The Sharing Knowledge Foundation was created on the 31 October 2006 by the physicist Robert Klapsich, Director of Research of CERN from 1981 to 1987. Its creation extends Robert Klapisch’s initiative of organising and co-organising since 2002 the “Sharing Knowledge” conferences, during his tenure as President of the French Association for the Advancement of Science (AFAS). The Foundation considers that there can be no sustainable development if we ignore the aspirations of a growing part of humanity, living to the South and East of the Mediterranean Sea, to have access to the basic living standards we enjoy in European countries. Our ambition is to reinstate cooperation and dialogue around the Mediterranean, which has become the most unequal border on earth and a cemetery for many migrants fleeing war and poverty. The major transformations that Africa and the Middle East are undergoing are not fully appreciated. Crises, wars and poverty in Africa and the Middle East hide a new reality; these regions are evolving to become promising markets with a growing young urban middle class. No company or government strategy should ignore this development. The Sharing Knowledge Foundation, based in Geneva and recognized as a public-interest organization, responds to the challenges of this emergence.
The Foundation developed a multidisciplinary network of experts and decision-makers for Civil Society, based on objectivity and on the capacity of dialogue between scientific communities (500 senior professionals coming from 45 different countries). This community works like a Think Tank adressing pressing challenges on topics such as Science and Knowledge Sharing, Energy, Water and Water Stress, Food Security and Agriculture, Public Health and Sanitation, Transport, Governance and Financial Structures. Since 2016, the creation of a plateform on our website materialises the will to open our network of experts to the public and share our knowledge.
The Foundation and members of its network meet for workshops and, more regularly, for annual multidiscpinary conferences, to review progress made in projects and to discuss on new priorities and topics. Our conferences are thus among the few where different actors involved in the development process can meet. Our Foundation allow scientists, politicians, company leaders, bankers and financiers to find common ground and to formulate recommendations for achieving concrete and useful industrial, social and regulatory projects for a sustainable development.
The Foundation doesn’t have the ambition nor the means to conduct itself the implementation of its recommendations. The Foundation searches for relays and, competent and legitimate structures in order to ensure funding and development. Despite its limited resources, the Foundation achieved some concrete results. The latest one is the creation of a scholarship allowing postgraduate students from Middle East to come to CERN to complete their PhD. For this purpose, the Foundation concluded in 2009 an agreement with CERN and Morocco. Since 2013, this agreement has been extended and expanded to include all MENA region.
The Foundation launched in 2016 the Sharing Knowledge Award. This prize is as a way of honouring individuals working to improve dialogue between scientists from around the Mediterranean region, to establish networks leading to concrete projects focusing on sustainable development, or encouraging the reduction of inequalities between nations. The first laureate of this prize is the Israeli physicist George Mikenberg.