Posted on October 19, 2011

Qatar University (QU) Foundation Program Director Dr Khalid Abdulla Al-Ali was recently elected President of the prestigious World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), succeeding its current president Mr. Alain Pompidou. COMEST is an entity of UNESCO, set up in 1998, and mandated to formulate ethical principles that could provide decision-makers with criteria that extend beyond purely economic considerations.

The announcement came at the 7th Ordinary Session of COMEST held in Doha on October 9-12 at the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP).

Dr Al-Ali has been a member of COMEST since 2006. He will preside over the Commission for a 2-year period as is expected of each elected bureau member. As a Qatari national, Dr Al-Ali's presidency will bring more visibility and exposure to the Commission's role in the Gulf and Middle East region.

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Dr Al-Ali has a long resume of scientific scholarship and publication in the area of human genetics and bio-ethics. He is currently a member of the Arab Committee for Science and Biotechnology Ethics and heads the QU Institutional Review Board on research ethics compliance, and the Review Board at Shafallah Medical Genetic Center (SMGC) in Doha.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Al-Ali said: "I am honored by this very significant appointment by UNESCO, one of the world's largest and important bodies in the fields of education, science and culture. This comes at the time when Qatar is correspondingly developing its ethical standards and guidelines for scientific research and technology. As a Qatari and a member of Qatar University, I am quite sure that this will pave the way towards a better understanding of international ethics standards while considering the unique context of the Arab and Islamic world".

COMEST is composed of leading scholars from scientific, legal, philosophical, cultural and political disciplines from various regions of the world, appointed by the UNESCO Director-General in their individual capacity, along with some ex officio members representing UNESCO's international science programs and global science communities.

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