Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

COMSATS Launches its Science Diplomacy Programme

Home   /   COMSATS Launches its Science Diplomacy Programme

COMSATS launched its “Science Diplomacy” program on February 25, 2015, during a Roundtable Meeting held in Islamabad. Following the decision made by COMSATS Coordinating Council in its 17th meeting held in May 2014, the new initiative would be geared towards improving international relations among developing countries and supporting their efforts to achieve foreign policy objectives through cooperation in S&T.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Special Secretary (Policy Planning), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan. In his address on the occasion, Mr. Sial considered it imperative for developing nations to remain abreast with latest scientific advances for objective and informed decision-making in the face of emerging national and trans-boundary challenges, like those pertaining to environment, health and food security. Expressing the government’s awareness of the need for using scientific interactions as a means of strengthening international relations, he stated that the government is “indebted to COMSATS for a timely initiative to focus on such a key area of national interest”.

The programme, among other things, entails activities for science advocacy and popularization, formation of a think tank, establishment of COMSATS Diplomacy Centre, organization of seminars and round table discussions for key stakeholders, as well as series of talks on scientific aspects of issues such as biodiversity, water conversation, energy, climate change, and disarmament, etc. On the occasion, five science experts were designated as “COMSATS Science Ambassadors” in various fields that included: Dr. Arshad S. Bhatti (Physics); Dr. Athar Hussain (Climate Change); Dr. Raheel Qamar (Biotechnology); and Dr. Nasrullah Khan (Energy), from COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), as well as Dr. M. Sabieh Anwar (Engineering and Technology) from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Moreover, Dr. I.E. Qureshi was unanimously conferred the title of ‘Science Ambassador Emeritus’ in the field of Science Diplomacy.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Qureshi touched upon various facets of science diplomacy and informed that operationally COMSATS has been engaged with all these activities since its establishment in 1994. Emphasizing the need for an adaptive model of Science Diplomacy that suits the interests of developing countries, he stated that COMSATS is well-placed to play a central role for Science Diplomacy. He attributed this distinctive position to a large pool of scientific human resources available in COMSATS’ 19 Centres of Excellence; its expertise for organizing workshops and training programmes for S&T capacity building; and the coordinating role the organization is playing for joint international research projects that address common issues in developing countries under the programme of ‘International Thematic Research Groups’.

“Policy makers in developing countries have to be sensitized about the importance of S&T capacity-building as a fulcrum of development strategy”, asserted Dr. Qureshi. While defining the contours of science diplomacy, he said that developing countries will have to tailor all sectors of science diplomacy and create relevant expertise to safeguard their national interests. As a first step, the programme would take up Science Communication for the benefit of decision makers in Pakistan and would be expanded to conduct similar activities in other member countries, noted Dr. Qureshi. It was informed that a six-month activity of the programme has already been chalked out, which would be coordinated by Dr. Arshad Saleem Bhatti, Dean Faculty of Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT).

Dr. Arshad Saleem Bhatti, in his remarks, cited the examples of international collaborative research projects, where scientists belonging to different nations have been working together despite the political differences between their countries.

Dr. Peter McGrath, Coordinator of Science Diplomacy/Science Policy Programme of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Italy, in his keynote address delivered through Skype, considered science diplomacy crucial for finding solutions to cross-boundary problems, such as climate change, pollution, infectious diseases, fisheries, and water resources. Quoting some international examples of how diplomacy and science resulted in finding common grounds among competing nations, he highlighted some activities undertaken under TWAS Science Diplomacy Programme. He believed that science diplomacy as a ‘movement’ has been taking root in and among developing countries for several years. He quoted the examples of some organizational as well as state-level science diplomacy initiatives from across the globe. Brazil and Cuba were especially mentioned for their success with ‘Agriculture Diplomacy’ and ‘Health Diplomacy’, respectively, in strengthening their international relations. For the organizational-level initiatives, the roles of COMSATS, ECO-Science Foundation, ESCWA and Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) were highlighted

Answering to some questions from the participants, Dr. McGrath considered it important, especially in the context of the developing countries, to first identify common important issues of a region, which need inter-state coordination. As a strategic step in building a sound scientific diplomatic culture among the regions where it is hard to implement scientific diplomatic relations owing to lack of cooperation or capacity, he opined that as a starting point relatively lower level exchanges of young scientists could help create the desired networking. Over time, these scientists could move to senior level positions and partake in diplomatic and policy level decision making. He also commented on the restrictions on scientists from developing nations who aspire to specialize in emerging fields but are denied the opportunity in disciplines deemed to be of dual use. He opined that continued efforts through science diplomacy are needed to bring about the desired change of mindsets. Appreciating the role of COMSATS in S&T-led development in the South for over 20 years, he considered the organization an important international player in the field of science diplomacy.

