Posted on June 13, 2011

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development announced today that the World Conference of Science Journalists 2011 (WCSJ2011) will be hosted in Qatar this year, drawing more than 600 of the world’s leading science journalists to Doha in June.

Reflecting its commitment to fostering science and research innovation, Qatar Foundation has invited conference organizers to bring the event to its campus in Doha for the conference’s debut edition in the Arab world. Dr. Mohammad Fathy Saoud, President of Qatar Foundation, welcomed WCSJ2011 saying, "The Middle East was the birthplace of countless scientific and intellectual achievements in its Golden Age, and we are now experiencing a science renaissance in which Qatar is playing a prominent role- making this year’s conference particularly relevant for the region."

He added, "Qatar Foundation is honored to welcome the World Conference of Science Journalists to Qatar this June." The three-day conference, running from June 27th to June 29th, will include plenary and parallel sessions led by top media and science experts from around the world. Topics have been organized into seven tracks, titled "biomedicine," "planet earth," "best practices," "public and private," "media matters," "exploring the boundaries," and "communication challenges." Particular attention will be paid to the specific conditions and constraints facing science and science journalism in the region. Dr. Saoud commented, "Journalism has been among our top priority programs in Education City. The launch of the Northwestern University Program in Journalism and Communications in 2007 has been a major step in offering high-quality education in this important field, and is inspiring a new generation of youth who will become leaders for change in Qatar and the region."

A day of pre-conference workshops on June 26th will cover digital storytelling, climate change and biodiversity reporting, science journalism curriculum, responsible reporting on cancer, and media training tailored to reporters in the Arab world. The Islamic Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization will be sponsoring journalists from Qatar and across the region who are at an early stage in their careers to participate in a science journalism development training session.

Other pre-conference workshops are sponsored by UNESCO, the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships, and the European School of Oncology. Dr. Abdelali Haoudi, Qatar Foundation’s Vice President for Research, spoke on the benefits of holding the conference in Qatar, noting, "As a national thought leader, Qatar Foundation is particularly looking forward to introducing journalists to Qatar’s burgeoning scientific community. With the number of science and research institutes and initiatives in Qatar growing significantly as we transition from a carbon economy to a knowledge economy, there are an ever-increasing number of stories to be covered on Qatar’s developments in the field."

Qatar Foundation, as the conference’s leading sponsor, will be organizing a range of field trips and site visits around the country for participants throughout the conference. Journalists will have the opportunity to learn about the many advances the Gulf state is making in the core platforms of medicine, biotechnology, information and communication technologies, environmental sciences, molecular sciences and nanotechnology. The conference will be the first event of its size to be held at Qatar Foundation’s campus in Doha, home to eight international university branches that are at the heart of the organization’s basic research efforts.

Since 2007, Qatar Foundation has expanded its work into applied and translational research, launching world-class institutes including Qatar Research Institutes and Sidra Medical and Research Center to tackle the country’s priority issues in biomedicine, energy and environment, and computing. The state-of-the-art Qatar Science & Technology Park provides a home for companies from around the world who develop and commercialize technologies in the areas of environment, health sciences and information and communication technologies.

On a larger scale, Qatar is investing in unlocking the country’s human potential and cultivating a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and dedication to advancing scientific research. Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Science and Leadership Program and Stars of Science pan-Arab reality-TV program are part of the country’s efforts to develop and train local scientists to lead research in Qatar to find home-grown solutions for Qatar and the region.