Gro Brundtland Week kicks off, highlights sustainable development (Focus Taiwan)
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Taipei, March 29 (CNA) The 2018 Gro Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development opened Thursday with a ceremony at National Taiwan University and will run until April 3.

During the event, five female researchers from South Africa, Kenya, India, the Philippines and Malaysia will receive the 2018 Gro Brundtland Award at a ceremony on April 3 and give a series of talks around Taiwan, according to event organizer National Cheng Kung University (NCKU).

They are Natisha Dukhi of South Africa, Barbara Burmen of Kenya, Neha Nehiya of India, Weena Gera of the Philippines and Sarva Mangala of Malaysia. Their areas of research include AIDS, tuberculosis, vaccines, sustainable development of environmental and analysis of exposure and health risk assessment.

Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, winner of the 2014 Tang Prize for sustainable development, established the Gro Brundtland Award and launched the one-week science activity to recognize distinguished researchers in her field.

Brundtland did so by using NT$5 million (US$171,367) of the money received from the Tang Prize, said Chern Jenn-chuan (陳振川), CEO of the Tang Prize Foundation which authorized NCKU to organize the event, at the opening ceremony.

The five female researchers' visit to Taiwan indicates that the award has started to attract global attention, Chern said.

Meanwhile, NCKU President Su Huey-jen (蘇慧貞) said that since the inaugural Gro Brundtland Week in 2016, a dozen or so female researchers have come to Taiwan, including several from developing countries such as Jordan, Yemen and Kenya.

In addition to devoting themselves to health care and public health, these women also actively participate in international organizations and play front-line leadership roles in their countries, Su said, adding that she hopes they draw inspiration from engaging in exchanges in Taiwan.

Su also expressed hope the female researchers will play a role in ensuring more countries gain a better understanding of Taiwan and are therefore more likely to support it, establishing links between Taiwan and the international scientific community.

This year, Gro Brundtland Week will focus on issues related to sustainable development, public health and the environment. 

(By Phoenix Hsu and Evelyn Kao)