Suggestions, ideas, and concerns were shared by the designated Science Ambassadors and participants during a general discussion session chaired by Dr. Anwar Nasim, President of Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS). Ways were discussed to make the COMSATS Science Diplomacy programme effective and how it can be tailored to addressing the needs of the developing counties. Among the distinguished participants of this discussion were: Prof. Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, Secretary General, Pakistan Academy of Sciences; Mr. Amjad Hussain, Joint Scientific Adviser (IL), Ministry of Science and Technology; Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, Advisor/Head, Centre for Policy Studies, CIIT; Ms. Sadia Malik, Assistant Director (IC), Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and senior officials and academics from COMSATS Secretariat and CIIT.

The participants discussed matters ranging from popularization of science, quality of science education at the grass root level, to resolving the regional disputes with neighboring countries through effective diplomatic means backed by sound scientific expertise. Media, it was agreed, can help for popularizing science, and serve as effective means for science advocacy. In the context of Pakistan-India relations, the need for an equitable scientific solution to address the issue of water stress was emphasized as part of efforts to normalize the relations between the two neighboring countries.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Qureshi expressed satisfaction on the outcomes of the meeting and summed up the key deliberations made during the Round Table Discussions. He explained how scientific community can play its due role in building a prosperous society, through science popularization, advocacy and diplomacy. He thanked the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan; PAS and some universities in Pakistan for pledging support for this timely initiative of COMSATS.

The meeting concluded on an optimistic note that COMSATS is determined to take on the arduous task of bringing science to the hearts and minds of the policy makers and the people, at large.

Upcoming Events

Dec
12
Wed
2018
Seminar on SDGs Implementation: The Collaboration among Universities
Dec 12 all-day

[ Event Flyer ]

The Inter-University Consortium for the Promotion of Social-Sciences (IUCPSS), the largest alliance of more than 45 private and public universities, is launching its latest initiative entitled the ‘International Student Convention & Expo 2019: Securing Our Future’, an expo that runs from 10-13 December, 2018 at the Pak-China Friendship Center, in Islamabad, Pakistan. The event would provide an opportunity to Pakistani youth by providing a platform for interaction, networking and a range of diverse learning activities spread across the three days.

The event comprises of participation from 100+ Universities and Vice-Chancellors, 30+ countries, and 300+ international students to align youth efforts with global challenges and demands to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to channelize the youth to attain the SDGs, IUCPSS in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) and the Commission of Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) is holding a Seminar entitled ‘SDGs Implementation: The Collaboration among Universities’, on 12th December, 2018.

The Seminar would be an open forum to formulate clusters for the realization of the SDGs amongst the participating Universities, comprising of interactive brainstorming among the participants with an exclusive focus on the 17 SDGs. The session would initiate a process where the participants would voluntarily align their respective institutions with one or more than one SDGs and show commitment in formulating a plan with other participating Universities in the same areas of interest. Universities’ involvement in this event at the highest level will provide roadmap to the educational institutions in Pakistan towards achieving these goals. The seminar would be marked with the presence of leading figures, experts, and policy and decision makers to share their ideas on the realization of the SDGs.

CONTACT PERSONS

Mr. M. Bilal Chouhan
Director (A&E)
COMSATS Secretariat, Islamabad
Tel: (051) 9214515-7
Email: bilal@comsats.org

Ms. Rida Bokhari
Sr. Programme Officer
COMSATS Secretariat, Islamabad
Tel: (051) 9214515-7 Ext. 216
Email: rida.bokhari@comsats.org

Dec
17
Mon
2018
11th National Training Workshop on Repair and Maintenance of Scientific Instruments/ Equipment in Universities, Research Institutions, and Small Scale Industries, Gebze, Turkey
Dec 17 – Dec 21 all-day

[ Flyer ]

INTRODUCTION

Scientific Research and Development activities are the most effective and sustainable tools in achieving long term national economic growth for the developing countries. A large proportion of this research is customarily conducted in the educational and industrial organizations, both in public and private sectors. The pace of research largely depends on the skills of the scientists and technicians, and the availability of well-maintained scientific instruments. In developing countries, lack of planning, in purchase and management of inventories and severe shortage of technical expertise related to repair and maintenance of the same greatly hampers smooth progress of research programmes. In this context, the teaching and research institutions suffer more from delayed research output and the industrial units face production losses.

