Beirut, April 4, 2017:
During the 19th edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO “For Women in Science” Awards Ceremony that took place at the Maison de la Mutualité in Paris, on the 23rd of March 2017, five exceptional women scientists, one per continent, were honoured by the international scientific community for their world-changing discoveries. Among them, was the Lebanese Professor Niveen Khashab, who was awarded the 2017 International Laureate for Africa and the Arab States, for designing novel nanoparticles that could improve early detection of disease.
The program also supports the achievements of younger women who are in the early stages of their scientific careers. Among 250 national and regional fellows, 15 most promising women scientists were recognized this year as International Rising Talent, including two Lebanese women scientists, Dr. Tamara Elzein and Dr. Nazek Al-Atab.
In Lebanon, President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri celebrated the winners’ international success by receiving them at the Presidential Palace and the Grand Serail, respectively, on the 31st of March 2017, emphasizing the importance of supporting Lebanese women, and specifically those in science.
On this occasion, The L’Oréal – UNESCO “For Women in Science” Levant and Egypt program recognized these remarkable Lebanese women scientists for their outstanding accomplishments during a round table held at Phoenicia Hotel, on the 4th of April 2017. The event was attended by Mr. Phillippe Patsalides, General Manager of L’Oréal Levant, Professor Mouin Hamzé, Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon, and Dr Zahida Darwiche Jabbour, Secretary General of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, along with a crowd of renowned political and academic figures, in addition to media representatives.
During his speech, Mr. Phillippe Patsalides, General Manager of L’Oréal Levant, recalled: “The L’Oreal –UNESCO ‘For Women in Science’ program has been supporting women scientists for 19 years around the world. This year’s Lebanese Laureate and International Rising Talents, along with the brilliant Lebanese women scientists who preceded them, are placing Lebanon on the worldwide map of scientific success and proving that Lebanon has a huge potential of excellent women scientists.”
He continued: “We are proud of our partnership with the National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon, which allowed the regional edition of the program, to encourage women scientists in the Levant region and Egypt, offering them a solid platform to advance their research and promote it on a global scale.”
The panel discussion, animated by Dr. Zahida Darwiche Jabbour, Secretary General of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, provided the three winners with an opportunity to explain their projects, share their experience in regards to the role of women in science and, above all, encourage the younger generation of women to take science as a career, driven by their strong belief that science needs women and women in science have the power the change the world.
Professor Mouin Hamzé, Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon, said: “By obtaining international recognition, these distinguished women further prove the strong ambition of Arab women scientists to overcome barriers against women’s potential in science” and concluded: “The L’Oréal – UNESCO Levant and Egypt program promotes the vital role of women scientists who have the power to change the world. Today their researches are a source of considerable inspiration for the new generation of women scientists in the region.”
Since its inception in 1998, the L’Oréal – UNESCO “For Women in Science” program has achieved great strides. As of this year, the total number of women scientists that were honoured reached 2,820 women from 115 countries, of which 2723 won fellowshipsand 97 women won the distinctive title of Laureate, and two among them are also Nobel Prize winners.