L’Oréal And Unesco Present The 4Th Edition Of The Program
For Women In Science Foundation

Paris, 6th March 2002

  • 5 Laureates honored for their major contribution to the advancement of science
  • 10 Fellowships awarded to young women scientists to support their research

The L’Oréal/UNESCO Awards and Fellowships were presented today by Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of L'ORÉAL, and Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO at Unesco headquarters in Paris.

The 5 Laureates of the L’Oréal Prize "For Women in Science" with the support of UNESCO, were selected by an independent jury of international scientific figures, chaired by Professor Christian de Duve, 1974 Nobel Prize for Medicine. Each Laureate receives US$ 20,000.

Christian de Duve highlighted the diversity of the 2002 awards: “We have been given a magnificent panorama of science at the service of humanity: from fundamental research to clinical applications, via the development of fundamental technologies.”

  • Nagwa MEGUID, who practises in Egypt, is a geneticist working on the prevention of mental illnesses and Down’s syndrome.
  • Shirley TILGHMAN, in the United States, the first female President of Princeton University, took part in the first cloning of a mammal gene. She later revolutionized genetics by showing that a gene’s expression depends on the parental origin of the chromosome.
  • Ana Maria LƠPEZ-COLOMÉ, in Mexico, devotes herself to the study of diseases of the retina leading to total sight loss.
  • Indira NATH, in India, a world authority in the field of leprosy, is behind a major advance in developing medication and vaccines for treating this disease which affects 1.5 million people in her country.
  • Mary OSBORN, in Germany, developed immunofluorescence microscopy, used on a daily basis by researchers all over the world. Her work has a great many applications, especially in the diagnosis of tumours in humans.
At the same ceremony, Professor Marianne GRUNBERG MANAGO, Emeritus Director of Research at the CNRS and former President of the French Academy of Sciences, received the L’OREAL TRIBUTE TO A LIFE ACHIEVEMENT for her major contribution to science, in particular her now famous work on the genetic code. Her exceptional career makes her one of the greatest scientists of our time.

The UNESCO / L’Oréal Fellowships were awarded to ten women scientists to support promising projects in research units all over the world. Each grant is worth approximately US$ 10,000.

The recipients are:
  • Namrita LALL, South Africa - Bacteriology
  • Djeneba Konate KEITA, Mali - Environment
  • Giovanna Elisabeth SOTIL CAYCHO, Peru - Biodiversity
  • Rahanna Alicia JUMAN, Trinidad and Tobago - Environment
  • Hasina AKHTER, Bangladesh - Biotechnology
  • Jennifer Louise SMITH, New Zealand - Enzymology
  • Salma BISBIS, Morocco - Nutrition
  • Mounira HMANI AIFA, Tunisia - Genetics
  • Anila PAPARISTO, Albania – Molecular biology
  • Andrea HICKEL, Austria - Biophysics
51 women scientists from 44 different countries have been honored, and as a consequence have become models for the future generation.

During the ceremony, Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of L'ORÉAL, and Koichiro Matsuura, Director general of UNESCO, expressed their common wish to continue their commitment to promoting the role of women in the development.

"What is essential to us is that these scientific women are role models for the younger generations. Through their experiences, they encourage women from all the continents to pursue scientific careers.", said Lindsay Owen-Jones.

"The marked preference of women for the life sciences gives us reason to hope that their choices will serve better public interest and well-being, as well as the goal of peace, than is presently the case," Mr Matsuura declared. The Director-General also insisted on the exemplary nature of the partnership with L'ORÉAL and expressed the desire to explore and develop other such partnerships between the Organization and the private sector,which at present, he said, were "rare and too timid".

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