Qatar University (QU) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) announced the establishment of a Unesco Chair in Desalination and Water treatment at The Center for Advanced Materials, QU.
The event was attended by dignitaries from the Qatar National Committee for Education, Science and Culture, diplomats from Turkey, India, Malaysia, South Africa and Nigeria, industrial partners, faculty members and QU employees.
Prof Syed Javaid Zaidi, who is currently Chair Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM) at Qatar University, will occupy the Unesco research Chair based on the approval of the Unesco Headquarters.
The Unesco chair and UNITWIN programme launched in 1992, is an initiative to establish Chairs in Unesco priority areas to promote international collaboration among higher education and research institutes to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030.
The Unesco programme aims to encourage cooperation between universities and research institutions, as well as facilitate the exchange of research experiences and the transfer of knowledge in various academic fields through the joint work of researchers in various universities in the world.
The Unesco Chair in Desalination and Water Treatment is the first of its kind in the Gulf region under Unesco Chair and UNITWIN programmes. It is based on the cooperation with more than 30 universities and organisations from 15 countries.
Texas A&M University at Qatar, Qatar Electricity and Water Company, Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, University of Ottawa in Canada, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Technical University of Berlin, University of South Africa, Ahmed Bello University in Nigeria, Istanbul Technical University in Turkey, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, University Technology Sydney, University Technology Malaysia, and Aligarh Muslim University, India, are among the stakeholders.
Prof. Mariam al-Maadeed, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, QU, confirmed plans to establish Unesco research chairs to enhance international cooperation in specialised research fields, develop research and training skills for QU researchers and students, and address research topics in alignment with the research priorities and the UN sustainable development goals 2030.
The Chair announcement ceremony began with a speech by QU president Dr Hassan bin Rashid al-Derham, who expressed his pride in inaugurating the first of its kind Unesco Chair in the region.
CAM acting director Dr Muhammad Irshidat, indicated that this Chair is one of the achievements of the Water Technology Unit recently established through an agreement between QU and Qatar Electricity and Water Company.
Farida Aboudan, programme specialist at Unesco Office for the Gulf States and Yemen, stated that the Unesco Chair, through its multi-disciplinary research programme, will contribute to addressing one of the most critical challenges in the Arabian Gulf region, which is water security. Tapping into unconventional water resources through sustainable solutions and technologies is key for better adaptation to drought and climate change in the region.
Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science acting secretary general Abdullah Khamis al-Kubaisi, Prof. Dr. Zaidi and QU's assistant vice president for Research and Graduate Studies Dr Nasser al-Nuaimi also spoke.
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