Selfless Unisa physics professor receives World Award of Education

He assisted scientists from war zones in Africa and the Middle East to pursue their research goals, the award organisers said to support why he deserved the recognition.

The World Cultural Council (WCC) has honoured National Research Foundation (NRF) Professor Malik Mâaza with the Jose Vasconcelos World Award of Education for 2018 for his positive impact on the cultural legacy of mankind, the organisation said on Tuesday.

The announcement of the award was made on Monday at the City University of Hong Kong, while the award itself will be conferred on Professor Maaza at the 35th World Cultural Council Award Ceremony, which will take place at the same venue on 8 November 2018.

The WCC said: “The award acknowledges Prof Mâaza’s vision of the importance of education for societal development and sustainability. It recognises his international and humanistic approach to science education, as well as his commitment to training and mentoring young scientists on the African continent. To this end, he has worked tirelessly to raise funds worldwide to support foreign researchers from less affluent countries.”

“He has assisted scientists from war zones in Africa and the Middle East to pursue their research goals and has also organised periodic exchanges by renowned scientists of Israeli and Arabic origin, seeking to build bridges through science. The jury were additionally impressed by his promotion of Women in Science in conservative communities.”

Mâaza is a Senior Research Scientist at iThemba LABS, a research facility managed by the NRF of South Africa. He is also a professor at the University of South Africa, and holder of the UNESCO-UNISA Africa Chair in Nanosciences and Nanotechnology.

Maaza said: “I am really thankful to everyone for all the support. This recognition is not mine, but belongs to the rest of the iThemba LABS staff as a whole. I would never have reached my current situation without a robust institutional support base created for me by iThemba LABS and the NRF.

“I would also like to thank in particular the team of post-graduate students and post-doctoral fellows I work with. I am grateful to His Almighty the Grand Architect for making this recognition possible.”



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