About the Author: Josh Goldberg is the Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
Earlier this month, Dr. Ahmed Zewail, Nobel laureate and one of three U.S. Science Envoys, visited Cairo to discuss how the United States can work with Egypt to strengthen science and technology cooperation. While Dr. Zewail met with many senior government officials, including the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister, he also addressed the business community at an American Chamber of Commerce event and met a 10-year-old American University of Cairo student dubbed as "the next Zewail." At all of his events, Dr. Zewail led discussions and sought solutions on how Egypt can improve its education, science and technology systems.
Students, CEOs, hotel employees and TV personalities warmly welcomed Dr. Zewail and offered their support to help him with his envoy responsibilities. As a science envoy, Dr. Zewail seeks to deepen existing and develop new relationships and gather valuable input on areas of potential collaboration aimed at addressing common global challenges and realizing shared goals.
The U.S. Science Envoy Program was first announced by President Obama in Cairo on June 4, 2009, and Secretary Clinton announced the first three envoys in Marrakesh last November. Along with Dr. Zewail, Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine, and Elias Zerhouni, former National Institutes of Health Director, serve as the first U.S. Science Envoys. Other prominent U.S. scientists will be invited to join the program in the coming months. The program is a core element of the U.S. commitment to global engagement in science and technology. American science and technology contributes to the global engine of progress and growth, and short-term visits by highly-respected American scientists have the potential to build bridges and help identify opportunities for sustained cooperation.