THE SYMPOSIUM

Welcome and Overview of Symposium Topics

Hubert Curien, president of the French Academy of Sciences, and François Jacob, who hosted the symposium, welcomed the speakers, Network participants, French academy members, and guests. Jacob then introduced Torsten Wiesel (the National Academies, United States of America), who provided a brief summary of the purpose and organization of the Network.

Wiesel explained that the directorate of the Network is located at the National Academies both because of the financial resources available and because Carol Corillon, as director of the Network, is its “engine.” He expressed the hope that the participants would get to know each other better, understand each other’s differences, and learn how best we can work together, since “We are all concerned about defending and assisting our colleagues whose human rights are abused.”

He stressed that the involvement of national academies from around the world, with members who speak out in their capacity as professionals, is critical to the Network’s effectiveness. He reminded the meeting participants that their role is not to act as individuals, although their good will is important, but to ensure that their academies create human rights committees and act on human rights issues as institutions. He explained, however, that “this is not a formal sort of administrative nightmare. We do not want a structure that becomes a bureaucracy, we do not get involved in politics, we simply try to assist our colleagues.”

[The talks given by the invited speakers are summarized below.]

Promotion of Democracy and Strengthening of Civil Society in Sub-Saharan Africa

We believe that democracy as a form of government and justice as a relationship of fairness and equality among human beings can make the world safer and livable by all, and join the fruits of scientific knowledge and the material progress that such knowledge can engender.

Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o

Kenya

Wiesel introduced the first speaker, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, a professor of political science and member of Parliament in Kenya. “Professor Nyong’o



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