Angra dos Reis, 4 September. Jacob Palis, professor of mathematics at the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics in Brazil, has been elected president of TWAS. The election took place during the TWAS 10th General Conference, which is being held this week at Angra dos Reis, Brazil. He will assume his three-year term in January 2007.
Brazilian-born Palis, who currently serves as TWAS's secretary general, has been a fellow of the Academy since 1991. He is recognized internationally as a leading mathematician in the field of dynamical systems. He is the recipient of many international awards, including the Trieste Science Prize, the Brazilian Order of Scientific Merit, the InterAmerican Prize for Science and the French Legion d'Honneur-Chevalier. Palis succeeds C.N.R. Rao who has served as president of TWAS since 2002.
"TWAS has become the world's leading voice for the promotion of science and science-based development in the developing world," Palis said soon after the election's results were announced. "It is indeed an honour to be given an opportunity to lead such a vibrant and dynamic organization."
"Despite the progress that the Academy has made in advancing its goals, much more work remains to be done," he said. "Two areas of particular concern are increasing the participation of women in science, especially in leadership positions, and ensuring that scientists from the least developed countries can pursue successful careers in science in their own countries. These issues will continue to be focal points of the Academy's agenda during my tenure."
In addition to electing a president, Academy members at the TWAS 17th General Meeting (held on 4 September during the 10th General Conference) have also chosen a new council. Returning as vice presidents will be Lydia Makhubu, professor emeritus, University of Swaziland (Africa); Ismail Serageldin, director, New Library of Alexandria (Arab Region); and Jorge Allende, professor of biochemistry, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Chile (Latin America and the Caribbean). Joining them will be Atta-ur-Rahman, federal minister for higher education in Pakistan (Central and South Asia) and Bai Chunli, executive vice president, Chinese Academy of Sciences (East and Southeast Asia).
Ali A. Al-Shamlan, director general, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS); Eugenia M. Del Pino, professor of biological sciences, Pontifical Catholic University, Ecuador; and Abdus H. Zakri, director, United Nations University's Institute of Advanced Study, Japan, have been re-elected to the council. Reza Mansouri, professor of physics, Sharif University of Technology, Iran; and Keto Mshigeni, vice chancellor, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, Tanzania, will be first-time council members. In addition, José Luis Morán López, professor of physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Mexico, has been re-elected treasurer, and Dorairajan Balasubramanian, director of research, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, India, has been chosen to serve as secretary general, replacing Palis.
"TWAS has played an instrumental role in spurring science-based development in the developing world," says Palis. "However, for progress to continue, we must do all that we can do to make science and technology integral parts of the development agendas of both governments and international organizations."
"We must also take advantage of the growing scientific proficiency of such developing countries as China, India and Mexico, "he notes, "to help build the capacities of scientifically deficient developing countries, which are usually the world's poorest countries as well."
"That's why TWAS intends to continue to play a leading role in South-South cooperation in science. It's one of the most effective long-term strategies for reducing poverty and promoting economic growth. The Academy will work hard to convince governments across the developing world that scientific cooperation and exchange is in everyone's interest."
A picture of Jacob Palis and the full story can be found at http://www.twas.org/