American University of Cairo
The School of Sciences and Engineering (SSE) at the American University in Cairo (AUC) will be organizing its third annual Cairo Science Festivalfrom April 21 to May 12, 2012, in collaboration with the Cambridge Science Festival. “The festival seeks to contribute to empowering and inspiring people to become better citizens, capable of inventing a better future for themselves, their country and their planet,” said Alaa Ibrahim, assistant professor at AUC’s SSE, and chair of the university’s outreach committee.
The Festival’s main areas of focus this year involve sustainability and green concepts. Aside from exhibits and panel discussions on the subject, the Cairo Science Festival is presenting an “Imagine the Future” competition toengage young people in global sustainability research and activities. As part of the competition, students are invited to select a global environmental issue that is personally compelling to them and to develop solutions to address the issue through research and dialogue. To make their findings accessible to youth worldwide, completed projectsare tobe presented in a web-based format thatdocuments subject-specific questions, discussions, discoveries and solutions.
“This is what universities are all about. They can achieve learning through formal teaching and research to a certain extent, but festivals and other forms of informal community engagement events enhance and enrich this role and extend learning across all segments of the society,”Ibrahim said.
To nurture a knowledge and innovation culture and to promotelifelong learning, the Festival hosts a multitude of interactive events and is considered to be Egypt’s largest celebration of science, innovation and technology. “Like science itself, the Cairo ScienceFestival is continuously growing and developing. This year the Festival reaching new places and audiences, I call this outreach ‘2.0’ because we go to people in such casual environments, adding new roles and values to these venues,” noted Ibrahim.
AUC’s Cairo Science Festival includes activities targeted to Egypt’s youngest citizens, including a puppet show, a ‘nutty scientists’ show, and various exhibits promoting healthy living,and careers in the sciences and engineering. The Festival will also introduce the Science Bus – a mobile science museum thatwill be visiting malls and youth centers across Cairo to cultivate a love of science among Egypt’s adolescents. This year’s festival will also witness the launch of Science Weekend, a residential experience where students will spend two highly active days in the life of scientists.
The festival’s opening remarkswill be delivered by Mostafa El-Sayed, nanotechnology expert and Julius Brown Chair and Regents Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He will be discussing lessons and milestones from his career in science. Bruce Alberts, the former president of the National Academy of Sciences and U.S. presidential envoy to Muslim-majority countries, will also be delivering an enlightening talk about the role of science in society. Other lectures and panel discussions will explore atomic science, science and technology entrepreneurship, as well as the culture of intellectual property.
The Festival’s closing ceremony will be ledby Nadia Zakhary, minister of scientific research and Hussein Khaled, current minister of higher education. An award ceremony will follow to acknowledge distinguished projects by the Festival’s student participants.