The 2011 Ian McHarg Medal is awarded to Monique Petitdidier for her exemplar work in support of African scientists and her recognition of the importance of outreach and ‘science citizenship’.
Monique Petitdidier’s contribution in support of African scientists has been threefold: (1) to help African scientists by providing them knowledge, information and/or contact for collaboration; (2) to make the scientific community at large aware of the internet conditions in Africa and to ask them for support to improve the cyber-infrastructure and (3) to make African scientists aware of their role to improve their working conditions and to develop scientific teams. Petitdidier has actively worked to make African communities wealthier, safer and more sustainable through full participation in the information revolution. She has made a substantial contribution to the widespread diffusion of cyber-infrastructures to connect people in Africa. This was particularly important for scientists and technologists who have the responsibility of producing and using information and knowledge to inform decision-makers and deliver societal benefits. Her vision is that in Africa there are good scientists but they have difficulties carrying out research in their countries due to various problems. She believes that the main general problem is the digital divide due to an unreliable and expensive internet. Monique Petitdidier is currently working to eliminate these divides to ensure a better future for African people.