TWAS's 16 the General Meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, was inaugurated by President Mubarak on 30 November. In his speech, President Mubarak highlighted his government's commitment to supporting science as a means of promoting sustainable development and the importance of supporting and enhancing dialogue between nations and cultures.
Alexandria, Egypt, 30 November - The new Library of Alexandria, "a great edifice for the advancement of knowledge and science," is an ideal location for the 16th General Meeting of TWAS, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World," noted Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, at the opening session of the Academy's General Meeting in Alexandria, Egypt. The week-long event ended on 3 December.
The ancient library, which flourished some 2000 years ago, successfully encouraged an exchange of knowledge and science across cultures, Mubarak told the 250 scientists attending the opening session.
The new library, built near the site of the ancient library, is also dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and science, Mubarak said, "and therefore shares the same goals as TWAS. Indeed both institutions," the president noted, "serve as important symbols of fruitful cooperation among nations."
"The new information and communications technologies (ICTs)," Mubarak observed, "have made efforts by developing countries to modernize their societies ever-more challenging. On the one hand, these technologies have widened the gap between developed and developing countries; on the other hand, ICTs, as enabling technologies that positively impact scientific research across a wide range of scientific fields, including biology, pharmaceuticals and resource management, make it possible for developing countries to take rapid strides in sustained economic development.
"The key to success," the President said, "is to develop the human resources that are necessary to take advantage of the opportunities that ICTs, and indeed all the sciences and technologies, afford. While developed nations can help in this effort," Mubarak went on to say, the "the primary responsibility for nurturing sufficient scientific capacities within their populations lies with the developing countries themselves."
Egypt, the president also noted, is eager to expand its scientific base, and he outlined a five-point strategy for achieving this goal.
First, he pointed to the need to articulate clear-cut policies for science and technology that include measurable goals for success. Second, he emphasized the need to focus on capacity building and improving education not only at the university level but at primary and secondary levels as well. Third, he cited the need to support existing national and regional scientific institutions of excellence and to build new institutions in fields where the current institutions failed to meet the standards expected of them. Fourth, he called for increased South-South and North-South cooperation in science. And fifth, he pointed to the need to enhance collaboration between the public and private sectors in support of scientific research and to ensure that the fruits of science positively impact society.
For its part, the president said that Egypt intends to aggressively pursue these strategies in the years ahead, especially with neighbouring countries in the Arab region and Africa. As for TWAS, the president observed that the Academy and its more than 750 members have the expertise and credibility to continue to make critical contributions to science-based development throughout the developing world.
TWAS is a merit-based science academy, headquartered in Trieste, Italy, that is dedicated to the advancement of science in the developing world. It currently has more than 750 members. The 16th General Assembly of TWAS is being hosted by the new Library of Alexandria from 29 November to 3 December. Opened in 2001, the new Alexandria Library serves as a centre of cultural and scientific learning and exchange for Egypt, the Arab region and the international community.