19.07.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Award ceremony of the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences

© UNESCO/L.RukingamubiriLauréqts prix unesco_guinée équatorial 2012

The UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences was awarded in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on 17 July. Three laureates - Maged Al-Sherbiny from Egypt; Felix Dapare Dakora, South Africa; and Rossana Arroyo Verastegui, Mexico shared the Prize.

The Prize of a total value of US$ 300,000 distinguishes individuals, institutions or organisations for scientific research in the life sciences that improve the quality of human life.

The Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, Ignacio Milam Tang, took part in the ceremony. François Abiola, Minister of Higher Education and Research of Benin represented H.E. Dr Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin and Chairperson of the African Union and Rodolphe Adada, State Minister of Congo, represented H.E. Mr Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo.

Getachew Engida, the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, awarded the Prize on behalf of the Organization’s Director-General and stressed that “UNESCO was created to facilitate the sharing of knowledge between researchers.”

“The world and Africa in particular, need science. Hence the need to promote it,” said Vice President, Ignacio Milam Tang of Equatorial Guinea, which funds the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.

In his address at the ceremony Maged Al-Sherbiny emphasized the value of the Prize, as Africa’s first international scientific award. He also stressed the importance of scientific networks if Africa to tackle the health challenges the continent is facing, which include the Hepatitis C and Schistosomiasis diseases on which he is working.

Born in 1963, Maged Al-Sharbiny is the President of the Centre for Science and Technology of the Non-aligned Movement and President of Egypt’s Academy of Scientific Research and Technology. He is also Vice Minister of Scientific Research.

Rossana Arroyo Verastegui spoke of her commitment to women’s health in fighting one of the most widely spread sexually-transmitted diseases. She welcomed the Prize for its contribution to the development of fundamental research.

Born in 1955, Rossana Arroyo Verastegui is Professor at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico.

Felix Dapare Dakora of South Africa spoke of his commitment to improving soil utilization in the quest to fight food scarcity and contribute to human health. He w<a name="_GoBack"></a>elcomed the Prize and highlighted Africa’s pressing need to train a new generation of researchers.

Dakora, born in 1952, holds the South African Research Chair in Agrochemurgy and Plant Symbioses at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria. His work focuses on the molecular ‘conversation’ between legumes and soil.

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