Women in Science, Culture and Diplomacy: The Legacy of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu – Scientist, Writer and Feminist

Location Online (Zoom)

Date and time Monday 4 March 2024
15:00 - 16:00 (London GMT)
18:00 - 19:00 (Ankara UTC+3)

Speakers Jo Willett
Writer and TV Producer
Zehra Sayers
Sabancı University

Event Summary

We are celebrating women in science, culture, and diplomacy at our upcoming event, ‘Women in Science, Culture and Diplomacy: The Legacy of Mary Montagu – Scientist, Writer and Feminist’ on 4 March. Hosted by the British Embassy, the British Council and the British Institute at Ankara, this event will honour the remarkable achievements of women who have made significant contributions to these fields.

Over 300 years ago, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, a scientist, writer and feminist, pioneered the practice of inoculation during a smallpox epidemic in the UK, saving countless lives. Her legacy extends beyond her groundbreaking medical achievements to her influential writings that provided valuable insight into her experiences in the Ottoman Empire.

Join us for a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Peter Cherry, Assistant Director at the British Institute at Ankara, featuring distinguished speakers Jo Willett, BBC presenter and author, and Prof. Zehra Sayers, a leading Turkish-British structural biologist. Together, we will explore Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s legacy and its relevance to contemporary STEM, diplomacy, and cultural endeavours.

Don’t miss this opportunity to commemorate International Women’s Day and empower women professionals in these fields. Register now to secure your spot at the Zoom event and be part of this important conversation. Let’s celebrate and support the achievements of women together!

To attend on zoom, please register here

Event Speakers

Jo Willett

Writer and TV Producer

Jo Willett was a television drama producer for many years. She is the proud recipient of a BAFTA, a Royal Television Society Award and an International Emmy. Her first book, THE PIONEERING LIFE OF MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU, about the woman who brought smallpox inoculation to the west, was published during the Covid crisis in April 2021. Her second book, SARAH SIDDONS: THE FIRST CELEBRITY ACTRESS, is due to be published in May 2024. Jo lives in London and West Dorset. www.devoniaroad.co.uk.

Zehra Sayers

Sabancı University

Professor Sayers is a molecular biophysicist focusing on structural biology. She spent her early career in laboratories in UK and Sweden. As the first female staff scientist at EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) in Hamburg she was among the pioneers in applications of synchrotron X-rays to structural analyses. Later, she was also instrumental in establishing the use of these techniques in Turkey. She is a founding member of the Engineering and Natural Sciences Faculty Sabancı University (SU) and she served as the Director of Foundation Development Program (Core Curriculum) and as interim President at SU. She was the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the international synchrotron radiation facility, SESAME (www.sesame.org.jo), as it matured from a project to a functional laboratory. Her achievements were recognized with the Rammal Award in 2017. In 2019, she was among the recipients of the AAAS Science Diplomacy Award and in the BBC list of 100 Women. She is an honorary member of the Science Academy, Turkey.