New York: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam on Wednesday became the first Asian to be bestowed the Hoover Medal, America's top engineering prize, for his outstanding contribution to public service.
Accepting the rare honour, the 78-year-old 'missile man' said: "Society has to be dynamic to make progress and prepare itself for the challenges of the future".
Describing terrorism as obstacles in the path of development, Kalam, who was President from 2002 to 2007, said while nations are working to improve the lot of people and leap frog in development, "there are forces at work to impede by way of extremism and terrorism".
"Presently, terrorism and low intensity warfare are affecting many parts of the world. Simultaneously the brain is intelligent to understand the price, the humanity has paid because of such conflicts," said Kalam addressing the elite gathering at the Columbia University here.
If people's attention is diverted from terrorism and conflict to development, the human civilisation would have taken a shape leading to peaceful co-existence, he said in his speech titled 'Transforming billion people to prosperity'.
"Science and Technology have revolutionised our ways of life, transportation, communication, healthcare, education delivery, judiciary and in general human advancement," he said.