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Pioneering SESAME light source officially opened
Allan, Jordan, 16 May 2017. The SESAME light source was today officially opened by His Majesty King Abdullah II. An intergovernmental organization, SESAME is the first regional laboratory for the Middle East and neighbouring regions The laboratory’s official opening ushers in a new era of research covering fields ranging from medicine and biology, through materials science, physics and chemistry to healthcare, the environment, agriculture and archaeology.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the President of the SESAME Council, Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith said: “Today sees the fulfilment of many hopes and dreams. The hope that a group of initially inexperienced young people could build SESAME and make it work - they have: three weeks ago SESAME reached its full design energy. The hope that, nurtured by SESAME’s training programme, large numbers of scientists in the region would become interested in using SESAME – they have: 55 proposals to use the first two beamlines have already been submitted. And the hope that the diverse Members could work together harmoniously. As well as being a day for celebration, the opening is an occasion to look forward to the science that SESAME will produce, using photons provided by what will soon be the world’s first accelerator powered solely by renewable energy.”

© SESAME: President of the SESAME Council, Chris Llewellyn Smith, inviting the Director General of CERN, Fabiola Gianotti, to the podium to return the model SESAME magnet


© SESAME: Director General of CERN, Fabiola Gianotti, with the model SESAME magnet

Chris Llewellyn Smith (President of the SESAME Council): Before closing the ceremony, I have a very pleasant duty to perform.

Just over two years ago, in April 2015, when the CESSAMag project was launched, Commissioner Moedas (as he has reminded us) visited SESAME with the then Director General of CERN, Rolf Heuer. In a very nice gesture, the Commissioner gave Professor Toukan half of a model of a magnet, and Rolf gave me the other half. It was understood that at the end of the project, when the real magnets had been built and installed and SESAME would not need a model anymore, we would put the two halves together and give the model to CERN.

I hope the model is together. At half past eight this morning Yasser Khalil [SESAME Administrative Director] and I were on our knees in his office with super glue and it did not really work, but I think it will stay together.

This is the model, and I would like to invite Fabiola Gianotti [Director General of CERN] to come to the stage so that I can return it to her.
(Chris Llewellyn Smith hands the model over to Fabiola Gianotti) 

Fabiola Gianotti: It is very heavy! Thank you very much Sir Chris. I would like to propose with your permission that I call the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, and I would like to hand this model over to him. Perhaps it could be the first piece of a new accelerator in Brussels. Who knows!

Carlos Moedas: Thank you so much. This means a lot to me. From my heart I really am very moved because it has been two years and a half, and it has been wonderful and it is thanks to projects like yours that I get up in the morning and I feel that I am doing something with purpose to my life, but more to your life. Thank you.


© SESAME: Director General of CERN, Fabiola Gianotti, handing the model SESAME magnet to the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas

Chris Llewellyn Smith: Finally, I would like to thank all our distinguished speakers for their very uplifting remarks. I now invite you all to go to the reception, then join the tours of SESAME, and I declare the ceremony ended.

Programme Opening of SESAME
Under the Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II
16 May 2017

Arrival at SESAME
Welcome by the President of the SESAME Council, the President Elect and the Director
Opportunity to see a model of SESAME
Arrival of His Majesty King Abdullah II
Reception by the President of the Council, Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, the Director, Professor Khaled Toukan, H.R.H. Princess Sumaya, the Prime Minister of Jordan, H.E. Mr Hani Al-Mulki, the President Elect of the Council, Professor Rolf Heuer, and the Administrative Director, Professor Yasser Khalil
His Majesty unveils a plaque in the entrance to the SESAME Hall
His Majesty enters the building where the Heads of the Delegations from the SESAME Members, the European Commissioner for Research, Science & Innovation, and the Directors General of CERN, IAEA and UNESCO are presented
His Majesty visits the Experimental Hall accompanied by the President and President Elect of the Council, the Director, and the Administrative Director, where they are joined by the Scientific Director, Professor Giorgio Paolucci
His Majesty enters the tent
Statement by the President of the Council on behalf of the SESAME Members
Film outlining the purposes and history of SESAME
Words of thanks by the Director
His Majesty, the President, the President Elect, the Directors, the Heads of the Delegations from the SESAME Members, the European Commissioner for Research, Science & Innovation, and the Directors General of CERN, IAEA and UNESCO are called to the stage for a photograph
His Majesty leaves the tent, accompanied by the President and Director and departs
Programme continues with short statements by;
Heads of the Members’ Delegations:

Jordanian Delegation: Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the El Hassan Science City and the Royal Scientific Society
Cypriot Delegation: Mr George Georghiou, Permanent Secretary of the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development
Egyptian Delegation: Professor Mahmoud M. Sakr, President of the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology
Iranian Delegation: H.E. Mr Mujtaba Ferdousi Pour, Ambassador to Jordan
Israeli Delegation: Mr Peretz Vazan, Director General of the Ministry of Science and Technology
Pakistani Delegation: Mr Muhammad Naeem, Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission
Turkish Delegation: Mr Zafer Alper, President of the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority

Head of the German Delegation: H.E. Ms Birgitta Maria Siefker-Eberle, Ambassador to Jordan
Head of the Italian Delegation: Mr Vito De Filippo, Undersecretary of State for Education, University and Research
Representative of the SESAME staff: Mr Thaer Abu-Hanieh
Chair of the SESAME Users’ Committee: Dr Özgül Ozturk
Director General of CERN: Professor Fabiola Gianotti
European Commissioner for Research, Science & Innovation: Dr Carlos Moedas 
Director-General of IAEA: Mr Yukiya Amano
Director-General of UNESCO: Ms Irina Bokova
Closing Remarks by the President of the Council
Reception and opportunity to tour SESAME

In Memoriam

We are truly sorry to hear the loss of our dear committee member, Dr. Javaid Bashir from Pakistan, and we want to express our most sincere sympathy to his family and friends during this difficult time. He was a highly valued and respected member of our committee and the effects of his passing will always be felt. It was an honor to have known such a great person, he will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in peace.
May 2017

MX Beamline

The MX beamline will be completely new. It will be used to elucidate the mechanisms of proteins and nucleic acids at molecular level and provide guidelines for developing new drugs and therapies. Substantial funding for the design and construction of this beamline is being provided by the Jordanian Scientific Research Support Fund, in response to a joint proposal by SESAME and Jordan University. It will be a state-of-the art MX beamline, based on an in vacuum undulator, and will have robotic sample handling and utilize a high performance photon counting detector. Protein crystallography studies at synchrotrons have contributed to the award of five Nobel prizes, the first in 1997 and the latest in 2012. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies use these beamlines heavily to test new lead compounds with the aim of reducing the time and cost of developing new drugs. Atomic-scale information on biological macromolecules provides insights into functional mechanisms of biological macromolecules, including membrane proteins, protein-DNA and Protein-RNA complexes. It is envisaged that at early stages there will be strong collaborations with recombinant protein production and crystallization laboratories in the region, e.g. Jordan University and the Israel Structural Proteomics Center (ISPC), which is a centre of the European Union’s Integrated Structural Biology Infrastructure project, Instruct.

The beamline is presently under design: the expected performances will be published at a later stage.