Under the guidance of His Excellency Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global and Chairman of the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), and under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Moncef Boukthir, Tunisian Minster of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the National Conference on “Open Science – The Way Forward” was successfully conducted in Tunisia, with the participation of more than hundred high-level representatives of government institutions, universities and research institutions from Tunisia.
Organized by ASREN and the Tunisian Computing Center al Khawarizmi (CCK), this national conference was held with the aim of benefiting the research and education community in Tunisia. The two-day conference featured a number of renowned speakers and experts from Tunisia and the region, sharing best practices, spotlighting trends and exchanging information with focus on Open science and Open Access, including topics related to: Artificial Intelligence, NRENs, Clouds, Infrastructures and Science Cooperation.
In his speech, Mr. Boukthir appreciated ASREN’s role in leading the regional research and education infrastructures and in supporting the developments at the national level in the region, saying: “ASREN plays a significant role in promoting and inaugurating scientific cooperation and scientific dialogue in the region, especially in open science and open access, and we affirm our support to these efforts towards building an “Arab Open Science Platform”, similar to the “European Open Science Cloud”, in cooperation with the local and the regional partners, especially the European Union and UNESCO.”
Mr. Boukthir thanked the European Union for its positive impact on the evolution of infrastructure in Tunisia and the region, largely within the framework of its co-funded projects EUMEDCONNECT and AfricaConnect. He declared at the same time Tunisia's participation in the Medusa project, which is expected to become operational in 2025, to provide long term development of the NRENs in the region.
On this occasion, Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, ASREN Chairman stressed the importance of the outcomes of the conference and said: “We are proud of our achievements in developing the research and education infrastructure in the Arab region. We will continue the efforts towards a productive science dialogue with the European Union, especially to support the proposal submitted to the European Union regarding Science Collaboration, also ASREN’s event on “Arab Science Cooperation Summit” due to take place during the 77th United Nations General Assembly, on 23 September 2022, to support collaborative scientific research regionally and globally.”
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh also welcomed the Medusa project in cooperation with the European Union to provide high-capacity connectivity between the North African countries and Europe with a lifetime of 25 years. He emphasized the importance of the continuation of holding workshops and national conferences in cooperation between ASREN and Arab NRENs, as the next national conference will be held in Morocco during the first week of October jointly with the Moroccan Academic and Research Network (MARWAN).
The conference was preceded by a regional meeting on July 18, which was attended by NRENs partners from Morocco, Tunisia, Somalia, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan, to discuss and plan their support to research and education communities in terms of providing the appropriate infrastructures and the necessary services to these communities with Open science and Open Access in mind as a priority.