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International young scientists converge in South Africa

May 17, 2012

The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) will be hosting an International Conference and the General Assembly of the Global Young Academy (GYA) from 20-23 May 2012. Mrs Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, will open the Conference with a keynote address on the theme of the event – Sustainability: Lessons on the road between Rio and Rio+20. Rio+20 is the short name for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. As the main sponsor of the event the Department of Science and Technoloy (DST) has shown their support for SAYAS and its ethos to give a voice to young scientists, to promote science as a career of choice for young people, to narrow the gap between science in developed and developing countries and to encourage the development of novel approaches to problems of international significance. SAYAS was launched last year and has an initial membership number of 20 young scientists. Hosting the 2012 GYA General Assembly offers South Africa and Africa an unique opportunity since the event is likely to be one of the most prominent science events in the region in 2012 and will serve as a motivating factor for young scientists to fully participate in national and global scientific issues. The event will be attended by a large number of top young scientists, invited senior scientists and science administrators from around the world. As the ‘voice of young scientists around the world’, the GYA seeks to mobilise young scientists in their creative prime. It will provide a rallying point for outstanding young scientists from around the world to come together to address topics of global importance. Prof Gregory Weiss from the University of California, Irvine and GYA co-chair stated that “We fully support South Africa’s leadership in promoting young scientists, and want to be in South Africa at this historic time as a tangible demonstration of this support. We are very much looking forward to holding our General Assembly meeting there.” In collaborations with South African institutions of higher learning, attendees of the General Assembly and Conference have agreed to engage in outreach activities. These outreach activities will include presentations of their work at universities, building of networks for further research collaboration, and science outreach to schools and science development centres in South Africa. The conference is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Instituteat the University of Pretoria (FABI, UP), the Global Network of Science Academies (IAP), the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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