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Texas A&M at Qatar, HBKU and U.S. National Academies co-host Ninth Arab-American Frontiers Symposium

Published Oct 26, 2023

Texas A&M University at Qatar, in collaboration with Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) College of Science and Engineering (CSE), the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently co-hosted the prestigious Ninth Arab American Frontiers Symposium.

Texas A&M at Qatar faculty members Dr. Mohammed Al-Hashimi and Dr. Dhabia Al Mohannadi served as the symposium’s co-chairs alongside Dr. Umut Gurkan from Case Western University (USA). Held at the JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel, this event brought together an array of researchers and professionals from the United States and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to discuss significant advances and foster collaboration across the domains of science, engineering, and medicine.

Distinguished guests included included His Excellency (HE) Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs in the, State of Qatar, of the State of Qatar, HE Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi, Minister of Education and Higher Education, HE Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and other esteemed guests from across government, academia, and industry.

Al-Hashimi highlighted the symposium's value in providing a dynamic platform for the next generation of scientists, engineers and medical professionals to engage in cutting-edge discussions that offer unique insights, fostering innovation and collaboration that transcend geographical boundaries and contribute to advancements in both the U.S. and MENA regions.

Al Mohannadi emphasized the unique industry collaboration and active participation, including a tech-transfer panel, aimed at exploring innovations and fostering partnerships. She said, "Hosting the symposium in Qatar added to the unique experience, coinciding with the country's recent hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022."

HBKU faculty members Dr. Dena Al Thani and Dr. Saif Al Kuwari also served as co-chairs alongside colleagues from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, New York University Abu Dhabi, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The symposium’s agenda featured 16 presentations with researchers from U.S.-based institutions, including the Georgia Institute of Technology, Keck Graduate Institute, University of California, Davis, University of Florida, and University of Pennsylvania.

Al-Thani emphasized the importance of international partnerships, stating, "Our partnership with NASEM and Texas A&M University at Qatar strengthens the vibrant knowledge exchange between the U.S. and the Arab world, promoting a high-quality research and educational ecosystem." “

Numerous MENA-based institutions also participated in the symposium, including Dark Star Quantum Lab, University Mohammed V of Rabat, Frères Mentouri Constantine 1 University, Khalifa University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Kuwait University, Oman Vision 2040 Implementation Follow-up Unit, SandboxAQ, and Sidra Medicine.

The symposium included poster sessions for researchers to exchange feedback on ongoing projects and a tech transfer panel where participants shared observations and analyses on emerging innovative technologies.

Dr. Dalal Najib, Senior Director, Science and Engineering Capacity Development Unit, U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, said, “The multidisciplinary nature of the discussions at this year’s symposium resulted in vital conversations that accurately reflect the dynamic fields that young researchers will enter later in their careers. Our partnership with HBKU and Texas A&M University at Qatar helps us empower professionals to transcend borders and disciplines to work together and bring impactful ideas to life.”

This significant event received support from Qatar Research, Development and Innovation (QRDI) Council, the State of Qatar’s Ministry of Defense, U.S. Agency for International Development, Shell, ExxonMobil, American Chemical Society, and the Rutter Foundation.

Established in 2011, the Arab-American Frontiers Symposium is an annual initiative that convenes young scientists and researchers from the United States and the Arab world to engage with one another and explore opportunities for collaboration in their fields. These meetings enhance scientific exchange and dialogue in the MENA region and the United States, including the Arab science diaspora, to facilitate cooperation within and beyond the region.

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