International Symposium on Whole Grain Products News Round Up A Pioneer in Many Ways Mind Over Matter Assistant VC Meets Varsities’ Representatives News Update Ocean Modeling System for Oman Region Department of Public Relations and Information Sultan Qaboos University Issue 241 View Point Service Learning The College of Nursing recently observed the WHO Day by performing community service activities in Izki Wilayat. The students performed nutritional assessments, vision tests, hearing tests, blood glucose checks and blood pressure assessments, among the villagers with the guidance of the faculty members. In fact, service learning benefits numerous parties, from the schools to the agencies to the communities and society, but overall, it is the students who need and receive the most gain. Through service learning students would evince academic gains from their volunteering efforts. Mohamed Salem Al Ghailani Editorial Supervision Humaid Abdullah Al Adwani Editor in Chief M.K. Santhosh Senior Editor Ahlam Al Wahaibi Design & Layout Rashad Al Wahaibi & Photography Dept., CET Photography Psychologists indicate that the biggest problem students must overcome in the university is lack of motivation. Boredom is probably a function of what seems to many students an unfathomable gap between the curriculum and their everyday lives. Community service learning provides the critical missing link for many students, an opportunity to apply academic learning to real human needs and to make the knowledge gained usable in one’s thinking beyond the situation in which the learning occurred. Service learning, provides students with the motivation necessary to put forth effort in academics, it gives them more opportunities to integrate and elaborate on their knowledge, and it increases the likelihood of transferring theoretical knowledge to actual practice. In addition to these benefits, service learning can increase students’ personal, interpersonal and social development. It increases motivation, student engagement, and school attendance and, lead to new perspectives and more positive lifestyle choices and behaviour. Still, more important is the fact that students who engaged in service-learning are more likely to treat each other kindly, help each other and care about doing their best. Although it is apparent that community service benefits others in some way, before creating and maintaining widespread programs, policymakers should know how exactly students themselves benefit from participation in these activities. A great deal of research has been done on this subject, resulting in evidence for multiple kinds of benefits. Among the most significant gains reported are the psychological, social, and cognitive benefits experienced by students. Overall, sources indicate that students have shown increases in positive feelings and mental health, and decreases in depression and stress. This piece of writing is a tribute to those colleges at SQU which promote service learning and a motivation to take up this matter more seriously in future. Horizon invites contributions from SQU members of staff and faculty. Contributions in the form of articles, news, travelogues, stories of unique and interesting experiences, encounters, etc., are welcome. Contributions may be edited for the sake of clarity and length. Please send your contributions to [email protected] preferably, as MSWord attachments. Authors will be suitably credited. Horizon is published three times a month by the Department of Public Relations and Information, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 50, P.C. 123, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Phone: +968 24141045 E-mail: [email protected] 30 April 2012 P2 Fax: +968 24413 391 Website: www.squ.edu.om Media Creativity Forum Concludes The Media Creativity Forum, organised by the students of the Department of Mass Communication at SQU was opened under the patronage of HE Dr. Abdul Monem bin Mansoor al-Hasani, Minister of Information. Dr. Al-Hasani appreciated the achievements of Media department at the College of Arts and Social Science and the projects being presented in the Media Creativity Forum. He said that we learn from the creativity, projects and ideas of our students, which are always the fuels that feed all creative media projects which eventually turn into realities. The opening ceremony included the forum speech, a speech by Dr. Mohammed Najeeb al-Sarayra about media ethics. A documentary was shown, in addition to some graduation projects like Section, a cultural magazine which was released at the function and its first copy signed by the Information Minister. Another exhibition project called “Japan, a legend” explored Japanese civilization and the possibilities of opening new channels of cultural and linguistic communication between the Sultanate and Japan. The forum the slogan of which was “Voice of Future “, discussed different themes, among them, laws pertaining to journalistic works in the Sultanate, publication issues, freedom of information, journals’ rights, relations between journalists and information sources, confidentiality of information, censorship, information classification, information infiltration, media and protection of information sources. The forum also discussed ethics, self-discipline of Media, professional honor pacts, in