Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan is a leading advocate for science as a catalyst for change in the Arab world. The princess has worked for more than a decade to help foster an environment that supports home-grown solutions based on science, research and technology to address pressing issues facing Jordan and the region.
She is chair of the Princess Sumaya University for Technology, founded in 1991, which under her leadership has become the leading science and technology institution in Jordan and a ranking-leader in the region.
As president of the Royal Scientific Society, Princess Sumaya has made it a focal point for science and research in the region and initiated within it the formation of a national science academy for Jordan. She has been a supporter of the SESAME regional synchrotron light source for over a decade and has raised awareness of the project at numerous global high-level fora.
Princess Sumaya is deputy chair of the Higher Council for Science and Technology, a government advisory body for science and technology; founder of the Queen Rania Centre for Entrepreneurship, Jordan’s first university-based centre for entrepreneurship; and chair of the board of governors of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia Technology Centre, which is based on the RSS campus.
Princess Sumaya is chair of the World Science Forum 2017, which will be held in Jordan in November under the theme “Science for Peace.” This will mark its first time in the Middle East or the Arab world.
In recognition of her contributions to science and development, Princess Sumaya has been honored both at home and abroad. In June 2017, HRH was named UNESCO Special Envoy for Science for Peace by Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO. This unique honor recognizes her efforts to combine science and research with cultural heritage in order to foster peace, opportunity and prosperity. In February 2017, the Princess was awarded the Chancellor’s Citation at the University of California, Berkeley, the university’s highest honor.
In 2013, she was incorporated as a foreign member of Real Academia de Ciencas Económicas y Financieras, Spain’s national science academy. She has also been appointed by the UNESCO director general as a founder member of The High Panel on Science and Technology for Development, and is a founder member of the Advisory Board for Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence. In 2010, she was invited to join the New York Academy of Sciences advisory council for the Islamic World Science, Technology & Innovation Initiative. The princess is the first Jordanian to become a permanent council member of Japan’s Science and Technology in Society Forum.
Princess Sumaya graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. Her interest in art history has combined with her passion for science in forging her core belief that engagement with the world at hand while drawing from the experiences of the past is the key to building a creative and independent future.
Sessions as a Speaker
Luncheon – Who Will Do Science? International Perspectives from Women in STEM Leadership
- Marriott Marquis: Salon 9