Women in Science Without Borders (WISWB) in partnership with the University of Duhok is organizing the World Forum for Women in Science 2021. An annual event conducted in different parts of the world will be conducted in 2021 from March 08th to 10th in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The theme for World Forum for Women in Science 2021 is ‘Science Diplomacy and Science for Humanity’.

For decades, the Kurdistan Region has been a place of displaced people threatened by conflict. Before 1991, the Region was a source of displaced people. After 1991 – after internationally observed free and fair elections and the establishment of an autonomous parliament and government – the Region became a safe haven for refugees from neighbouring countries and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of every ethnic and religious community in Iraq. From a peak of more than 1.5 million displaced people hosted in the Kurdistan Region, though many have returned to their homes or emigrated, nearly one million remains, including 600,000 in the province of Duhok.

The purpose of this forum is to generate hope and urgency in building communities that empower displaced people to live with respect and dignity in peace and prosperity – not only to survive but to thrive.

Rooted in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), this forum seeks the attention of scientists, engineers, industry, NGO practitioners, policymakers, and others. The aim is to promote sustainable development practices that help shape better lives for displaced people while also addressing the needs of the communities that host them.


Women in Science Without Borders (WISWB) is an initiative and network of scientists from over 40 countries. Its mission is to integrate women and men equally in scientific collaborations of merit regardless of gender. This initiative was mainly founded to help achieve sustainable development goals, particularly gender equality.

WISWB is a community-based initiative to develop societies through science. Participation is open to all, regardless of gender or age. “Science for All” is the basic organizing theme and language in its international gatherings – not culture, religion, or politics. As theoretical physicist and mathematician Brian Greene said, “When kids look up to great scientists the way they do to great musicians and actors, civilization will jump to the next level.”

WISWB was founded in 2017 with its first meeting in Egypt under the supervision of Egyptian youth and academics. In 2018, the second event was held in South Africa at the University of Johannesburg. In 2019, the third event was held in Cairo again, co-organized with the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) under the title of World Forum for Women in Science with the theme of ‘Science Diplomacy for Sustainable Development’. In 2020, the fourth event was held in Brazil. In 2021, the next conference will be conducted from March 08th to 10th in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq at the University of Duhok.

WISWB has been supported by industry, government officials, and international organizations such as Sanofi, Wellcome Trust, L’Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, International Science Council (ISC), Global Young Academy (GYA), Japanese Science and Technology Agency (JST), Bosch Foundation, Next Einstein Forum (NEF), Brazilian Academy of Sciences, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Young Affiliates Network (TYAN), African Academy of Sciences (AAS), and others.


The Forum includes two main activities:

1- Technical abstracts of cutting edge and applied research are accepted from all fields of STEM.

  • Related fields to sustainable development such as Food (food security), Water (clean water and sanitation), Energy (renewable, affordable, and clean energy), Health (good health and well-being), Environment, Climate change.
  • Emerging technologies, including Information technology, Artificial intelligence, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Education technology.
  • Smart cities.
  • Social studies related to STEM fields and refugees.
  • Science diplomacy

2- Capacity building training for young scientists and students’ competition:
Training sessions will be provided on different topics, including science diplomacy, science communication, etc… for all young scientists. Students’ competition will be held for teams of 2-5 members formed from non-PhD holders less than 30 years old in fields related to sustainable development as food security, water, energy, environment, health, and education.

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