On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, the Chemistry Department at An-Najah in cooperation with the Palestinian Water ‎Authority (PWA) and the Middle East ‎Desalination Research Centre (MEDRC) organized the 1st MEDRC Palestinian Water Research Alumni Forum at the Korean Palestinian IT Institute of Excellence in the New Campus.

The event was attended by Professor Maher Natsheh, Acting President of An-Najah, Dr. Maen Ishtaiwi, Dean of the Faculty of Science and the Forum's Chairman, Dr. Nidal Zatar, Head of the Chemistry Department, Engineer Hazem Kittani, General Director of Technical Affairs at PWA and Mr. Brendan Smith, Development Cooperation Manager of MEDRC. The ‎forum was also attended by MA and PhD students of different Palestinian ‎universities as well as scientists and ‎researchers from PWA and ‎MEDRC Foundation.

The forum aimed at bringing together leading ‎academic scientists, researchers and ‎research scholars to exchange and share ‎their experiences and research results on all ‎aspects of Water Purification and ‎Wastewater Management. The Forum is the first of its kind in Palestine as it invites all postgraduates who ‎have completed their master studies at the ‎expense of MEDRC to present their ‎research. An-Najah National University was ‎chosen as the first host of this forum.

In the opening speech, Dr. Ishtaiwi welcomed the attendees and talked about the forum's goals and themes which included water pollution and aquaculture, purification of drinking-water ‎supplies, water pollution and environmental ‎engineering, treatment, disposal and discharge ‎of wastewater, wastewater treatment technologies, methods of monitoring water ‎quality, modelling and measuring of water ‎pollution, water purification technologies, ground water pollution control and water resources and quality ‎assessment.

Prof. Natsheh talked about the partnership An-Najah has with PWA which developed to include a group of joint projects and supporting university students with regards to research studies and MA and PhD programmes. He also commended the cooperation with MEDRC which resulted in offering An-Najah 80% of the programme's MA and PhD scholarships.

Dr. Zatar commended An-Najah staff and students for their great efforts to make this successful event and mentioned that the cooperation between An-Najah and MEDRC will pave the way for new projects such as establishing a water research centre at the University.

In turn, Eng. Kittani commended An-Najah students for their excellent performance and mentioned that PWA aims to develop the cooperation with the Palestinian universities to establish specialized incubators in water and sanitation and encourage innovative students to establish their own startups.

Mr. Smith said that MEDRC focuses on the Middle East and is expanding to include other disciplines such as alternative energy. He also hoped to develop the cooperation with An-Najah.

The inauguration ceremony also included a short documentary film on An-Najah's partnership with PWA and MEDRC and exhibiting MA and PhD student experiences who were part of the programme scholarships.

The forum activities started with the Incubator Session which included a presentation by Dr. Radwan Qasrawi from Al-Quds University on the topic.

The event included two sessions; the first session titled: "Smart Management and Water Efficiency" shed light on topics like "Cloud Application for Smart Agricultural Irrigation Management System" and "Clay-supported sensitized nano-ZnO in photocatalytic degradation of aqueous halophenols using direct solar light".

The second session titled: "Water Pollution and Water Management" included presenting research papers such as "Photo-mineralization of aqueous gram positive and gram negative bacteria together with their organic components using sensitized ZnO nano-particles", "Photo-mineralization of aqueous gram positive and gram negative bacteria together with their organic components using sensitized ZnO nano-particles" and "The Impact of Water Price on the Financial Sustainability of the Palestinian Water Service Providers".

Each session included an open discussion of the researches topics.

The Forum resulted in a number of recommendations; most important of which are studying the impact of water security on energy, food and environmental security, creating a new database and discussing the methods used in all MEDRC research theses and holding the forum annually.

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