Peaceful scientific cooperation in Middle East gets boost with SESAME

31 May 2002 UNESCO has decided this week to establish the International Centre for Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Application in the Middle East (SESAME) under the auspices of UNESCO. The decision was adopted during the 164th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board.

The Centre, which is to be housed in a 6,200m˛ facility at Jordan’s Al-Balqa Applied University in Allan, is expected to play an important role in fostering scientific co-operation and peaceful interaction in the Middle East.

During debate, several Members of the Board described SESAME as a model for other regions of the world, while the President of the Programme and External Relations Commission praised ‘a quintessential UNESCO project successfully combining much-needed capacity-building in Member States with vital peace-building through science’. (More)

SESAME will be responsible for installing, operating, maintaining and upgrading the synchrotron light source; the light beams, spectrometers and other detectors; and ancillary equipment and laboratories. It will provide research facilities and training for scientists and engineers from the Middle East and elsewhere.

It will also train technicians and will provide scientific and technical help to users of its facilities. It will organize and sponsor international cooperation in its field of activities.

It will not undertake classified work for military purposes, nor any other secret research, and the results of its experimental and theoretical activities will ultimately be published or otherwise made generally available.

Current members are Armenia, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. There are also ten observers (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Russian Federation, Sudan, Sweden, United Kingdom and USA).

UNESCO will be inviting other Member States, observer states and territorial authorities, particularly those from the Middle East, to join a project which could very well be exported to other regions of the world.

See the WCS Newsletter of 3 July 2001 or contact: c.formosa-gauci@unesco.org