The Palestine Academy for Science and Technology held a workshop to discuss re-launching the Chemistry, Biology, and Plant Production and Protection Societies in Palestine. In cooperation and partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation-Jerusalem, and via video conference with Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, the attendance were from Palestinian universities from the West Bank and Gaza, as official representatives of their universities and specializations, nominated by their university presidents as members of societies founding councils.
The launching workshop was kick-started by President of the Academy, Professor Marwan Awartani, he introduced the Academy as a State institution that draws national science and technology policies, coordinates priorities with the relevant parties; and takes care of initiatives, activities, and researchers. Dr. Awartani spoke about the vital role of scientific societies, its major historic role in other countries, and anticipated role in the national context.
Dr. Kamal Al-Sharafi, President, Al-Aqsa University, spoke about the functional and national role of the scientific societies, and called for their founding as soon as possible, given that many world nations have already covered grounds in scientific and academic achievements and where the communities played a great role.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Masri, the Academy’s Coordinator of the Scientific Communities, discussed the activities that will be planned and implemented, and he spoke about the activities underway, such as establishing the Math and Physics communities, the database that will include graduate degree holders in the various specializations at Palestinian universities and diaspora scientists.
Dr. Amjad Barham led the discussion on a comprehensive framework paper, that sets the organizational basis, and helps create the anticipated societies. Dr. Samer Jarrar gave a synopsis about the historic role and achievements of the scientific societies and focused on the role of the agricultural specializations.
Interventions by the audience consisted of suggestions and guidance for future activities, such as issuing scientific newsletters, coordinating between the experts at Palestinian universities, and benefiting from the relations these experts have so as to embark internationally toward participation in scientific conferences and international cooperation networks.
At the end of the workshop, the participants suggested the formation of a complimentary support system for the three scientific communities that bring together West Bank and Gaza universities. Dr. Omar Hamarsheh, of Al-Quds University, was nominated as coordinator of the Biology Society, with Dr. Nihad Al-Yazigi, of Al-Aqsa University, Gaza, as Deputy. Dr. Mohammad Suleiman Ishtayeh, of Al-Najah University, was nominated as coordinator of the Chemistry Society, with Dr. Rami Murjan, of Gaza Islamic University, as Deputy. Dr. Mazen Salman, of Palestine Technical University-Khadoury, was nominated as coordinator for the Plant Production and Protection Society, with Dr. Ismail Abu Znadeh, of Al-Azhar University, Gaza, as Deputy.
It is worth mentioning that the scientific societies are at the core of the Academy’s strategic vision, because it is through such societies that Palestinian researchers and scientists who made significant achievements in the Diaspora can be brought home. Such scientists have remained unknown at their homeland, to their own people, and to their counterparts. The Academy strives to create databases with the names of scientists and researchers locally and at the Diaspora, which will encourage communication between them.
At the executive level, the Academy will provide support to the scientific societies, and alleviates any difficulties they may encounter. Such support includes a package of services, currently being institutionalized as part the support by the Academy to ensure sustainability after a project is completed. The support by the Academy includes administration, organization and logistics, legal issues, local and international networking, Information Technology technical support, and seed money as per an academic plan. The Academy has decided to establish more scientific communities, eventually, in the specializations of engineering, and computers and Information Technology.