字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Stephanie Busari: President Ameenah, thank you for joining us. Even as TED speakers go, you're something of an overachiever. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: (Laughs) SB: You have a PhD in organic chemistry, you were vice chancellor of the University of Mauritius, a successful entrepreneur, you've won numerous awards for your work in science and you're the first Muslim female head of state in Africa. (Applause) And of course, you're no stranger to the TEDGlobal stage; you gave a talk in 2014. Did you have any political ambitions at that time? How did you go from academic to president? AGF: OK, thanks, Stephanie. First of all, I'd like to thank TED for having given me the opportunity to be here today. And I would also like to thank the government of Tanzania and the president for the welcome. And also, I'd like to thank the contribution of our consul, Mr. Rizvi, who's here, has been very supportive for all our stay here. Now, to answer your question, did I have any ambitions in politics? The straight answer is no. I did not choose the world of politics; the world of politics chose me. So here I am. (Applause) SB: So, was there ever anything in your journey that ever made you think that one day you would become president of your country? Did you ever imagine that? AGF: Absolutely not. I think the journey started immediately after TED, actually. When I went back, this journalist called me and said, "You know, your name has been cited for the president of the republic," I said, "Ma'am, you must be mistaken, because I have no ambition whatsoever." She said, "No, it's serious. Can you come and tell me this in the form of a declaration? So, OK, you'll come?" So, of course, as good journalists go, the next day I see my TED picture and, with my name, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, "For president?" A very small interrogation mark -- and people don't see the interrogation mark, they just see my name and they see my picture. And that was a sounding board. And again, as you have just said, it was a very interesting scenario because it was a scenario where they wanted to have somebody who was credible, had this political neutrality and at the same time, was for a minority because Islam is a minority religion in Mauritius, because in Mauritius, we stratify people's origins by virtue of their religious belief. And -- I was a woman. So this made it all very interesting. So there we go, and this whole campaign started, and then people said, "Why not?" Now, this is very important to note, Stephanie, because normally, the president is elected after the election. And here we had a scenario where the name of the president was flagged before the election process, during the campaign. So when people voted, they knew that at some point, they would have this Muslim woman president. SB: Does it feel significant to you as a woman to be the first female president of your country? AGF: It's important for many reasons. I think, obviously, you just mentioned the terrible statistics of two female presidents in the whole of Africa. But more importantly, I think it's important also coming from the background I come from -- by background I mean not ethnic, but more academic and entrepreneurial -- to be there, to be that role model for that little girl growing in my village to say, "Yes, it's possible." It's possible. (Applause) It's also important, Stephanie, while I talk about diversity -- diversity in the widest sense of the word. We've seen that whenever there was diversity, whenever there was openness, whenever there was dialogue, this was the time when societies have been most productive. When we talk about the Arab Golden Age, we cannot not think of Ibn Sina, al-Haytham, Averroes, Maimonides. This was a time when cultures, religions -- they were talking to each other. They were at peace with each other. And this was a time when they were highly productive. So I would say: bring down these walls. SB: Absolutely, absolutely. (Applause) AGF: Virtual or otherwise. SB: Let's also talk about another conflict area which you straddle quite interestingly. As a woman of faith and also a scientist, you know, faith and science seem to be at loggerheads. It wasn't always so, but I'm interested to get your thoughts on how you reconcile both and how they coexist for you personally. AGF: They're not mutually exclusive. I mean, if you're a scientist, you tend to really look at the perfection of the human body, the way it functions. If you look at nature as a whole. I'm still amazed at the perfection with which the entire ecosystem functions together. However, to the purists, to those who are of faith, they will tell you, "Yes, there has been evolution." Even the Pope has agreed that evolution exists. But there's always the question: What came first? What came before this? When we talk about all the various strata of evolution, we'll always be asking the question, there must be something before. So I'm of the opinion that yes, there is this great spiritual force which is guiding the process, and things like this don't happen by chance. Now, whether you call it religiosity, whether you call this great spirit by any name -- Brahma, Allah, the Holy Trinity -- you name it -- but