Winds of change blow through research centres and universities operating in the Middle East.
(Image Credit: Northwestern University in Qatar Photo Gallery)
The Canon of Medicine by Ibn Sina (Avicenna in Latin), the studies on algebra and arithmetic of Al-Khwārizmī (Algoritmi), the Book of Optics by Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen): these are just a few examples of Middle Eastern literature from the past that testify the outstanding contribution of Islamic intellect to modern science. However, statistics on the scientific impact of today’s Arab world portray a starkly different picture, with universities and research centres from these countries lagging well behind their Eastern Asiatic and Western counterparts1, 2. The output of publications from the entire Middle Eastern region in 2012 amounts to less than one quarter of that of the US1, and only three universities (two from Israel and one from Turkey) are listed in the top 200 institutions in teaching and research worldwide. Yet, an awakened community is now eager to trigger a scientific rebirth in this area.
The creation of scientific hubs able to both play a relevant role in the international community and involve an increasing number of Arab students in research may catalyse the change needed in the Middle East. Certainly, it will be interesting to observe the effects of these efforts on the scientific productivity of the next few years. In the long term, one only hopes that the exposure of young generations to a multicultural, curiosity-driven research environment will spark a new scientific golden age in the region.
YOUR MIDDLE EAST STARTUP
Talks with guests including Rina Onur, co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Peak Games (the 3rd largest online gaming company on Facebook globally), Firat Işbecer, co-founder of mobile technology company Pozitron.
2-3 female entrepreneurs showcase their startups to an international investor panel with Naz Ozertugrul, Head of Turkey & ME at venture capital fund Atomico, the social entrepreneur Leyla Alaton, and Ahu Serter, founder of ARYA Women Investment Platform, who share their thoughts throughout the presentation.
ALWAN AL HAIA
“[Say: “Our life is] the color of Allah! And who can color better than Allah? And it is He Whom we worship.” Al Baqarah 2:138
Painting by Dana Awartani, a half-Palestinian half-Saudi Arabian artist born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Through research and her own practice Dana was particularly drawn to the perennial philosophy to which geometry and all of the traditional arts subscribe. She found geometry to be representative of a timeless language of aesthetics which, through its mathematical and visually democratic origin represents a universal language of beauty and harmony; in essence, geometry is the perfect reflection of God’s infinity and manifestation on earth as found in nature and His creation. Geometry therefore combines artistic creativity with an inherent logical system informed by Divine principles.
Read an interview with her here.
(Colours of LIfe: Shell gold & natural pigments on prepared paper 28.5 x 28.5 cm)
A reef complex in Iraqi waters discovered for the first time
Until now, it has been well-established that coral complex in the Arabian/Persian Gulf only exist in the coastal regions of Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates and it was thought that there are no coral reefs in Iraq. However, here for the first time we show the existence of a living 28 km2 large coral reef in this country. These corals are adapted to one of the most extreme coral-bearing environments on earth: the seawater temperature in this area ranges between 14 and 34°C. The discovery of the unique coral reef oasis in the turbid coastal waters of Iraq will stimulate the interest of governmental agencies, environmental organizations, as well as of the international scientific community working on the fundamental understanding of coral marine ecosystems and global climate today.
Thomas Pohl, Sameh W. Al-Muqdadi, Malik H. Ali, Nadia Al-Mudaffar Fawzi, Hermann Ehrlich & Broder Merkel
WELCOME TO IRAQ
Opens 15 March 2014 Continues until 1 June 2014
Main and First Floor Galleries,
The South London Gallery presents a restaging of the group exhibition, Welcome to Iraq, originally shown as part of the National Pavilion of Iraq in the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
This revelatory and highly-acclaimed show received widespread positive attention both from the visiting public and in the press when it was presented in Venice. Commissioned by Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq (RUYA), established in 2012 to promote culture in Iraq, Welcome to Iraq was curated by Jonathan Watkins, Director of Ikon Gallery, Birmingham.
When the West invaded Iraq in 2003, Leilah Nadir was torn in two; both the occupier and the occupied flowed through her veins.
Born to an Iraqi father and an English mother, raised in Britain and Canada, she has never set foot on Iraqi soil. But she longs to visit the family home in central Baghdad, full of furniture, photographs and clothes, all guarded by her great-aunt, who waits for someone to return and reclaim it. While American helicopters fly low overhead and explosions shatter the calm, the date palms still sway in the heat of the day and jasmine scents Baghdad nights.
As invasion becomes occupation and lawlessness takes hold, Leilah’s relatives tell harrowing tales of car bombs and kidnappings. Her friend, award-winning photojournalist Farah Nosh, sends photos of Leilah’s family—along with stunning portraits of wounded Iraqis. After decades of averting his eyes from Iraq’s pain, Leilah’s father is forced to look back as well. Through his memories Leilah uncovers her family’s lost story, from the British mandate to the Gulf War to the American occupation.
And just as she gives up hope of ever meeting her family, a surprise reunion takes place.
"Far more even than the terrifying bare facts and statistics, this moving memoir, vividly evoking real people and their lives and homes, lets us understand why Iraqis feel that Americans destroyed their country." NOAM CHOMSKY
“Leilah Nadir’s The Orange Trees of Baghdad reminds us that Iraq is not just a war; it is a country. Lovingly woven together from inherited memory and family lore, her Iraq is infinitely more vivid, more textured, and more heartbreaking than what we see nightly on the news. In the debates about winning and losing the war, this is a book about what loss really means—the theft of history and of homeland.”
NAOMI KLEIN, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine
14 March (Friday); 7 p.m.
The Big Green Bookshop, N22 6BG
Sharing the pain: Improving healthcare in warzones
Researchers suggest a regional approach to the problem of national healthcare systems strained by conflict in the Middle East.
” MADE IN MOROCCO” , MOORHOUSE, 20/01/14 – 20/02/2014
After a successful and busy year Moroccan Fine Art is pleased to announce their next exhibition in partnership with Moroccan Bazaar. Made in Morocco is presented at Art Moorhouse in London, from 20 January – 20 February 2014, offering a poetic and imaginative journey into the world of Moroccan culture.
Whilst we are familiar with Morocco as country we are in unfamiliar territory when it comes to Moroccan art. The kingdom has a long-standing tradition in decorative art, calligraphy, craft, music, and oral literature that serves and supports existing religious and social patterns. Made in Morocco explores its nation’s visual identity and cultural heritage by presenting the works of the country’s finest artists Mustapha Amnaine, Hassan Boukhari and Said Qodaid.
Istanbul Unveiled, a Travel Documentary Film
A young American woman visits İstanbul, interviewing interesting characters in both popular and out of the way settings, about topics we have all wondered about. The best belly dancer in Turkey, a masseur at a public bath, and one of the richest women in Turkey are among the colorful people interviewed. The interaction with a large cultural cross-section of local people provides a rich intercultural experience.
The selection of interviewees and the questions asked are based on Serif Yenen’s 25 years of experience as a tourist guide and travel writer. He anticipates the interests and curiosity of true travelers from his extensive field experiences. These interviews give insight to the culture and its philosophy.
Powerless, defenceless grey mice, which is often the image that the West has of Arab women. Most will be about them, rarely talked with them. Now Arabs speak for themselves, let their lives speak for themselves. In portraits and reportage tells Karim El-Gawhary of living in the dark ages of dictatorship, during the riots and in the Arab world today.
Karim El-Gawhary questioned stereotypes. It’s not about whitewash things. Magdoulin, a young Libyan women’s rights activist, says: “It is important that we in , and not what we to have his head. “This book is about why what Arab women in the head have.