Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the critical role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.
This years theme is ‘Science for Global Understanding’. Global Understanding is key to peace and sustainable development in that it promotes the commitment of individuals and local communities in sharing knowledge for actions and behavioural change.
Science is thus central to global understanding as it not only helps understand the world and each other but also it assists in designing, developing and implementing the change conducive to global sustainable development.
Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences, UNESCO states:
“An important contribution that UNESCO and science & technology centres can bring to global understanding is the unique opportunity to combine global sustainability and local action. The dialogue among science, policy and everyday lives should be constant and multi-directional. Global sustainability can learn so much from best practises and success stories”
Since its proclamation by UNESCO in 2001, World Science Day for Peace and Development has generated many concrete projects, programmes and funding for science around the world.
The Day has also helped foster cooperation between scientists living in regions marred by conflict, one example being the UNESCO-supported creation of the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization (IPSO).
The sharing of ground-breaking, innovative and possibly life changing scientific findings must not be prevented by political, religious or any other type of conflict. For the progression, innovation and sustenance of both our society and our Earth depends on the distribution of scientific knowledge.
Science and Society in Practise; A Muslim Case Study
Many Muslim organisations, both home and abroad, actively incorporate the findings of science in the community work and outreach they conduct.
Islamic Help, for example, successfully combines the innovative use of scientifically conceived sustainable solutions with social prosperity and cohesion. The charity work they administer in Tanzania embodies the convergence these concepts.
The ‘Eco Mosque’, believed to be the first of its kind in Africa, was completed in July 2012. The transformation of a mud hut mosque to a solid and substantial establishment that incorporates solar power, water collection and management, natural airflow and ventilation and reduced noise pollution. The innovative utilisation of sustainable solutions, founded through science, allows for the refurbishment and maintenance of a truly self-sustainable place of worship.
The ‘Children’s Eco Village‘ programme that was set up to help improve the spiritual and social nurturing of orphaned children, is truly inspiring. Given the Prophetic emphasis on helping the orphan child, it is heartening to witness the positive difference such work is doing in improving lives and giving otherwise underprivileged children, the skills and opportunities to succeed as they transition into adulthood.
The convergence of science, technology and social and spiritual development truly materialised through this project.
Video Courtesy of Islamic Help
Former President of Tanzania H.E Al Haj Ally Hassan Mwinyi recognises that:
“The Eco Village that Islamic Help is building just outside Dar es Salam is an innovative and ground-breaking project that will provide security and stability to the most vulnerable in our society. This is an exciting venture and I applaud Islamic Help for its foresight and vision. Insha’Allah it will be a model village for others to emulate”.