Inclusion and representation were key themes during the virtual conference tackling the SDGs from a new perspective.
SAN DIEGO, CA, September 24, 2022 – The Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World [SASTA] celebrated today the conclusion of its first-ever Global Conference for Diaspora Networks in Science [GCDNS22] held virtually from the 21st to the 23rd of September.
“We have seen that to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, we need science, research, evidence, and we need data. And it is not enough that this data is coming from one part of the world”, proclaimed SASTA President Professor Rana Dajani during her opening keynote, best explaining the purpose behind the conference. She carried on, “we need contributions from all over the world. And that is what we call for: encouraging scientists from the global South to have a voice and encouraging scientists in the diaspora to reach out back to their home countries.”
GCDNS22 sessions focused on three main tracks: Inspire, Catalyse, and Do. The ‘Inspire’ track featured sessions that showcased diasporas’ work and amplified their voices and success stories. Going a step further, ‘Catalyse’ presented sessions that created spaces to connect different science diasporas with other stakeholders to exchange ideas and share knowledge. Finally, the ‘Do’ track was all about sessions that advance progress through committed action globally.
Toward its mission to make globally inclusive science a reality, GCDNS22 garnered remarkable results, including:
Participation of over 85 speakers representing over 35 nationalities and all six habitable continents.
Representation of all science stakeholders through the selection of speakers, which included Professor Farouk El-Baz, the Director Emeritus of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University and ex-NASA supervisor, Dr. Allan Goodman, the CEO of the Institute of International Education, and Mr. Declan Kirrane, the Coordinator at the African-European Radio Astronomy Platform, among other notable figures.
Participations from world-leading organizations, including the International Organization for Migration, UNESCO, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, and The World Academy of Sciences, as well as governmental bodies, such as the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science.
Major focus on women in science with almost 70% of speakers identifying as females.
Among the focal areas of improvement brought up during the conference was the management of science. “We must change our methods of management. Management in science and technology means that you are there to push, support, encourage, salute all team members and have them produce more than they think they are capable of doing”, asserted Professor El-Baz. Another key message was the role of women scientists in driving global progress. “Women are the seeds. Investing in a woman is investing in society”, said Dr. Goodman.
On its part, SASTA affirms that it is considering hosting future editions of the conference, possibly as soon as next year. It also urges all of the conference’s speakers and attendees to stay tuned for the release of the post-conference report as well as recordings of all presented sessions.
SASTA is a beacon of togetherness for Arab advocates of science all over the world. From researchers to media personnel, SASTA strives to keep all stakeholders engaged through various initiatives. These include developing an extensive database of expatriate Arab scientists to enable networking and collaboration. SASTA also aims to initiate fruitful discussions and shed light on success stories online as well as on-ground by organizing international conferences, such as GCDNS22.