UNESCO headquarters hosted a ceremony today to honor 15 exceptional women from all over the world with the prestigious UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellowships awards. Winners were honored for their work in the life sciences and were awarded up to $40,000 dollars to finance their research at the doctoral or post-doctoral level. Further, they have the opportunity to study at prestigious universities around the world.
The program emphasizes cross-cultural communication and discussion as well as international scientific cooperation. To promote diversity, three fellows are chosen from each of the program's five geographic regions: Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America. Past winners also play large roles in supporting the fellows; more information about the impressive past and present winners can be found here for L’Oréal's information and here for UNESCO's site.
This program is one important aspect of the UNESCO-L’Oréal partnership. In 1998, the two organizations joined together to create the For Women in Science Partnership and began awarding the UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellowships in 2000 . Since the creation of the partnership, over 500 women have been supported in their careers with 135 women receiving this fellowship. The themes recognize physical sciences and life sciences every other year; this year, the theme was physical sciences.
Both UNESCO and L’Oréal should be applauded for their recognition of these very accomplished researchers. Let us hope their stories of making great change in their fields prompts others to conduct research that could improve the lives of many.