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Khotso Mokhele of South Africa's National Research Foundation to speak at Cornell Feb. 20 on science and democracy

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Khotso Mokhele, president of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, will give a lecture, "Science, Democracy and Development," at Cornell University on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 4:30 p.m. in 122 Rockefeller Hall.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is presented as the 2001-02 Nordlander Lecture in Science and Public Policy, sponsored by Cornell's Department of Science and Technology Studies and the vice provost for research.

Mokhele became president of the NRF in July 1999 after serving as president of the predecessor organization, the Foundation for Research Development, since 1996 and as vice-president since 1992.

He represented South Africa on the executive board of UNESCO from 1997 to 2001 and served on the general committee of the International Council for Science from 1993 to 1999. He was a founder and first president of the Academy of Science of South Africa. He has been a recipient of the Tribute Achievers 2000 Science and Technology Award and the French Legion of Honor (chevalier). He serves on many national and international committees and on the boards of several private corporations.

Mokhele was born and raised in Bloemfontein and obtained a B.Sc. degree in agriculture from the University of Fort Hare. As a recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship, he entered the University of California, Davis, where he obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in microbiology. He was then awarded post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and, later, at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mokhele returned to South Africa in 1987 and held teaching and research posts at the University of Fort Hare (1987-1989) and the University of Cape Town (1990 -1992).

The Nordlander Lecture Series was established in memory of J. Eric Nordlander (Cornell A.B. 1956), a distinguished scientist and educator who died in 1986. In keeping with the Nordlander family's wishes, the visiting lecturer not only presents a public lecture to the Cornell community but also interacts with students and faculty in more informal settings.

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