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OSB partners with Stanford University in collaboration for women data scientists
2/3/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

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​The Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference was held in a joint partnership between the American University of Beirut Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) and Stanford University. Bringing together academics and professionals in the industrial and entrepreneurial sectors working in data science, the conference focused on data science research, practices, and educational collaborations in the Middle East region.

The one-day conference was an opportunity to learn about the latest data science research as well as practices and to connect regional researchers and practitioners to global data science networks. The conference also served as a platform to exchange ideas and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration that promotes a higher representation of women in data science.

Data Science is a new and growing field that involves collecting data, processing it, and analyzing it, using tools and techniques, in order to extract information for better decision-making.

“There is no doubt that data science is a key transforming force of business and as such these kinds of activities are much in line with OSB's mission to transform the business thinking in the region," ​Fida Kanaan, director of Executive Education at OSB and Stanford WiDS's co-ambassador, told us.

The aim of the conference was to create awareness about the data science field, connect local data scientists to pioneering global networks, encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, establish mentorships, and encourage women to join the field. It offered a platform that promotes a higher representation of women in data science and exposes the latest data science research and practices.

“We cannot afford to live in a society that discourages half the population from careers in this exciting field," said Dr. Lama Moussawi-Haidar, WiDS's ambassador and associate professor in management science at OSB, in her opening talk. “When there is a difficult challenge to address, and our world is full of difficult challenges, we need diversity of thought and diversity of approaches to get to the right solutions."

The conference also provided an opportunity to hear about the latest data science related research in multiple domains and learn how leading-edge companies are leveraging data science for success.

“Institutions like AUB are poised not just to be shaped by these developments but also to help shape the emerging world that is appearing before our eyes at this most challenging, exciting time," said Presid​ent Fadlo R. Khuri. “Data science is a very new field – certainly much younger than either AUB or Stanford – but it is developing in such a bewildering pace that the months and years we are currently living will soon seem like a Late Stone Age to future generations. I am genuinely proud and optimistic that AUB has and will continue to take the lead regionally in this Brave New World. With these fabulous women faculty, how could we not?"

The conference revolved around three tracks that presented four talks each. Speakers of the first track on “applications of data science in healthcare" came from the medical and health care fields and included researchers, medical doctors, and industry experts. The second track, on “applications of data science in technology," presented expert researchers and industry experts in engineering and Information Technology. “Applications of data science in business" was the third track, with business researchers and industry experts as speakers. Three roundtable discussions were also held, offering presentations by experts on the application of data science, data privacy, and data science in the Internet of Things.

“We are firm believers that data science has the potential to be a key transforming force for positive change," said Associate Dean for Research and Professor, Dr. Dima Jamali, representing Dean of OSB, Dr. Steve Harvey. “This is aligned with the mission of OSB to lead the next wave of change and transform business thinking in the MENA region." Dr. Jamali announced the recent launching of a new master's program in Business Analytics at OSB and the current incubation of a PhD Program that has a core Business Analytics track component.

The newly launched conference will be held annually, as more initiatives, educational programs, and interdisciplinary collaboration are expected to develop.

“We are taking the leading role in the executive education and business analytics and see WiDS as a further indication of our determination to be among the pacesetters in the Middle East," Dean of OSB, Dr. Steve Harvey, told us. “This conference is just the beginning of other initiatives being planned for the years ahead."​
Story Highlights
  • ​​​​The Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference was held in a joint partnership between the American University of Beirut Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) and Stanford University. Bringing together academics and professionals in the industrial and entrepreneurial sectors working in data science, the conference focused on data science research, practices, and educational collaborations in the Middle East region.

 
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