ASREN to be registered in Dusseldorf with head office in the Arab region
The founding meeting of the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), held under the patronage of the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS) HE Mr. Amr Moussa and presided by HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of ASREN Board, concluded today stressing the necessity to prepare guidelines for funding research to be proposed to governments.
ASREN's founding meeting organized at the Arab League Headquarters December 8-9, 2010 witnessed the official launching of the Arab States Research and Education Network in the presence of high-ranking officials, experts and academics including HE Ersat Hurmuslu, senior advisor to the Turkish President.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh, chair of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development of the United Nations (UN GAID), presided over the ASREN Board session calling for the necessity to promote and support scientific research in the Arab region.
"ASREN's objectives include the necessity to link Arab research centres altogether in one network, then the need arises to link this Arab network with the European and Turkish networks to eventually build a database for outstanding research in all sectors," Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh said.
Other conclusions included the tendency to define priorities in ASREN's strategy action list and proposing a business plan with target timeline and to as well define a framework for the legal structure and governance discipline in collaboration with LAS to ensure its compliance with the requirements of the various rules and regulations acceptable in the Arab world.
"ASREN will build on the various resources available at the existing Arab regional organizations and country level networks and will work very closely with them in all matters. At the same time, Research would take advantage of the unlimited potential of ICTs and should be digitally based," Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh pointed out.
Moreover, the participants agreed upon the need to encourage research centers at universities to be student driven (not professor driven) yet under the guidance and support of professors and emphasized the need for coordination in research between the Arab research centers and to encourage joint research programs between them as well as in collaboration with European and global networks.
Meanwhile HE Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh said: "We recognize that investing in science in general and in universities in particular needs to meet the ambitions of the Arab countries, hence, ASREN will act as an enabler and catalyst for creating investment in the scientific research and development in universities, the research will be digitally conducted by the students under the directions of their professors."
"ASREN will also adopt GAID's mission for the advancement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through the use of ICT solutions. It is expected that ASREN will act as the Arab regional network for the ICT solutions matrix for the advancement of MDGs under the honorary chairmanship of the UN Secretary General," Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh added.
Building on EUMEDCONNECT2, the high-capacity Internet network for research and education in the Mediterranean which is co-funded by the European Commission, ASREN sets out to widen its geographical footprint by connecting other Arab national research and education networks (NRENs) in addition to the current seven EUMEDCONNECT2 member countries: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.
This is a strategic step that is expected to lead to long-term sustainability of e-Infrastructures in the Mediterranean and the neighboring Gulf region, potentially serving a population of over 250 million people and ensuring that scientists and academics in the region can continue to participate in world-class research and education activities.
The participants commended this important initiative which reflects the visions of the leaders of Arab countries. The speakers also thanked His Excellency the Secretary General of the Arab League, Mr. Amr Moussa, for accepting the honorary chairmanship of ASREN, which in turn shall provide support and guidance to achieve the assigned objectives. The attendants entrusted His Excellency Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh to preside over ASREN's founding board.
It was also agreed that ASREN will be registered in Dusseldorf with its headquarters in the Arab region. The meeting has adopted the objectives and the action plan of ASREN to proceed accordingly, taking into consideration developing the same on an ongoing basis.
An invitation shall be served to all research centers at universities and in the Arab world to join ASREN after it has been legally founded and then call for a general meeting to elect its new board of directors.