Science has long been sidelined in most countries in the Middle East. However, a recent surge in interest in science has started, and science communicators are trying to capitalize on and support this. This can often be an uphill battle when the society has not been exposed to science for so long and when there is little support available to them from the public or private sector.
To overcome this, some science communicators are turning to the Internet to make use of the rapid rise of digital tools in the region, where the increase in Internet proliferation is one of the fastest in the world.
The session will explore the efforts of some science communicators to overcome different obstacles, ranging from social to cultural to economic, in order to communicate science to their audiences and do so in a format and way that is accessible to a general audience.
The proposed speakers are:
Alexis Gambis: The director of the successful Imagine Science Films in New York has brought the festival to the Middle East for the first time in February 2015 as Imagine Science Abu Dhabi. The festival highlights films and outreach efforts at the borderline between science and art.
Alyaa Gad: Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Alyaa is an Egyptian physician who has decided to turn to the Internet - using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, to share medical information and break taboos by talking about culturally sensitive issues such as sexual health - attracting hundreds of thousands of followers and fans.
Mohammed Yahia: The executive editor of Nature Publishing Group will talk about NPG's efforts to spread science using the Internet. The portal uses professional science journalists to bring science to a wider audience, and uses multimedia tools - such as podcasts - to spread science in English and Arabic.
A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.