Stakeholders for Human Development Training
Firas T. Abd-Alhadi is a communication specialist with 25 years of experience in designing and implementing communication and promotion strategies/plans. He is currently the Program Coordinator at “Stakeholders for Human Development Training”, an NGO based in Jordan and active in the MENA region, specialized in capacity building, empowerment, communication, learning and knowledge management, multi-level dialogue and advocacy activities.
Firas has also been associated with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) since 2009 as a communication consultant and environmental writer and is a member in the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication since 2012 and is currently the Regional Vice-Chair for West Asia in this Commission.
He is also a board member and communication coordinator at the Arab World Association of Young Scientists (ArabWAYS) and is a co/author, editor and translator of several books and articles on water, development and the environment.
Firas holds M.A. in English Literature and a double major B.A. in Arabic and English, both from the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan.
A Science that is Useful
Science is generally useful throughout ages and in all places; its values are transboundary spatially and temporarily. However, nations trying to catch up with the wide strides made by advanced countries should set their scientific priorities carefully to meet their specific development needs sufficiently. As expenditure on research and development in the Arab World was 0.56% of GDP (World Bank 2011) and is not expected to increase significantly in the near future it ought to be directed at fields that are challenged by population growth, resources depletion, development requirements and incompetent management systems. These research fields include, among others, education, health care, local governance, empowerment and capacity building, food security, natural resources management, the environment, sustainable energy and multi disciplinary studies. Useful science that meets these issues is not necessarily of a high-tech nature but I see it as a synthesis of components from various disciplines that cater for the compound nature of today’s challenges. I will propose as an example the global movement #NatureForAll which synthesizes evidence derived from indigenous and ancient wisdom, contemporary science, academic research, and current practice to show that better understanding of the critical connection between people and nature is key to informing effective decision making, stimulating positive action, and optimizing the benefits people and communities receive from nature.