Algerian researcher Hasina Moury, professor of medical geology at the University of Johannesburg, entered the history of geosciences, after being elected vice president of the International Union of Geosciences for a period extending to 2024, when she became the first female researcher from Africa and the Arab region to hold this high position.
The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) – which was established in 1961 – is considered one of the largest scientific gatherings in the world, as it includes in its membership about one million researchers from various universities of the world.
Hasina Mori won 36 votes in the remote elections on October 29, ahead of the Korean Daikyu Shang, who got 25 votes and won the second deputy post, and Hu Zhangyan from China came in third place (18 votes), and Olag Petrov. From Russia (14 votes).
Commenting on this achievement, Hasina Mori said in an e-mail statement to Al-Jazeera Net, “The victory was not easy, as the competitors were strong because they come from strong countries such as Russia and China.”
Mori added, “My election as a deputy to this prestigious international body, along with my recent appointment by UNESCO as a member of the International Program for Geosciences, are two important events for African and Arab researchers, because they will undoubtedly contribute to advancing scientific research in this specialization in these countries and strengthening scientific cooperation in terms of Among them, I thank the South African government that supported me in my candidacy, as I also hold a South African nationality. “
The capabilities of the Arab and African researcher
Although the number of female researchers in Arab and African countries is very large, their representation in international bodies remains limited compared to the great scientific capabilities that characterize many of them.
In this regard, Hasina Mori said, “I hope that the achievements she has achieved will constitute an example for female researchers in Arab and African countries alike, and I invite them to impose themselves and not feel embarrassed to enter the races to run for the highest positions as long as they have the scientific capabilities that qualify them to achieve this.”
It seems that the new bet that Hasina Moury aspires to win during her new tenure in the International Union for Geosciences is to convince many African and Arab countries to join this body to benefit from her support, as she said, “I aspire to convince many African and Arab countries – including Algeria – To join this international body, because that will allow it to benefit from financial and technical support to conduct scientific research. “
She added that it has become necessary for researchers from African and Arab countries to raise the challenge in order to ensure their representation in international bodies and to break the isolation in which they are located, stressing that “many Arab and African universities – with the exception of universities in the South. Africa – lives in isolation from other international universities in terms of communication and scientific cooperation, and this is not good, especially for young researchers. “
The problem of research funding
It seems that the financing aspect is one of the biggest stakes that researchers in Earth sciences seek to overcome, as many of them face great obstacles in order to obtain funding for their scientific research, which was confirmed to us by our interviewer Hasina Mori, who revealed that there are many scientific research projects in earth sciences Still waiting for funding.
She explained that “many scientific research in earth sciences require the provision of a lot of funds because of the nature of this research that is carried out in the field and takes a lot of time.”
“I believe that scientific research in the field of earth sciences will not flourish without adequate financial support, and international cooperation in this field is open, and it can contribute to solving this problem, even partially.”
In the context of talking about scientific cooperation, Hasina Mori said that the establishment of an Arab Union for Earth Sciences would contribute to the development of this science and provide more scientific research, noting that “the establishment of an Arab Union for Earth Sciences would be very beneficial, as there is a prestigious scientific journal in this field called Arabian Journal of Geosciences, supporting it with a union that would be wonderful.