'Women's Empowerment with Science'

KUWAIT: KFAS Director General Dr Adnan Shihab Eldin (center) speaks during the press conference. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) held a press conference yesterday to announce the 10th edition of the International Conference on Women Leaders in Science, Technology and Engineering from Oct 23 to 25 under the patronage of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. "Kuwait is going to host outstanding women leaders in science, medicine, engineering and technology from around the world, as well as women who hold high positions in government, companies and the industrial sector thanks to their scientific specialization," KFAS Director General Dr Adnan Shihab Eldin said.

During his speech, Shihab Eldin said that the conference, whose theme this year is 'Women's Empowerment with Science,' aims to promote the career development of women from diverse backgrounds in the fields of science, engineering and technology by presenting the success stories of famous women personalities and highlighting the effects of their career achievements and scientific production through workshops and panel discussions to establish professional abilities and skills.

He added that KFAS seeks to celebrate Kuwaiti women's scientific leadership in particular and that of regional and international women in general, as a reflection of its strategy to spread scientific culture and expand the awareness of society in the fields of science. Shihab Eldin noted the foundation's firm belief in the need to recognize the scientific achievements of individuals and play a role in the development of their abilities in order to encourage Kuwaitis to engage in scientific fields.

The conference is chaired by Dr Fayza Al-Kharafi, a member of the board of directors of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, winner of the Kuwait Science Award and the Laureus Award, and will held in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the US State Department.

Chairman of the Scientific Committee Dr Amina Farhan, Senior Advisor to the Director General of KFAS and Head of the Physics Department, Kuwait University, said women's scientific leaders in academia, research institutions, government and industry are invited globally, regionally and locally to create an effective forum for women.

Success stories

The agenda of the conference is divided into parallel sessions that highlight the success stories of inspirational women, such as Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi, the first Emirati minister at the ministry of economy and planning, and currently Minister of State for Tolerance and President of Zayed University; Jordanian Princess Sumaya bint Al Hassan, President of the Royal Society of Sciences and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Princess Sumaya University for Technology; Dr Samira Islam, who promoted higher education for girls in the early 1970s; and Dr Venice Kamel Gouda, a Research Professor at the National Research Center, who was awarded the Kuwait Award in 1986 and was honored by Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi with the Nile Award in 2016, the highest award in Egypt.

Also among the participants are Dr Rajaa Sharqawi El-Marsly, a Moroccan researcher in nuclear physics, who won the L'Oreal-UNESCO award for Women in Science; Shadia Rifa'i Habbal, a Syrian-American astronomer and physicist, who received a master's degree in physics from the American University of Beirut and played a key role in establishing the NASA Solar Probe; Annie Black, Deputy Executive Director of L'Oreal and Director General of the L'Oreal-UNESCO Program for Science-Leading Women in the Middle East, Gulf and Yemen; and Dr Celeste M Rohlfing, Chief Executive Officer of AAAS and Deputy Assistant Director of the National Foundation for Science (NSF). In Jan 2016, KFAS signed a memorandum of understanding with AAAS to support and promote the efforts of the two institutions to disseminate scientific knowledge.

Faten Omar