The North Africa and Middle East Science centers network (NAMES) was launched on 30 January 2006 during a meeting initiated and organized by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center.The purpose of creating NAMES is to foster cooperation between existing science centers and museums in North Africa and the Middle East with the aim of benefiting from all available resources and experiences within the region to further enhance the role of all member establishments. The network also aims to help establish new science centers and museums in all countries of the region.The goal of NAMES is the popularization of science throughout the region by enhancing the public understanding and involvement in science and scientific culture among an increasingly diverse audience.
The purpose and goal of NAMES are to be achieved through excellence and innovation in informal education and by offering hands-on activities where the audience can indulge in participatory learning.There is a worldwide consensus that a sustainable culture of innovation will depend on more young people being interested in the future of science and technology. This interest must be nurtured and developed at a very early age through formal education in schools as well as informal education.
A Science Center is an informal educational center for promoting science and technology; including science museums, aquariums, planetariums, zoos, botanical gardens, space theaters and natural history museums.
For a science center to really achieve its goal of disseminating science and technology among the public in general and children in particular, it has to grow and change continuously to keep attracting audience. The most effective way to do so is through opening up to the fast developing world and cooperating with similar establishments regionally and internationally.