Hello and welcome to the Iraqi Group of Cultural, Educational and Scientific Exchange (IGCESE)!
As a Co-Founder and the Representative of the IGCESE, it is my pleasure to address the visitors of its website. The group was established in Baghdad, Iraq on April 15, 2018, and is still operative. I congratulate the people and government of Iraq and the International Coalition of Cultural Exchange (ICCE) for this landmark development. The Government of the Republic of Iraq through the Iraqi Ministry of Education deserves a special mention for initially supporting our organization.
To pursue the overall goal of the ECO (http://www.ecosecretariat.org) in the era of the knowledge-based economic world, the ECOSF as a Specialized Agency of the ECO is mandated to promote scientific and technological research collaboration and other relevant activities among the member states, leading to socio-economic development in the region. The Foundation has thus established its Science and Technology Fund (S&T Fund) for financing collaborative research projects on a competitive basis. The Foundation promotes S&T innovation at all levels and has joined the Asian STI Think Tanks Network (ASTN) as a founding member of the Network for innovation in Asia.
In addition, to strengthen the science base of future generations and the region’s economy, the Foundation is promoting science education at the school level, using the Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) approach- La main a la pate. In this respect, the global institutions; such as La main a la pate Foundation of France, International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation under the auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC) KL-Malaysia and Science Education Program (SEP) of the Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP) have already been brought on board. The IBSE capacity building program for ECO Region was launched in June 2015 at Astana-Kazakhstan, and a series of IBSE capacity building workshops have been started. The IBSE pedagogy for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), not only encourages and motivates students in science through the hands-on, minds-on activities but also can convince decision-makers to pursue Inquiry-based approach for education; and decide on policies accordingly. Stepwise, this program will also involve Higher Education Institutions and R&D Organizations of the region. This initiative directly addresses the UN SDG No.4 but also plays an overarching role in other SDGs.
Youth are the future of the world; thus mobilizing and promoting youth engagement in science, technology and education for economic development and peace within the ECO region and beyond, is and remains the priority of ECOSF. Integrating gender perspective in policies, plans, and actions directed towards the improvement of life and development of youth is also being pursued. The youth leaders may be mobilized to enriching the youth in their communities, countries, the region and worldwide, with knowledge and tools so that they may become the initiators and innovators in improving their living standards and bringing positive change in their lives. ECOSF together with other partners has launched a competition among university students of the 10 member countries on SDG solutions. (http://www.appidea2r.com/)
I consider the role of international organizations and UN agencies such as; UNESCO, UNEP, UNIDO, FAO, and IPBES, etc of great importance and would like to emphasize on working together with them and more, by building on each others’ strengths promoting synergies and complementarities. It is pertinent to mention that ECO and UNESCO signed MoU for cooperation in 1995 and the ECOSF has initiated interaction with UNESCO under that umbrella MoU. The ECOSF has been accredited as Observer/Stakeholder of IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), established in Bonn- Germany in 2013, hence, ECOSF is contributing towards achieving its objectives. Relevant ECO region expertise is being provided the ECOSF platform to contribute.
I welcome intentions to cooperate & collaborate by the national institutions within the ECO region, as well as the international organizations around the world, Feedback of individuals will also be appreciated.
Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
PROF. DR. MANZOOR HUSSAIN SOOMRO
Phone: +92 (051) 921 5496
Address: ECOSF, 5th Floor, MoST Building, 1-Constitution Avenue, Sector G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro (Officer- Order of Academic Palms, France) is President of ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) since 3 June 2013. He remained President-designate of the Foundation ever since its establishment on 20 December 2011. ECOSF is an Inter-governmental Specialized Agency of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) with 10 member countries. Prof. Soomro has a brilliant academic career with first positions & scholarships from primary school till PhD. He is Gold Medalist & winner of the prestigious Quaid-i-Azam Scholarship for PhD from the Government of Pakistan. He did Ph.D. in Crop Protection from the University of Reading- England in 1987 with UK’s ORS Award for 3 consecutive years.
Dr. Soomro has an experience of over 35 years as researcher, teacher and science & research manager. He pioneered the diagnosis of two major diseases viz., Powdery Scab of potato and Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) during early 1990s in Pakistan. He also served the then International Banana Network (INIBAP) as member of Advisory Committee for Asia & Pacific region. In 1995, he joined Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) and led Foundation’s programmes for funding of scientific research at R&D Organizations and Universities, as well as Science Popularization at schools across Pakistan. In 2000, he joined FAO of UN as National Coordinator/Country Officer for Pesticide Policy Analysis and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) projects respectively, that he continued till Oct 2004 implementing the innovative Farmer Field School (FFS) approach.
He has served PSF as Chief Scientific Officer and initiated the US-supported Natural Sciences Linkage Programme (NSLP) for research funding in Agriculture before joining Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam-Pakistan as Professor of Plant Protection in 2008. In 2009, he joined Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) as its Director General and in February 2010, he was appointed as Director General of Pakistan Scientific and Technological Information Centre (PASTIC) Islamabad. In March 2010, Govt. of Pakistan assigned him the additional responsibility of Chairman PSF and was appointed as Regular Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation w.e.f 30 April 2011, which he continued till Oct. 2013.
Dr. Soomro launched Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) program for schools in Pakistan in 2010 & Travelling Science Expos in collaboration with French Institutions. In recognition of his contributions for promotion of science education in Pakistan and cooperation with France, the French Republic bestowed upon him their erstwhile Award “Order of Academic Palms” and appointed him as “Officier (Officer)” in 2013. It was in recognition of his contributions for promotion of science, technology and education in Pakistan that the University of Sindh-Pakistan awarded him a Gold Medal in Dec 2013. Dr. Soomro is Member of Governing Board of International Science, Technology and innovation Centre under the auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC), Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia, Member of Global Council of Science Education Programme (SEP) of the Inter-Academy Panel (IAP), IRIS-Isfahan S&T Town, Iran, Founding Fellow and Council Member of the Academy of Engineering and Technology of the Developing World (AETDEW) and Vice President of the “Belt and Road international Science Education Coordinating Committee (BRISECC)”. He is also the Founding Member of the Asian STI ThinkTanks Network (ASTN). He has in the past been member of Governing Boards of 13 National Centres of Excellence under the Ministry of Education of Pakistan. He so far, has to his credit, 6 industrial patents, 9 gene sequences, numerous science documentaries and over 100 publications including books & book chapters being taught in the Universities of Pakistan.