News / Africa

Women Scientists Honored At Pan African University Launch

Prof. Dosso Mireille Carmen of Ivory Coast and Prof. Dr. Ebtehal El Demerdash of Egypt at AU headquarters to receive the Kwame Nkrumah Science Prize, December 14, 2011.
Prof. Dosso Mireille Carmen of Ivory Coast and Prof. Dr. Ebtehal El Demerdash of Egypt at AU headquarters to receive the Kwame Nkrumah Science Prize, December 14, 2011.

Several of Africa's top women scientists have been honored at ceremonies to mark the founding of a new Pan African University. 

The Kwame Nkrumah Science Awards for 2011 went to seven women for outstanding achievements and valuable scientific discoveries. The annual prize carries with it a $20,000 check and a silver medal.

Etheresia Pretorius of South Africa won for electron microscopy research into inflammations within the human body.  She calls microscopy an open field because it's an older technique, often overlooked by scientists looking for something more exciting to investigate.

"I try to use the techniques of microscopy to find something new, something that might be used as a screening tool, a cheap screening tool used to detect disease long before it's visible in the human," Pretorius said.

Pretorius tells VOA she plans to use a large part of her prize money to give orphan girls in her home town a chance to explore possible careers in science. “We've got a lot of orphan girls, and there's an orphanage not very far from my hometown, Pretoria, and I thought myself and my husband would like to contribute to a girl, [a] woman, to come up and study something, some way,” she said.

Other winners include Rose Gana Fomban Leke of Cameroon for her groundbreaking research on prevention of malaria and other parasitic infections, and Ebtehal El-Demerdash of Egypt, for  research on modern drugs used in treating forms of cancer most resistant to chemotherapy.

Dosso Mireille Carmen of Ivory Coast was chosen for studies on epidemiological surveillance of infectious diseases.  Kakou Yao Rita, also of Ivory Coast, won for her contributions to the understanding of infrared spectroscopy and crystallography.

Maureen Coetzee of South Africa, a world renowned entomologist, was recognized for malaria research, including insecticide resistance and novel ways of controlling the disease.  Nermin El Semary of Egypt was named for her investigations into the biotechnological aspects of microalgae.

The prizes were awarded at a ceremony establishing a new Pan African University, which will have five campuses, each specializing in a specific field of science.

A college dedicated to space science will be in South Africa, a college of water and energy sciences will be located in Algeria, and an institution for the study of basic sciences, technology and innovation will be hosted by the Jomo Kenyatta University in Kenya.

The University of Ibadan in Nigeria will be home to a college for life and earth sciences, and the University of Yaounde in Cameroon will house a school for governance, humanities and social sciences.

The European Union is funding a large chunk of the Pan African University project.  EU diplomat Harry Debaker said the idea is to foster a European-like environment where African universities attract students from all over the continent. “I very much hope that in a future speech I could end by saying that 'across Africa, millions of students are pursuing their studies in countries which are not their own, often in languages which are not their own',” he said.

An Egyptian representative at the university launch noted that much of North Africa had gone through its Arab Spring in politics.  Now, he said, it is time for the continent to experience a spring in science and technology.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs