USJA President & CEO William Odinga Balikuddembe was this month a guest of the Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF) in Iran.
On November 11, Balikuddembe attended a colourful ceremony in Tehran during which five laureates from Iran and Turkey were awarded the Mustafa Prize for their contribution to scientific research.
This was the 3rd Mustafa Prize, awarded biannually since 2015, and in different categories, to citizens of Islamic countries regardless of which country they work in.
Balikuddembe (r) with Egyptian journalist Mohamed Alsonbaty
The Prize in Life & Medical Science and Technology was given to Prof. Ugur Sahin (Turkey) and Prof. Ali Khademhosseini (Iran). Another prize, the Mustafa Prize in Scientists from Islamic Countries, went to Prof. Umran S. Inan (Turkey, Prof. Hossein Baharvand (Iran) and Dr. Mohammad Abdolahad (Iran). Each category received USD 500,000 on top of the honours.
During the Science Communication Summit, in a week full of scientific activities starting November 8, Balikuddembe gave a Science Talk on Models and Practices in Science Journalism. He also gave a presentation on “Science Communication in Islamic Countries: Towards an Effective Network (The case of Uganda)
Balikuddembe called for understanding and collaboration between rich and poor Muslim countries in order to build effective networks.
“While the more affluent Islamic countries are working their way into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, their counterparts in the developing world are still struggling to use science to solve issues that surround poverty and are also influenced by it including access to food, healthcare and education. Science communication in those countries, therefore, remains largely on basic needs as influenced by the audiences. Effective networking will require first understanding the points of convergence and divergence among the Islamic countries. When each country’s abilities and needs are well analysed, effective networks, within the larger network of the OIC [Organsiation of Islamic Conference], can be built towards well defined causes,” he said.