Unfortunately, the concerned management in most of the developing countries, including Islamic Countries, do not pay enough attention to establish maintenance facilities, resulting in discarding a large number of very expensive instruments and equipment. These losses can be averted by spending a fraction of money on the effective and preventive repair and maintenance processes as compared to the costs incurred due to time losses and procurement of the new instruments and by providing relevant training to the operators, concerned engineers and technicians of such instruments, equipment, etc. There is a great need to develop an indigenous capacity to repair and maintain the scientific equipment in the developing countries, since inviting foreign experts for this purpose is time-consuming and economically unviable. Manpower adept in repairing and maintaining scientific equipments of all sorts used in the teaching and research institutions and industries can ensure uninterrupted research work, and thus lead to an overall socioeconomic development of a country.

To enable Islamic countries to achieve technological self – reliance in setting up of repair and maintenance facilities and to reduce technological dependence on foreign experts, national training workshop is being organized by the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS); in cooperation with Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO); and TUBITAK, Republic of Turkey. The national workshop entitled “Repair and Maintenance of Scientific Instruments/ Equipment in Universities, Research Institutions and Small Scale Industries” will take place in Republic of Turkey, from December 17-21, 2018. The Workshop is intended to highlight the issues/problems related to the maintenance of scientific engineering equipments used in universities, research institutions and small scale industries. Two experts from Pakistan would provide hands-on training to the participants of the workshop for upgrading their skills and enhancing their capacities in repairing, maintaining and troubleshooting important scientific engineering equipments in their organizations. The workshop encompassing interactive lectures and practical training is a part of the COMSATS-ISESCO series, under which similar events were held in Kazakhstan (2017), Nigeria (2016), Ghana (2013 & 2015), Oman (2015), Iran (2014), Sudan (2013, 2005 & 2004),Tunisia (2012), Egypt (2011), Senegal (2010) and Syria (2005). These workshops have benefited over 420 scientists, engineers and technicians by building their expertise and capacity to indigenously repair and maintain scientific instruments used in the labs of R&D institutions as well as small-scale industries in their respective countries.

OBJECTIVES

The workshop has the following objectives:

  • To demonstrate the process of repairing the defective instruments by the experts;
  • To provide hands-on training to the participants for improving their skills for independently maintaining and repairing the scientific instruments;
  • To update the participants’ knowledge on the latest techniques involved in the operation of scientific instruments;
  • To acquaint the participants with the functioning of scientific instruments through need-based training, as well as documentation of the repair and maintenance activities;
  • To update the trainees’ knowledge on changing and new technologies in scientific equipments;
  • To facilitate information-exchange among scientists, researchers, technicians, service engineers, and industrialists for enhancing the existing scientific capacity.

LANGUAGE

The working language for the Workshop will be English.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Professional technicians, scientists, researchers and service engineers from academic and research institutions, hospitals and industries of Republic of Turkey are encouraged to register for the national workshop.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Mme EL ALAMI Wafaa
Supervisor of ISESCO Centre for Promotion of
Scientific Research
ISESCO
Avenue des F.A.R. – Hay Ryad
B.P. 2275 – C.P.10104
Rabat – Kingdom of Morocco
Tel : +212 (0) 537 56 60 52/53
Fax: +212 (0) 537 56 60 12/13
E-mail: icpsr@isesco.org.ma

Mr. Tajammul Hussain
Advisor (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2 Islamabad – Pakistan
Phone: +92-51-9204892, 9214515-7 Fax: +92-51-9216539
Email: tajammul@comsats.org

Mr. Nisar Ahmad
Deputy Director (Systems)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2 Islamabad – Pakistan.
Tel: (+92-51) 9214515-17 Fax: (+ 92-51) 9216539
Email: nisar@comsats.org

Dr. A. Ömer ALTAN
Head of Department
International Relations Dept.
TÜBITAK Ulusal Metroloji Enstitüsü
Baris Mah., Dr. Zeki Acar Cad. No.1
41470 Gebze Kocaeli
Ph +90 262 679 5000 x 2901; Fax +90 262 679 5001
Email: omer.altan@tubitak.gov.tr

Dec
23
Sun
2018
8th COMSATS‐ISESCO-INIT International Workshop on “Internet Security: Enhancing Information Exchange Safeguards”, State of Qatar
Dec 23 – Dec 27 all-day

[ Flyer in PDF format ]

BACKGROUND

Information Technology is now considered a necessity for the general public and organizations in various sectors. However, it presents various risks in the form of cyber-attacks and has, therefore, evoked many privacy and security concerns. The frequency of cyber-attacks is considerably increasing every year, and the nature of security risks is constantly evolving. Therefore, effective surveillance networks are needed to ensure that the information and networks are protected from attacks, damage and unauthorized access, through the use of appropriate technologies, processes and practices.

