The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited Saudi scientist and researcher Hayat Sindi to serve on the world body’s Scientific Advisory Board.
Sindi, one of the first women to be appointed to the Kingdom’s consultative Shoura Council, is among 26 scientists from around the world to join the newly constituted body, which will provide the U.N. leadership with advice on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development.
The creation of the board follows a recent report on global sustainability, which recommended that the global body undertake a major initiative to strengthen ties between governments and the scientific community.
Commenting on her new role, Sindi said, “I am extremely honored to be the first woman from the region to join this panel of renowned scientists.”
“Our prime objective will be to provide advice to the UN secretary-general on scientific policy, thereby enabling the global organization to achieve its goal of ensuring sustainable development worldwide,” she added.
Sindi is a well-known inventor and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and director of “Diagnostics for All”, a non-profit institution that aims to create low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic tools for developing markets.
She also founded the company Synoptix, which, with Saudi seed funding, developed a diagnostic tool used for the early detection of breast cancer.
Sindi recently founded the i2 Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity and the prestigious i2 Fellowship Program for young scientists.
Last year, she became the first Saudi and the first female scientist to be appointed a UNESCO goodwill ambassador for sciences.
In his statement, Ban said, “We must strengthen the interface between science and policy, so that the latest scientific findings are reflected in our high-level policy discussions.”
Other Middle Eastern experts that have also been appointed to the board include Abdullah Daar, professor of public health at the University of Toronto (originally from Oman), and Nobel laureate Dr. Ahmed Zewail from Egypt and Ethiopia’s Gebisa Ejeta, winner of the 2009 World Food Prize.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.