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TWAS is an autonomous international organization based in Trieste, Italy. Its principal aim is to promote scientific capacity and excellence for sustainable development in the South.

TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, is an autonomous international organization, founded in 1983 in Trieste, Italy, by a distinguished group of scientists from the South under the leadership of the late Nobel laureate Abdus Salam of Pakistan. It was officially launched by the secretary-general of the United Nations in 1985.

TWAS represents the best of science in developing countries. Its main mission is to promote scientific excellence and capacity in the South for science-based sustainable development.

The Academy's strength resides in the quality and diversity of its membership -- internationally renowned scientists elected by their peers. TWAS Fellows, who represent 85 percent of the membership, are citizens of the South; TWAS Associate Fellows are citizens of the North who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science in the South. At present, TWAS has 902 members from 90 countries.

A Council, elected every three years by TWAS members, is responsible for the Academy's broad policy and programmatic directions. The Secretariat, headed by an executive director and located on the premises of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, assists the Council in the administration and coordination of the programmes.

In 1991, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) assumed responsibility for administering TWAS funds and personnel on the basis of an agreement signed by TWAS and UNESCO. In 2004, the Italian government passed a law that ensures a continuous financial contribution to the Academy's operation. Representatives of the Italian government and UNESCO are members of the TWAS Steering Committee, which meets annually to discuss financial matters.

In addition to its strong links with UNESCO and ICTP, TWAS provides administrative support for the Third World Organization for Women in Science (TWOWS), the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP) and the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP). The Academy also maintains close ties with academies, research councils and ministries of science and technology in developing countries.

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