Time: October 23, 2018
Dr Hayat Sindi has been invited by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to be a member of the newly constituted UN Scientific Advisory Board.
The Saudi national, who was one of the first women to be appointed to the kingdom’s highest consultative body, the Shura Council, is one of 26 global experts selected for a position on the board, which will provide advice on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development to the UN’s leadership.
The creation of the board follows a recent report on global sustainability conducted by the UN, which recommended that the global body undertake a major initiative to strengthen ties between governments and the scientific community.
“We must strengthen the interface between science and policy,” said Ban, “so that the latest scientific findings are reflected in our high-level policy discussions.”
Dr Sindi is a well-known scientist, inventor and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and director of Diagnostics for All, a non-profit institution that aims to create low-cost easy-to-use diagnostics tools for developing markets.
She also founded the company Synoptix, which developed – with Saudi seed funding – a diagnostic tool used for the early detection of breast cancer.
Dr Sindi currently leads the Institution for Imagination and Ingenuity (i2), a fellowship programme for inventors and entrepreneurs in the Middle East, and is also developing a portable MRI scanner for use in emerging markets.
Commenting on her new role, Dr. Sindi said, “I am extremely honoured to be the first women from the region to join this panel of world’s renowned scientists from various fields of natural, social and human sciences with a prime objective of providing advice to HE the UN Secretary General on scientific issues, thereby enabling the global organisation to achieve its goal of ensuring development worldwide.”
Earlier this year, she became the first Saudi, and the first female scientist, to be elected as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for sciences.
Other Middle Eastern experts that have also been appointed to the board include Abdullah Daar, a professor of public health at the University of Toronto (originally from Oman) and Nobel prize laureate Ahmed Zewail, who is from Egypt.
Other global names to be invited to join the board are 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri, and Ethiopia’s Gebisa Ejeta, a science envoy to US President Barack Obama and winner of the 2009 World Food Prize.