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The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) has today (2 June) opened an office in Egypt to support its activities in the Arab world.

Housed within the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a library in the city of Alexandria, the TWAS Arab office will support science and technology development in 22 Arab countries.

It is expected to help affiliated organisations conduct their activities — including awarding grants, fellowships and prizes — in the Arab world. These organisations include the Third World Network of Scientific Organizations, the Third World Organization for Woman in Science, the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues, and the InterAcademy Medical Panel.

The office will organise symposia and workshops, public lectures, discussions and will work with the local media to promote public understanding of science.

About six per cent of TWAS fellows are from the Arab world, and Egypt, Kuwait and Syria already contribute to the academy's activities, says Mohamed El-Faham, director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina's Center for Special Studies and Programmes.

The new office will help boost these figures by nominating local scientists for membership. It will also create a new prize to reward the achievements of young scientists from the region.

The Arab office is TWAS's fifth regional office. The other offices are in Nairobi, Kenya (sub-Saharan Africa), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Latin America), Bangalore, Indian (South and South-East Asia), and Beijing, China (East Asia).

TWAS is an autonomous international organisation, founded in Trieste, Italy in 1983 by a distinguished group of scientists from the South under the leadership of the late Nobel laureate Abdus Salam of Pakistan.