Arab Forum of Science Media and Communication Convenes In-Person to Address Sustainability Challenges

[Dubai, May 10, 2023] – The Arab Forum of Science Media and Communication (AFSMC), organized by SciComm X in partnership with the College of Communication, University of Sharjah, is set to launch its third annual event on May 29. Breaking new ground, this year’s forum will adopt a hybrid format, combining both in-person and virtual sessions. The prestigious gathering will bring together esteemed professionals in science, media, and communication from the region to explore avenues for capacity building and the overcoming of industry challenges.

AFSMC has garnered recognition as the largest specialized event in science media and communication in the Arab world. The forum serves as a platform for journalists, editors, content creators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and scientists to convene, fostering the exchange of experiences in their native languages. Notably, translation services will be available for select sessions conducted in English. By joining forces with industry-leading organizations, including Google News Initiative, Al-Ain News, SciDev Net and others, the AFSMC aims to foster greater engagement, knowledge exchange, and innovation in science media and communication, ultimately driving positive change within the region.

On May 29, the forum will commence with in-person sessions held at the University of Sharjah, which is graciously supporting this year’s event. The subsequent days, May 30 and 31, will feature virtual sessions centred around the theme “Communicating for Sustainability.” A thoughtfully curated program will encompass a diverse range of sessions covering pressing scientific issues such as climate change, Cop28, and the role of media in raising public awareness about sustainability. Additional topics will include the vital connection between scientists, researchers, and the public through journalism, media, science communication, and other public engagement activities in the realm of science.

Insightful sessions will delve into the challenges encountered by various sectors within the field, such as the utilization of AI in Science Journalism and the development of communication skills among scientists and researchers in the region. Additionally, success stories of individual and institutional initiatives will be shared, highlighting exemplary achievements.

Saad Lotfey, CEO of SciComm X and co-founder of the AFSMC, expressed enthusiasm about the upcoming forum, stating, “This year, we are taking the Forum to the next stage, leveraging the advantages of both face-to-face and virtual interactions.” Lotfey acknowledged the collaborative efforts that contributed to the forum’s busy schedule, particularly recognizing the University of Sharjah as the strategic partner for this year’s event.

Prof. Youssef Al Haik, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, stressed the UoS’s commitment to excellence in education, research, and community engagement, pointing out the significance of science media and communication in shaping public opinion, fostering dialogue, and driving positive change within our society. The theme of this year’s forum, “Communicating for Sustainability,” resonates deeply with the vision and values of UoS in addressing the global sustainability challenges we face, from climate change to environmental degradation, and the indispensable role of science media and communication in driving awareness, engagement, and action, through which the University hosted the Arab Forum of Science Media and Communication, which brought together experts from various fields to exchange knowledge in scientific research field. The UoS is proud to contribute to the program through faculty members’ expertise and research initiatives. We will explore the integration of AI in science journalism, the development of effective communication skills, and the inspiring success stories of individual and institutional initiatives.

In a time where there is so much fake news and disinformation, The Arab Forum of Science Media and Communication is a space to seek solutions, said Professor Jairo Alfonso Lugo-Ocando, Dean of the College of Communication at the University of Sharjah. Prof. Jairo expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating, “This is a great opportunity to debate some of the most important issues around science communication. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to not only invest in scientific research but also engage the public, effectively communicate key scientific concepts, and make science relevant and appealing. It is crucial for people to understand and support expert advice, incorporating science into their daily decision-making. That is why the College of Communication at the University of Sharjah is proud to host this event, recognizing its significance in addressing these challenges.”

Keynote speakers will feature prominently during the forum, with the opening address, titled “Science, Islam and the Imagination,” delivered by Jörg Matthias Determann, Associate Professor of History in the Liberal Arts & Sciences program at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar. The closing talk will be a reflective session on the future of science journalism in the Arab region, examining the challenges and opportunities it presents. Bothina Osama, Cofounder of AFSMC and Chief Editor of the Arabic edition of SciDev.Net, will spearhead this discussion.

Mohamed ElSonbaty, a science journalist, trainer in science journalism and communication, and co-founder of the forum, emphasized the importance of capacity building in media and science communication skills. To fulfill this objective, an entire day of the forum will be dedicated to workshops led by highly qualified experts from across the region. Workshop topics will encompass handson activity development and science documentary production, among others.

Last year’s edition of the Arab Forum for Media and Science Communication attracted over 450 attendees from 24 countries, with 46% of participants being females. The event featured 24 sessions, hosting over 55 speakers representing diverse backgrounds in science and media disciplines.

Registration for attendance, whether in-person or virtual, remains open on the forum’s website. Interested individuals can secure their spots by visiting the booking page accessible via this link.

[About the Organizer]
SciComm X is a science and sustainability communication consultancy that offers 360-degree solutions and services in the field of science media and communication. Its mission is to empower and support science media and communication ecosystems worldwide by building innovative products and bringing creative solutions.

For more details about the event, contact:

Esraa Hosny