Johannesburg: Daya Reddy, an Indian-origin South African mathematician has been elected as the new president of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
Reddy has been voted by representatives of ICSU's 120 national members and scientific unions attending the organisation's General Assembly in Auckland, New Zealand.
ICSU is a non-governmental organisation with a global membership of 121 national scientific bodies and 31 international scientific unions.
South African Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor joined the science community in congratulating Reddy.
"It means a lot for South Africa and for Africa; it shows that our continent is being recognised for its skills, ability to lead and the role we are playing in global science," said Pandor.
"It is a great honour for South Africa, because it recognises the excellent work of our researchers and scientists and their contribution to global bodies," he said.
Reddy said he was particularly keen to ensure that ICSU becomes as inclusive as possible, so that, as the voice of science, the body could involve the entire community worldwide.
"ICSU is in a special position to promote the values of science and provide leadership in seeking scientific approaches to the world's problems," he added.
Reddy obtained his PhD degree in civil engineering from the University of Cape Town, and a PhD degree from Cambridge University.
He is President of the Academy of Science of South Africa and serves as Co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, a body which produces reports on scientific, technological and health issues for governments and global organisations.
Reddy's research interests lie at the intersection of applied mathematics and engineering sciences.
Much of his work is concerned with analysis and computational simulation in solid and fluid mechanics and concerns the development of mathematical models of material behaviour, analysis of these models, and the construction and implementation of algorithms for their numerical solution.