UNESCO-L’Oreal prize and incredible female scientists


There is a cosmetic company named L’Oreal.  I arrived in Paris in the morning of October 4th.  I was invited as a selection committee member of the UNESCO-L’Oreal prize conducted by UNESCO to commend incredible female scientists.

The hotel I staied was Hilton which is near Arch of Triumph, the Japanese embassy, and the OECD Office of Japan.  I had lunch with the UNESCO Ambassador Kondo in the official residence and got acquainted with Mr. Akiba and Mr. Sakashita of the Science council and also accompanied by Mr. Shigeru Ban, who is a world famous architect (Picture 1).  Presently he visits Paris every 2 weeks each month for the construction of the second centre which he won in an international competition.

Moreover, Mr. Kondo, the ambassador, has also a deep knowledge of culture and has also a book to his name called “Paris from the Malmasion Woods: 24 essays about the diplomacy and culture.”  Rising above all the expectations, he was deeply involved in the World Heritage selection of Iwami Ginzan at the conference of UNESCO in June.  The perspective of “environment” was highly evaluated.  This is an era.  At the end of June, when ambassador Kondo left Paris CDG airport for a conference at New Zealand, I was waiting at the airport for a flight to Tokyo and so we had dinner together.


Picture1 From right- Mr. Saka, myself, Ambassador Kondo, Mr. Akiba

The selection for the L’Oreal prize was on the 5th, the selection committee head was Nobel prize winner Gunter Blobel and committee members were past award recipients all of whom were great people.  An old friend Mr. Nalecz(from Poland) was the representative from UNESCO.  I met him after 3 years.  5-10 people were recommended from each continent(North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa-Arab) and since all were incredible it was difficult to choose.  5 people from each region were selected after a lively discussion.  Please see the web site for the result.  A grand business plan seems to be planned with the ceremony in Paris on the tenth anniversary of UNESCO-L'Oreal prize next March.  Up till now, Ms. Tsuneko Okazaki and Ms. Fumiko Yonezawa of Science Council of Japan, had participated as the Japanese winners.


Picture2 With Mr. Nalecz


Picture3 Selection Committee

In the evening, I went to the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra concert. Myung-Whun Chung is the musical director here. The second number of the Brahms Concerto for Piano was played.  The conductor was Gustavo Dudamel, and Piano by Leif Ove Andsnes.  After the performance I excused myself and went to the Paris CDG airport.  I left for home by Air France at 23:30 from the same CDG airport where I had met ambassador Kondo last time.


Picture 4 Evening Orchestra

Come to think of it, this L’Oreal prize has excellent global advertising communication strategy.  In the global era, this type of special contribution from industries is considered very important as CSR, and is evaluated as intangible value.  Hence, it is necessary that the Japanese industries contribute likewise more and more.