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Former NAMES President Mijbil Almutawa passed away

Mijbil Almutawa
Mijbil Almutawa among other science centre representatives from around the world, at the 2014 Science Center World Summit in Mechelen, Belgium

Mr. Mijbil Almutawa, Vice Chairman and CEO of the Kuwait Scientific Center, passed away on 27 July.

Together with Engineer Hoda Al Miqati, Mijbil was one of the founders of the NAMES Network (North Africa and Middle East science centres) and its President for two terms. Mijbil was also instrumental in setting up the EMME Summer School (Euro-Mediterranean and Middle East Summer School of Science Communication), in partnership with Ecsite and other partners. Mijbil’s support came in many forms including securing a grant to help implement each edition.

"We have lost a strong partner and valuable advocate for cooperation and science engagement," Ecsite President Buchel and Ecsite Executive Director Franche stated. "His achievements and impact do not stop here and he will be remembered for fascinating conversations where I always learnt something new from him. He was also a wonderful mentor and guide which only reflects what a generous and selfless person he was," declared current NAMES President Sawsan Dalaq, Director of the Children’s Museum Jordan. "I’ll also remember him for his humour and positivity as well as his hard work. There are not enough words to describe what a unique man he was and how well he represented our part of the world," Dalaq added.

"It is with great sadness that I realise that Mr. Mijbil Almutawa is no longer with us," stated Rosalia Vargas, President of the Portuguese Ciência Viva network. "It is in moments like these that our memories of beloved friends get surprisingly alive. I can almost hear him now, with his voice, deep smile and intelligent eyes. Every time I met him he was building bridges, trying to get people working together for a greater good. And being such a persuasive man, we would all join in and start pioneering projects together. One of these projects, in which I had the privilege of working with him, is EMME. This is a project that says everything about the wide vision and strong will of Mijbil Almutawa. In a world where peace and knowledge are our best hopes for the future, Mijbil did all he could to unify efforts between museums and science centres from all over Europe, North Africa and Middle East. The NAMES network is representative of his generosity. He knew that only through solid cooperation would science centres play a decisive role as agents of change, to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth and job creation. This project will outlive him, as one of his greatest gifts to those who shared his vision."

"I will never forget Mijbil's piercing glance when he asked me, during the Science Center World Summit in Cape Town in 2011, to build together a place for dialogue between the Arab world and Europe," remembers Vincenzo Lipardi, CEO of Città della Scienza in Naples, Italy. "The idea of the EMME Summer School was born there, with the aim to build a bridge between close people, unfortunately divided by geographical, political and religious barriers. Mijbil, who established the most beautiful science centre of the Arab world, was convinced of the importance of a real dialogue that could give to NAMES - another of the "babies" he contributed to initiate - the strength to spread science, but also the culture of peace and cooperation in a land where sometimes religious sectarianism, division and unfortunately war are prevailing. Mijbil has been for me, first of all a brother, with whom I shared many reflections and visionary thoughts, but also a person with whom talking about amusing things and stories. I will miss Mijbil very much and his leadership will be missed in the international movement of science centres."


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The Scientific Center of Kuwait

The Scientific Center of Kuwait is a non-profit organization comprised of three main facilities : an Aquarium, an IMAX Theater and a hands-on Discovery Place; as well as other supporting facilities. The Center was inaugurated in April 2000 and was considered the first of it’s kind in the Middle East Region. The Scientific Center is dedicated to the advancement of the sciences and cultural heritage of Kuwait, and to promoting public awareness and knowledge of the wildlife and ecosystems of the Arabian Gulf Region; and consequently committed to the care and preservation of these ecosystems.