addition to a review of Arab and international experiences in modernization of media work. News Update Assistant VC Meets Varsities’ Representatives Her Highness Sayyida Mona bint Fahd Al Said, SQU Assistant Vice Chancellor for External Cooperation, received a delegation from a group of universities in North America. The delegation included representatives from University of Michigan Dearborn, University of Mississippi, University of Alberta International, and the University of Nebraska. The delegation watched a video on SQU and the progress it has achieved during the last 25 years. Both sides discussed on further enhancing the ties between SQU and the North American universities through exchange students and collaborative research. Her Highness also received a delegation from different universities in Russia and discussed the possibilities of partnership between SQU and the Russian Universities. The delegation included senior administrators from Kursk State University, St. Petersburg State University, Moscow State Medical University and Belgrade University. The representatives of various foreign universities were in Oman to participate in the Global Higher Education Exhibition (GHEDEX) organized by the Ministry of Higher Education. Business Week Focuses on Islamic Economics Khulood al Zadjali, one of the organizers of the event said that the major activities of the Business Week were two exhibitions, the first one portraying the importance of applying Islamic values in the business world, and the other one a business simulation of pottery industry. “The main idea was to provide solutions to the problems in the business world today by applying Islamic principles. We demonstrated how Islamic values are applied in business ethics, marketing, management and other areas of business. Our exhibition gave a clear idea of how Islamic principles can be applied in running business in the modern era”, Khulood said. The 10th annual edition of the Business Week, organized by the Business Society, functioning under the College of Commerce & Economics, was opened under the patronage of HH Sayyid Faisal bin Turki al Said, Chief Executive Officer of Brand Oman Management Unit. This annual event is a platform where students apply their knowledge in business in practical and real life situations. The theme of this year’s event was “Islamic Economics and Finance”. Sayyid Faisal commended the idea of business week which copes with the economic issues in the Sultanate and the world, as well as eliminating the misconceptions of the consumers and beneficiary. He added that business is one of the basic sources for enhancing the economy as the government needs those confident youth who are willing to set up their own businesses. The second section demonstrated how different business departments such as marketing, finance, human resources, operations management, accounting, etc. contributes to a business unit. Three workshops, led by human resources experts from business houses in Oman, on three topics were also held on the sidelines of the event. The themes included “preparing curriculum vitae and appearing for interviews”, “how to be self dependent” and “the role of the youth in economic activities”. Another highlight of the event was a competition to market the idea of “Zakat”, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, in which the students got back to the community to reinforce the importance of Zakat, the practice of giving of a fixed portion of one’s wealth to charity, to the poor and needy. A student conference was also held on the sidelines of the Business Week. Students presented their research papers during the event and those were evaluated by experts from the business world in Oman. 30 April 2012 P3 Insight Ocean Modeling System for Oman Region Dr. Y.V.B. Sarma The marine ecosystems and resources are vulnerable to both natural and anthropogenic changes in a rapidly developing economy like Oman. The circulation of ocean currents plays an important role in regulating air-sea interaction, biogeochemical nature and productivity of the region. As the main focus of past major oceanographic expeditions was the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Equatorial Indian Ocean, the knowledge about the dynamics of Arabian Gulf, Sea of Oman is limited till date. In this context, oceanographers in Oman put forward the idea of harnessing the potential of ocean modeling to benefit Oman. Subsequent to this, Marine Scientists of Sultan Qaboos University, led by Dr. Y.V.B. Sarma of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, have won a research grant from the Research Council (TRC) for a project that utilizes the high performance computing facility (HPCF) at SQU and add necessary resources to increase its capacity to uninterruptedly execute the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) for the seas around Oman. The mathematical modeling of oceanic processes is the first of its kind attempt in Oman. The capability of numerical modeling of ocean circulation is absent in Oman at the moment. The present research aims to establish the numerical modeling of ocean circulation in Oman and forecast the marine environment. This is essential to assess the impacts of ocean circulation on regional ecosystem and marine living resources and to develop management