Constraints facing science and science journalism in the region will be highlighted at the World Conference of Science Journalists 2011 to be hosted by Qatar this month, organisers have said.
The three-day conference from June 27 to29 will include plenary and parallel sessions led by media and science experts from around the world. Sessions have been organised into seven tracks, titled ‘biomedicine', ‘planet earth', ‘best practices', ‘public and private', ‘media matters', ‘exploring the boundaries, and ‘communication challenges'.
The conference was scheduled in Cairo, but on March 3, the venue was moved to Doha due to the unrest in the Egyptian capital.
"There were too many uncertainties. We felt our priority needed to be providing a stable and safe environment to hold a successful conference," Nadia El Awadi, conference co-director in Cairo, said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula.
Qatar Foundation invited conference organisers to move the event to Doha where more than 600 of the world's science journalists will discuss several issues.
"The Middle East was the birthplace of countless scientific and intellectual achievements in its Golden Age," Mohammad Fat'hi Saoud, President of Qatar Foundation, said. "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 said.
"Journalism has been among our top priority programmes in Education City. The launch of the Northwestern University Programme 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," he said.
A day of pre-conference workshops on June 26 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 Organisation will be sponsoring journalists from Qatar and across the region 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.
"Qatar Foundation is particularly looking forward to introducing journalists to Qatar's burgeoning scientific community," Abdelali Haoudi, Qatar Foundation's Vice-President for Research, said. "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."
From / Gulf News