ArabWAYS: The first platform for young researchers in the Arab World Featured

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Research and development have assumed, since decades, an increasingly important place in developing countries strategies and budgets. Nowadays, the Arab states devote 0.2% of their resources to research and development. For instance, where an estimated 0.34% of the GDP is spent on research in Jordan, United States spends about 2.7% of its income, UK 1.8%, and Germany 2.6%. Regarding per capita expenditure on scientific research, United States spends $1205.9 and Japan $1153.3, while the Arab countries spend an average of $14.7 annually per capita. While global focus has been placed on political developments in the Arab region, ongoing scientific research crisis continues which is still leading to Arab brain drain. Hence, there is an urgent need to boost spending on scientific research and consolidate national research institutions and academia as well as encouraging scientists and researchers.

In this context, the Arab World Academy of Young Scientists (ArabWAYS) is called to play a crucial role at least vis-à-vis mobilizing young scientists and researchers in the Arab World to play fully their role in enhancing research and science outputs for the well-being of Arab societies. ArabWAYS is an initiative of the World Academy of Young Scientists (WAYS) that launched its Arab branch at the first Arab regional meeting held in 2005 in Alexandria, Egypt. The objective of this regional association was to contribute towards strengthening the capacity of young Arab researchers & scientists to conduct relevant and high quality research that covers Science and Technology (S&T), environment, social sciences, humanities and their inter-linkages, and to advance science and enhance the situation of young scientists throughout the Arab world.

In an Arab World starting 2011 with Spring revolutions, and in a world moving rapidly towards economics based on knowledge society, capacity building and cooperation in S&T is becoming an urgent need especially in the Arab countries. In addition, young people played a central role in sparking protest movements across the Arab World, and now they are called to contribute also to an Arab science revolution. There is a need in the Arab countries to activate and support the means of broadening the base of S&T suiting these countries and to provide collaboration opportunities between scientific and technological institutions in various Arab countries, and supporting research institutions in their work and in their relationship with the private sector and with governments. Moreover, universities and research institutions should be properly targeted, so they can play an important role in capacity building and the spread of scientific culture, and values of science, and research. This is one of the important factors affecting the construction of a knowledge society.

In this context, ArabWAYS intends to work on encouraging scientific research, increasing the impact and utility of scientific knowledge, building a scientific network that enables the potential of young scientists to contribute to the advancement of science and society, helping and providing training, mobility and career development opportunities to young scientists. On the other hand, ArabWAYS is also concerned about giving S&T a higher profile in the media and education. S&T activities need to be centered on society needs and to improve social impact of research activities, as well as to promote networking capacities and promoting trans-national exchange of good practices and experience.

The activities of ArabWAYS are focused on, but are not limited, to the followings:

- Identifying and addressing major issues of importance to science and Arab societies;

- Facilitating interaction amongst young scientists across all fields and from all Arab countries; 

- Promoting the participation of all young scientists especially those poorly represented i.e. women researchers;

- Providing independent, authoritative way to stimulate constructive dialogue between the young scientific community and international organizations;

ArabWAYS is called to play an important role, especially in the current political context of the Arab revolts and the challenges that it represents for research and young researchers in the Arab countries. Moreover, there is a need of reinforcing the Arab capacity building in terms of S&T and research in general. There is also a need to support research at institutional level so that it will contribute to the construction of a knowledge society in the Arab countries.

For this reason, ArabWAYS started building partnerships and establishing dialogues with international and national organizations such as the German Young Academy, the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Global Young Academy (GYA), the Maghreb Alexander von Humboldt Alumni Association, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Egyptian Young Academy, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Al Akhawayn University, Gulf University, and the Mediterranean Union of Universities (UNIMED). In that context, ArabWAYS organized together with the German Young Academy the First German-Arab Young Scientists Forum (1st GAYSF) in Berlin (June 16-19, 2011) gathering 59 participants from Germany, Hungary, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. The participants were young scientists and researchers in natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, including Arab scholars of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Those participants represented different fields of research mainly: Water, Biology, Environmental Sciences, Medicine, Political sciences, Chemistry, Architecture, and Literature. It was an occasion for Arab young researchers to learn from German experience and know-how. Believing that the interests of both science and development are best served by promoting and nurturing the research efforts of promising young scientists who have the potential to become leading scientists in their countries, the German & Arab academies agreed on preparing a joint proposal to make their cooperation efficient, sustainable and with the most impact.

Till now, ArabWAYS counts on more than 700 young scientists from Arab countries (about 20 Arab countries except few ones which will be reached shortly), almost connected and updated through a Facebook page and mailing lists. They cover a wide variety of research fields, with special emphasis on technologies fields such as: water, climate change, renewable energies, computer sciences, agriculture, biotechnology, nanotechnology, organic chemistry, earth sciences (remote sensing), etc.

As young scientists, we have a unique perspective, special responsibility, and active need to build for the future. As such, we have established ArabWAYS to enhance the voice of Arab young scientists in decision making and action for science and society.

Dr. Jauad El Kharraz & Dr. Olfa Mahjoub (Arab WAYS Board)

Newsletter des Humboldtiens du Maghreb 

Nr. 2, année 2011

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The main criterion for election as a ARABWAYS Member is scientific excellence. Only those scientists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science can be nominated as Members

Becoming a member is easy! Just make sure you have all of the items listed below :

  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Students and Postdocs: Proof of enrollment/status such as letter of acceptance and contact information for a department/faculty contact. 
  • Membership form