Last week (8 April), at the 4th Cooperation Workshop held in Ramallah (Palestine) on 7-10 April, the Vice Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission and one of Jordan’s delegates to the SESAME Council, Kamal Araj, gave an introductory talk about SESAME in which he highlighted the very many benefits SESAME will bring for the work of the Palestinian scientific community, and the crucial role Germany had played in the establishment of SESAME. This was followed by a talk by the Scientific Director of SESAME, Giorgio Paolucci, entitled SESAME: light for the Middle East.
The event was organized in the framework of long-standing collaboration between the German research center Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) and the Palestine Academy for Science and Technology (PALAST) carried out under the umbrella of the Palestinian-German Science Bridge (PGSB), which is a pilot project financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to develop a joint research and education programme between the German and Palestinian partners.
Among the dignitaries at the workshop were the Minister of Education and Higher Education of Palestine, Sabri Saidam, the MENA Region Scientific Officer of BMBF, Katharina Gatzsche, the President of PALAST, Marwan Awartani, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of FZJ, Wolfgang Marquardt, and the Director of the Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analytics at FZJ, Ghaleb Natour, who is also the founder and CEO of the German-Arab Bridge for Innovation in Science and Technology.
During the workshop, several Palestinian PhD students presented very advanced research results they were obtaining thanks to the grants provided by the prestigious German research center.
SESAME’s presentations were warmly welcomed by the audience, which reacted most positively to the news that SESAME’s HESEB (HElmholtz-Sesame) soft X-ray beamline is to be designed and constructed by five research centres of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, one of which is FZJ. The Forschungszentrum Jülich Center is to be responsible for the design of the vacuum components. Funding for the beamline is being provided by the Helmholtz Association, and work on the beamline started in January this year and is expected to be completed in four years.
President Awartani informed participants that PALAST was actively sensitizing the science community of Palestine to the importance of SESAME. On 22 February 2019, SESAME and PALAST signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a joint framework for technical and scientific collaboration in synchrotron science.
The final programme of the Workshop may be accessed from here.