The Academy hosted the introductory meeting for the third annual International meeting for Scientists for Palestine, which will be held at MIT, Boston, USA in January 10-12, 2020, in presence of representatives from MIT, Prof. Franz Ulm, together with members of the Palestinian scientists local Committee invited to the 2020 MIT International meeting, and Palestine Academy societies, at the Academy offices in Ramallah.
The meeting was attended by Academy staff and Dr. Rana Samara from Palestine Technical University-Khadoori, Dr. Sami Jaber from An-Najah University, Dr. Mustafa Jarrar and Dr. Abdallah Sayyed Ahmed from Birzeit University, and members from the founding councils of scientific societies established by the Academy; (mathematics, physics, chemistry, life sciences, plant production and protection), namely; Dr. Khaled Sabarneh from Al-Ahliya University, Dr. Mohammed Saleh from Birzeit University, Dr. Adly Saleh from Arab American University Palestine, Dr. Mohammed Suleiman Ishtayeh and Dr. Ghadeer Omar from An-Najah University, Dr. Hussein Shanak from Palestine Technical University-Khadoori, Dr. Aziz Barghouthi from Al-Quds Open University.
This introductory meeting explored the possible areas of collaboration and joint programs between our organizations for the support and development of science research in Palestine.
Prof. France Ulm gave a briefing on the Foundation for Scientists for Palestine: its origins, objectives, membership, and the most important activities carried out by them and their future activities. Then discussed the preparations for the third annual meeting and explained that this meeting, which will be attended by scientists from Nobel laureates in addition to distinguished scientists from different disciplines and nationalities, in addition to distinguished scientists from Palestinian universities nominated by Academy for the participation in the event
Ulm explained that the main goals of these international meetings are to improve network between Palestinian and international scientists, to inform about the political situation in Palestine, to find ways to develop science in Palestine, and to find solutions to the barriers that stand against its development. The local committee will work with S4P to transfer and exchange ideas and come up with concrete ideas and proposals for the international meeting, to reflect the problem faced by science in Palestine and what Palestinian scientists need to overcome.
Then He reviewed the proposed agenda of the conference, where the first day will be a public event with around 300 people. It will include talking about the situation of science and scientists in Palestine and what science can do. Special guests of the MIT meeting will be: George Smith, Chemistry 2018 Nobel Prize winner, Marwan Awartani, Minister of Education and President of Palestine Academy, Nargis Mavalvala, MacArthur fellow and MIT Astrophysics full professor and Tarek Loubani, Associate professor of medicine at Western Ontario University and active in building solidarity in Gaza via the Gila project.
The next two days will host discussions about five specific topics (computer science, medicine, innovation, occupation, S4P Building) regarding science in Palestine. Working groups are also created to involve the participants of the meeting in making a change in real life.
In the last day of the meeting, there will be a closed-door meeting where only 30 to 40 people will attend to think about a plan or ways to build and long-lasting corporation.
The international meeting will be available to Palestinian scientists from the West Bank and Gaza via video conferencing where possible due to time constraints, and the Academy will help in organizing the series of satellite events, and coordinate with universities to attend the conference sessions, especially within the time difference between America and Palestine, and to provide moral support to Palestinian scientists, and work intensively with the Organization of Scientists for Palestine to alleviate the major challenges facing science and scholars in Palestine
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that Academy will submit a statement which identifies:
- The main challenges stifling Palestinian Science.
- Provide a long term view on to improve the current situation. Big pictures objectives and goals outline also possible role of S4P.
- Identify concrete short term goals in particular how the MIT meeting can help achieving them.
The submitted statement will be particularly considered and discussed during the close door meeting which will be held at the end of the MIT meeting.
Other Ideas were raised during the meeting discussions, that should be taken into consideration; mainly
- Adding a special topic on agriculture, food and natural resources in Palestine among the suggested five topics in the dialogue sessions in the Massachusetts meetings.
- Joint PhD programs between Palestinian universities and European or American universities
- Accreditation of some programs in Palestinian universities by American universities
- Motivating students of schools and universities to study applied sciences
- Proposal to establish national centers in the fields of nanotechnology, simulation and others