Let Bygones Be Bygones Already, for the Environment's Sake!


Image credit Face2Face poster project.

Due to security issues, the date has not been released yet, but we are happy to announce that Middle East environmentalists are putting political pet peeves aside to focus on one goal: preserving the environment. Israeli scientists will join those from 13 other Middle East countries in Turkey in December for a third series of precedent-setting conferences, Israel21c reports.

Called Malta III, the five-day UNESCO-sponsored event will take place in Istanbul and it is expected to bring out over 75 chemical scientists and seven Nobel laureates. Nations that are planning to take part will include Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, (take a breath) Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, the Palestinian Authority, (another breath) Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.The meetings will be in a workshop format and are meant to foster collaborative solutions that will address global environmental issues such as greenhouse gases, climate change and water and air quality. The first two conferences were held in Malta in 2003 and 2005.

"Despite our nations' political differences, we are bound by our allegiance to science as holding the answers to many problems that transcend borders," says Zafra M. Lerman, head of the Institute for Science Education and Science Communication at Columbia College Chicago, who conceived and organizes the conference. "The conference continues to grow in stature as a model of what the scientific community can achieve when we work together."

Initiatives springing from previous conferences include:

A collaborative research project on water quality led by Palestinian scientists from the University of Bethlehem, and Israeli scientists from Bar Ilan University and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Exchanges between visiting Israeli and Palestinian professors through the Weizmann Institute of Science and Palestinian institutions, as well as new admissions of Palestinian students at Weizmann.

A $134,000 grant presented by the National Science Foundation to Nobel laureate Roald Hoffman for three U.S.-Middle Eastern workshops for scientists under the age of 35.

Malta III is sponsored by UNESCO, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the American Chemical Society, the UK's Royal Society of Chemistry, the German Chemical Society, and Columbia College, Chicago. ::press release via Israel21c

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