South Africa 2000 – Witwatersrand University

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Date: 01 November 2000
Place of Ceremony: Great Hall
Host Institution: Witwatersrand University
Host Country: Johannesburg, South Africa

The celebration of the Council’s Awards in five continents was hosted by the prestigious Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa. An eminent Australian scientist and a renowned American educator were honoured by the World Cultural Council for outstanding achievements in their respective fields.

Prof. Phillip Tobias, founder member of the World Cultural Council expressed, “Eighteen years ago, on the inspiration of the distinguished Mexican scholar and visionary Dr. José Rafael Estrada, and with the backing of 124 world scholars including 25 Nobel Laureates, the World Cultural Council came into being.” “…Today’s ceremony represents in a way the crystallization of a synthesis which has always been close to the thinking of the President of the World Cultural Council: the marriage of science and arts, which Prof. Lerman has used so fruitfully. I am supposed to abridge the age at which one readily turns to such matters.”

Prof. Frank Fenner, Professor at the John Curtin School of the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, received the “Albert Einstein” World Award of Science, and Prof. Zafra M. Lerman , Professor of Science and Public Policy at Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois, USA, was recognised with the “José Vasconcelos” World Award of Education.

The “Albert Einstein” World Award for Science was awarded to Prof. Fenner for his productive work carried out in the medical sciences and his continued labour in the smallpox eradication campaign, together with the World Health Organization.

Prof. Zafra M. Lerman was selected as the winner of the “José Vasconcelos” World Award for Education in recognition for her creative and innovative work in the field of Science Education. This award was granted to Prof. Lerman both for her initiative in developing the integration of visual and performing arts in the teaching of science, and for becoming a pioneer in the current renaissance of science instruction. Prof. Lerman´s integration of sciences and arts has furthered the growing perception worldwide that the arts have an important role to play in the development of basic academic skills.

Prof. Lerman acknowledges:
“It is a great honour and pleasure for me to accept the José Vasconcelos World Award for Education. I hope that my contributions to arts education for future generations will in some way reflect the many contributions that he made”.

“The integration of science with arts will enable science education to be accessible to everybody, independent of race, gender, economic status and cultural background. I would like to thank the World Cultural Council for establishing an award which recognises the importance of education for the survival of the planet”.

Mr. Justice Edwin Cameroon, Chairperson of Council of the Witwatersrand University, wrote, “It was an honour for Wits to be the host to the World Cultural Council’s ceremony. It was indeed a dignified and affirming occasion. I think everyone felt that it united us – so disparate in our backgrounds, cultures and beliefs – in the aspirations highlighted by the awards”.

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