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Monday, June 23, 2008

Scinece journalism head sees need for better relations between Arab and American journalists

Newswise — Dr. Nadia El-Awady, president of the Arab Science Journalists Association, sees an opportunity to build valuable relationships between science journalists in the Middle East and those in developed nations. Her remarks appear in the latest edition of Conversations ( – an online discussion focused on the transforming impact of science. Conversations is a project of the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF).

In her interview, which can be found online at, Dr. El-Awady states that there is a need for Arab science journalists to gain skills from established journalists in the West. In exchange, she says, science journalists in the Middle East can offer valuable insight into covering science in the developing world.

“When Napoleon Bonaparte was here in Egypt, he started one of the first journals in the world that covered science in Egypt. Since then, the change in coverage hasn’t been very large,” says Dr. el-Awady. “Science journalism in the United States is much more advanced than it is in the Arab world, so we are hoping that through this kind of partnership we’ll learn some of the skills of being good science journalists.”

The major challenges that Dr. El-Awady sees in Arab science journalism are access to information and the lack of a focus on local research.

She hopes that through partnership programs, Western journalists can help to address these issues and develop a sense of what it takes to cover science in a developing world context.

Conversations is a monthly exploration of the top issues of our time through the lens of science.

Conversations features diverse panels including authors, policymakers, scientists, journalists and those who work on the front lines of major challenges. Dr. el-Awady’s interview appears in the latest edition focusing on the role of science in U.S.-Middle East relations.

About CRDFCRDF is a nonprofit organization authorized by the U.S. Congress and established in 1995 by the National Science Foundation. This unique public-private partnership promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, and training.

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