22 October 2014

UNAI launches J Michael Adams Conversation Series at UNHQ, 21 October

The inaugural lecture in the J Michael Adams Conversation series, launched by UNAI on 21 October, was delivered by well-known scientist from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Hayat Sindi.  A visiting scholar at Harvard University and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Dr. Sindi spoke on “Women, Science and our Globalised World.”

The series, named after J Michael Adams, former President of Fairleigh Dickinson University and a great friend of UNAI, was formally launched by the Secretary-General.  Recalling his friendship with Dr. Adams, the Secretary-General said that he deeply admired Dr. Adams during his life, and he was honoured for this opportunity to launch a conversation series that would carry on his name in the future.  "Dr. Adams forged deep ties between Fairleigh Dickinson University and the United Nations. He once said, “The only path to peace is education and dialogue. Tanks don’t work. That’s why we take so seriously our association with the United Nations,” the Secretary-General recalled.

The Secretary-General. In introducing Dr. Sindi, described her as someone who has shattered stereotypes. “She inspires others, especially girls and women. And she is not satisfied with achieving excellence just for herself – she is also helping youth in her region and our world to realize their own enormous potential,” the Secretary-General said.

In her remarks, Dr. Sindi touched on several themes: role of parents in raising children, the power of science, the globalized nature of our world and the importance of technology, and the need for women to take control.  She also called for partnership between men and women.  She said she was sad that science was not used to its fullest extent for women’s empowerment.  ”Personally, I see a simpler way forward for women.  It’s all about recognizing the controlling element.  What makes the world and society turn around?  It’s science, and it’s stamped on every product we use as humans,” she said.

Referring to social innovation and its links with science, Dr. Sindi said responding to human needs requires a creative approach so that the science fits the social, problem.  “For example, in the developing world, we can build scientific tests for diseases based on cheap materials such as paper.” Dr. Sindi concluded by saying that her hope was that more women would embrace science , get on the driving seat and  make critical decisions.  “Embrace it, know it and understand it as much as possible,” she said.

The meeting was also addressed by Dr. Padmini Murthy of New York Medical College.  She described Dr. Sindi as deeply inspiring and a role model for today's young people. Ambassador Lyutha Al-Mughairy, Chairman of the General Assembly's Committee on Information, in her closing remarks, congratulated the United Nations Academic Impact for launching a conversation series that would bring to the United Nations globally renowned scholars to speak and interact with the United Nations community on a subject of significance and interest.

"With UNAI as a catalyst, we now have an institutional framework in which this mutually inclusive collaboration can continue," she said.

A number of UNAI members attended the event, including Dr Kwon Oh moon, President, Mongolia Intternational University, Dr Sheldon Drucker, President, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Ms Anne-Marie Carlson, Chair, Committee for teaching About the UN (CTAUN) and Dr Peter De Bartolo (Adelphi University). A number of their students, together with those from ELS Educational Services, also took part.