A Red Sea community in the making
The Red Sea is boiling, so to speak. Not only has this relatively narrow strip of water been one of the world's main shipping routes for centuries, at the centre of ever-changing regional and global geostrategic agendas, but it is also - and this is more new - home to coral reefs that are resistant to global warming. This unique privilege, highlighted just ten years ago by some first scientific studies, makes it even more precious, fuelling more and more initiatives on its behalf, the creation of the TRSC at EPFL in 2019 in favour of these "reefs of hope" being one of them.
An even more recent and highly promising initiative comes from the Arab League for Educational, Cultural and Science Organization (ALECSO), which organised a two-day workshop in Tunis on "The Red Sea: science, environment and sustainable investment". Several high-profile academics and researchers flocked from various ALECSO member states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Yemen - not to mention Tunisia - to address the subject from a variety of angles, ranging from the purely scientific to the more strategic and economic.
Although (or because...) it is Swiss, the TRSC was invited – a true honor - and took an active part in the discussion, which was explicitly conceived by the organisers as the first milestone in a long-term commitment to collectively tackle these issues. Professor Anders Meibom's presentation on the need for regional collaboration to preserve the corals of the Red Sea directly echoed the general call for the creation of bridges between science, education, and culture, whether in favour of coral reefs or the environment and sustainable development in general.
In the course of the presentations and conversation, one could feel a sense of Red Sea community emerging, one could hear a shared awareness, need and will to take care and preserve for the future generations a common space, common resources.
For a first workshop of its kind, it was quite a stimulating and promising one, and TRSC is very much looking forward to exploring further synergies with such a key organisation as ALECSO, as part of this Red Sea community in the making.