In the largest event to be held at the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development campus yet, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dr. Ahmed Zewail will deliver the keynote lecture to kick off the three-day World Conference of Science Journalists 2011 (WCSJ2011) in Doha tomorrow.
Dr. Ahmed Zewail, Linus Pauling Chair of Chemistry and Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, will join Dr. Mohammed Fathy Saoud, President of Qatar Foundation, in opening the WCSJ2011, along with Dr. Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman of Qatar Science and Technology Park, and Abdelhalim El-Zoheiry, Minister Counselor for the Egyptian Ministry of Scientific Research and Technology. Hundreds of science journalists, reporters, researchers and academics are coming from around the globe to attend the conference, which will run from June 27th to June 30th at the Qatar Foundation Student Center.
“Media and science have a huge responsibility toward society, and I am pleased that this conference in Doha comes at a historic time—the so-called Arab Spring. A new era for progress through the quest for and dissemination of knowledge is now within reach,” commented Dr. Zewail.
WCSJ2011, co-hosted by the Arab Science Journalists Association and the United States’ National Association of Science Writers, will bring together both established and aspiring science writers to the Middle East for the first time. The conference aims to raise the impact of science journalism through professional development workshops and networking opportunities which complement topical sessions where the delegates will discuss the most pressing issues facing reporting in the region and the world at large in the areas of science, technology, health and environment.
Following tomorrow’s opening plenary session on “unveiling Arab science,” delegates will disperse for parallel breakout sessions on a variety of topics. An afternoon session sponsored by the European School of Oncology will examine the role that journalism can play in putting cancer on the global health agenda and in breaking social stigma surrounding cancer patients and their families. The session will be particularly relevant for reporters in Qatar, following the launch of the country’s comprehensive National Cancer Strategy last month. Additional parallel sessions will focus on the use of digital media, combatting pseudoscience, bioethics in the media, and the evolving world of journalism. The Arab Association of Science Journalists, represented by Magdy Said, will join the African Federation of Science Journalists and similar organizations from around the world in discussing the challenges involved in establishing science journalists associations.
The decision to invite conference organizers to hold the WCSJ2011 in Doha reflects Qatar’s national vision for fostering a science and research culture in the Arab world, thus marking a significant occasion for Qatar Foundation. Qatar Foundation is leading the nation’s drive to become a knowledge-based economy through building capacity for critical thinking and innovation. Its diversified efforts to develop and unlock human potential in the fields of science and research include the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum, the Qatar Science and Leadership Program and the Stars of Science pan-Arab reality-TV program. In line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030 for a sustainable future, Qatar Foundation is particularly focused on providing support and encouragement for research in the core platforms of medicine, biotechnology, information and communication technologies, environmental sciences, molecular sciences and nanotechnology.