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ICTP at G8 Foreign Ministers Summit

Focus on Afghanistan highlights science opportunities

Science could help lift Afghanistan's standing in the world community, but only with strong support from its government and with a little help from its friends, said ICTP Director K. R. Sreenivasan in remarks made during the G8 Foreign Ministers summit held in Trieste, Italy from 25 to 27 June 2009.

"Science transcends national and religious boundaries," said Sreenivasan, adding, "In addition to leading to improved standards of living, science can lift the spirit of an individual and of a nation." He remarked that in order for scientists to succeed they need full governmental support. "Every country needs to have a good culture of doing science at a high level," he said.

Sreenivasan spoke during a side event to the G8 meeting organised by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). The event, titled 'Conference on Afghanistan and its geographical context: Development of a regional network of cultural and scientific cooperation,' was held on 26 June 2009.

In addition to government support, Afghanistan needs the help of its neighbours and the international science community. Based on ICTP's past support to neighbouring country Pakistan, the Centre "will be happy to initiate and enable the formation of networks between Pakistan and Afghanistan, " said Sreenivasan. He said that ICTP could also play a large role in helping to establish a regional centre of excellence, encompassing Central Asian and Gulf countries.

Finally, ICTP could play an important role in helping Afghanistan to re-establish the University of Kabul. "If Afghanistan wishes to aspire for a status as a long-term creator of new ideas, it has to recreate a great university," said Sreenivasan.

The full text of Sreenivasan's remarks can be downloaded here.


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