A pioneer of teaching, communication and collaboration, Dr. Zafra Lerman fulfills many professional and personal roles to improve the quality of science education and champion its role to positively bridge cultural, political and social differences.
Whether developing an innovative and internationally recognized approach of teaching science to non-science majors, or traveling around the globe, her work has and continues to shape the role of science to advance understanding and cooperation.
For her work, and role on many national and international committees and panels, she has received many awards and accolades.
Despite her busy schedule, Dr. Lerman remains very active professionally with national and international associations in the fields of science, science education and scientific freedom and human rights. It is her tenet that free and equal access to science education is a basic human right that belongs to all. She has been invited to lecture on her methods all over the U.S. and in many other countries, including Brazil, Turkey, Hungary, Australia, England, Russia, Germany, Mexico, China, Japan, Taiwan, Egypt and Israel.
Other nations have also benefited from Dr. Lerman’s concern with the importance of international collaboration. In Cuba, she initiated research collaborations between the island nation and Israel—despite no existing diplomatic relationship between the countries.
Most recently, she has focused on connecting scientists in the Middle East to begin building the basis for serious cooperation and communication in the future—using science as a bridge to peace in the Middle East. Cross-border scientific collaboration in this volatile region is essential for the national security of the U.S. She believes strongly that achieving collaboration between American and Middle Eastern scientists is vital to America’s understanding of their history, culture, geography and religions.
“In a time when the world’s eyes are focused on the Middle East and rhetoric, policy and media reports appear hopeless,” writes 2006 American Chemical Society President Dr. E. Ann Nalley, “she offers a fresh approach and constructive solutions to historic problems, ethnic and religious hatred and political dysfunction. Where others have given up, Lerman is writing a new narrative that promises real progress with new voices—scientific voices—that have come together to form a new Middle East initiative. The role of scientists as promoters of collaborative efforts among chemists internationally is both diplomatic and educational. The potential for combined efforts to improve human lives through chemistry has been, and continues to be, the lifework of Dr. Zafra Lerman.”
CRDF is proud to recognize Dr. Lerman for her work that follows the late U.S. Congressman George Brown's dream of international scientific collaboration.