In DepthScience Diplomacy

Blockade harms Qatari science

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Science  22 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6370, pp. 1519
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6370.1519

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For the third year running, Qatar last week put on a major conference in Doha showcasing the Middle East’s growing efforts in genomics and precision medicine. But unlike in previous years, star speakers from Saudi Arabia were absent from the event. That nation and three others—Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt—abruptly severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in early June, citing the Qatari government’s purported support for terrorism. After Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain ordered their citizens to leave Qatar, students and visiting scientists had to pack their bags, along with Qataris in the blockade countries. They also imposed sanctions on the gulf state, which are hampering its decadelong effort to build a world-class scientific infrastructure and catalyze research in the region.

  • With reporting by Eli Kintisch.