From Washington DC I took a flight to Dubai. I was on the same flight 6 weeks ago, and flew to Dubai 3 weeks ago as well. In total I flew to Dubai airport 3 times, once to visit Dubai and twice to visit Abu Dhabi in the past 6 weeks. Two of the return flights were from Dubai to Kansai Airport and another was to Singapore.
The purpose of visit is the same as my some previous ones; to support Khalifa University. Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the former director of the National Institutes of Health joined our team starting from this meeting and his participation stimulated the discussion. Dr. Zerhouni, originally from Algeria, moved to the United States after graduating from Medical School, worked at Johns Hopkins Univesity, then was appointed to the Directorship of NIH, the most distinguished and responsible position in medical research of US government. I have had the privilege of knowing him for these years (in Japanese) and am quite impressed by his wonderful personality.
Khalifa University, which I have been helping, is one of important Projects of the government of Abu Dhabi. I have contacted Dr Zerhouni for his support since I thought that advice from a person at higher position, a person with distinguished and international reputation, who understands Arabic civilization and culture personally, would be very helpful. It was a great joy when I received his immediate affirmative answer.
The meeting itself took place for only one day, but the discussion was very active and fruitful. I firmly believe that participation of someone who is familiar with both Western values and Arabic values, who knows how to communicate with both sides is so very important and necessary for this kind of project.
Recently, The U.S. Department of State announced the appointment of Science Envoy for Middle East, and Dr Zerhouni was among the three, with Dr. Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief of ‘Science’ and Dr. Zuweil, a Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry, originally from Egypt. This is another significant step forward of US Science Diplomacy.
Such rich variety of human resource (Ref.1) without doubt serves as one of the strong core assets of a nation in this global era. I met Dr. Zuweil several times in the past, and deepened relationship with Dr. Alberts during these 10 years, since he was the President of the National Academy of Science of USA, through many international scientific community works or events, often related to SCJ (Science Council of Japan).
Toyota Cup (FIFA Club World Cup 2009) was being held at Abu Dhabi during my visit. As I watched in TV later in Tokyo, it was again Lionel Messi (Ref.1) that brought triumph to his team, as you all may know.