strategies. This research will contribute significantly to the understanding of ocean circulation along Oman and its influence on coastal circulation, climate and fishery. The development of the capability in the area of mathematical modeling will highlight enormous research capabilities of SQU via-a-vis Oman. The innovative aspect of this study is the integration of different types of data to resolve region specific issues of the marine environment around Oman. The results of this study can be shared among different users (e.g. Ministries and government institutions) to develop better management strategies. Traditionally Oman is a sea-faring nation and presently large population depends on fishing. Comprehensive and quantitative understanding of the ocean circulation is essential to achieve success in these traditional activities of the Omani society. The climate change is apparently bringing-in changes in the marine environment such as algal blooms and fish mortality. Protection of living resources is necessary for food security in Oman. These changes need to be studied and forecast to help development of integrated management plans. Several concerns regarding the impact of ocean circulation on the marine ecosystems within Sea of Oman and in the northwestern Arabian Sea have yet unresolved. The numerical modeling of regional ocean circulation enhances quantitative understanding of ocean processes and addresses the present and future concerns related to marine ecology and regional climate. An anomalous increase in sea surface temperature was noticed before the disastrous cyclones such as Gonu in 2007 and Phet 30 April 2012 P4 in 2009 that have hit Oman. The super cyclone “Gonu” alone inflicted a loss of about USD 4 billion besides loss of life and damages to the infrastructure. Massive fish kills in the Sea of Oman have been reported for more than two decades along Oman are associated with Algal blooms and their toxic effects. Oman’s fishery sector earns about OMR 104.4 million from fish exports each year, which is the second highest contributor to the national gross domestic product (GDP) from natural products. The depletion of dissolved oxygen and the changes in the biogeochemistry of the seas around Oman are forced by circulation. Satellite images often show seasonally and interannually changing current jets and eddies which are difficult to explore through observations alone as it requires huge investments in terms of instruments and manpower. The emphasis is put on developing a regional circulation model to simulate the critical features of circulation and quantify its impact on coastal ecology. This can be achieved when the physical, biological, chemical and fishery data are analyzed together in a numerical model. The researchers will investigate the ocean circulation and its impact around Oman using ROMS. The ROMS model will be customized with regionally observed winds, heat fluxes and hydrographic conditions. The model will further carry out the biogeochemical simulations to understand the ecosystem changes along Oman. ROMS is a sigma co-ordinate numerical model that solves the primitive equations governing ocean dynamics and thermodynamics. The model offers several numerical schemes, horizontal and vertical mixing and there are options to couple the physical model with ecosystem models. The model can also be used for forecasting the physical and biological fields in the seas around Oman. The significance of this research is transformation from descriptive to quantitative assessment of the circulation. The model will explore the regional and global climatic events that are likely to force regime shifts in productivity in this region. The database developed in the process of modeling will meet both long and short-term goals to monitor and forecast the dynamics of the seas around Oman. The applications of the circulation modeling are of extreme economic and environmental importance to Oman as it helps in identifying the disaster prone areas along the coast and develop adequate management plans. The changes in inventory of biogeochemical properties of waters around Oman and their consequences are best studied and quantified by modeling the regional circulation as proposed. Recognizing the importance of this study, The Research Council awarded a project for OMR 131,000 in December, 2011. Under this project, work on developing the mathematical model on SQU’s HPCF is underway. In addition to Dr. Y.V. B. Sarma, the research team consists of Dr. Muataz Al-Barwani of College of Science, Dr. Adnan R. Al Azri of College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, Dr. Lubna Al Kharusi, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. P. Vinayachandran, of Indian Institute of Science, India, and Mr. Harib Al-Habsi, of SQU. Mind Over Matter A Pioneer in Many Ways Dr. Salma M. Al-Kindy, a professor in the Department of Chemistry of the College of Science at Sultan Qaboos University, has been elected as a member of Third World Academy of Science (TWAS), a merit based science academy based in Trieste, Italy. Dr. Salma is the first Omani national at SQU to be elected as a fellow in this prestigious non-profit organization that stands for development of science in the Third World countries. Fellows are scientists who live and work in developing countries and have made considerable contributions to their fields of science that meet internationally accepted standards of excellence. The main criterion for election as a TWAS member is scientific merit. Only those scientists who have made excellent contributions to the advancement of science in their fields of specialization and have attained the highest international standards and recognition can be nominated as Fellows or Associate Fellows. Nomination of candidates for election can only be made by other TWAS members. Commenting on her achievement, Prof. Salma Al-Kindy said: “I am deeply honoured and privileged to have been elected to be a member of this prestigious organization. TWAS represents the best of science in the developing world. Its principal aim is to promote scientific capacity and excellence for sustainable development in the South. To be nominated as a member of TWAS is a dream of every scientist. To be the first Omani national from Sultan Qaboos University appointed as a Fellow of the Academy means a great deal to me at both professional and personal levels. With all humility, I earnestly view my TWAS membership as an earned achievement which makes it all the more exciting and rewarding. It is the culmination of years of hard work in academia”, she said. Prof. Salma Al-Kindy was the first Omani faculty with a PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry to join the Department of Chemistry at Sultan Qaboos University in 1989. Her career as a scientist and a researcher took off when she was offered a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Japan. She took this opportunity for a six-month stint in the Department of Bio-analytical Chemistry at Tokyo University to work with Prof. Kazuhiro Imai. The research fellowship, offered by the Matsumae Foundation in Japan, proved to be very fruitful indeed. It enabled me to establish a new area of research at SQU involving the development of methods for the analysis of enantiomeric drugs. The methods involved the synthesis of fluorigenic chiral derivatisation reagents for use in HPLC separation. This work resulted in six scientific publications in reputable pertinent international journals. Over the years, Dr. Salma have been receiving local and international recognition for her research endeavors. Her academic promotion to the rank of Associate Professor some years ago paved way to the headship of the Department of Chemistry, a cherished position as the very first Omani to hold it at Sultan Qaboos University. Her subsequent attainment of the Full Professorship took her to the pinnacle of academia as far as academic promotions are concerned, and earned her a place in the history of Sultan Qaboos University as the first Omani Full Professor in the College of Science. Dr. Salma was a member of the University Council, a body charged with the responsibility of making policies. “I am very eager to see that young scientists at SQU and in the Sultanate as a whole are offered the same opportunity that was given to me more than 10 years ago. I feel that in accordance with the mandate of TWAS, a lot of opportunities are available to support postgraduate, postdoctoral and senior scientists to spend time in selected world-class laboratories in other developing countries. The Academy supports a broad range of programmes including research fellowships, research grants as well as prizes and awards, and has organized general assemblies that assess the state of science in the developing world”, Dr. Salma Al-Kindy said. “It is important to realize that science plays a crucial role in the development of any nation. It is a vehicle for advancing the economic value and social wellbeing of the people. I feel that it is a challenge for me and the few TWAS members at SQU to increase awareness of TWAS and to take advantage of any available opportunity in academia to advance capacity building in our country. I would like to see more members being nominated and appointed in Oman and I would also like to see young affiliates being appointed to the Academy as well as to see opportunities available in the form of fellowships, awards and prizes aimed at promoting training of scientists in the Sultanate. I would also like to see some TWAS meetings held in Oman in order to promote activities of this organization to our leaders and policy-makers”, she said. Dr. Salma Al-Kindy was recently appointed to the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Applied Chemistry. Further recognition of her work and further contributions to her international profile arrived in the form of invitations from reputable publishing companies and editors of well-known journals to submit review articles and to appraise the work of other authors in her field. In particular, Nova Publishers invited her to write a review article in non-ionic surfactants and to serve as an editor of their journal. 