icddr,b has celebrated the exceptional achievements of Dr Firdausi Qadri, a senior scientist of the organ-ization who won the country’s highest award ‘Independence Award (Swadhinata Padak) 2023.
Dr Qadri received it for her outstanding contributions to research and training. It is a unique milestone for women scientists, which serves as a source of inspiration for the young generation in Bangladesh.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni was present as the chief guest at an event to celebrate her accom-plishment at Sasakawa Auditorium of the icddr,b in Mohakhali.
Dr Md Anwar Hossain Hawlader, secretary to the Health Services Division of Health and Family Wel-fare Ministry and Joe Goodings, head of development cooperation and Canadian High Commission to Bangladesh, among others, were as the special guests.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over the Independence Award 2023 to Dr Firdausi Qadri in March. Her career has been distinguished by numerous accolades that reflect her profound contributions to the field of science and research.
The scientist was awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2021, an honor often dubbed as Asia’s Nobel Prize. The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award in 2020 celebrated her as an exemplary figure in promoting women in the scientific community.The Bill Gates’ Heroes in the Field recognition, also in 2020.
These are just a few among her extensive list of accolades, which also include the Prof. C.N.R. Rao Prize from the World Academy of Science in 2013, the Christophe & Rodolphe Mérieux Foundation Prize in 2012, and the Gold Medal for outstanding research in Biological Sciences by the Bangladesh Academy of Science in 2006.
The celebration began with a welcome address by Dr Tahmeed Ahmeed, executive director at icddr,b followed by a short video on Dr Qadri and messages from globally renowned scientists who worked with Dr Qadri for many decades.
Dr Dipu Moni congratulated Dr Qadri on the occasion, saying, “We are here today not just to celebrate Dr Qadri’s accomplishments but also to recognize the transformative power of science and the critical role of women in this field. We are committed to nurturing scientific research, encouraging innovation, and championing women’s empowerment in every sector.”
Dr Ahmed expressed his heartfelt congratulations to Dr Qadri, stating, “This celebration is not merely a tribute to Dr Qadri’s more than four decades of lifesaving work, but it also underscores our unyielding commitment to championing women in science.”
He further emphasised the icddr,b’s sustained commitment to high-quality scientific research and innova-tion, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the people of Bangladesh and beyond.”
In a video message, Professor Edward T Ryan at the Harvard Medical School in the USA, said, “I have had the pleasure of working with her for over a quarter of a century. She is truly a force of nature.”
On the other hand, Professor Nicholas Robert Thomson at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Member of the Scientific Advisory Group at icddr,b noted, “Dr Qadri has flown the flag of many neglected diseases. Without her, these would have remained neglected.”
Dr Qadri expressed her gratitude for the well-wishes, considering them as a driving force for her contin-uous work. Colleagues and collaborators from the audience also shared their experiences working with Dr Qadri and conveyed their good wishes. Thomas Liam Barry, Director of Finance, delivered the clos-ing remarks.
The celebration, attended by representatives from government agencies, development partners, media, icddr,b staff, and Dr Qadri’s family, concluded with a cultural programme performed by icddr,b staff.