November 05, 2023
In a series of impactful events hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) recently concluded a successful mission from October 2nd to October 8th, 2023. The delegation's goal was to actively engage in the regional Global Knowledge Dialogue - Asia organized by the International Science Council (ISC), in addition to strengthening the active National Chapters, fostering critical discussions surrounding funding opportunities, and knowledge sharing at the local and regional levels.
A pivotal element of the mission was the OWSD National Chapters Regional Meeting hosted at the Tunku Abdul Rahman University (UTAR), where the OWSD Malaysia National Chapter is situated. Representatives from six different countries came together to exchange best practices, discuss funding opportunities, and delve into administrative procedures. The meeting highlighted the crucial role of National Chapters in addressing key challenges faced by women scientists in the region. Discussions emphasized areas such as access to fellowships, leadership skills, mentorship, resource sharing, and scientific conferences. Moreover, proactive steps were taken to foster collaboration among National Chapters. For instance, the OWSD Chapters of Malaysia and Myanmar discussed joint initiatives, such as organizing webinars on leadership skills. One standout success was the OWSD Myanmar National Chapter's fundraising strategy, securing substantial grants through UNDP-funded projects, marking a significant milestone in the region.
The OWSD delegation actively participated in the ISC Global Knowledge Dialogue - Asia, engaging in pivotal discussions on diversity in science systems and the future of funding science for sustainability in the region. Their insights and involvement were instrumental in steering discussions towards locally relevant and impactful solutions. Moreover, the discussions served as exceptional networking opportunities, with OWSD representatives engaging and establishing connections with key stakeholders and high-profile individuals including ISC leadership, academy presidents, and science policymakers.
Through collaborative efforts and strategic networking, the OWSD delegation paved the way for potential partnerships and future initiatives, particularly in Malaysia. The dialogue with representatives of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) opened doors for activities aimed at providing psychological support to OWSD Fellows during their stay for their Ph.D. studies in Malaysia.
The success of these events in Malaysia underscores OWSD's commitment to empowering and supporting women in science across the region. With continued efforts and strategic collaborations, the organization aims to address critical challenges faced by women scientists and further enhance their impact and presence in the scientific community.