6th Science Centre World Congress attracted more than 400 delegates from 56 countries including the Middle East

The 6th Science Centre World Congress recently held in Cape Town South Africa concluded successfully attracting more than 400 delegates from 56 different countries including UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The Congress chaired by MTE Studios, Director of Imagineering Professor Mike Bruton was hosted by the Cape Town Science Centre; the Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centres; and the North Africa and Middle East Science Centers Network.

With the theme ‘Science across Cultures’, the Congress comprised 5 plenary sessions, 55 concurrent sessions, as well as poster sessions, workshops, science cafés, demonstrations, talk shops, commercial and NGO displays, and visits to local cultural institutions. Ludo Verheyen, CEO, MTE Studios and Professor Bruton were part of the concurrent sessions addressing science centre and museum professionals from around the world at the Congress where the consultancy firm also had its presence at the exhibition running parallel to the event. MTE Studios was also a major corporate sponsor and contributed significantly to the success of the Congress.

“We are proud to be associated with such a high profile event which provided a comprehensive overview of strategic thinking in the science centre community,” said Ludo Verheyen, CEO, MTE Studios. “Our Imagineering Director, Professor Bruton chaired the Congress which was a perfect platform for delegates to meet from all corners of the globe to discuss issues facing science centres and the important role that science centres can play in increasing public engagement in science and technology. We are delighted to learn that Professor Bruton has been invited to serve on the international organizing committee for the 7th Science Centre World Congress to be held in 2014.”

The 6SCWC was widely acclaimed to be the best Science Centre World Congress held so far. Science Centre World Congresses are held every three years. The last event was convened in Ontario Canada (5SCWC); the 7SCWC will be in the form of a Summit and will be held in Belgium in 2014.  This year’s event continued the dialogue from previous world gatherings assessing the impact of science centres worldwide and formulating plans to ensure that they continue to play a constructive role in addressing global issues at the interface between science and society.

Highlighting the importance of events like the Congress, Professor Bruton said, “Globally, science centres and interactive museums have taken the lead in hands-on, inquiry-based learning, and have achieved a high trust rate for the accuracy of the information that they communicate. They focus on promoting dialogue and debate while learning, and on deriving explanations, rather than just providing answers, for important scientific discoveries and phenomena. They endeavour to promote social engagement across generations and cultures as well as an ethos of lifelong learning.”

“Each year, over 310 million people actively participate in the in-house and outreach science engagement programmes organized by over 2500 science centres in more than 90 countries and administrative regions. These science centres recognize that the three pillars of interactive science engagement are science knowledge, hands-on interaction, and dialogue and the co-creation of experiences with scientists and the public. Thus there is a need for improved dialogue between scientists and the public during the course of the scientific process that leads to societal change. I am honored and excited to be invited to be on the International Programme Committee for the upcoming 7SCWC,” concluded Bruton.

At the 6th Science Centre World Congress, leaders of science centres and museums worldwide resolved to:

•Encourage the establishment of science centres and museums in parts of the world where they are lacking.

•Support a policy of investment in science, technology and innovation in response to global economic and financial challenges.

•Partner with formal education, arts, business, policy makers and media where relevant.

•Strive to address cross-generational science- and technology-related problems that are relevant to local, regional and global communities, and to develop programmes that allow the general public to contribute actively to the resolution of these problems.

•Continue to develop programmes that promote awareness of the multi-cultural roots of science and the value of indigenous knowledge systems.

•Continue to develop partnerships to promote science awareness and engagement across cultural, political, economic and geographical boundaries.

•Conduct further research that measures the efficiency and effectiveness of their programmes, and to act on this information in order to improve their efficiency and impact.

•Further promote dialogue between scientists and the general public so that public opinions on science and technology can be heard and incorporated into decision-making processes.

•Further promote creativity, invention and innovation that leads to more sustainable life styles.

•Work together to ensure that they share their joint experience and knowledge of the most effective methods of engaging with science and technology with other local, regional, national and international bodies that promote science and technology awareness.

Plans to achieve these resolutions will be developed, as appropriate, at institutional, national and international levels. At the 2014 Science Centre World Summit, to be held at Technopolis in Mechelen, Belgium, in 2014, science centres and museums shall assess the extent to which they have, as individual institutions and collectively, achieved the goals set out here.

For further information, please contact Shereen Shabnam on +971 507690087

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