The Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nations Secretary-General

Short biographies of the members

Tanya Abrahamse, South Africa

  • CEO, South African National Biodiversity Institute

  • Member, Future Earth Transition Team (ICSU)

Tanya Abrahamse earned a BSc in Biology from University of Zambia; an MSc and DIC in Applied Entomology and Insect Ecology from Imperial College, University of London; and a PhD from the University of Westminster. She has wide management and leadership experience in environmental and developmental policies and processes. In 1994, she was appointed Chief Director in President Mandela’s Office where she played a key role in the Reconstruction & Development Programme. In 1997, she was appointed Deputy Director-General in the Environment & Tourism Department, where she headed the Resource Use Branch which included Marine and Coastal Management, Biodiversity and Heritage Management, and Tourism. Between 1994 and 2000, she participated in many international engagements representing her country. As head of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (from 2000), she sat on all key tourism bodies, led the Black Economic Empowerment Process and advised on public-private partnership policy development. She received the African Tourism Achiever Award in 2005 and was her country’s nominee for the post of Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization. In 2007, she was appointed the first CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), a public entity responsible for biodiversity research, policy support, knowledge & information, and the National Botanical Gardens.

Susan Avery, USA

  • Director and President, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, USA

Susan K. Avery is the first woman to become Director and President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She has extensive experience as a leader within scientific institutions. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, she served in interim positions as Vice Chancellor for research and Dean of the graduate school, as well as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for academic affairs. From 1994-2004, she served as Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the first woman and first engineer to hold that position. Avery is a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the American Meteorological Society, for which she also served as President. She is a member of the advisory board for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. She has also served on numerous advisory panels, committees, and councils for the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Avery earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Michigan State University in 1972, a master's in physics from the University of Illinois in 1974, and a doctorate in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois in 1978.

Sir Hilary McDonald Beckles, Barbados

  • Principal of the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus

Sir Hilary McDonald Beckles is Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of West Indies (UWI) and Principal of the UWI Cave Hill Campus. He received his higher education in the United Kingdom and graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Economic History from Hull University in 1976 and a PhD from the same university in 1980.  He has served the University Cave Hill Campus as Head of the History Department and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. He is an internationally reputed historian and serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals, including the Journal of Caribbean History, and an international editor for the Journal of American History. He served for five years as a member of the Cultural Committee of Prince Claus of the Netherlands. He is also the Chair, Board of Directors of the University of the West Indies Press.  He is a member of the International Task Force for the UNESCO Slave Route Project and is principal consultant for resource material in the schools programme. He is also Consultant for the UNESCO Cities for Peace Global Programme, and an advisor to the UN World Culture Report. In 2002, he led the Barbados national delegation to the UN Conference on Race in Durban, South Africa. In recent years, he has lectured on the challenges facing higher education thinking and planning in the Caribbean. He is co-author of The Brain Train: Quality Higher Education and Caribbean Development, 2002.  He also chaired the UWI Task Force on the ‘Globalisation and Liberalisation of Higher Education’.

Joji Cariño, Philippines

  • Director, Forest Peoples Programme

Joji Cariño began work as an activist and analyst of indigenous peoples' issues in her native Philippines, focusing on dams projects in the Cordillera region. Over 25 years she has worked as an active campaigner and advocate of indigenous peoples' human rights at community, national and international levels. She was Executive Secretary of the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests and served as Commissioner on the World Commission on Dams, which conducted a global review of the development effectiveness of dams. She is Policy Advisor and European Desk Coordinator of Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples International Centre for Policy, Research and Education), and Director of the Forest Peoples Programme.

Rosie Cooney, Australia  

  • Chair of the Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Visiting Fellow, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Rosie Cooney is a scholar and practitioner in biodiversity governance and management, focused on international and national policy related to the sustainable use and management of wild resources and their interaction with human societies. She is Chair of the Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and serves on the Steering Committees of IUCN's Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) and Species Survival Commission (SSC). She holds first class Honours degrees in Zoology and in Law from the Australian National University, and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Cambridge, and has worked for over a decade for leading global environmental organisations. She currently acts as a consultant to governments nationally and internationally, to non-governmental organisations, and to leading corporations, and is active in teaching and research at the Institute of Environmental Studies, University of New South Wales. Her most recent (co-edited) book is Conservation in a Crowded World, from UNSW Press.


