The Director-General presents the 2007 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science

The Director-General presents the 2007 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, and Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman and CEO of L’ORÉAL, presented the 2007 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on Thursday, 22 February 2007.

For almost a decade UNESCO and L’ORÉAL have recognized five outstanding women researchers who have greatly contributed to scientific progress. Every year each Laureate, one from each continent, receives US$100,000.

The Director-General opened the ceremony by acknowledging and honouring the “faithful and generous cooperation of those involved in this Prize.” Notably: Pr. Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Nobel Prize in physics and President of this Prize’s international Jury, Pr. Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize in Medicine and Founding President of the Awards, and the members of the international Jury. He also paid particular tribute to Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman and CEO of L’ORÉAL, “with whom UNESCO builds an exemplary partnership, motive of renewed encouragement to pursue our action.”

In his address, Mr Matsuura underscored that “even though the social demands in favour of a more responsible and interdependent scientific ethic is growing, we notice an alarming loss of fondness by young people for a carrier in scientific research. If we do not take charge, this lack of interest can become a major handicap.”

The Director-General recalled that “we were the first ones, in 1998, to launch a scientific prize specifically destined to women”. “It was a question of rendering justice to women often disregarded from scientific acknowledgement and to value the high level of their scientific work. We are convinced that women’s gift of creativity will contribute to promote a diversified and innovative science, in line with the world’s evolution.”

Mr Matsuura congratulated the five Laureates for their “determination and enthusiasm” and for “knowing how to show how much women could contribute to science.” The Laureates for the year 2007 are: Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Mauritius), for Africa; Margaret Brimble (New Zealand), for Asia-Pacific; Tatiana Birshtein (Russia), for Europe; Ligia Gargallo (Chile), for Latin America; and Mildred Dresselhaus (USA), for North America.

The ceremony also awarded 15 post-doctorate women, three from each continent, with the UNESCO-L’ORÉAL International Fellowships. This fellowship of a maximum of US$40,000 over two years enables young scientists to continue research projects abroad. Since their creation, Fellowships have been awarded to 105 women from 62 countries.

The L’ORÉAL National Fellowships, supported by UNESCO National Commissions in 22 countries, constitute a third element of this partnership, and are generally given to doctoral students. These national programs will be extended to more than 50 countries by 2008, and more than 200 women have benefited from it thus far.

  • Author(s):La Porte-parole
  • Source:Flash Info N°030-2007
  • 26-02-2007
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific