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Princess Sumaya opens conference on ‘Women in Data Science’

By JT - Jul 12,2020 - Last updated at Jul 12,2020

AMMAN — HRH Princess Sumaya, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT), on Saturday opened the first Jordanian conference titled “Women in Data Science” during a virtual webinar organised by PSUT in cooperation with Stanford University.

Her Royal Highness stressed the importance of the  role of women as  a “precious resource that must be nurtured and empowered in all fields”, specifically for their role in data science, according to a PSUT statement.

"Diversity is essential in data science research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Indeed, gender diversity is central to our future success,” the princess said.

Her Royal Highness shed light on the significant role carried out by young women across the region “who are recognised at the heart of the Knowledge for Development (K4D) Movement”.

The princess drew on her daily personal engagement with talented college students, researchers, innovators and businessmen at the early stages of their careers, noting that these talented young women “do not build the future but rather live it, which consequently represents a tenacious need to make data, research and innovation central to the development of our region”.

“When given the opportunity, women in our region have proven themselves, again and again, to be innovative and creative, resourceful and driven,” the princess said.

“Events such as this help to build confidence, to celebrate success, and to devise better strategies to achieve incredible outcomes for women in data science and, ultimately, for society as a whole,” she added.

The conference coordinator, Nailah Al Madi, an Associate Professor in the PSUT Department of Computer Science, stated that the conference is “a source of inspiration and empowerment for data scientists in Jordan”.

It also serves to support distinguished women in this field, promotes the sharing of expertise, and encourages the next generation to benefit from that expertise and adopt an entrepreneurial role that drives development, according to the statement.

Madi said that the conference answers a set of fundamental questions, including the importance of data science, and the skills that a data science student must acquire and practice. 

It also examines the gap between academic study and jobs in data science work, what companies mean by job titles, and how they are applied in Jordan in comparison to international companies. Furthermore, the conference is an opportunity to review stories and applications in fields such as health, security, education, and others, he added.

Participating in the conference were 12 academic speakers from Jordanian universities, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, telecommunications companies Zain and Umniah, as well as Royal Jordanian and Microsoft. The event drew in an audience of more than 300 people from Jordan and abroad, according to the statement.

The conference included academic seminars and discussion sessions on the latest theory and application developments in data science. A practical workshop was also held on natural language processing as a tool for health science.

The conference, which was coordinated by ambassadors of the Data Science Initiative, including student Sewar Khalifa, began at Stanford University in 2015, and is currently being held in about 150 regions around the world, according to the statement.

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