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Ambassador King handed the 57th IMO Prize to Dr. Zavisa Janjic
May 23, 2013

Ambassador King handed the 57th IMO Prize to Dr. Zavisa Janjic today at the U.S. Mission

Remarks by Ambassador Betty E. King
Permanent Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations
and Other International Organizations in Geneva

at the Awards Ceremony of the 57th International Meteorological Organization Prize

May 22, 2013


Good afternoon.  President Grimes, Secretary General Jarraud, friends and colleagues, it is a pleasure and a privilege to represent the United States in honoring this year’s recipient of the International Meteorological Organization Prize, Dr. Zavisa Janjic.  I would like to thank the Executive Council of the WMO for the invitation to this event, and for selecting Dr. Janjic as this year’s laureate.  And to Dr. Janjic, congratulations on being honored with the 57th IMO prize in recognition of your achievements in advancing atmospheric modeling and weather prediction.

Over the course of a distinguished career spanning 40 years, Dr. Janjic’s work in both theory and practice have made lasting contributions to fundamental research, weather forecasting, climate research and our understanding of the atmosphere.  He has influenced scientific thought in the field of numerical modeling, inspired the work of other scientists, and touched the lives of billions through the use of his models in meteorological forecasts.

Dr. Janjic embodies the spirit of international scientific cooperation that is the hallmark of the work of the WMO and of the IMO Prize.  From the start of his career as a research assistant at the University of Belgrade to his current position as research meteorologist at NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Prediction, his career has spanned continents and the influence of his work has literally circled the globe.

It is the international character of science, as well as Dr. Janjic’s contributions that we celebrate with this award.  As President Obama’s science advisor, Dr. John Holdren, has said, in science, we need to work with our friends around the world.  Science, technology and innovation proceed more rapidly and more cost-effectively when insights, costs and risks are shared; and so many of the challenges that science and technology will help us meet are global in character.  And these challenges are too big, and our resources are too limited, for any one country to tackle alone.  Cooperation is key – among nations, among the private sector, the public sector, and the philanthropic sector. We cannot solve the great problems of our time alone – any of us – as individual nations.  In this regard Dr. Janjic has been a leader – both through the influence of his work on international scientific thought and through his service on international scientific bodies.

I would also like to point out that Dr. Janjic and I have something in common – neither one of us was born in the United States, but we both came to the U.S., seized opportunities and found success.  Dr. Janjic rose to receive the highest honor in his field, while I’ve made my way from a small island in the Caribbean to represent the Government of the United States in Geneva.  We can both be grateful for the opportunities that the United States has given us.

America is fortunate that its universities and research institutions attract the best scientific minds in the world.  We have a proud legacy of welcoming people who dream big dreams and reach higher than anybody else.  When Dr. Janjic came to the U.S. in 1987 as a visiting scientist at the National Meteorological Center, President Reagan had just signed into law a comprehensive immigration reform.  Now, Washington is revisiting our immigration system.  I’m happy to say that as part of his immigration proposal, President Obama has given special emphasis to the contributions of foreign graduate students educated in the U.S. in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  So hopefully the United States will continue to attract those scientists who give so much not only to our country, but to the global advancement of science, and one of my successors will also have the pleasure to give remarks as another “hyphenated” American is honored with this esteemed prize.

Thank you.