SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) is a “third-generation” synchrotron light source that was officially opened in Allan (Jordan) on 16 May 2017. It is the Middle East's first major international research centre.
It is a cooperative venture by scientists and governments of the region set up on the model of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) although it has very different scientific aims. It was developed under the auspices of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) following the formal approval given for this by the Organization's Executive Board (164th session, May 2002).
It is an autonomous intergovernmental organization at the service of its Members which have full control over its development, exploitation and financial matters.
SESAME will both:
- Foster scientific and technological excellence in the Middle East and neighbouring countries (and prevent or reverse the brain drain) by enabling world-class scientific research in subjects ranging from biology, archaeology and medical sciences through basic properties of materials science, physics, chemistry, and life sciences; and
- Build scientific and cultural bridges between diverse societies, and contribute to a culture of peace through international cooperation in science.
As an intergovernmental scientific and technological centre of excellence open to all scientists from the Middle East and elsewhere, SESAME will serve as a propeller for the scientific, technical, and economic development of the region and will strengthen collaboration in science.
SESAME will be a widely-available 'user facility'. Scientists, including graduate students, from universities and research institutes will typically visit the Centre for a week or two, twice or three times a year, to carry out experiments, frequently in collaboration with scientists from other centres/countries, and then return home to analyze the data they have obtained. In other words, SESAME will not be a source of brain drain; quite the contrary, not only will the scientists who visit SESAME bring back scientific expertise and knowledge, which they will share with their colleagues and students, but it will also create a motivating scientific environment that will encourage the region's best scientists and technologists to stay in the region or to return if they have moved elsewhere.