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OWSD 25th Anniversary Events

September 17, 2018

Around the world, OWSD is celebrating 25 years of membership.

The year 2018 marked the 25th Anniversary of OWSD, and with members organizing special workshops, conferences, meetings and even a fun run around the world, we celebrated 25 years of bringing women scientists together. We invited our members, fellows, or anyone affected by OWSD to take part in a video competition to tell us why they celebrate OWSD. Here are some of the other ways our National Chapters and other members marked the occasion:


On 19 February, the Mauritian Chapter of OWSD was officially launched by Mauritian President Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim during the closing reception of the Australia-Mauritius Research and Innovation Forum (AMRIF) in the city of Ebene. Also participating in the launch of the National Chapter were Australia’s High Commissioner to Mauritius, Ms. Jenny Dee, as well as Australian delegates to AMRIF and distinguished guests from public and private bodies in Mauritius, in addition to executive members and regular members of the National Chapter.  Devika Saddul, research scientist in the Livestock Research Department of the Food and Agricultural Research Extension Institute (FAREI), will serve as the inaugural Chair of the National Chapter's Executive Committee. Read more about the Mauritius National Chapter launch here

On 22-23 March, the Rwandan Association of Women in Science and Engineering (RAWISE), together with the OWSD Secretariat, celebrated the launch of the Rwanda OWSD National Chapter in Kigali. More than 200 university students and women scientists attended the two days of events, which included a launch party and a series of presentations on the National Assessments on Gender and STI given by OWSD fellows, as well as individual presentations by fellows about their own experiences as women in STEM careers. Read more about this event here.

From 16-19 October, the Rwanda OWSD National Chapter also hosted a Women in Science workshop and OWSD 25th Anniversary celebration in collaboration with the East African Institute for Fundamental Research (EAIFR) and the University of Rwanda. The workshop followed from a series of career development workshops for women in physics held at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).  The 4-day workshop was be held at the EAIFR premises of the University of Rwanda, and combined a variety of interactive discussions, training sessions and other activities to help women in science share their experiences, gain self-confidence and acquire extra skills to facilitate their success in science. Learn more about the workshop here

Sri Lanka

On 29 March, the OWSD Sri Lanka National Chapter was launched in Colombo. OWSD Sri Lanka was established under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka (NASSL). Many important national and international scientists attended the launch, including the president and council members of the NASSL, and representatives of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB, Italy). The inaugural address was delivered by the eminent Sri Lankan scientist Savitri Gunatilleke, Professor emeritus, University of Peradeniya. Congratulatory messages were also received from OWSD President Jennifer Thompson, Cheryl Praeger, Chair of the Women in Science, Education and Engineering (WISE) Committee of the Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA), and representatives from the Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal National Academies of Science. Read more about the Sri Lanka National Chapter launch here

On 19 July 2018, the Indonesia National Chapter of OWSD was formally inaugurated at the Sheraton Hotel & Tower in Surabaya in conjunction with the 1st Congress of the new National Chapter and OWSD 25th Anniversary celebrations. The event was attended by 100 selected participants from 14 different provinces of Indonesia, together with individual participants from Sudan and Vietnam. The day included an inauguration of the National Chapter with a gong ringing ceremony, keynote addresses from prominent local policymakers, a panel discussion on “the Journey of Women Scientists”, and a gala dinner followed by a night tour of Surabaya city and a river cruise, organized by the mayor of Surabaya as a tribute to OWSD participants. Learn more about the Indonesia events here.

From 5-7 September, nearly 100 women scientists from Kenya and other African countries came together in Nairobi for an OWSD Regional Conference for Africa, and the launch of the OWSD Kenya National Chapter. The Regional Conference hosted by icipe was centered on the theme of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology for Sustainable Development, and included sessions on subjects including climate change and the environment, and the role of the research and scientific communities in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Following the conclusion of the Regional Conference, the OWSD Kenya National Chapter was inaugurated at a special event which also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of OWSD. Read more about the Kenya conference and launch here

From 2-12 October, the Sudan OWSD National Chapter held a 10-day series of events to mark the 25th Anniversary of OWSD, in collaboration with several partners including the Khartoum office of UNESCO and the Swedish embassy in Sudan. The events included a research project competition around the subject of ‘science for development,’ workshops to develop scientific skills, information sessions about OWSD at several universities across the country, and a Fun Run to encourage girls and young women to participate in science and development attended by more than 500 participants. Read more about the Sudan 25th Anniversary celebrations here


From 30-31 October, the India OWSD National Chapter hosted the conference Utkarsh 2018: Empowering and Enabling Women in Science, which will take place in New Delhi on the campus of CSIR – NEERI, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. The conference brought attention to the startling statistics about women's participation in STEM careers and leadership, and aimed to inspire and connect women scientists from the Asia Pacific region. Conference participants also helped to develop a road map to overcoming region-specific challenges, to align particularly with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi's views on "women led development." Read more about the conference here

On 5 November, the OWSD National Chapter of Myanmar was launched in Yangon. The event introduced OWSD to new and potential members, and included presentations from OWSD members and fellows in the country about their experiences, as well as presentations from several invited guests including Poe Kaung, rector of the University of Yangon. The event also included a brainstorming session and discussion around the vision and strategy of the new National Chapter, as well as a celebratory dinner. It was attended by 70 participants, including members of the Myanmar National Chapter, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and special guests from the academic and government sectors. Read more about the Myanmar National Chapter launch here


On 8-9 November, the Ghana National Chapter of OWSD hosted a two-day workshop at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, as part of the 25th Anniversary of OWSD. In addition to the interactive workshop which included sessions on how to be an effective mentor and on how researchers can help Ghana meet the Sustainable Development Goals, the event also served to re-launch and re-organize the National Chapter. The workshop included presentations from several leading Ghanaian women scientists, and was attended by more than 160 women, including professors, lecturers, PhD and MSc students, and BSc garduates from 23 universities across the country. Five OWSD fellows also attended and shared their experiences with OWSD. The re-launch of the Ghana National Chapter was also celebrated with a special dinner and cake-cutting ceremony. Read more about the Ghana workshop and National Chapter launch here

On 10 November, the Bangladesh OWSD National Chapter held an international conference in Dhaka on the theme of Challenging Research by Women Scientists in STEM, in partnership with the Bangladesh Association of Women Scientists (BAWS). The workshop promoted collaboration and communication among women scientists and technologists in developing countries and aimed to increase understanding of the role of science & technology in supporting women’s activities in national development.  It was divided into a plenary session, which featured presentations from several OWSD members and fellows, other leading scientists in Bangladesh, and the OWSD Programme Coordinator, and an afternoon technical session with scientific talks and poster presentations. The conference was the culmination of a series of seven seminars to boost the visibility of OWSD held throughout Bangladesh from September-November 2018. Read more about the Bangladesh conference and seminars here


On 16 November 2018, more than 300 participants gathered at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) to celebrate the launch of the OWSD Zimbabwe National Chapter, which coincided with the 25th Anniversary Celebrations of OWSD. In addition to professors and PhD, MSc and undergraduate students, the event was also attended by 90 secondary school students from 5 girls’ high schools in Harare. The launch included several presentations from Zimbabwean science and technology leaders, and also included the presentation of several awards for local students, including one A-level and one university undergraduate scholarship, selected through an essay competition. The daytime event was followed by a dinner for National Chapter members and invited guests at the Rainbow Towers hotel.  Read more about the Zimbabwe National Chapter launch here

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