30 April 2012 P5 News Round Up International Symposium on Whole Grain Products The Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences organized an “International Symposium on Whole Grain Products - 2012” in collaboration with Atyab Food Tech LLC (Oman Flour Mills Company) and Industrial Innovation Center (IIC). The main objective of the symposium was to create awareness about whole grain products in Oman. The symposium had three sessions: Oral presentations, poster presentations and innovative recipe with whole grains (product display). There were four themes in the oral presentation session such as “Promoting whole grain consumption”, “Speciality whole grain products”, “Whole grains for disease prevention and treatment” and “Whole grains in international food system”. Prof. Marla Reicks, PhD, RD, University of Minnesota, USA was the keynote speaker at the symposium. More than 80 participants attended this symposium and they were from the Royal Court Affairs (1), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (3), Ministry of Health (1), Muscat Municipality (2), Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (9), Oman Fisheries LLC (2), Industrial Innovation Center (2), Oman Flour Mills LLC (3), University of Manitoba, Canada (1) and Sultan Qaboos University (60). CAMS Explores Collaboration with Sohar University College of Nursing Celebrates WHO Day Students and faculty of the College of Nursing, lead by the Fundamentals and Administration department, celebrated WHO Day in Izki Wilayat recently. The program was held at Al Bawariq School at Qalat Al Awarmer of Izki wilayat from 10 am to 5pm. The services that targeted adult and elderly were offered to the following 4 villages: Qalat Al Warmer, Shafa, Al Nabaq and Al Tasawair. The activity included general health assessment of the population and health education sessions. Fifty five students from the Health Assessment course were part of the activity. The program was jointly inaugurated by the head of the village, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hamed Sultan Al Amri and Dr. Saleh Bin Saif Al Hanaye, Director General for Community Medical services of Dakhlya Governorate. The students performed nutritional assessments, vision tests, hearing tests, blood glucose checks and blood pressure assessments, with the guidance of the faculty. The students had the opportunity to identify abnormalities and to either refer those clients to the community health centre for further treatment and care, or to accompany them to the health centre for immediate care. A total of 90 clients made use of the services offered. An elaborate health education session highlighted the WHO theme of the year: ‘Good health adds life to years’. The program created an awareness among the participants about their current state of health, need for adopting a healthy life style and undergoing periodical screening to add life to years. Dr. Amal El Badawy, coordinator of this activity, thanked the village leaders and staff of the community medical services, lead by Dr. Saleh Bin Saif Al Hanaye for their extraordinary support. Dr. JJ van der Colff, Head of the Fundamentals and Administration Department, presented mementos and certificates to them and the management of the school in appreciation of their support. Traffic Safety Awareness Exhibition Held By: Dr. Ahmed Al-Busaidi SQU and Sohar University jointly organized a symposium on water and environment issues recently. The aim of the event was to explore potential research collaborations in the future between the two universities. The program consisted of number of short presentations and discussions on water-environment issues in the Batinah region. SQU researchers presented lectures on water and environment related researches done in different departments and centers at SQU such as the Center for Environmental Studies and Research, Water Research Center, and the Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering. There were presentations related to groundwater hydrology, irrigation and drainage, green roofing in arid climates, water treatment and saline and treated waste water researches. Sohar University speakers gave presentations on wastewater, bio-filtration, green roofs and heavy metals in the sediments close to Sohar port. 30 April 2012 P6 Under the patronage of Dr. Yahya Al-Farsi, the Assistant Dean for Community Services at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences in Sultan Qaboos University, the Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH) of SQU-MSG organized a traffic safety awareness exhibition. This exhibition took place in Qurum City Centre on 11th and 12th April. This exhibition was intended at the various age groups of the community. It comprised of the three sections depicting main causes of road traffic accidents: the driver, vehicle and the road. In addition, it had a children’s corner aiming to introduce proper traffic awareness in the young, through entertaining activities. Moreover, the exhibition also saw the participation of the Rehabilitation Centre of Khoula Hospital, in order to shed light on the services provided by this centre, and its contribution to rehabilitating individuals affected by road traffic accidents. Petroleum Department Oman (PDO) also took part in the exhibition through its road traffic accident simulator, which constituted the final stations of the exhibition and attracted the largest crowd. This simulator emphasized the importance of wearing seatbelts and the major role they play to protect passengers in case of accidents. More than 1420 research projects worth 20 million riyals undertaken since inception; funded through internal grants, joints grants, strategic grants, consultancy services, and external grants. Research findings resulted in publishing hundreds