UNESCO International Literacy Prize winner, and 12th out of 100 most influential Arab women, Dr. Rana Dajani was recently hosted at Zayed University Abu Dhabi campus to lecture students about the five roles she plays in life.
She advised the young students how to find their passion and to pursue their dreams while referring to her example of being a mother, educator, scientist, social entrepreneur, and feminist. She also encouraged them to note the challenges around them and to develop permanent solutions.
Dr. Dajani also explained the most common intersections between gender, race, religion, and science, while referring to her book, Five Scarves: Doing the Impossible, If We Can Reverse Cell Fate, Why Can't We Redefine Success?
Furthermore, during the meeting, she shared her research, which is conducted in two main fields. The first researching the genetics of the Circassian and Chechen population in Jordan. The second concerns the impact of trauma on epigenetics in Syrian refugees and how this impact can be transferred across generations.
She also discussed the challenges that face female scientists all over the world. "Women in STEM was never a problem in the Arab world and how Arab women are strong and have deep confidence and that the west can learn from the experience of Arab countries where women constitute more than 60% of the science fields," she said.
Dr. Dajani also shared a mentoring Program that she started for female scientists across the Arab world and running the society for the advancement of science and technology in the Arab world (SASTA).
She went on to describe the significant award-winning Program, "We Love Reading," which she founded to encourage children to read for fun. This Program has spread to 55 countries around the world and won multiple awards. It has been called a social movement.
"The reason it has spread is that it is evidence-based, simple, cost-effective, and human-centered. The Program trains adult volunteers to read aloud to children in different neighborhoods in their local language," she said.
"We Love Reading" received the UN's science, technology and innovation award, and the King Sejong international literacy prize in 2017, and was featured in the New York Times and Forbes.
Source: Zayed University