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Inauguration of UN Secretary General’s – Scientific Advisory Board

Berlin, 30 January 2014 – Two members of the Global Young Academy (GYA) – Co-Chair Prof Rees Kassen (Canada) as well as Dr Sherien Elagroudy UN SAB(Egypt) – are invited to present a statement at the inauguration ceremony of the newly created Scientific Advisory Board of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The ceremony is taking place on 30 January 2014 in Berlin. The GYA members are among six young scientists to address the UN Secretary-General and the invited public at the event.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon created a Scientific Advisory Board consisting of 26 internationally leading scientists with the task to advise the UN Secretary-General and the Executive Heads of UN organizations on strengthening the interface between science, policy and society – a goal shared with the Global Young Academy. The advisory board hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was officially announced by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2013, and will convene for the first time on 30 and 31 January 2014 in Berlin on invitation of the German Federal Foreign Office.

The focus of the board’s work will lie on overall matters of science, technology and innovation, with an emphasis on sustainable development. Therewith they are not only influencing the approach and priorities of the United Nations towards sustainability and future research in the area by integrating scientific results into global political debates and decision making, but also advising on topics such as the responsible and ethical development in science, or the increase of public visibility and understanding of science. To carry these issues into the future it is important to include the voice of young scientists already at an early stage the stage of the decision making process. “Young scientists have a central role in these discussions, as it is ultimately they who will inherit the decisions we make today about how we move to a sustainable tomorrow”, says Rees Kassen.

About the speakers:

Prof Rees Kassen (Canada) is full professor and University Research Chair in Experimental Evolution at the University of Ottawa. He is Co-Chair of the Global Young Academy (GYA). He is also past-chair of the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE), an association representing 50,000 members from academia, industry and government. His integrative research to studying biodiversity includes work using microbes to study evolutionary and ecological processes in the laboratory.

Dr. Sherien Elagroudy (Egypt) is an Associate Professor of Environmental Engineer as well as the director and founder of Egypt Solid Waste Management Center of Excellence at Ain Shams University in Cairo. In addition, she serves as a solid waste expert at Chemonics Egypt Consultants. For her Ph.D. in Canada, she has won a national award from the Canadian Geotechnical Society. She is currently engaged in several research grants in wastewater treatment and conversion of waste to energy.

About the Global Young Academy

The Global Young Academy, founded in 2010, is the voice of young scientists around the world. Members are chosen for their demonstrated excellence in scientific achievement and commitment to service. Currently there are 200 members and 63 alumni from 65 countries. The academy is hosted at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) in cooperation with the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. The GYA is receiving core-funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since 2014, is supported by the IAP: the Global Network of Science Academies, and has received seed funding from the Volkswagen Foundation. The GYA has also benefitted from project funding from a variety of donors and partners.

Contact persons

Rees Kassen, GYA Co-Chair (Canada); rees.kassen@uottawa.ca, tel: +1 613 562-5800 6978

Sherien Elagroudy (Egypt): s.elagroudy@eng.asu.edu.eg, tel: +201006070032

Heidi Wedel, GYA Managing Director; wedel@bbaw.de, tel: +49 30 20370 631, mobile +49 151 61333025

Florian Wiencek, GYA Media Officer; wiencek@bbaw.de, tel: +49 30 20370 653

Read more about the GYA at: www.globalyoungacademy.net