L’Oreal – UNESCO Women in Science Award Ceremony



Leaving Beaune, I headed to Paris by TVG.  The purpose of my visit is to participate in 2010 L’Oreal-UNESCO ‘Women in Science’ award ceremony.   The five Laureates, one from five regions of the world, were equally wonderful.  Drs. Elizabeth Blackburn and Ada Yonath, the winner of 2008 in biology and life sciences, were Nobel Laureates of 2009, and  naturally everyone associated with L’Oreal UNESCO award was happy about the good news.No matter how many times I return here, Paris always show her great charm.  The weather was a bit cold but clear.  After being interviewed as the member of the jury I went out to enjoy light lunch with Mr. Watanabe and Mr. Sakashita of UNESCO at ‘il Vino ? Enrico Bernardo’.

The awarding ceremony at UNESCO is always in style.  The event opened with the welcome speeches by Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO who assumed the office after Mr. Matsuura, and by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman of L’Oreal (top photo) followed by introduction of 15 international fellows.  Ms Christine Ockrent (top photo, center), a journalist well known in France and US again hosted the ceremony in her own lively rhythm.  She is married to current Foreign Minister of French Government and also a co-founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Dr Bernard Kouchner .

Dr Cruz

Photo1: Dr. Cruz (to her right is Professor Gunter Blobel, Chair of the jury)

The laureate of this year from Asia is Dr. Cruz of the Philippines (photo 1).  She succeeded in isolating conotoxin, quite a neurotoxin, from local shellfish known to be poisonous.  The process somewhat reminds us of the isolation of tetrodotoxin from blowfish or ‘Fugu”.  I am delighted to see such scientist being selected for the prize.

Acceptance speech by each winner, thought short, was filled with moving stories of their career and family. 

Below is a snap shot of 4 Japanese women working at UNESCO and myself during the reception in UNESCO.

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Photo2: With four Japanese women working at UNESCO