KFAS News

Kuwaiti institutions join forces with U.S. State Dept. to launch GLOBE program

August 28, 2018

Several Kuwaiti institutions joined forces with the U.S. State Department to launch the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program, which seeks to create a global community to come together for a better understanding of the Earth and to support sustainability.

Kuwait University’s Marine Science Centre and the U.S. State Department represented by the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, hosted the three-day ceremony launching the GLOBE program last Tuesday.

Notable attendees included His Excellency the Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Hamid Al-Azmi, President of Kuwait University, Dr. Hussein Al-Ansari and U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, His Excellency Lawrence Silverman as a demonstration of his continued support for building bridges of international cooperation in the fields of science and technology,

The program aims to raise environmental awareness among middle and high school students in Kuwait's public and private schools and was made possible through partnerships between the U.S. State Department, Kuwait's Ministry of Education, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and Kuwait University.

On behalf of the Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Hamid Al-Azmi, the President of Kuwait University, Dr. Hussein Al-Ansari, inaugurated the program, which reflects the close cooperation between the U.S. State Department, the Ministry of Education, KFAS and Kuwait University in Kuwait.

During Dr. Al-Azmi’s keynote speech delivered by Dr. Al-Ansari on his behalf, he emphasized the importance of embracing the latest changes in teaching methods to ensure that Kuwaiti students are provided with updated and balanced scientific content.

He added: "Contemporary global transformations require a new vision for motivating students and the youth to engage in science with tools that spark their interest. This vision should address new generations with their own perspective, encourage them to focus on overcoming the challenges of their time, and qualify them to engage in relevant scientific disciplines. This is a necessary shift to attain our desired educational goals, and the Ministry of Education has already taken steps toward following current trends in education and research.”

Dr. Al-Azmi hailed the long-standing cooperation between the Ministry of Education and KFAS, commending the foundation's pioneering role in supporting science and research and promoting scientific culture in Kuwait, while encouraging international cooperation in publicizing scientific and technological findings.

KFAS Director General, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin highlighted the objectives of the educational program, which include enhancing Kuwaiti students' scientific research capabilities and opening the space for local young people to join ongoing scientific efforts aimed at addressing climate change.

 Adding that recent heatwaves and changing global rainfall patterns indicate that climate change is no longer just a future threat or a deferred problem. "Whether these events are truly the result of climate change is a question whose answer can be found through the cooperation of students from every region to gather information on how global warming affects the climatic events in their respective homelands. Eventually, this information can be used on a global scale to develop better climate models and more accurate computer simulation, helping policymakers to make the right decisions," he said.

GLOBE Director Dr. Anthony Murphy outlined how the program had started between the U.S. Space Agency (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It was officially unveiled by the United States on Earth Day in 1994, before being launched globally in 1995.

Dr. Murphy noted that the program's vision is centred on creating a global community of students, teachers, scientists and interested citizens to come together for a better understanding of the Earth's environment locally, regionally and globally, and to support sustainability. Adding: “That's why the program primarily aims to promote science teaching and learning, improving environmental knowledge and encouraging scientific research.”

KFAS Deputy Director General for Scientific Affairs, Dr. Salem Al-Hajraf, stated that the program affirms the foundation’s commitment to encouraging young people in Kuwait to engage with science and environmental activism, as well as to develop an eye for sustainable and innovative solutions for the challenges facing Kuwait.

Director of the Regional Office of the GLOBE Program in the Near East and North Africa, Ms. Salma Al-Zu’bi stated that the Regional Office is looking forward to the data to be compiled and submitted by Kuwaiti students. She went on to say that they would contribute to the program's studies and reports, and, thus, become fledgling scientists in the field of environmental research, assisting their more experienced peers working with NASA.”

Kuwait University and the Marine Science Center has stepped up to provide a nurturing environment for the program, putting its human resources, modern equipment and laboratories at the program's disposal. It has also committed to ensuring easy access to coastal and land areas for experiments and measurements. Dr. Fahd Al-Senafi said, “The program would enhance enrolment and encourage Kuwaiti youth to join the scientific disciplines offered by the center.”

Attending the opening ceremony and the accompanying training workshop were numerous Ministry of Education inspectors, teachers from both public and private sectors and representatives from the Environment Public Authority and environmental public welfare associations, such as the Kuwait Environment Protection Society and Kuwait Environmental Lens. Professors from Kuwait University and researchers from the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and Gulf University for Science and Technology were also among the audience.