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Māori Students to Attend Prestigious Asian Science Camp

22 August 2012

For Immediate Release

Māori Students to Attend Prestigious Asian Science Camp

Five of New Zealand’s top young scientific minds will attend the prestigious youth science gathering at the Asian Science Camp in Jerusalem – Israel which will be held 26-30 August. The five young Māori students, studying at The University of Auckland have been selected to represent New Zealand and are supported by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Indigenous Centre of Research Excellence, and the Maurice Wilkins Centre. They will join nearly 300 other brilliant young minds from over 22 other Asian and Pacific countries.

The students are Awhina Hona, Michael McLeod, Leighton Watson, Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu and Molly Anderson.
The Asian Science Camp will feature talks and workshops led by at least five Nobel Prize Winners, among them the two Israeli winners Robert J Aumann (economics) and Aaron Ciechanover (chemistry). The others include Makoto Kobayashi (physics) from Japan, Roger Kornberg (chemistry) from the U.S.A. and Yuan T Lee (chemistry) from Taiwan. In addition to these, the participants will hear lectures and will be instructed by 30 Israeli scientists who are among the most senior leaders of their fields in the world, among them Laureates of the Wolf Prize in the Sciences and other prestigious awards. In addition, the opening ceremony will be held by yet another Nobel Prize Winner, President Shimon Peres.

Bringing the Asian Science Camp, an all Asian forum, to Israel is an important achievement that has been defined as the ‘flag ship project’ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 2012. The project was planned to be the peak of the events marking “Asia’s Year in Israel”, a special year in which Israel commemorates year round anniversaries for the establishment of diplomatic relations with some of the largest and most influential countries of the continent.

The Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rafael Barak, said: “It was important for the State of Israel to bring about comprehensive and wide participation of as many countries as possible and, despite the short time that we had available to us, the conference in Israel will be the largest one held thus far in terms of the number of participants.”

Director General Barak added that the promotion of relations with the nations of Asia – the rising star in the international system – stands at the centre of the Foreign Ministry’s agenda. “The special opportunity to bring to Israel such an important all-Asian event in the field of science, goes perfectly hand-in-hand with the diverse activities of the Foreign Ministry in the countries of Asia, precisely in these areas of science and technology, in which Israel, although a small country, is labelled as a powerhouse for scientific-technological innovation and progress, and constitutes an object for study and esteem for its achievements.”

“Israeli diplomacy,” says Barak “is acting to long-range planning or a “long journey” for enhancing people to people interactions and exchanges in all fields and areas, in a way that will benefit both Israel and our Asian counterparts. Science has no borders and in that sense we hope that the 2012 Science Camp in Israel will help us enhance our mutual understanding and bring us closer together.”

In addition to the academic content, the lectures by leading scientists and the encounters with Nobel Prize Laureates, the participants will be treated to field trips around Israel. The aim of the Science Camp organisers is to expose the young guests to Israel’s diversity, history and culture.

The five young New Zealand scientists will travel to Israel on Thursday, August 23.

Ends.


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