«I feel in the prime of my life when I talk with you, » this is how Dr. Adnan Shihab El-din, KFAS Director General expressed how he felt as he mingled with the young audience. He expressed his hope that the youth will disseminate scientific and technological knowledge and reiterated that the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences is keen to maximize its investment in capacity building of science communication as a crucial element in enhancing the societal ability to understand data systematically and logically to safeguard the welfare of citizens based on object reasoning and scientific data.
Dr. Adnan’s remarks were made at the opening of «101 fundamentals of Science Communication» workshop, organized by KFAS in partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), on 12 and 13 April. The event was part of the “Kuwait the Capital of Arab Youth 2017” activities. The workshop, which aimed at strengthening youth capacity in disseminating scientific and technological knowledge, was attended by more than 45 participants representing research and educational institutions, the Ministry of Education, Kuwait University, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, and relevant government agencies such as the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Health, and the Public Authority for Agriculture and Fisheries(PAAFR), as well as heavy attendance by civil society organizations, the private sector, and KFAS affiliates and centers.
Regional guests of honor included influential media personalities, the most prominent of which is Mr. Yasser Hareb, from the U.A.E, the founder of the “Moment” TV show, from Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ali Al-Bahrani, the founder of ‘Eureka’ You Tube show, Dr. Muath Alduhishy, the founder of the Saudi Science Club, and from Kuwait, Dr. Mohamed Kassim, the founder of Sciware Podcast and Ms. Houda Al-Dakheel Arab NASA representative.
Dr. Adnan Shihab El-Din welcomed the participants in his opening speech and stated that KFAS’ conviction is that science is the essence and the most important factor of the welfare of societies. He Added that this fact comes at a time when heated controversy rages between science and the strikingly polarized position on topics such as ‘whether climate change is a reality’ or ‘whether we can mitigate the risks of the environmental changes’, or the “the ethical debate about developments in biological and medical sciences”, at a time when a war is waged against experimental data.
Dr. Salam Al-Ablani, KFAS Scientific Culture Director, said in his speech at the beginning of the workshop that the new strategy of the Scientific Culture Directorate is based on the dissemination of science in all sectors of the society as a whole and the improvement of science and math education and teaching methodology by providing engaging non-classroom curricula and reliable resources for scientific information by using an interactive approach and by stimulating participation in science and supporting various community activities related to scientific issues. He added that promoting the dialogue with local communities is realized through availing a multiple valid and varied scientific content in all aspects of life.
He reiterated that this workshop focuses on capacity building of young scientists and civil society organizations in a range of scientific communication and leadership skills and engaging various levels of the society in activities directed towards science and citizen science programs, and encouraging dissemination of scientific knowledge as a pillar of economic development and social welfare.
Dr. Layla Al-Musawi, Program Manger of Publicizing and Dissemination of Science and Technology Program at KFAS Scientific Culture Directorate, said that this year KFAS is implementing its new strategy (2017-2021) which focuses on engaging and empowering the society at Large. This is planned to be carried out through embracing new approaches to develop scientific skills in all sectors in our society, communicating through dialogue for addressing global and national challenges, engaging the community in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics issues that raise directly related issues as well as using modern platforms for publication. She added that KFAS seeks to attract young talent and innovative initiatives to promote talent in various sectors, enrich their skills, and create a regional and international network.
In conclusion, Dr. Adnan Shihab El-Din declared the Foundation's intention to launch the KFAS Science Ambassadors Program in August 2017 for youth active in science dissemination on electronic platforms, as part of the celebration of “Kuwait Capital of Arab Youth” to strengthen mutual dialogue among all segments of society and to create an enabling environment for public access to sound scientific information in plain language.
It is worth mentioning that KFAS has signed an agreement with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to enrich and enhance KFAS’ experience in the field of scientific and educational innovations to serve the Kuwaiti society and humanity at large. KFAS aims through this agreement to stimulate creative initiatives and human energy that promote building a solid scientific and technological base and facilitate an environment conducive to innovation and dissemination of scientific culture.
The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Stacey Baker, public engagement associate at AAAS and it included three topics: fundamentals of science communication, communication strategies with the media, and media and communication strategies across electronic platforms.