HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan [President of El Hassan Science City and the Royal Scientific Society, Jordan] - video message

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Workshop on Higher Education and Professional Responsibility in CBRN Applied Sciences and Technology across the Sub-Mediterranean Region …

Workshop on Higher Education and Professional Responsibility in CBRN Applied Sciences and Technology across the Sub-Mediterranean Region
3-4 April 2012. Palazzo Zorzi, Venice
Keynote Address

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  • 1. ‘Higher Education and Professional Responsibility in CBRN Applied Sciences and Technology across the Sub-Mediterranean Region’ UNESCO, ISESCO & LNCV March 3rd, 2012 Palazzo Zorzi, UNESCO Venice Office Video Message by HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan ILadies and Gentlemen:Ladies and Gentlemen: It is a very great honour for me to act as patronof this important and innovative event. I feel privileged indeed toaddress you across borders on these vital issues that know no borders.Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear threats are chillingwhen faced alone. In the company of friends, colleagues andcommitted regionalists, the challenges seem evermore manageable -Solutions become evermore real. I am only sorry that I cannot be withyouall in person to share your experiences and to contribute to yourefforts. Be assured that I am among you in spirit and with you incommitment. 1
  • 2. I am delighted to say that our particular work here in Jordan,at ELHassan Science City, will be ably and eloquently presented by DrNisreen AL-Hmoud, Head of the Biosafety Unit and Division Head ofthe Environmental Laboratories at the Royal Scientific Society. DrNisreen is a credit to our scientific staff and is also the dedicatedPresident and Chairperson of BBIC, Jordan.She will report to you all onthe progress we have made here since BBIC-2007 and will update youon the exciting preparations for BBIC-2013. IILadies and Gentlemen:The tectonic political and economic shifts thatcontinue to rock our Euro-MENA region can only remind us thatborders have little meaning when it comes to the welfare of ourpeople. Those primary concerns of so many of our citizens – poverty,thirst, environmental degradation and disease – are shared andsuffered together. We all know that the Life Sciences offer an infinitenumber of responses to the myriad everyday challenges that face ourregion. This workshop will help to set the foundations for futureachievements. Harnessing the talent of scientists and academics isessential to promoting sustainable growth and security, but theirefforts will mean nothing unless we can match their vision with theagendas of business and policy-making.Indeed, those greatest threats that we face to safety and stability donot recognise borders – However, so many of our regional decision-makers are confined by them, and are bound by state structures thatcannot produce the innovations that we desperately need. Here in theEuro-MENA region, we face many shared challenges but we also benefitfrom a pool of talent and ingenuity that can overcome so manyobstacles. We share a debt to our people, whether as scientists orpublic representatives, to keep them safe from harm and to ensuretheir wellbeing at all times. 2
  • 3. This International Workshop on Applied Sciences and TechnologyAcross the Sub-Mediterranean Region will do much to identifychallenges and strengthen networks for creative solutions. UNESCO,ISESCO and the Landau Network-Centro Volta have combined to createan impressive forum for promoting a strong culture of safety andsecurity in CBRN applied sciences and technology. Drawing togetheruniversities and the international scientific community within the Sub-Mediterranean Region is a vital first step to action and outreach.Indeed, this multidisciplinary approach reminds us that we are allstakeholders in building a world in which ‘Responsible Science’ definespolicy.Establishing the status of Education, Outreach and Adherence toInternational Standards is a vital first step to identifying priorities. Alltoo often in the past, scientific initiatives dealing with public safetyand security have been structured from the top down, making thembureaucratic, unresponsive and inaccessible. I am delighted to notethat this Workshop is very much focused on bringing science into theservice of people.It is also vital that we facilitate the empowerment ofthe next generation of scientists in our region. It is important that wegive them the correct tools for responding to challenges in amultidisciplinary and sensitive manner. We must ensure that ethicalissues are broached and discussed in an open and honest way.At El Hassan Science City, we have learnt that capacity-building in anyarea of science is a many-faceted thing. We begin at the academic levelby devising curricula and teaching methods that respond to the needsof research and policy. Much of our focus at Princess SumayaUniversity for Technology is on providing tomorrow’s scientists withthe tools that will make them full contributors to future STI agendas. 3
  • 4. We introduce them to networks in the region and beyond where codesof conduct join scientists in a common pursuit of excellence. We teachour young scientists the importance of placing standards abovesubjective values, so that science can respond appropriately to cross-border and cross-cultural challenges. Indeed, this is often a two-wayprocess. It is always a learning experience, even for the mostexperienced scientists, to share the future visions and hopes forprofessional responsibility of young scientists and researchers. This isparticularly true in the various fields of CBRN, where issues areevolving and threats are shared across borders AND generations.Of course, we are aware that CBRN education in our region is sorelyunder-resourced. As part of our efforts to remedy this, we are buildingour own networks and creating a quality mentoring system to bringthe best experience and talent to our campus. We hope that your ownRegional Network, which engages universities and institutes topromote awareness on CBRN issues, will help our young engineers andtechnologists to build the skills that will help them in the future.And,of course, academia and the scientific community of the Sub-Mediterranean Region must coordinate their activities with all of therelevant stakeholders. A Culture of Safety and Security must beinclusive in order to function properly. IIIThe collaboration between Landau Network - Centro Volta (LNCV) andRSS is of great importance to us. I am indeed delighted that RSS isa partner organization in the evolving International Network ofUniversities and Institutions to Raise Awareness on Dual Use Concernsin Bio-Technology. This EU-backed project will help to strengthen theframework for the CBRN Centers of Excellence initiative. I have nodoubt that this project marks beginning of a long-lasting and deeplyproductive collaboration in biosafety and biosecurity for our region. 4
  • 5. I am also pleased to note that the Center of Excellence for CBRN in theMiddle East will be located at MESIS, on the El Hassan Science Citycampus.The Middle East Science Institute for Security is, indeed, afitting base for any initiative that seeks to construct the appropriatesecurity architecture for our communities.Last September, we at El Hassan Science City were delighted towelcome delegates for the 3rd Biosafety and Biosecurity InternationalConference (BBIC). The event reminded me of the importance of cross-border cooperation in CBRN activities and reinforced to me how muchof a difference working together on common challenges can make. WeBBIC participants had all shared an eventful journey from Abu Dhabito Casablanca and then to Amman. Along the way we learnt muchfrom each other and from our varied disciplines and experiences.Today, as the issues facing our region are placed in an evermorechallenging and exciting political context, Jordan has taken on theBBIC Presidency and is dedicated to contributing its commitment andexpertise to making our region a safer and more secure for its people. ConclusionLadies and Gentlemen: Science must focus on identifying priorities forSociety and applying New Technologies to today’s challenges. Thebond of trust between Scientists and society has come under muchstrain in recent decades and we have a long to go before we canpersuade the most vulnerable in our communities that science is hereto help. The vital commercial, private sector which has often cooptedscience for profit, not for people, must also be brought into ourcollaborative community. A coordinated regional strategy for CBRNrisk mitigation must be developed by all of us working together. 5
  • 6. Your focus on Higher Education and Professional Responsibility inCBRN Applied Sciences and Technology will do much to spawnsustainable programs with the potential to improve many lives.Perhaps more importantly, you will do much to change a mindset thatholds scientific intervention to be far removed from our citizens’everyday needs. Weather we are dealing with the ongoing existentialchallenges of our region, or planning for inevitable cross-bordercatastrophes, technology and innovation provide the tools that weneed to secure our people. 6