Ethiopian Prof. Yalemtsehay Mekonnen has won the 2015 African Union Kwame Nkrumah
Scientific Awards for her scientific achievement and valuable discoveries and findings that have contributed to the development agenda of the Continent.
Prof. Merzouk Hafida from Algeria also received the award representing the North region.
The award ceremony took place on 20 January 2016 during the closing of the 8th African Union Gender Pre-Summit.
The prestigious African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards programme was launched on 9 September 2008, with the objective to give out scientific awards to top African scientists particularly the women.
The two female laureates of the AU Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards received a cheque of 20,000 USD each, a gold plate medal, a certificate and flowers from the representatives of the AU Commission.
Prof. Yalemtsehay joined the Addis Ababa University (AAU) in 1972 obtaining her B. Sc degree in Biology in 1977. She was then employed as a graduate assistant in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science where she joined the first graduate programme launched in the Department.
She received her M.Sc degree in Zoology in 1980 with the first batch of graduates as the first woman both at the AAU and the country. She obtained her PhD in Human Physiology from the University of Heidelberg Germany in May 1992. She was promoted to the rank of full professor in January 2009.
She was awarded with several research grants and fellowships nationally and internationally. To give some examples, the Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission, the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization, the British Council, the International Foundation for Science, the Third World Academy of Sciences, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany.
Her main scientific work focuses on medicinal plants that are used by communities and test them in the laboratory if they have medicinal importance and assessing health hazard to humans, animals and the environment due to chemicals and other contaminants that are by-products of agricultural practices or industries.
She has collaborated with researchers in Ethiopia and abroad and advised many graduate students. The outcome of her research work is exemplified by 92 publications in national and international peer reviewed scientific journals.
Currently she is engaged in teaching and continuing her research activities in the College of Natural Sciences, AAU. In addition she is engaged in several professional activities (E.g. Member of the New York Academy of Sciences, Board member of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, Executive Board President of the Society of Ethiopian Women in Science & Technology).
She has great passion to motivate the young specially women to be confident and successful in their professional career in particular and their overall walk in life in general.