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AERAP Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Forum, 7 - 10 March 2023
The Forum will be designed to inform and engage with policymakers to ensure that the role and contribution of science, enabled through digital technologies, is reflected in European Union and its Member States’ policies concerning Africa. The meetings will also be designed to increase the level of participation and reinforce the networking by African nations’ with their partners in related EU programmes and science and innovation programmes supported by European Union member states and some associated countries. Digital capacities, existing and new, for expanding science inclusion and citizen participation by all groups in society across Africa, will be explored.
Key policy and programme developments include:
The meeting will address a range of themes, including Biodiversity Health, Medicine, Life Sciences, Geoscience, ICT, Digital Transformation, the Green Agenda, Women and Girls in science, Astronomy, reskilling and upskilling and Agri-food systems. In the Forum, we will examine the feedback loops between scientific funding, education funding, and digital transformation to support evidence for policymakers.

The meeting will also consider how emerging regulations covering data protection, medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics, and other areas impact science in Africa and science and innovation cooperation between Africa and the European Union.

The global context will be considered through the inclusion of speakers from the UN, OECD and other multilateral bodies.

The programme below is still in development so please check it regularly for updates.
avatar for Zouhair Benkhaldoun

Zouhair Benkhaldoun

Cadi Ayyad University
Oukaimeden Observatory Director
Marrakech - Tensift - Al Haouz

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Zouhair Benkhaldoun, graduated (PHD) in astrophysics from the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in France (1994). He also has a doctorate in Energetics from the University of Provence in Marseille France (1985).

In 1985, he participated with three other researchers in the foundation of the first laboratory of Astrophysics in Morocco within the CNRST. He then joined the Semlalia Faculty of Sciences at Cadi Ayyad University in 1992 and founded, with other researchers, the High Energy Physics and Astrophysics Laboratory (LPHEA) in 1999. He also worked with his colleagues to create the first professional Astronomical Observatory in Morocco at Oukaimeden, inaugurated in 2007 and has been leading it since then.

In 1999, he participated in the creation of the Amateur Astronomy Association of Marrakech (3AM), a cultural association domiciled at the FSSM, aimed at promoting the sciences of the universe to the general public (schoolchildren in particular). This scientific work in the theme of qualification of astronomical sites allows Morocco to be selected for the site testing campaign for the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT).

He was elected (May 2013) president of the Moroccan National Committee for Astronomy acting with the International Astronomical Union. He has also been President of the Arab Astronomical Society since 2016 and President of the Atlas Dark Sky Foundation since 2019, a foundation that fights against light pollution and wants to promote the creation of a dark sky reserve around the Observatory of Oukaimeden.

Author or co-author of more than 260 articles and communications in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. He participated in the discovery of the “TRAPPIST-1” exoplanet system, a discovery published in the Nature journal.
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