Science education leader from Palestine visits CMC

Science education leader from Palestine visits CMC

by Kimberly Ngai '14

Aref Hosseini, founder and president of Al Nayzak for Extracurricular Education in Jerusalem visited CMC February 3 as a participant in the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program.

The visit, organized by Aleta Wenger, executive director for the Center of Global Education, included tours of CMC facilities and meetings with faculty, staff and students.

“CMC was asked to host the engineer and physicist due to the College’s strong Arabic language program, Keck Science’s expertise in undergraduate science education, and CMC student interest in social entrepreneurship,” said Wenger.

According to the State Department website, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. 

Hosseini’s non-profit, non-partisan foundation Al Nayzak, specializes in the counseling and research of science, technology, and engineering with children as young as 10. His goal is to create a learning environment focusing on a hands-on passion for knowledge starting from an early age in order to ingrain scientific thinking into daily life. He believes this application of science “is the soundest way to face challenges on the path towards excellence” and envisions the development of “a new culture of scientific education [to provide] economic opportunities to advance the daily lives of Palestinians.”

With Al Nayzak’s focus on science and technology, Hosseini’s visit to the Keck Science Department was key. He toured various labs and spoke with students and professors about their recent projects.

“Mr. Hossieni was quite impressed with the advanced research opportunities that our faculty provide to undergraduates,” said Bidushi Bhattacharya, Director of Sponsored Research and Science Liaison, W.M. Keck Science Department. “He accurately observed that Keck Science students perform research at a level that is typical for master’s degree candidates at research universities.”

Hosseini also met with President Chodosh, enjoyed an Athenaeum tea and toured the Kravis Leadership Institute. His tour concluded with an open invitation to any student interested in internships abroad in Jerusalem, and asked them consider visiting his schools and exploring his programs.

“The visit provided a unique opportunity for CMC students to learn about social entrepreneurship in Palestine from a real leader in the movement to make science education more accessible to Palestinian  youth,” said Wenger. “He [Hosseini] learned a great deal from his visit to CMC and expressed gratitude and thanks throughout the day for the opportunity to visit the College.”

Hosseini’s plans for Al Nayzak include the construction of five science parks for youth, the building of a high school, and is even considering the creation of a college.

Learn more about Al Nayzak at their website: www.alnayzak.org/en

Photo: Aref Hosseini (center) talks to Dr. Bidushi Bhattacharya (left), Dir. of Sponsored Research and Science Liaison, Keck Science Department,  and  Asst. Prof. of Biology Bryan Thines in the Keck Science labs.