The Contribution of Science Diplomacy to Africa’s Development

The Contribution of Science Diplomacy to Africa’s Development 2016-11-07T09:49:08+00:00

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Chair: Dr Julia MacKenzie, American Association for the Advancement of Science, United States of America
Panellist: Mr Koji Omi, Japan, STS Forum
Panellist: Ms Anita Loots, South Africa, African VLBI Network (AVN) consortium
Panellist: Dr Khotso Mokhele, South Africa, Department of Science and Technology
Panellist: Dr Heide Hackmann, South Africa / Germany, International Council for Science
Panellist: Dr Bernie Fanaroff, South Africa, Square Kilometre Array South Africa
Panellist: Prof Pavel Kabat, Austria, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
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This session will celebrate the SFSA Science Diplomacy 2015 winners. The SFSA Science Diplomacy Awards are designed to recognise outstanding achievements in South Africa’s STI cooperation as well as global contributions to harnessing STI for international peace, solidarity and sustainable development.

The awardees will discuss in this session the importance of science diplomacy in the development of Africa and finding solutions to global challenges, as well as the contribution their award-winning science diplomacy made to South Africa’s development and a better Africa in a better world. This celebration of top science diplomats will highlight the importance of science diplomacy in Africa and the world.
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mackenzieDr Julia MacKenzie
American Association for the Advancement of Science, United States of America
Panellist

Julia MacKenzie is the Director of International Relations for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is a key adviser to AAAS’s Chief International Officer on development and expansion of bilateral and multilateral relationships. Julia leads implementation of AAAS internationalization efforts, including planning and supporting the development of international programs with AAAS programmatic units. Prior to AAAS, she was the Senior Technical Advisor within the Office of Research and Science at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. There, she coordinated and oversaw the centrally-funded research portfolio for PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), including three large multi-national randomized controlled trials in Africa. She also served as the Designated Federal Officer for the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board, an independent FACA-chartered advisory group to PEPFAR. As an expert in infectious diseases, her scientific career included research on HIV immunopathology, herpes simplex viral entry, and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. She received her doctorate degree in immunology and microbial pathogenesis at Northwestern University, as well as a master’s in public health.
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omiMr Koji Omi
STS Forum, Japan
Panellist

Koji Omi was born in 1932 in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. After graduation from Hitotsubashi University in 1956, he joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). On an assignment with MITI, he served as Consul at the Japanese Consulate in New York from 1970 to 1974. He established his reputation for proactive action in acquiring up-to-date world energy related information during the first oil shock in 1973. After assuming various key posts at MITI, such as Director of the South Asia & Eastern Europe Division, Trade Policy Bureau, and Director of the Small Enterprise Policy Division, Small & Medium Enterprise Agency (S & MEA), Koji Omi resigned from MITI in 1982 to run for the House of Representatives (lower house). He was elected in 1983 for the No.1 Gunma district with the largest number of votes won by a new independent candidate. During his 26 years of service until August 2009 in the House, Koji Omi held prominent positions in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and served three times as Cabinet Member namely Minister of Finance (2006 – 2007), Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs (2001-2002), and Minister of State for Economic Planning (1997 – 1998). Koji Omi is considered a key political figure and one of the most influential in the field of science and technology in Japan. One of his achievements includes the central role he played in enacting the Fundamental Law of Science and Technology in 1995. This law has contributed greatly toward making Japan a science and technology-oriented nation. As Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, and for Science and Technology, Koji Omi advocated for, and was very influential in promoting, the founding of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, an international and interdisciplinary graduate university. In 2004 he founded the Science and Technology in Society forum (STS forum), a non-profit organization, with the aim of building a worldwide network among scientists, policy makers, business people and journalists. STS forum has been successfully held annually in Kyoto, Japan, to discuss the “lights and shadows” of science and technology for the sake of humankind. Koji Omi was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science Policy & Technology by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in 2013 and another honorary doctorate from University of York in January 2014, and from University of Quebec in June 2014.
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lootsMs Anita Loots
Square Kilometre Array South Africa, South Africa
Panellist

Anita Loots is a professional engineer and Associate Director at the South African SKA project. On this panel, she represents the team responsible for the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry network of telescopes on the continent. This team received the Science Diplomacy Award in 2015. The project involves the establishment of a network of radio telescopes in Africa, that will work collaboratively as an African network and internationally as part of the European Network of VLBI telescopes. The project involves Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.
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mokheleDr Khotso Mokhele
Department of Science and Technology, South Africa
Panellist

Current service: Special Advisor to the Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa; Chancellor of the University of the Free State and Non-Executive Director on boards of several listed companies. Previous service: President/CEO of the Foundation of Research Development (1992-1999), President/CEO of the successor National Research Foundation (1999-2006) and Founder President of the Academy of Science of South Africa. He served on numerous structures that advised several Ministers in South Africa on research, science, higher education and skills development. He represented South Africa on the Executive Board of UNESCO (1997-2001). In these capacities he was one of the key players in setting the strategic direction for the emerging democratic South Africa. International roles include Vice-President: Scientific Planning and Review of the International Council for science (ICSU) (2005-2008) and service to UNESCO to assist the Caribbean Community (CARICom) with structuring their research, science, technology and innovation systems. He recently (2016) facilitated a Joint General Assembly of the ICSU and the International Social Sciences Council (ISSC) as they deliberated on best global institutional arrangements to ensure that all domains of science contribute maximally to finding solutions to the vexed challenges that currently confront humanity to ensure a sustainable future. His recognition awards include the Legion of Honour (Chevalier) awarded by the President of France and Honorary Doctorates from eight South African institutions as well Rutgers University, USA.
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hackmannDr Heide Hackmann
International Council for Science (ICSU), South Africa / Germany
Chair

Heide joined ICSU as Executive Director in March 2015, following eight years as Executive Director of the International Social Science Council. Heide read for a M.Phil. in contemporary social theory at the University of Cambridge, UK, and holds a Ph.D. in science and technology studies from the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She has worked as a science policy maker, researcher and consultant in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Before moving into the world of the international councils, Heide worked as Head of the Department of International Relations and Quality Assessment of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her career in science policy dates back to the early 1990s when she worked at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa. INGSA operates under the general aegis of ICSU.
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fanaroffDr Bernie Fanaroff
Square Kilometre Array South Africa, South Africa
Panellist

Dr Bernard Fanaroff was the Project Director of the South African Square Kilometre Array Telescope Project from its inception in 2003 until the end of 2015, and now works part-time as an adviser to the project. He holds a PhD in Radio Astronomy from Cambridge University and honorary doctorates from six South African universities, and is a Visiting Professor in Physics at Oxford University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has been awarded the national Order of Mapungubwe and has served on the boards of Eskom SOC and the South African National Biodiversity Institute. In 1994 he was appointed Deputy Director General in the Office of President Mandela and the Head of the Office for the Reconstruction and Development Programme. From 1997 he was the Deputy Director General of Safety and Security, Chairman of the Integrated Justice System Board and Chairman of the Inter-Departmental Steering Committee for Border Control. He was for seventeen years National Organiser and National Secretary of the Metal and Allied Workers Union and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
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kabatProf Pavel Kabat
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria
Panellist

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