Networks for young people interested in science rarely connect with societies for senior scientists, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World (SASTA) and The World Academy of Sciences. As president of SASTA, I offer an example of a remedy from an unexpected source — Jordan, a country at the heart of crisis and displacement in the Middle East.
The Phi Science Institute is a network of young scientists across the Arab world. It holds an annual conference — Connect for Science — at which senior and junior scientists and students communicate with one another on an equal footing (https://pris.phiscience.co). The wisdom of the old meets the curiosity and enthusiasm of the young. Role models are set up for researchers at the start of their careers.
As mature scientists, we owe it to the next generation of researchers and to society to use our expertise to make a difference. I often invite well-known scientists to talk to my students, over Skype or in person. For example, US Nobel laureate Brian Kobilka shared his everyday experiences in the laboratory, and Magdalena Skipper, Nature’s first female editor, told them her personal story.