The Director-General presents the 2008 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science

The Director-General presents the 2008 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On Thursday, 6 March 2008, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, and Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman and CEO of L’ORÉAL, presented the 2008 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science.

Based on the principle of excellence, every year the Prize recognizes five outstanding researchers, one each from Africa and Arab States, Latin America, North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, who have contributed to the progress of science. Each of these laureates receives a US$100,000 prize.

This year the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The Director-General thus welcomed, for the first time, close to 40 out of the 52 total laureates of the Prize to the ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The ceremony also saw the awarding of 15 women, three from each of the five continents, 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. The L’ORÉAL National Fellowships, supported by UNESCO National Commissions in 35 countries constitute a third element of this partnership. It was developed to help women pursue their studies in science.

The Director-General began his opening address by thanking Sir Owen Jones for the strong commitment he has demonstrated to the Prize over its 10 years of existence, and for his role in the successful partnership between UNESCO and L’ORÉAL. Mr Matsuura also acknowledged Mrs Béatrice Dautresme, Director-General of Fondation L’ORÉAL, and Pr Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, for their crucial role in the creation of the Prize.

Mr Matsuura recalled that “since the first four laureates were rewarded in 1998, we have built a network of more than 500 laureates and fellows from all parts of the world.” The Director-General congratulated this year’s laureates and expressed his “admiration for their exemplary role in the scientific community and the youth of the world.” He continued: “by the exceptional quality of your works and the variety of your careers, you represent a new generation of scientists. For today’s young girls, you are their role models and examples to follow.”

The Laureates for the year 2008 are: Lihadh Al-Gazali (United Arab Emirates), for Africa and Arab States; Ana Belén Elgoyhen (Argentina), for Latin America; Elizabeth Blackburn (United States), for North America; V. Narry Kim (South Korea), for Asia-Pacific; and Ada Yonath (Israel), for Europe.

Marking the 10 years of the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards, the Director-General and Sir Owen Jones signed ‘The L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Charter For Women in Science’, which had been previously signed by all the laureates present at the Awards ceremony. The 10-point Charter engages the Fondation L’ORÉAL, UNESCO, and the laureates to promote and support the role of women in science.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 032-2008
  • 10-03-2008
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific