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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

World Economic Forum: UAE minister urges Emiratis to embrace science

Sarah Al Amiri said new technology was key to the country's future prosperity

Sarah Bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences said science and technology will be the future of the Arab Youth. File. Victor Besa / The National
Sarah Bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences said science and technology will be the future of the Arab Youth. File. Victor Besa / The National

Ground-breaking developments in science and technology represent enormous new opportunities for the UAE, a government minister has said.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister for Advanced Sciences, argued the growing sectors were an ideal focus for the country as it sought to reduce its dependence on oil receipts.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, Ms Al Amiri urged young Emiratis to consider careers in technological fields.

She claimed the broader Middle East region was well-placed to take advantage of increasing numbers of jobs offered by the sectors.

“Skills and capabilities [within the UAE] fall well aligned with technological advancements for the region,” she said.

“So the next priority for us is having more and more companies being established out of the UAE and out of the region.”

Ms Al Amiri made her remarks while speaking at an event aimed at debating the intersection of technology and science with public life.

She described what she saw as a disconnect between scientists and the general population, with scientists often being seen as having very high IQs.

“There is this perception that scientists are a small niche in society of a particular IQ,” she said.

This was an unhelpful assertion, she maintained, adding that it hindered “more people entering into the sciences”.

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The theme of this year's World Economic Forum is Globalism 4.0, with delegates attempting to find new solutions to the growing issues of labour automation, climate change and trade imbalances.

On Tuesday, the UAE announced plans to establish a new centre in Dubai aimed at pioneering research into precision medicine, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies.

Ms Al Amiri, chair of the UAE Council of Scientists, said she hoped Emirati youth would look “towards science” as a means of improving their lives and furthering their country’s goals.

And in her role as deputy project manager for the Emirates Mars mission at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, she also urged the nation to continue its pursuit of opportunities created by space exploration.

This week, the lead designer of the Mars mission said the UAE probe would be launched between July and September next year, in time for the country's milestone 50th anniversary.

The ambitious project will see the satellite – launched from Japan - orbit the red planet in 2021.

Updated: January 24, 2019 08:44 AM

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