The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, has learnt with great sadness of the passing of the founding chairman of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum, Mr Koji Omi.


Mr Omi served as Japan's Minister of Science and Technology in 2001 and 2002, as Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs and as Minister of Finance in 2006.


Minister Nzimande said Mr Omi was a passionate leader, known for his intellectual vigour and enthusiasm and that he made an enormous contribution in strengthening the South Africa-Japan science, technology and innovation cooperation.


Mr Omi built the STS Forum from a conference into a movement for global leaders to address science and technology-related issues for the future of humankind. Under his leadership, the STS Forum has become a leading permanent global platform for science and technology discussions.


“He worked tirelessly in bringing together global leaders to discuss the role of science, technology and innovation in tackling the challenges confronting humanity. He was a firm believer that science and technology has the power unity humankind for the common global good,” said Minister Nzimande.


South Africa has been participating in the high-level STS Forum meetings since their inception, represented by the country's different science ministers, university vice-chancellors, and heads of institutions from the national system of innovation.


Minister Nzimande said Mr Omi’s legacy will live on for generations to come and that those who will take over the reigns from this gigantic international leader must emulate this great leadership.


Among Mr Omi's many accolades, was an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from the University of Cambodia in 2007, and the first honorary doctorate to be awarded by the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, in 2018.




Issued by:

Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

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