Keynote Speakers: Shamila Nair-Bedouelle – Leslie Chan – Anindita Bhadra
UNESCO, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences
Shamila Nair-Bedouelle took up her new duties as Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences on 1 April 2019. She comes to UNESCO from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), where she had served as Director of the OzonAction programme since 2012. Responsible for implementing the Multilateral Fund for the Montreal Protocol, she had coordinated a unique network of 147 national Ozone Action offices, providing developing countries with scientific and technical advice as to which alternative technologies to choose to the chemical substances depleting the Ozone Layer. A strong advocate for enhancing womens’ role in science and engineering, she launched UNEP’s first training programme for women technicians.
Born in 1960, Shamila Nair-Bedouelle holds a PhD in Life Sciences from the University of Capetown in South Africa. She pursued her research career at the Institut Pasteur in Paris from January 1992 onwards then within the pharmaceutical industry at the MIT University Park in Boston, USA, from January 1994 until January 1996, when she integrated the French National Institue for Medical Research (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale, INSERM). She has published in numerous scientific journals and is the co-inventor of several patents. Dr Nair-Bedouelle has pursued her research interests in parallel to her career at the United Nations. She has been Director of Research at the University of Paris V in France since 2000 and was nominated First Class Director of Research at INSERM in 2017.
She also has a strong interest in managing science programmes. From 2002 to 2007, she was seconded from INSERM to the European Commission to serve as scientific officer and deputy scientific coordinator of scientific programmes. In January 2007, Dr Nair-Bedouelle was seconded from INSERM to UNESCO to head its Ethics of Science and Technology programme. Eighteen months later, she joined UNESCO’s Sector for Natural Sciences as Chief of the Unit for Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action within the Division for Science Policy and Capacity-building. Here, she managed the United Nations Cluster for Science and Technology in Africa and represented UNESCO at the African Ministerial Council for Science and Technology. As Coordinator of the Working Group on Gender Equality at UNESCO from January 2010 onwards, she launched the first Science Camp for Girls in South Africa and coordinated science education projects on the continent. Africa remained the focus of her work at the Africa Department, where she evaluated UNESCO’s scientific programmes on the continent from January 2012 onwards before taking up her new functions as Director of OzonAction at UNEP.
University of Toronto Scarborough, Associate Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies
Leslie Chan is Associate Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the director of the Knowledge Equity Lab. Leslie’s teaching and professional interests centre on the geopolitics of knowledge production and circulation, with a focus on how networking technologies are enabling new forms of open collaborations, critical pedagogical practices, while also amplifying and reproducing embedded power relations and inequality in the academy and beyond. In particular Leslie has been exploring the dynamics of university-community partnership and the meanings around knowledge co-creation, participatory research, and how community engaged modes of knowledge production could contribute to equitable frameworks of valuing diverse knowledges. Since 2000, Leslie has served as the director of Bioline International, an open access platform for scientific journals from the global south. He is on the advisory board of a number of organizations, including the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and the steering committee of Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI).
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, Associate Professor
Dr. Bhadra is a behavioural biologist, working with free-ranging (stray) dogs in India. While pet dogs are studied extensively and compared with wolves in order to understand the evolution of the dog-human relationship, free-ranging dogs in India provide the perfect model system for studying them in nature, and building an understanding of the intrinsic nature of dogs. As they have hardly been studied so far, Dr. Bhadra chose the dogs as a model system, shifting completely from her zone of training and comfort, social insects. This gave her the freedom to set up a research group from scratch, doing things that she had never done before, and exploring new vistas of research.
Dr. Bhadra was involved in the founding of INYAS, and was elected as the first Chairperson by the founding members in June 2015.