The SESAME light source was officially opened by His Majesty King Abdullah II on 16 May.
His Majesty was welcomed by the President of the SESAME Council, Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, and the President Elect, Professor Rolf Heuer, both former Directors General of CERN, the Director, Professor Khaled Toukan, H.R.H. Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, the Prime Minister of Jordan, H.E. Mr Hani Al-Mulki, and the Administrative Director, Professor Yasser Khalil.
The King unveiled a plaque marking the official opening of the laboratory and visited the experimental hall.
The programme of the ceremony consisted of a statement by the President of the Council on behalf of all the Members of SESAME and words of thanks by the Director for the help provided by the King, and the Royal Court and Government of Jordan. There were also statements by the Heads of the Delegations of the SESAME Members, the Directors-General of CERN, the IAEA and UNESCO, and the EC Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, as well as by the Heads of two Observer countries, namely Germany, which had donated the BESSY I machine to SESAME thanks to which the project started, and Italy, which had provided substantial funding. The staff representative and the Chair of the SESAME Users’ Committee (SUC) informed participants what SESAME meant to them.
A short film introduced by the President in his statement traced the history of SESAME and gave potential users of the SESAME Members the opportunity to state why SESAME was so important for scientists in the region. It acknowledged the work of the SESAME staff and that of the past and current Directors, as well as the support provided by numerous synchrotron radiation laboratories elsewhere.
Further acknowledgement of the work of all those who had made SESAME possible and the support provided by the Members and many external supporters was given in a Souvenir Brochure specially prepared for the event. The Brochure also describes some of the science that SESAME will enable.
During his closing remarks the President of the Council presented the Director General of CERN with the model SESAME magnet that the EC Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and the then Director General of CERN had presented to the Director of SESAME and himself during their visit to SESAME in April 2015. This model was to remain at SESAME until delivery of the magnetic system of SESAME’s storage ring constructed under the leadership of CERN with support from SESAME and European Commission funding, after which it was to return to CERN as a reminder of CERN’s important contribution to the system. The Director General of CERN in turn then handed the model over to the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation suggesting that it could be the first piece of a new accelerator in Brussels!
The official part of the ceremony was followed by a reception and tours round the experimental hall.
Among the 300-odd participants present at the Opening Ceremony were high-level officials from the SESAME Members and Observers, the Directors-General of CERN, the IAEA and UNESCO, the EC Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, members of the Royal Court and Government of Jordan, Ambassadors, members of SESAME’s Advisory Committees, the Directors of numerous synchrotron radiation facilities, many scientists, friends and sponsors of SESAME, and staff members of the Centre.
Programme of the Opening Ceremony
Statement by the President of the SESAME Council, Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith
Words of thanks by the Director of SESAME, Professor Khaled Toukan
Statement by the Jordanian Delegation, Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the El Hassan Science City and the Royal Scientific Society
Statement by the Cypriot Delegation, Mr George Georghiou, Permanent Secretary of the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development
Statement by the Egyptian Delegation, Professor Mahmoud M. Sakr, President of the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology
Statement by the Iranian Delegation, H.E. Mr Mujtaba Ferdousi Pour, Ambassador to Jordan
Statement by the Israeli Delegation, Mr Peretz Vazan, Director General of the Ministry of Science and Technology
Statement by the Pakistani Delegation, Mr Muhammad Naeem, Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission
Statement by the Turkish Delegation, Mr Zafer Alper, President of the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority
Statement by the German Delegation, H.E. Ms Birgitta Maria Siefker-Eberle, Ambassador to Jordan
Statement by the Italian Delegation, Mr Vito De Filippo, Undersecretary of State for Education, University and Research
Statement by the SESAME staff representative, Mr Thaer Abu-Hanieh
Statement by the Chair of the SESAME Users’ Committee (SUC), Dr Özgül Ozturk (Turkey)
Statement by the Director General of CERN, Professor Fabiola Gianotti
European Commissioner for Research, Science & Innovation, Dr Carlos Moedas
Statement by the Director-General of IAEA, Mr Yukiya Amano
Statement by the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova
Closing remarks, Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, President of the SESAME Council