BioVisionAlexandria 2010 Opens at the BA

Posted on

BioVisionAlexandria 2010 Conference was opened at the BA on Monday, 12 April 2010. The Opening Session featured addresses by several eminent speakers and government officials.

The Founder of BioVisionLyon and Chairman of World Life Sciences Forum, Philippe Desmarescaux, spoke about the fast-paced technology in life sciences, the new opportunities in healthcare and environment, and the new obstacles and greater risks resulting from these advances. Desmarescaux highlighted the efforts undertaken by the French government in this regard, and emphasized that this is not enough, since there is an urgent need for global consensus on new measures to tackle these issues. These measures should include new ways of living adapted to each country, scientific and technological progress, and a more bio-diverse society for sustainable development.

Koji Omi, Founder and Chairman of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum, elaborated on the Japanese strategy for life sciences and research. He mentioned that Japan lacks natural resources and thus human resources are key to the process of change. He emphasized that promotion of science and technology leads to industrial competencies. On the issue of health and medicine, Omi called for bridging the gap between basic research and clinical needs, exploring the new field of personalized medicine, and drug development.

Executive Director of TWAS - the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World- and President of African Academy of Sciences, Mohamed Hassan, hailed the collaboration between TWAS, BioVision, and the BA. He spoke about the TWAS initiatives to foster the young generation of scientists, most important of which is TWAS/BioVisionAlexandria.NXT, a joint venture between TWAS, BioVision, and the BA to address the challenges facing young researchers. Hassan stated that it is high time that science assumes more responsibility towards social welfare.

Christian Grenier, CEO of the World Life Sciences Forum, briefed the audience on the coming BioVisionLyon 2011. Emphasizing networks, vision, and dialogue, BioVisionLyon 2011 will address three main tracks, namely: scientific advances, decision makers’ perspective, and business in science.

Dr. Hani Helal, Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, welcomed the attendees to the BA, which he described as a center for excellence and dialogue. He touched upon the collaboration between France and Egypt. On the new Egyptian science and technology strategy, the Minister of Higher Education said that Egypt is heading towards a knowledge based society and focusing on young scientists.

Dr. Ismail Serageldin gave an inspiring presentation, in which he briefly tackled all the conference themes. He spoke about the knowledge revolution and the phenomenal speed of change. Serageldin called for wisdom in dealing with the technological advances, and stated that out-of-control financial markets, new lifestyles, destruction of natural resources, and pollution are all practices that call for immediate action. Serageldin reassured the audience that a better future is attainable and highlighted the new opportunities for the south if they master science education.

On the new challenges facing the world as a result of the knowledge revolution, Serageldin spoke about food insecurity, threats to global agriculture, and water scarcity. He called for a second generation of bio-fuels, raising agricultural productivity, improving nutritional content, developing outreach programs for the ultra-poor, and empowering women as a driving force for sustainable development. At the end of his presentation, Serageldin shed lights on bio-robotics, synthetic bio-fuels and artificial intelligence, which in turn raise some ethical issues. Serageldin warned the Arab participants that the Arab world is falling behind in the field of science and technology, which requires more focus on public education and engagement of scientists in policy making.