Previous Fora / 2011

BINT EL HASSAN, Sumaya HRH Princess

President of the El Hassan Science City and the Royal Scientific Society


Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan is a leading advocate for science as a catalyst for change in the Arab World. The Princess has dedicated herself to fostering an environment in which home-grown solutions can be found for pressing issues which face Jordan and the region. Her focus on science in education, research and innovation is geared to encouraging sustainable development for the benefit of all sections of society. HRH believes that human capital is her country’s greatest asset and she is committed to maximising the potential of young talent through education and opportunity.
Princess Sumaya chairs the Board of Trustees of the Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT), which was founded in 1991. She is actively involved in its day-today affairs and is dedicated to reinforcing PSUT’s commitment to excellence in education and to making the university a regional hub for IT research and development.
In October 2006, HRH was appointed as President of the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) by her father, HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal. The Princess had previously sat on the Board of Trustees of the RSS, which is Jordan’s leading applied research institute. During her time as President, the Princess has spearheaded a restructuring programme for this historic body, which has led scientific research and technical application in Jordan for more than four decades. The Princess has successfully steered the organisation back to a sound fiscal footing and has ensured its continued importance to Jordan’s economic development and prosperity.
Princess Sumaya also sits as Deputy-Chair of the Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST), a government body that advises the State on public policy issues relating to science and technology.
Building on a heritage of research and application at the RSS and of high quality education at PSUT, Princess Sumaya has begun the task of merging the activities of these organisations, along with those of the HCST and the Queen Rania Centre for Entrepreneurship (QRCE), through her founding of El Hassan Science City (EHSC). EHSC was officially inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah II on April 17th 2007. This innovative new campus community will provide Jordan with its first integrated science park. EHSC aims to promote socio-economic development through investment in scientific education, research and innovation. In founding EHSC, HRH Princess Sumaya builds on her father’s legacy of institution-building for the benefit of humanity under the banner of Science for Peace.
In recognition of the importance of information collation in dealing with future challenges, HRH has undertaken the Directorship and Chairmanship of the National Campaign for Public Awareness of the Drivers of Change, a Jordanian initiative that seeks to foster understanding of and debate on the factors that are driving change in the Kingdom. This two-year project was launched by HM The King in May 2010, as an initiative of EHSC. Under the Princess’s direction, the Campaign will identify actions for communities and Government to consider in reacting to challenges in modern Jordan. The Campaign will build knowledge through analysis and workshops involving a wide cross-section of Jordanian society.
In recognition of her support for the promotion of science, research, and technology for the common good, HRH has received numerous local, regional, and international awards, including The Albert Einstein Medal for Distinguished Achievement (University of Ulm, Germany, 2009), and The Lazio ‘Between Europe and the Mediterranean’ Prize (Italy, 2009). In October 2008, HRH was invited to become a permanent Council Member of the Science & Technology in Society Forum (STS) Japan, becoming the first Jordanian to be so honoured. HRH has received official decorations from Jordan, Holland, France and Sudan.
Princess Sumaya has sat on the Board of Directors of the Amman Baccalaureate School since 2005. She firmly believes in the importance of creative education not only at University level, but also at school level, and sees it as a key component for driving positive change to improve the quality of peoples’ lives in the region. In 2009, Princess Sumaya became a member of the Jordan Council of Higher Education.
The Princess is an avid archaeologist and is closely involved with the work of the British Institute in Amman for Archaeological Research and the Council for British Research in the Levant. She is Patron of the Wadi Faynan project, an archaeological excavation in southern Jordan, and she has worked with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities on several projects relating to the conservation and development of archaeological sites in Jordan.
More recently, under the direction of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Princess Sumaya was invited to become Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jordan National Museum, where she is overseeing the development of Jordan’s first national museum.
Princess Sumaya is the Honorary Patron of the Jordan Computer Society and of several charitable organizations. She also presides over the Jordan Handball Federation and is a member of the International Handball Federation.

HRH Princess Sumaya is the second daughter of Their Royal Highnesses Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath El Hassan. She was born in Amman on 14th May 1971 and received her primary education in Jordan. Princess Sumaya later attended Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset, in the United Kingdom. She went on to graduate from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. Her interest in art history has combined with her passion for science in forging the Princess’s core belief that engagement with the world at hand while drawing from the experiences of the past is the key to building a creative and independent future.



12:00-13:30 17 NOV


A New World Order or an Ordered New World? Re-establishing the Link Between Science and Dignity

The changing landscape of science cannot be considered in isolation of global currents in power, politics and the scramble for resources. Many of our most pressing challenges – energy, climate change, disease, poverty, underdevelopment and WMD proliferation – demand both technological and policy responses. We must all make certain that rational and universal science is informing policy-making in these areas and helping to define policy objectives. We must be clear from the outset about our objectives and our understanding of scientific universality.
In this regard, the emerging powerhouses in science and technology must be aware that this new, globalised age requires a globalised approach. In order to avoid fracturing within communities and between cultures, science must be given back to the people, as a tool for positive change, opportunity and security. In our WANA region, injustice, unemployment, illiteracy and poverty caused the unbearable tension between governments and societies that led to the Arab Spring – A vital part of rebuilding societies and promoting future growth is to re-establish the link between science and dignity.
In Jordan, making science work for ordinary citizens is our priority. Our small population needs guarantees of employment, improved quality of life and access to the benefits of adapted new technologies. A small country like ours will never be an 'emerging new powerhouse of science', so we must define what science means for us and the region – and what it must promise for people and for peace. The large-scale scientific initiatives that make headlines elsewhere and may soon push larger developing nations ahead in international trade and influence may not apply to Jordan. However, we intend to make an impact by promoting science as a tool for diplomacy. Cooperation between scientists and with communities can break down barriers and ease tensions caused by real shortages of resources. Our own vital asset is our human capital which we seek to empower through the application of technology and scientific innovation.
These challenges are not ideological but existential. International diplomacy and trade must, therefore, facilitate global science. How diplomacy connects with science and how the developed and less developed economies forge relationships will determine whether the new age of science and global trade will emerge with a sustainable framework for development, or will remain bound by inequality and divisive ideology.