SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) is a third generation 2.5 GeV synchrotron-light source under construction in Allan (Jordan), modelled institutionally on CERN. It has been set up under the auspices of UNESCO. SESAME aims at both:

• Enabling world-class research in its Members in subjects ranging from biology and medical sciences through materials science, physics and chemistry to archaeology, and

• Building scientific and cultural bridges between neighbouring countries, promoting mutual understanding and tolerance through international cooperation, and fostering a regional community of scientific users who will work together at SESAME.

The Members of SESAME are currently Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. The Observer countries are France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.

The SESAME synchrotron and 4 of its 7 Phase I beamlines are expected to be operational in 2015. In a modern building specially constructed for the Centre, an electron beam at full energy (22 MeV) was extracted from SESAME’s microtron in November 2011 and has been reproduced several times since then. The microtron provides initial acceleration and injects the beam into the booster ring (to be commissioned in 2012). The shielding wall which will house the main storage ring has already been completed.

UNESCO helps in fostering awareness and participation of its Member States and partners in the activity of SESAME, and in running and developing a training programme designed to set up, in the Middle East and neighbouring countries, a community of users of synchrotron radiation in many areas of basic and applied research in science and technology.

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