I still think that these two are not mutually exclusive. They can still coexist with each other. SB: So let's move to one of your passions -- science. You've made no secret of that. And you've always been passionate about science. I read that when you were a very young girl, you went to a career guidance counselor and told them you wanted to become a chemist, and they said, "No, it's for boys. Boys do science." Did that make you even more determined to study science and to succeed in that field? How did you respond to that? AGF: Well, to begin with, I must say, before I came to that career guidance officer, I had great teachers who motivated. And this is something I would like to draw attention to again, to our education system. We have to do away with this rote learning. We have to ensure that we drive this curiosity in the child, and they need to be curious. And if we want to move along the line for them to become great scientists, they need to become more and more curious in everything they do. So every time -- exactly -- I went to see the careers guidance, he looked at me and said, "What do you want to do?" I said, "I want to study chemistry." "Well, you shouldn't study chemistry because this is for boys. And the next thing, when you come back, there'll be no job for you." So I went back home, and I had a great cheerleader at home who happens to be my father. He said, "What do you want to do?" and asked, "What did he say?" I said, "This is what he said ..." He said, "What are you going to do?" I said, "I'm going to do chemistry." So there I was. And one thing I will say: one must always follow your heart. And my heart was always in chemistry. I did what I was passionate about, and I thought at some point that I had developed this thinking that if you're passionate about what you do, you will not have to work a single day in your life, until I realized it was Confucius who said that. (Laughter) SB: So do you feel a responsibility, as someone in your position, to encourage young girls, especially on this continent, to study STEM subjects? Is that something that you actively work -- AGF: You know, over the past two days, Stephanie, we've been hearing a lot of conversation about the sustainable development goals. We've seen that, for example, Africa must be food secure, Africa must be energy secure, Africa must be water secure. If we want to get to that level of development -- Agenda 2030 is not very far away -- if you want to have success, we need to have an educated youth in Africa. And again, to be very cliché: you cannot achieve, you cannot win a football match, if you're going to leave 52 percent of the team outside. It's not possible. (Applause) SB: Yes. AGF: So we need highly educated, we need female intuition, and we need to get them there. And this is where a great deal of effort has to be done to actually motivate them from a very young age, to tell that girl that she can do anything. And if the message comes from her father, if the message comes from her brother, it's even much more powerful. We need to tell her that anything is possible and she can do it. We need to build her self-confidence from a very early age, but more importantly, we also need to actually look at the books, because there are too many stereotypes. Last year, I was very shocked when I went to a debate on Women's Day. They had a survey, and they were asking these girls how many women inventors we have, how many women scientists do we have. And you'd be shocked that hardly anyone knew that Ada Lovelace was there behind computer science, that Marie Curie still remains iconic with two Nobel prizes. So there's a lot of homework to do to actually make -- to remove all these gender biases at a very young age; instill that confidence in that girl; to tell her that she can do as well if not better than her brother. SB: Yes. (Applause) Thank you. So, let's move on to an area that I know you've been very active in, which is the issue of biodiversity. You've been quite clear that this is an area that Africa must embrace. We have an abundance of rich herbal traditions and plants that could be developed into a big pharmaceutical industry. Can you tell us a little bit of how you've been using your expertise to harness growth in this area? AGF: Thank you. Yesterday, I was listening to one of the talks; it was the talk about the need for Africa to turn into a knowledge economy. Africa has got very rich traditions. Sub-Saharan Africa, southern Africa, has got over 5,000 medicinal plant species, not harnessed. And, in fact, at the TED talk I gave in 2014, I came out with one sentence: "Biodiversity underpins life on earth." And if we don't look after this biodiversity, if we don't protect it, if we don't actually harness it in the right way, we are threatening our own livelihoods on this planet. When we talk about the contribution from countries of the north to the Green Fund for the protection of our planet, it is not charity. It is to ensure our own collective livelihoods on this planet. So this is something that must be addressed. Now, again, when you talk about getting this biodiversity of Africa working for us, you'd be shocked to know that out of the 1,100 blockbuster drugs that we have on the market, only 83 come from African plants. Why is this so?