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Unesco Chair in desalination and water treatment at Qatar University

  • Unesco Chair in desalination and water treatment at Qatar University

About the entity

Qatar University
Since its inception in 1977, Qatar University (QU) continues to serve as Qatar’s primary institution of higher education and has become today a beacon of academic and research excellence in the region.

Qatar University (QU) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced the establishment of a UNESCO Chair in Desalination and Water treatment at The Center for Advanced Materials, Qatar University.

The event was attended by dignitaries from the Qatar National Committee for Education, Science and Culture, the Ambassador of the State of Turkey in Qatar, representatives of the embassies of India, Malaysia, South Africa and Nigeria, industrial partners, faculty members and employees of Qatar University.

The UNESCO chair and UNITWIN programs which were launched in 1992, is an initiative to establish Chairs in UNESCO priority areas to promote international collaboration among higher education and research institutes to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030.

Qatar University has distinguished itself among higher education and research institutions at the regional and international levels, especially in directing research towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 agenda.

The UNESCO program aims to encourage cooperation between universities and research institutions

The UNESCO program aims to encourage cooperation between universities and research institutions, as well as facilitate the exchange of research experiences and the transfer of knowledge in various academic fields through the joint work of researchers in various universities in the world. The UNESCO Chair in Desalination and Water Treatment is the first of its kind in the Gulf region under UNESCO Chair and UNITWIN programs. It is based on the cooperation with more than 30 universities and organizations from 15 countries in the region and the world including Texas A&M University-Qatar, Qatar Electricity and Water Company, Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, University of Ottawa in Canada, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Technical University of Berlin, University of South Africa, Ahmed Bello University in Nigeria, Istanbul Technical University in Turkey, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, University Technology Sydney, University Technology Malaysia, and Aligarh Muslim University, India.

Qatar University has announced the appointment of Prof. Syed Javaid Zaidi, who is currently Chair Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Center for Advanced Materials at Qatar University, to occupy the UNESCO research Chair based on the approval of the UNESCO Headquarters.

Prof. Mariam Al-Maadeed, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, also confirmed that the research and graduate studies sector at Qatar University seeks to establish UNESCO research chairs to enhance international cooperation in specialized research fields, develop research and training skills for Qatar University researchers and students, and address research topics in alignment with the research priorities of Qatar University and the UN sustainable development goals 2030.

The Chair announcement ceremony began with a speech by Dr. Hassan bin Rashid Al-Derham, President of Qatar University, in which he expressed his pride in inaugurating the UNESCO Chair at Qatar University in the field of water desalination, which is the first of its kind in the region.

Dr. Muhammad Irshidat, Acting Director of the Center for Advanced Materials, emphasized the importance of the UNESCO Chair at the regional level in desalination and water treatment at Qatar University in cooperation with the UNESCO office in Doha, which is in line with Qatar National Vision 2030 and the university’s national research priorities. He also indicated that this Chair is one of the achievements of the Water Technology Unit that is recently established at the Center for Advanced Materials through the agreement signed between the university and the Qatar Electricity and Water Company. By providing material support, through which the unit will be equipped with state-of-the art equipment capable of keeping pace with developments in this field.

The ceremony was also hosted by Ms. Farida Aboudan, Program Specialist at UNESCO Office for the Gulf States and Yemen, who stated: “We are very excited to launch yet another UNESCO Chair at Qatar University in the field of Desalination and Water Treatment. The UNESCO Chair, through its multi-disciplinary research programme, will contribute to addressing one of the most critical challenges in the Arabian Gulf region, which is water security. Tapping into unconventional water resources through sustainable solutions and technologies is key for better adaptation to drought and climate change in the region.”

Additionally, the ceremony included the participation of Mr. Abdullah Khamis Al-Kubaisi, Acting Secretary General of Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science. He said that “The inauguration of the UNESCO Chair for Water Desalination and Treatment comes within the framework of cooperation and partnership between Qatar University and the Qatar National Committee for Education, Culture and Science in its tireless quest to empower and support institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the country to make optimal use of the programs, activities and experiences offered by its partners in regional, Arab and international organizations in order to enhance the role of the State of Qatar in international, regional and Islamic forums.”

The UNESCO chair will promote international cooperation through scientific collaboration as well as knowledge and expertise in the strategic area of water desalination in Qatar

Prof. Dr. Syed Javaid Zaidi of the Center for Advanced Materials, who has been appointed to the UNESCO Chair for Desalination and Water Treatment, gave a brief presentation about the Chair activities and the Chair agenda. He stated that Water security is strategically important to the State of Qatar and the region and Water security is one of the grand challenges of Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS).

The UNESCO chair will promote international cooperation through scientific collaboration as well as knowledge and expertise in the strategic area of water desalination in Qatar as well as GCC and other regions of the world. It will support capacity building, development of local expertise and outreach in the field of desalination and water treatment in Qatar.

The program is endorsed by the Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Municipality & Environment and Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC).

The UNESCO Chair in Desalination and Water Treatment will help coordinate the focus of Research and Development at the national level.

The event was attended by dignitaries, including the Qatar National Committee for Education, Science and Culture, ambassadors of some countries, corporate executives, faculty members and employees of Qatar University.

The ceremony concluded with a speech by Dr. Nasser Al-Nuaimi, Assistant Vice President of Qatar University for Research and Graduate Studies, who focused in his speech on the importance of this chair, and said that “the establishment of the UNESCO Chair came out of Qatar University’s interest in the research process, and its continuous efforts to raise the level of scientific research at the university. Water is one of the most important natural resources on which human civilization depends therefore, research efforts have been directed towards achieving the multiple benefits in water production, benefiting from its various sources and achieving sustainability in it.”

Finally, the attendees toured the Center for Advanced Materials at Qatar University to visit the water treatment unit that was established in cooperation with the Qatar Water and Electricity Company, which is expected to become an advanced strategic center in desalination and water treatment in the region, which aims in the future to expand the capacity of the State of Qatar and in line with the objectives Strategy for Qatar National Vision 2030.

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