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Forum hails role of women researchers in research, innovation

Two-day Arab Research, Sustainable Development Forum’s 9th session begins
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MUSCAT: More than 150 women researchers specialised in different fields participated in the 9th session of the Arab Forum on Research and Sustainable Development, which began here on Monday.

Titled 'Arab Female Researchers Act on Realising Sustainable Development', the forum is hosted by Oman, represented by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in conjunction with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO).

The two-day forum seeks to enhance the contribution of institutions, authorities, universities, scholarly research centres, researchers and innovators in Arab development affairs. It includes eight sessions in which 39 working papers will be submitted.

The opening ceremony was held under the auspices of Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim al Mahrouqiyah, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, in the presence of Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education, Chairperson of the Omani National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.

Amna bint Salim al Balushiyah, Secretary of the Omani National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, who delivered Oman’s speech, said that the forum provides fertile ground for assembling Arab experts, researchers, specialists, institutions and companies alongside their regional and international counterparts.

Prof Dr Mohammed Sanad Abu Darwish, Director of Science and Scholarly Research, ALECSO, commended the efforts made by Oman in serving education, science and culture, not only locally, but also in the Arab world and the world at large. Abu Darwish was acting on behalf of Prof Dr Mohamed Ould Omar, Director-General of ALECSO.

Abu Darwish said the forum was first launched by ALECSO in 2013, constitutes a mechanism of response to many demands for upgrading the sectors of science and scholarly research in the Arab world, notably through decisions of Arab summits seeking the development of higher education, research and innovation.

Speaking to ONA, women researchers underscored the significance of this forum. Asma Al Janahi, member of Dubai Press Club, said that the forum acts as a bridge of communication between education and research sectors and other institutions related to sustainable development. She said that the forum highlights the efforts of Arab female researchers to serve humanity in all fields.

Sally Hassan Hattab, coordinator of science and scholarly research projects at ALECSO, pointed out that the forum will address the role of Arab women researchers in energy and engineering areas. It will underline researchers’ contributions to entrepreneurship and sustainable development, as well as success stories achieved by female entrepreneurs in various Arab countries.

Tasneem Mohammed al Daoudi, an Omani innovator in the environmental field, said the forum represents a lively interactive platform for highlighting the achievements of Arab female researchers. It sheds light on the real experiences and challenges the researchers face while developing scholarly research.

Eng Amal Daghlas, President of the Association of Business and Professional Women Club in Jordan, said that the forum is one of the most prominent events in the Arab world in supporting Arab women and highlighting their efforts in scholarly research and innovation. She stressed that such forums represent an opportunity to support researchers and innovators, and instill confidence in them.

The first day of the forum highlighted the role of female Arab researchers in developing the health sector and achieving medical achievements and the role of women Arab researchers in addressing issues related to the environment, water, desertification and climate change. During the sessions, 13 work papers were presented.

During the opening session, distinguished success stories were presented. Dr Maha Zakaria al Riyami, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine and Health Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), recipient of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, presented her success story, entitled: 'My Journey in Science as an Emerging Researcher', in which she talked about her passion for science and research, the challenges and her experiences in competitions for international awards.

The forum aims to enhance the contribution of universities, research centers, researchers and innovators to Arab developmental issues by contributing to strengthening cooperation between Arab ministries and entities concerned with education, training and scientific research.

It also targets activating partnerships between universities, research and development centres, institutions, production and service companies. The forum seeks to encourage Arab researchers and innovators and link them with specialised companies in order to transform their innovations into economic products and projects, and to enhance communication with Arab scientists abroad and benefit from their expertise in the development of Arab countries.

Further, the forum contributes to strengthening the role of the private sector in supporting, encouraging and financing research in Arab countries, developing Arab scientific publishing tools, manufacturing educational aid tools and supplies, and creating Arabic digital content, in addition to presenting successful Arab and international experiences.

The forum is a milieu that brings together Arab experts, researchers, institutions and companies with their counterparts at the regional and international levels. It is also an opportunity to attract Arab scientists and experts from inside and outside the Arab world in a bid to contribute to the transfer and localisation of advanced technologies to Arab countries. - ONA

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