Without peace, science cannot fulfil its role in society; science must serve peace, Hungarian President Katalin Novák said in her address to the 10th World Science Forum (WSF) that opened in Cape Town on Tuesday.
In the address, read out at the forum by Hungarian Ambassador György Attila Horváth, Novák, a chief patron of the event, praised the forum established two decades ago for its role to serve as a platform for dialogue between politicians and scientists. She said she was proud that Hungary and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) played a key role in initiating and launching the event.
Novák noted that the 2020 WSF had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the pandemic had shown how essential the work of scientists and researchers was. She pointed to Hungarian-born biochemist Katalin Karikó as an example, “whose persevering scientific work allowed her to make a significant contribution in reducing the threats of the pandemic rapidly and significantly”.
She said that global challenges and injustice affected countries in the African continent more and “it is our responsibility to help as much as we can”.
“Those in need can always count on the Hungarians. This is also why I paid a visit to Kyiv a few days ago, this is also why Hungary is supporting the initiative called Grain from Ukraine,” the president said.
“All who are present today at the World Science Forum, politicians and scientists, are working to make the future a better one. Eventually, the mission of politics and science is the same: to work for the public good, to eradicate – or at least to mitigate – the inequalities in society which lead to tensions,” Novák said.
She said that state leaders had a responsibility to support scientific work. “We must act today to help our children and grandchildren have an easier life tomorrow,” Novák added.
The Hungarian president called it exemplary that “the World Science Forum is meeting in a country that has voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons in a way that is unique in history, and where humanity and helping each other through the philosophy of ubuntu is at the forefront”.
“Science must serve peace, not unrest. Science – through talented minds – opens up great opportunities for mankind. It only depends on us what we use it for,”