Arab world needs its science diaspora

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As members of the Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World, we strongly believe that engaging the scientific diaspora — the research community of Arab scientists working abroad — is crucial for successful science in the region.

In addition to the underlying political and societal problems and failed economic policies responsible for recent dramatic events in Arab countries, the failure of the educational systems is to blame. Academic institutions are not producing the skilled workforce necessary to meet local challenges and compete in global economies (Nature 470, 147–149; 2011). The domino effect of the protests and change we are witnessing today, and its potential consequences for regional stability, indicate that correcting this shortcoming should be a regional and international priority.

The international community must, through focused research and funding initiatives, assist in the areas of education, research and technology likely to have the highest impact on society. Arab scientists abroad represent a huge reservoir of talent for catalysing these efforts and strengthening partnerships with countries in the region. Investing in training and research programmes that harness the expertise, resources, networks and enthusiasm of these Arab scientists would contribute significantly to reversing the 'brain drain'. And it would encourage local efforts to establish academic and research institutions to nurture creativity and entrepreneurship.

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  1. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.

    • Hilal A. Lashuel
  2. University of California, San Diego, USA.

    • Wael K. Al-Delaimy

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  1. Report this comment #20580

    Stephan Lloyd Watkins said:

    I'm with them. However, I like the two sided virion with areas of co-operation and areas of complete Arab only, high security type things. I figure if anyone can creat the breif 20 year period from 1880 to 1910 again, where we saw the invention of the light bulb, radio, etc...then it would be the arab region of the earth , especially the eastern regions.Hopefully merging it with the only successful technological boom since 1950 (US military engineering), which is the only thing not heavily infested with theivery and sabatoge in the whole planet.

    Still there's a 1 in 10 payoff for funding wing nuts even through a screening process, but in long terms radio, light bulbs and electricity are big buisness. In addition, heavy funding of the newer Universities and older ones can overcompensate for the brain drain as mentioned above. Please excusse my spelling.

    Stephan Lloyd Watkins

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