Prof. Zafra M. Lerman

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José Vasconcelos World Award of Education 2000
Field of Work: Science Education
Date: 01 November 2000
Place of Ceremony: Great Hall
Host Institution: Witwatersrand University
Host Country: Johannesburg, South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, NOVEMBER 2000. The World Cultural Council presented the 2000 “José Vasconcelos” World Award of Education to Prof. Zafra M. Lerman, Professor of Science and Public Policy at Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois, USA. The award Ceremony will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa with the host of the University of Witwatersrand, on November the 1st 2000.

Prof. Lerman was selected as the recipient of the Award in recognition of her valuable and pioneering contributions in the field of Science Education. She became a pioneer in the current renaissance of instruction in science, now used worldwide. In particular she has defined and developed efforts to utilize visual and performing arts activities in the teaching of science. Her work with under represented and disadvantaged populations has demonstrated that scientific literacy need do not remain the prerogative of the privileged.

Prof. Lerman’s integration to the sciences and the arts has encouraged the growing worldwide perception that the arts have an important role to play in the development of basic academic skills.

Prof. Lerman was born in Haifa, Israel. She studied at the Technion-Israel Institute in 1960 she received her B.Sc. in Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 1977 she became the first science faculty member at Columbia College. In 1991, in honor of her worldwide acclaim and her pioneering contribution to scientific literacy, Columbia College established for Prof. Lerman the Institute for Science Education and Science Communication. The College then appointed Prof. Lerman as the first and only “Distinguished Professor”.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London, Prof. Lerman has lectured, presented workshops and organized symposia on her methods on integrating science with the arts in many countries, including China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Egypt and Israel. Helping students and teachers from all around the world in the common enterprise of spreading the Philosophical and practical benefits of the scientific method, her work clearly comforts with Professor Vasconcelos philosophy, which deals with the world as a cosmic unity.