The region of Middle East has for long been either about the atrocities taking place in Syria, or Israeli bombardment in Gaza. But this time the reason Middle East is making news all over the world is a science project of a wholly unexpected kind. The plan is for a multi-million dollar synchrotron particle accelerator, known as Sesame which will be made in Jordan. Even more astounding is the fact that it is backed by countries that normally openly challenge each other.
This includes several Arab nations, along with Turkey, Pakistan, Cyprus and shockingly Israel as well. After years of doubts about the feasibility of the project, construction is now at an advanced stage. It is being expected that operations could start as early as 2015. The synchrotron, which will be the first in the Middle East, will act like a giant microscope and will be used by researchers to study everything from viruses to other novel materials.
Despite the fact that the initiative demonstrates the success of science over political and regional tensions, there are still some key questions that need to be answered about the project.
Financing the Project
The construction of the research facility is being funded with an amount of $5million from Israel, Iran, Jordan and Turkey. Pakistan has also agreed to provide $5million, whereas, European Union will also provide financial assistance for the project. That still leaves a $10million shortfall in funding. Keeping in mind the currently prevalent state of Pakistani and Iranian economy, any expectation of further monetary assistance from these countries will not be realistic.
It will eventually be other players such as US and UK who will get involved in the construction process. It is important to state here that the amount of dollars pumped is positively correlated to influence. States making greater contribution will ensure that they exercise greater authority and decision making.
Another important dimension that the states involved in this project need to consider is to prioritize their decisions before making investments in multi-million dollar projects like Sesame. Pakistan allocates only Rs48 billion for its education budget which is insufficient keeping in mind the high level of illiteracy in the country. The state of healthcare sector is not different.
Since the time economic sanctions were imposed on Iran, the economy of the state has been going through a difficult phase. In such circumstances these states need to think and make intelligent decisions of investing money in providing their people with the most basic necessities of life and well being, rather than squandering money on a project that can never be termed as completely risk free.
Before becoming a part of this great scientific union, it is important that all countries involved in the project pay heed to the needs of their own people. Form policies that invest in the human mind so that it can provide sustainable benefits.