This Annual Report, which covers January to December 2011, overlaps with my first year in office as executive director of TWAS: I took up the post in April. This transition year has been an opportunity for me to get to know TWAS, to take stock of the successful programmes that TWAS has been running so effectively, and to consider how we might continue to improve and expand these activities.
The TWAS 21st General Meeting, held in Hyderabad, India, showcased the enormous progress in science and science-based development that has taken place in India over the past several decades. A broad assessment of the state of TWAS’s portfolio of activities carries a similar upbeat message. Yet, TWAS also faces compelling challenges–both old and new.
A major objective of TWAS is to develop a culture of scientific excellence in all countries. Since the inception of TWAS in 1983,many developing countries have embraced science and technology as a pillar of their social and economic development strategies. Countries such as Brazil, China and India – but also Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and others – have demonstrated the benefits of investing in research and are widely touted as models for other countries to follow.
This year marks the silver anniversary of TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world. Over the past 25 years, the Academy has emerged as a leading institution in international science and as a respected voice for science in the South.
We live in an era that places a premium on both global knowledge and global competition. Together, these issues make the role of science and technology more critical than ever. TWAS is addressing the challenges posed by the increasingly seamless interface between science, technology and innovation in a number of ways.