In view of the above, the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS); the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO); and the Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) took the initiative of spreading awareness on this important field in the developing countries, particularly in their Member States, by means of organizing a series of training workshops. The earlier events of this series were held in Syria (2011), Jordan (2012), Tunisia (2013), Tanzania (2014), Turkey (2015), Morocco (2016) and Kazakhstan (2017).

INTRODUCTION

The eighth five-day International Workshop on ‘Internet Security: Enhancing Information Exchange Safeguards’ is being jointly organized by ISESCO; COMSATS; INIT, on 23-27 December 2018, in Qatar.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The workshop aims to provide a forum to the young scientists/professionals from the developing countries to learn about the latest advancements in the field of Internet security; promote the use of state-of-the-art technologies for protection of network and network-accessible resources from different types of malicious attacks; and identify effective Internet/information security solutions for general public, governmental organizations and commercial ventures through rigorous risk-analyses and security management approaches.

FORMAT

The workshop includes technical presentations, tutorials and hands-on training sessions by a group of renowned subject experts. It will cover major aspects of Internet/information security, ranging from theoretical understanding of cryptographic algorithms to practical subtleties of the network systems, and will also address the related managerial and technical issues. Moreover, a handful of network security tools will be demonstrated to provide opportunities to the participants to update their knowledge-base and interact with experts for further collaborative undertakings.

KEY AREAS

Following are the key topics of the workshop:

  • Information Security Risk Assessment/Management
  • Network Security: Modern Attacks, Evasion Techniques and Defenses
  • Malicious Code Analysis and Detection
  • Measuring Security
  • Ethical Issues of ICT Security
  • Organizational Security Standards, Policies and Guidelines
  • Cryptographic Techniques for Network Security
  • Web Security
  • Social Network Security
  • Cloud Computing Security
  • Digital Forensics Procedures and Tools

TARGETED INDIVIDUALS

Young researchers, practitioners, academicians, executives, system administrators, system programmers, and students working in the field of Internet/information security and cryptography are invited to participate in the workshop.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

The workshop is expected to enable the participants to:

  • Understand Organizational Security Structure and their particular security requirements;
  • Analyzing and mitigating the Information security risks;
  • Understand network protocols, models, topologies and related security threats;
  • Understand major modern-day cryptographic algorithms and protocols;
  • Understand how to send secure emails;
  • Use Full Disk Encryption (FDE) tools, including TrueCrypt;
  • Understand the anti-virus, anti-spyware tools and firewalls;
  • Understand the working of major web-security applications;
  • Understand the working of contemporary biometrics systems;
  • Understand organizational security measures, risk assessment tools and techniques and implement appropriate policies and procedures for a given organization;
  • Understand different aspects of cyber security; and
  • Understand and use various types of ethical hacking tools to secure the networks, including: network sniffing, spoofing and poisoning; port scanning and vulnerability analysis; offline and online password attacks; buffer overflow; and root-kits and trojans.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Partial or full financial support will be provided to selected foreign participants from Member States of COMSATS, ISESCO and INIT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

ISESCO:
Dr. Muhammad Nabeel Anwar
Director (Science and Technology)
Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)
Avenue des F.A.R, P.O. Box 2275, PC Code 10104
Hay Ryad-Rabat, Morocco.
Tel: +212-537-566052/53; Fax: +212-537-566012/13
Email: sciences@isesco.org.ma,

Dr. Aicha Bammoun
Science Directorate
Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)
Avenue des F.A.R, P.O. Box 2275, PC Code 10104,
Hay Ryad-Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco.
Tel: +212- 5-37566052-53; Fax: +212- 5-37566012-13
Email: aicha_bammoun@yahoo.fr; abammoun@isesco.org.ma

INIT:
Mr. Tahir Naeem
Executive Director
Inter Islamic Network on InformationTechnology (INIT)
COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI)
Park Road, Chak Shehzad, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92-51-90495169; Fax: +92-51-9247006
Email: tnaeem@comsats.edu.pk

Mr. M. Atiq ur Rehman
Sr. Program Officer
Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT)
COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI)
Park Road, Chak Shehzad, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92-51-90495024; Fax: +92-51-9247006
Email: muhammad_atiq@comsats.edu.pk

COMSATS:
Mr. Tajammul Hussain
Advisor (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92-51-9204892; Fax: +92-51-9216539
Email: tajammul@comsats.org

Mr. Farhan Ansari
Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters,
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92 51 9214515-7; Fax: +92 51 9216539
Email: farhan@comsats.org

Mar
11
Mon
2019
Workshop on Water Resources: Expected Crises and Strategies of Predomination, at National Research Centre, Egypt
Mar 11 – Mar 12 all-day

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