ICTP is proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Spirit of Abdus Salam Award. Announced annually on 29 January—Abdus Salam’s birthday—the award was announced today at the end of the third and final of the Salam Distinguished Lecture Series with Professor Alessandra Buonanno by ICTP's Director Atish Dabholkar. The Spirit of Abdus Salam Award recognizes those who, like Salam himself, have worked tirelessly to promote the development of science and technology in disadvantaged parts of the world.
This year’s Spirit of Abdus Salam Award recipients are:
Malik Maaza (South Africa)
"For his major role in helping to shape Africa's science and technology landscape, on top of his own prolific research output with which he has trained over a hundred young African students, as well as a number from other areas in the South."
Malik's career has been intertwined with ICTP for decades due to the convergence of his own vision for fostering research and ending isolation for scientists in Africa to that of the ICTP. Perhaps the closest formal connection is the pan-African Network that Malik founded and which he still runs: NANOAFNET, which is THE pan-African voice in the area of nanosciences and nanotechnology, recognized world-wide. It was created in Trieste with support from many of the Trieste System partners, and is a very successful network under the ICTP Office of External Activities, although it has been financially self-sufficient for many years now.
Besides NANOAFNET, Malik has also played a role in creating the African Laser Centre (ALC) of which he remains a founding member. The idea of the ALC was to reduce the isolation of laser researchers spread out across the continent, in a analogous mirror of ICTP’s own fundamental mission. Malik is also the UNESCO-UNISA Chair holder and involved with programs to support historically disadvantaged universities in the region. He has gone well above what could have been expected of any single scientist to support capacity building in Africa and the South in general (he has also been very active in a number of Islamic countries and in Pakistan in particular).
Concetta Mosca (Italy)
"For her profound commitment to supporting the Diploma Programme during its first years and, more so, for her exceptional moral support of the students."
While the Diploma Programme's numbers speak of the educational success of the programme, it was Concetta who, from those early days in 1991 until her retirement in 2002, provided the moral support the students needed to endure the year of intense study and cultural change. At the recent Diploma 30th Anniversary event, many Diploma alumni recalled Concetta's commitment and kindness.
Concetta's history with ICTP spans nearly the entire life of the Centre itself. She arrived in the early 1970s; her work with the Diploma Programme began in January 1991, when ICTP scientists Yu Lu and Seif Randjbar-Daemi invited Ms. Mosca to be the secretary of a year-long pilot project to train postgraduate students from developing countries for PhD studies. The Diploma Programme officially launched in September of that year with 23 students pursuing studies in high energy and condensed matter physics. The so-called pilot project evolved to become one of ICTP's most important training programmes, thanks in no small part to Concetta's dedication to the programme and its students.
Adnan Shihab-Eldin (Kuwait)
"For his unwavering, long-time support of ICTP's mission and his exceptional advocacy of ICTP to major donors such as Kuwait, OPEC funds, the Islamic Bank, the Kuwait Petroleum Company, the Kuwait Funds, and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development."
Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, together with the then President of Kuwait University, Dr. Hassan Alibrahim, initiated a relationship between ICTP and Kuwait in 1976 after meeting Abdus Salam in Kuwait. At that time he was the Vice President of Kuwait University and Director General of Kuwait institute for Scientific Research, one of the most important research centres in the Gulf world. Since then he has been fully supportive of ICTP's activities, even when he left Kuwait for positions in UNESCO, the IAEA and OPEC in Vienna. After his retirement from the UN, Dr. Shihab-Eldin went back to Kuwait and took the leadership of KFAS, with which ICTP has a long-lasting relationship. He retired from KFAS almost a year ago.
Dr. Shihab-Eldin is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES), Oxford (UK), and a board member of both the Kearney Energy Transition Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands , and Gulf Bank of Kuwait. Shihab-Eldin serves as member of numerous boards of directors and international advisory councils of academic and research institutions and companies.
Dr Shihab-Eldin received all his degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and has received many prestigious awards, including the 2017 Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award, from UC Berkeley.
About the Spirit of Abdus Salam Award
The Spirit of Abdus Salam Award may be given to anyone within the extended ICTP family of scientists and non-scientists, and administrative staff alike who can show that they have worked tirelessly to further Abdus Salam's humanitarian passion and vision for the cooperation, promotion and development of science and technology in the developing world. For more details, and to see the list of past winners, please visit the Spirit of Abdus Salam Award website.