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Cablegate: Embassy Science Fellow Program Request

VZCZCXRO6818
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTU #0364 1050952
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140952Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 7664
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 1366
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT PRIORITY 0990
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8542
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY 0229
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA PRIORITY 4220
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4764

UNCLAS TUNIS 000364

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

OES (EILEEN KANE) AND NEA/MAG (HARRIS)
AMMAN FOR ESTH (BHALLA)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPL SENV KSCA KPAO TS
SUBJECT: EMBASSY SCIENCE FELLOW PROGRAM REQUEST

REF: A. TAYLOR-KANE E-MAIL DATED 4/4/2008
B. STATE 28712
C. 07 TUNIS 471
D. 07 TUNIS 453

1. Embassy Tunis submits the following proposal for an
Embassy Science Fellow (ESF). Our request for an ESF from
the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the field of
engineering is a resubmission of our 2007 proposal (Ref B).
Due to difficulties with timing, the ESF selected for Embassy
Tunis was unable to participate in the program. The Science
Fellow would identify potential partnerships between Tunisian
and US educational and research institutions and participate
in Embassy public outreach activities. The placement of a
fellow would help to strengthen activities and collaboration
under the bilateral Science and Technology Cooperation
Agreement signed in 2004.

2. The Government of Tunisia has expressed great enthusiasm
for increasing educational and research partnerships and
exchanges with the United States. By creating such
partnerships, this project will have a lasting impact not
only on collaborative research, but will also foster mutual
understanding. Both the Minister of Higher Education,
Research and Training and the Minister of Industry have
recently emphasized that Tunisia's future economic success
will depend on embracing technological advances and
developing science and technology (Ref C). Tunisian
institutions have focused particularly on engineering,
especially in power and communications technology. Tunisia
views itself as a leader in science and technology in Africa
and is eager to play an international role. In June 2007,
Tunisia hosted a World Federation of Engineering Organization
conference for women in engineering.

3. Post requests an NSF fellow with expertise in engineering,
preferably power or environmental. The NSF has previously
funded several successful collaborations between US and
Tunisian universities and there is great potential for future
cooperation. A Science Fellow from the NSF would work
closely with the Ministry of Higher Education and
institutions like the Cite des Sciences (Science City) to
identify potential research and educational partnerships with
US partner institutions. The Cite des Sciences hosts
exhibitions and lectures and serves as a resource for
Tunisian schools and universities. In the field of
engineering, currently the Ecole Polytechnique, Tunisia's
premier engineering university, is the only Tunisian
institution to have partnerships with US universities. Ecole
Polytechnique has partnerships with Virginia Tech and the
University of Houston that involve student exchanges, joint
research, and faculty workshops and seminars. The Cite des
Sciences is a publicly-funded institute that aims to
familiarize the Tunisian population with science and
technology, making it a natural partner for the NSF.

4. While in Tunisia, the Science Fellow will visit
educational and research institutions throughout the country
and will also have the opportunity to participate in Embassy
public diplomacy efforts. US speakers with a scientific
background have been enthusiastically received by the
Tunisian public. The Fellow may also give lectures and
conduct workshops at the universities and institutions he/she
visits.

5. French or Arabic language skills are preferable to
facilitate outreach activities such as seminars and
interviews, but are not required. English is increasingly
being used as the language of instruction in engineering. The
Embassy will provide housing and work space for the Fellow.
The Public Affairs Section will provide logistical support.
Post requests a timeframe of two months between November and
February to coincide with the school year. As the assignment
will be less than 60 days, the Fellow will not require a
medical clearance. A security clearance is not required.

6. Embassy POC: Economic/ESTH Officer Victoria Taylor, Tel:
216-71-107-431, Fax: 216-71-107-090, E-mail:
TaylorVJ@state.gov.

Please visit Embassy Tunis' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/tunis/index.c fm
GODEC

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