International COMSTECH Conf on Science Communication Kicks Off

Islamabad, COMSTECH International Conference/Workshop on “Science Communication and Community Engagement” inaugurated at COMSTECH.
The chief guest of the inaugural session was the honorable Mr. Justice Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwer, Acting Chief Justice of Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan.

He said that being a Muslim, to acquire knowledge and to educate ourselves and our future generations is our religious duty and to fulfill this duty, Science Communication, which is considered as the practice of informing, educating and raising awareness of science related topics in a community is not only the need of the time but our religious duty too.

He said the holy Quran is not a book of science but guides to live in harmony with the nature. He said Quran teaches us to explore through scientific research the cosmological scientific principles and realities about ourselves, the climate and environment around us and the universe in general.

He said that the Quran invites us to pursue scientific research in order to explore the scientific principles of the universe. He said that Allah has given us a direction to think over the coordinated working of the universe. He said that it is our religious duty to relentlessly and continuously pursue scientific knowledge which ultimately results in finding the scientific principles working therein.

He said that we Muslims generally are not fulfilling the responsibility bestowed upon us by Allah through Quran to acquire, possess and promote scientific education in our communities.

The Coordinator General COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary extended a very warm welcome to the participants and the experts. He informed that speakers from 7 countries with long experience and notable contributions in communication of science will address this conference.

He informed that over 460 participants got registered to attend this conference with different backgrounds, from science, media, policy makers, social work, to arts and cultures, diplomacy and environment.

He mentioned that we often perceive Science and Society as two separate worlds, far away from each other, but they are not. He said that indeed they are two sides of the same coin, there is an organic relationship between the two. Society benefits from scientific discoveries and scientific values. Whereas science needs social and political support. Without each other, none can flourish or sustain. He suggested that during the economic crises, strong public support for science is crucially important for the survival of scientific enterprise.

Prof. Choudhary concluded that society must shapes the path of science, rather than science shaping societies. Society should help determine how its resources are deployed to fund scientific work, encouraging beneficial research, and discouraging others. Science should serve the interests and needs of the society.

Associate coordinator of the conference, Prof. Dr. Syed Javaid Khurshid gave a comprehensive introduction of the conference. He said that the basic aim of this conference is to develop a bridge between scientists and journalists to develop awareness in the general public.

In the first session of the conference, Mr. Michael Wadleigh, Coordinator UNESCO and Oscar award winner film maker gave lecture on “UNESCO open data to stop global social economic collapse”, Mr. Kamran Akhtar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs talked on the ‘role of science communication in international diplomacy, and Dr. Mahalectchumy Arujanan, Director Malaysian Biotechnology Information Center (MABIC) gave lecture on ‘science communication as an approach to future global crisis preparedness.