28-30 September 2009: 1st Conference on "Arab Women in Science and Technology, Raffles Hotel, Wafi City – Dubai

Dubai, September 5, 2009: 
The conference on "Arab Women in Science and Technology: Empowerment for the Development of the Arab World" (AWST) which will be held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and Honorary President of the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) will discuss a number of important topics that shed light on the situation of Arab women and their relationship to science and technology. The two-day conference will include twelve sessions spread over six sessions each day. The "Arab Women in Science and Technology” conference will be held from 28-30 September 2009 at the Raffles Hotel – Dubai and is being organized by the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF), in cooperation with Etisal Event Management, in partnership with the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), a body working under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the Islamic Development Bank.

 It is expected that the meeting will be attended by more than 300 women from various groups, including scientists, researchers, inventors, businesswomen, entrepreneurs, and women occupying senior official positions. The first session is under the title “The Efforts of Arab Countries to Empower Arab Women in Science and Technology.” Prominent government officials will discuss the topic of the position of Arab women in development programs in Arab countries during this session, in addition to debating the role of decision makers and leaders in promoting the role of women in science and technology in the Arab world to build contemporary societies. This session will be headed by Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University – USA and an expert at NASA. In the second session, members of the Arab Women Award for Research and Development (AWARDARAB - one of the networks of the Arab Science and Technology Foundation) will discuss the “Initiative on Empowerment of Arab Women in S&T for the Socioeconomic Development in the Arab World.” This session will be headed by Dr. Fathi Ghorbel, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Bioengineering, Rice University – USA and the President of the American Society for companies operating in the area of Robotics.

 In the third session, the participants will be divided into working groups to discuss ways to support and enhance the future of women in science and technology in the Arab world. The participants will be given an opportunity to join any of the panels or working groups of their choice. The fourth session will be held under the title "Women in S&T and the Required Development in the Arab World," and will discuss the presence of Arab women's in various fields of life and society, and the role required of them to contribute to the objectives of socioeconomic development in Arab societies, compared to other societies. The session will be headed by HH Prince Turki bin Saud Al-Saud, Vice President of Research Institutes – King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The fifth session will focus on “Individual and Collective Efforts to Support S&T Women in the Arab World,” and will discuss the efforts and programs in the Arab world aimed at supporting women specializing in science and technology (S&T), including science associations and clubs and who work in related fields. The session will be chaired by Dr. Rafia Ghubash, President of Arabian Gulf University and President of Arab Network for Women in Science and Technology (ANWST), Bahrain. The sixth session will conclude the first day of the conference with the topic titled "Success Stories of Women in S&T: Past and Present," and will debate the issue that the current position of Arab women does not reflect their historical role in the region, despite the presence of success stories and bright models in it. During this session, a consideration of the historical role of women within the region will take place, where there will be a discussion on the actual position of Arab women in different fields of S&T, including the educational, academic, research and engineering fields. A number of institutions that offer regional and global awards will the present their programs, with a list of the Arab women who won the awards. Dr. Moza Al-Rabban, Associate Physics Professor at Qatar University, Qatar, will moderate the discussion of day one’s last session.

On the second day of the conference, Mrs. Raja Easa Al-Gurg, President of Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) and Executive Director of Easa Saleh Al-Gurg Group will lead the seventh session entitled “Business Leaders and Empowerment of S&T Women in the Arab World.” A number of female investment and business leaders will speak at this session about their experience of leadership in the fields of investment and community service. They will present their thoughts on the promotion of Arab women in the development of society in general, and of women in science and technology in particular. At the eighth session, panel discussions and working groups will be formed to discuss ways to support and empower women working in science and technology in the Arab world, through the discussion of projects to strengthen her role in development. The ninth session will be held under the title "Science, Technology and Gender in the Arab world: Current Issues and Challenges." During this session, there will be a discussion on the meaning of the word “Gender," which is one of the important topics related to the work of women and her role in the society. A UNESCO report entitled "Science, Technology and Gender” will also be discussed at this session chaired by Dr. May Al-Jasser, Chairperson of Diplomatic Arab Women Forum – Austria.

The tenth session will discuss a theme called “The Role of Audio-Visual Media in the Development of S&T Women’s Role," especially the fact that the Media has a prominent role in shaping public opinion regarding issues that involve social behavior. The speakers of this session will discuss ways and means by which the Media can be directed to create a positive change in showcasing the image of women, especially women of science and technology. The session will be headed by Dr. Nadia Al-Awady, President of the World Federation of Science Journalists, and former President and Founding Member of the Arab Science Journalists Association (ASJA), Egypt. At the eleventh session, a review of the discussion outcomes of the various working groups will be put on view and the twelfth session (closing session) will be dedicated to honor the outstanding organizations that support S&T women. Awards for the best scientific poster and best research paper will also be given, and the organizers and sponsors will make closing remarks along with the exchange of memorial shields and trophies.