On May 16 to 17, 2018, the Regional Advisory Committee for the Future Earth MENA Regional Center (FEMRC-RAC) met for its second face-to-face meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus. The RAC’s main mission lies in providing guidance and leadership to the Regional Center in the MENA Region. Its 13 members from across the region aim to provide linkages with major research organizations in their respective countries and to advance a Future Earth research strategy that addresses pressing societal challenges in the region.
During the meeting, a number of procedural issues regarding the membership in the RAC were discussed and clarified. Prof. Reyad Hamzah, the President of the University of Bahrain in Sanad, Kingdom of Bahrain was elected as the first Chair of the FEMRC-RAC. It was agreed that the RAC should meet more frequently to keep up the momentum gained during the meeting in Nicosia. To that end Prof. Salah Soliman from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt, invited the FEMRC-RAC members to their next face-to-face meeting in Alexandria next April. In the meantime, two tele-conferences have been agreed on.
The fruitful discussions during the meeting also resulted in first plans for a major scientific conference, which will address the particularly burning issue of water scarcity in the MENA Region (tentative title: Water Availability in the MENA Region in a Changing World). Prof. Hamzah kindly agreed to host such a conference at the University of Bahrain in November 2019.
When closing the meeting all of the participants expressed their strong conviction that this meeting has resulted in major push for Future Earth research in the MENA Region that will continued to be driven by the FEMRC and its Regional Advisory Committee.
Photo, participants from left to right: Panos Hadjinicolaou, Thorsten Kiefer, Nicolas Jarraud, Bassam Badran, Veronique Kazpard, Reyad Hamzah, Melina Nicolaides, Salah Soliman, Manfred Lange, Abdul Nabi Al-Ghadban