of papers in reputed scientific journals in addition to numerous conference presentations. Research adds to the prestige of the university; the progress continues with more advanced researches. A Sun that never sets Straight Talk Prof. Ghaleb Ali Alhadrami Prof. Ghaleb Ali Alhadrami is the Chairman of the International Society for Camelid Research and Development (ISOCARD). Prof. Alhadrami obtained his Ph. D. in Nutritional Sciences in 1990 from the University of Arizona, United State of America. He is the Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, United Arab Emirates University since 2007. Also, he served as Assistant Dean for Scientific Research for six years and as Vice-Dean for three years and as chairman of Department of Animal Production for four years. He is specializes in forage quality especially drought and salt tolerant forages. Camel nutrition and management are his research interests. Horizon spoke to Prof. Alhadrami during his visit to SQU to attend the third conference of ISOCARD. What is unique about the camel when compared to other domestic animals? Horizon: Prof. Alhadrami: The camel plays an important role in the history, civilization and livelihood of the people living in the arid regions of the world. In the past, the camel helped move the traders across the vast desert planes in caravans loaded with goods. They worked on farms to plow the fields and turn water wheels that brought irrigation to the desert land. They carried goods through the crowded city streets. These animals were even used in war and in recreation. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the camel was the most important animal in war. When it comes to camel products, its milk is lower in fat and lactose, and higher in vitamin C, potassium and iron than cows’ milk. Camel meat is a delicacy in Arabian cuisine. Its fur and skin are used for clothing and tents. Horizon: Could you please explain the activities of ISOCARD? Prof. Alhadrami: ISOCARD is a non-political, non-religious and non-profit organization of camelid scientists or similar scientific and professional associations. The activities of the society is aligned towards giving international scientific status for camelid sciences, and promoting contributions of camelid scientists to the development of camelid farming. The society also promotes scientific publications in camelid fields by running a science journal and facilitating contributions of members to other journals as well. Promoting standards of health and welfare in camelids is also among the agenda of this society. The ISOCARD international conference is held every three years with a view to encourage the exchange of information on camelid interest between the members and different networks and involved organizations. ISOCARD today has more than 400 registered members worldwide. ISOCARD was launched six years ago. How would retrospect the progress of this organization? Horizon: When the society was launched in 2006, we had many challenges to face at the beginning stages. However, we could very well survive all the challenges and the successful organization of the third conference of the society in SQU was a testimony to our success. I assure you that ISOCARD is now accepted in the ‘landscape’ of the camelid scientists community as an essential body for the promotion of research and development in the field of camel biology, camel production and farming system. The Muscat conference is the conference of acknowledgement for the society; the conference testified the place of ISOCARD among the international scientific community. Prof. Alhadrami: Horizon: How would you comment on the scope of camelid research in the current era? Prof. Alhadrami: Small and large camelids are a fantastic model for biologists with a remarkable potential of production in the remote areas of the world, and as main tool for the development of the arid lands or high mountains. It is important to support all research activities in countries where large and small camelids are a part of the cultural heritage. I would say that western countries also should promote camelid research, considering the fact that the fantastic role of these animals is widely ignored in many parts of the world. How would you underscore the importance of the theme of the third conference of the society? Horizon: Prof. Alhadrami: The theme of the third conference, “Challenges facing Camelids in a Changing World”, is an ambitious one. Of course, the world changes since it exists, but we are living in a time where these changes are rapid as witnessed in economy, environment, sciences and technology, and our societies. The recent events especially in the Arab world have underlined these changes. In this context, the camelids and the farming systems involving camelids, have to be adapted to these new situations. Thus, we can observe the high capacity of large and small camelids to be introduced in certain modernity: integration into international market, intensification of productions, valorization of their products, geographical expansion, and so on. However, we must also be aware the gap between the needs of the societies in the changing world and the responses of the research and overall development. This is the main challenge in the future for the camel scientists and as a consequence, for ISOCARD.