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A Successful 2nd General Assembly Meeting for NAMES reinforces the Network’s status in the international arena

The four-year old North Africa and Middle East Science centers network (NAMES) held its Second General Assembly Meeting, NAMES 2010, on 16 17 October 2010. The hugely successful event was hosted by The Scientific Center of Kuwait (TSCK), under the leadership of Mijbil Almutawa, Chairman and Managing Director of TSCK. Almutawa was elected President of NAMES in the Board of Directors Meeting that followed the conference; he will serve as such until November 2012.

The success of the conference solidified the status of the Network on the international arena with 150 delegates representing more than 22 countries, in addition to words of recognition from Ecsite, the European network of science centers and museums; represented by Vincenzo Lipardi, Past-President of Ecsite; and ASTC, the Association of Science-Technology Centers; represented by Erik Jacquemyn, Member at Large.

The Opening Ceremony was attended by representatives from the Kuwaiti Ministry of Education. Mike Bruton, Past-President of SAASTEC, The Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centers, introduced a video about the 6th Science Centers World Congress, which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, on 4-8 September 2011, under the overarching theme “Science Across Cultures”. NAMES, represented by Mijbil Almutawa in the International Program Committee, is the co-host of 6SCWC [].

The overarching theme of NAMES 2010 was “Science for Knowledge and Prosperity” with three sub-themes; New Technologies, Sustainable Development and Life Sciences. The conference featured Keynote Speeches by eminent speakers: Mostafa Elsayed, Julius Brown Chair, Regents Professor and Director of Laser Dynamics Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA; Hoda Baraka, First Deputy to the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, EGYPT; Fatma Al-Awadhi, Research Directorate, The Kuwait Foundation for The Advancement of Sciences, KUWAIT; and Kazem Behbehani, Director General, Dasman Diabetes Institute, KUWAIT.

Parallel sessions covered “Featuring Nanotechnology in Science Centers”, “Science Center Management for Sustainable Development”, “Involvement of Academia in Science Centers”, “Empowerment of Youth and Volunteering in Science Centers”, as well as “ICT and Multimedia Trends in Science Centers” and “Interactivity in Science Centers”.

NAMES 2010 also featured an Exhibition Fair that included international exhibitors such as: The American Museum of Natural History, The Field Museum and the Liberty Science Center from the USA, as well as Hüttinger, Germany, and Bruns, Netherlands.

NAMES Third General Assembly Meeting will be hosted by Tunis Science City in November 2012.