/abstract

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The Joint IAP-IAMP Statement is available on the IAP website. Translations into Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish will be available shortly.

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