Under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Saad Hariri, the regional program of L’Oréal – UNESCO For Women in Science honors seven women scientists from the Arab world

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Beirut, October 9th, 2017: Under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Saad Hariri, represented by His Excellency the Minister for Women’s Affairs, Mr. Jean Oghassabian, and in presence of Her Excellency the Minister of Administrative Development, Doctor Inaya Ezzeddine, the L’Oréal – UNESCO For Women in Science Levant and Egypt program honoured 7 Arab women researchers for their promising scientific projects, during an Award Ceremony held on Thursday October 5, at Ecole Supérieure des Affaires (ESA) – Beirut.

Before an audience of official, diplomatic, scientific, academic, and media representatives, Professor Mouin Hamzé, Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon, Mr. Phillippe Patsalides, General Manager of L’Oréal Levant, and Doctor Claudia Abi Nader, representative of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, rewarded 7 researchers coming from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria for their exceptional work.

The seven women scientists were honoured thanks to their promising research projects in various fields, such as computer engineering, microbial environment, pharmacology, microbiology and molecular biology, and received fellowships, from the L’Oréal – UNESCO program to help them pursue their research in their respective fields.

Selected by a panel of eminent scholars from across the region, chaired by Professor Mouin Hamzé, the seven fellows for 2017 are:

– Dr. Areej Abuhammad – Jordan: Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Jordan; specializing in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery.

Dr. Arwa Al-Shuwaikh – Iraq: Assistant Professor, at the Microbiology Department, Faculty of Medicine of Nahrain University in Baghdad; specializing in Molecular Virology.

Dr. Elise Noujeim – Lebanon: Researcher in the National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon; specializing in Microbial Ecology and Biological Control.

Dr. Menattallah Elserafy – Egypt: Researcher at the Center for Genomics – Zewail City of Science and Technology; specializing in Molecular Biology and Genetics.

Mrs. Basma Mostafa – Egypt: Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Computers and Information – Cairo University, and PhD researcher at the Laboratoire d’Informatique, de Robotique et de Microélectronique – University of Montpellier, France; specializing in Optimization and Mathematical Models.

Mrs. Carine Jaafar – Lebanon: PhD student in the Cell and Molecular Biology Program at the American University of Beirut; specializing in Molecular Biology and Biology.

Ms. Nour Ghadban – Syria: PhD student in Computer and Automatic Control, in the Engineering Department Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Tishreen University, Lattakia; specialized in Audio Visual Speech Recognition.

L’Oréal – UNESCO For Women in Science Levant & Egypt was first launched in 2014. For its fourth edition this year, the objective remained the same: to highlight the key role that women play in the advancement of scientific research, and recognize their active contribution to making the world a better place for future generations.

HE Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, Mr. Jean Oghassabian, gave a speech in which he praised the L’Oréal – UNESCO For Women in Science program, and commended the program’s trustees for their role in highlighting the achievements of Arab women scientists, and their participation in the development of the region.

In his speech Mr. Phillippe Patsalides, General Manager of L’Oréal Levant, stated: “This ceremony is a distinguished opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to honor the women who are capable of changing the world. The scientists awarded today, have proven that scientific progress is impossible without women. As they overcome obstacles and push boundaries, they make the impossible, possible, for the sake of humanity. After 19 years of the L’Oréal – UNESCO For Women in Science, this initiative remains a unique and unparalleled program, proving its success year after year. The increasing number of candidates in 2017 proves that women’s presence in science is growing.”

Dr. Claudia Abi Nader, representative of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO expressed her pride as a partner of the program, but also as a woman from the Arab world. She also acknowledged that L’Oréal – UNESCO For Women in Science program is a solid proof that Arab women are capable of succeeding against adversity and overcoming obstacles despite all the difficulties.

Dr. Mouin Hamzé, President of the jury, and Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research-Lebanon also commented by saying: “This year’s selection of seven winners confirms the increasing ambition of Arab women and their growing interest in scientific research.” He then addressed the winners: “As proud as we are today, you carry a responsibility to encourage the next generation of women to take science as a profession. Your achievements have proven that science needs women, because women in science have the power to change the world. Indeed, Science remains the main driver for building the economy, and scientific research is the key pillar for the progress and development of the Arab society and its components. “

Since its inception in 1998, the L’Oréal – UNESCO For Women in Science program has achieved great progress in women’s participation and roles in science. As of this year, the total number of women scientists that were awarded the program’s fellowship reached 2,820 women, of whom 2723 won fellowships from 115 countries around the world, among them are more than 100 fellows from the Arab World. Additionally, 97 women won the distinctive title of Laureate for their achievements in science, and two among them were awarded the Nobel Prize.

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