Science, Technology, Innovation and Development
Beginning in the 1980s, Usama became interested in the role of basic science research and applied research and technology in the economic and social development of the Arab region. While in Bahrain in the late 1980s, he began working with long-time friend, and then Minister of Industry Youssef Al-Shirawi on ways to encourage the development of appropriate technology and to support Arab scientists contribute to the thinking on the subject. After leaving the Arabian Gulf University, he acted as Advisor to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Bahrain promoting technology and industrial incubation schemes. He was particularly drawn to the experiences of Ireland, South Korea and Japan as examples where economic progress and development were driven by technological advancements and the role of government in supporting academic and research institutions. In 1995, Usama and Youssef Al-Shirawi, published a book called “The Meaning of Technology” in which they argued for the importance of the relationship between basic science research and technological advances and the imperative of Arab countries to take science, technology and innovation more seriously.
Selected books and articles by (or about) Usama al-Khalidi on the subject are listed below:
- "A Role for Basic Medical Research?”, Article in Bahrain Medical Bulletin, April 1985
- The Meaning of Technology معنى التكنولوجيا, Book written with Youssef Al-Shirawi, 1995
- The Price of Ignorance, Book written with Munir Shama’a, 2007
- Interview with Usama al-Khalidi on the Virtual Centre for Biotechnology, 2007
- Article in Al-Akhbar newspaper, لدينا العلم، لماذا نفتقر إلى التكنولوجيا؟, January 2008
- Article in Al-Akhbar newspaper, تحويل العلم الأساسي إلى تكنولوجيا, February 2008
- “Reforming Technology in the Arab World”, Book Review on “The Meaning of Technology”, in Al-Wasat, 3 May 2015
Reforming the Education System
Usama was equally passionate about the role of education in development, and spent much of his career finding innovative teaching methods in the classroom, as well as making the case with policy makers for the reform of the education system in the Arab world. Usama was particularly impressed with the Problem Based Learning approach adopted by McMaster University in Canada, and it was this approach that he introduced to the newly opened Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain where he served as Dean of the Medical School and Professor of Biochemistry from 1983 - 1993. Usama also advised the American University of Beirut Medical School on introducing problem based learning into their curriculum.
Selected articles by Usama al-Khalidi on education are listed below:
- On the importance of reforming official examinations: عند الإمعان... يُكرم الامتحان أو يُهان
- On teaching basic sciences: الأمِّيَّة العلميَّة: دعوة إلى إعادة نظر جذرية في تدريس العلوم