© UNESCO

Abdallah S. Daar, Oman

  • Professor of Public Health Sciences and of Surgery, University of Toronto

  • Chief Scientific and Ethics Officer, Grand Challenges Canada

Abdallah Daar FRS (C), D.Phil (Oxon), FRCP (Lon), FRCS, FRCSC, is Professor of Public Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana Faculty of Public Health, University of Toronto, with a cross-appointment in the department of Surgery. He is Senior Scientist at University Health Network/Toronto General Research Institute, and is Director of Ethics and Commercialization at the Sandra Rotman Centre. At Grand Challenges Canada, in addition to being a member of the Board of Directors, he is the Chief Science and Ethics Officer and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board. He was the founding Chair of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (2009-2011) and is Chair of the Advisory Board of the United Nations University International Institute of Global Health. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Genome Canada. His academic career has spanned biomedical sciences, organ transplantation, surgery, global health, and bioethics. He has worked in various advisory or consulting capacities with the UN, the World Health Organization and UNESCO, and was a member of the African Union High-Level Panel on Modern Biotechnology. He is a Fellow of several Academies of Sciences, is a member of UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee, and was for many years a member of the Ethics Committee of the Human Genome Organization. His major research focus is on the use of life sciences to ameliorate global health inequities, with a particular focus on building scientific capacity and increasing innovation in developing countries. He has over 360 publications in peer-reviewed journals and as book chapters, and has published 6 books, the last being “The Grandest Challenge - Taking Life-saving Science From Lab to Village.” He is currently working on his seventh book, entitled "Garment of Destiny".

Gebisa Ejeta, Ethiopia

  • Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, Purdue University

  • Winner of the 2009 World Food Prize

  • Science Envoy of President Obama

Gebisa Ejeta is Distinguished Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University, with specialty in Plant Breeding and Genetics and International Agriculture. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security. His research is focused on the genetic improvement of sorghum for resistance to pests, diseases, and environmental stress with enhanced productivity and nutritional quality. He has contributed to the welfare of people in developing countries through his research as well as through his human and institutional capacity development efforts. He has served the United States Government and other agencies in advisory capacity. He was designated US Science Envoy for Africa, Special Advisor to the Administrator of USAID, before being appointed by President Obama to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) in 2011. Previously, Dr. Ejeta has consulted with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the USAID, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the CGIAR, as well as a number of national and regional organizations in Africa. Currently, he is serving on the Advisory Board of the Sasakawa Africa Association, the Chicago Council for Global Affairs, the Consortium Board of the CGIAR, and the Board for Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR) of the US National Academy of Sciences. He further is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Fellow of Crop Science Society of America, and the 2009 World Food Prize Laureate.

Vladimir Fortov, Russian Federation

  • President, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)

Vladimir E. Fortov is a well-known scientist in the field of plasma and space physics, extremely high pressures and temperatures, physics and chemistry of strong shock and detonation waves, pulsed energetics. He was Head of the Division of Energetics, Machinery, Mechanics and Control Systems of Russian Academy of Sciences and Director of the Joint Institute for High Temperature of RAS. Vladimir Fortov and his Institute participated in the international Russian, French, German, Hungarian Space project VEGA - investigation of Halley comet. He was awarded many prizes, including the L.P. Karpinsky International Prize in Physics and Chemistry; International P. Bridgeman Prize for Achievements in High Pressure Physics and Technology; International Max Planck Award for Physics. He is also a member of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and of the Max Planck Society. He was the Minister of Science and Technology and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia from 1996 to 1998.

Fabiola Gianotti, Italy

  • Research physicist, CERN

Fabiola Gianotti obtained a Ph.D. in experimental sub-nuclear physics from the University of Milano, Italy, and is now holding a permanent position as research physicist at CERN. She is also Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded honorary doctoral degrees by the Uppsala University (Sweden) and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). She is a member of the Italian Academy of Sciences (Accademia dei Lincei). From March 2009 to February 2013 she has been holding the elected position of Coordinator (“Spokesperson”) of the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (the ATLAS Collaboration consists of about 3,000 physicists from 38 countries). On 4 July 2012, in a seminar at CERN, she announced, together with the Spokesperson of the CMS experiment, the discovery of a new particle, the long-sought Higgs boson. She has been or is a member of several international committees such as the Scientific Council of the French CNRS, the Fermilab Physics Advisory Committee in the US, the Council of the European Physical Society, and the Scientifc Council of the DESY Laboratory (Hamburg, Germany). She has been awarded the honour of “Grande Ufficiale dell'ordine al merito della Repubblica” by the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. She has received the Fundamental Physics Prize of the Milner Foundation, the Enrico Fermi Prize of the Italian Physical Society and the Medal of Honour of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. She was also a finalist for the Time's Person of the Year for 2012.

Ke Gong, China

  • President, Nankai University

Gong Ke obtained a BA from Beijing Institute of Technology, and a PhD of Technical Science from Technical University Graz, Austria. He was elected President of Nankai University in 2011. He became a full professor in 1994, and headed the Department of Electronic Engineering and Tsinghua Aerospace Technology Research Centre before becoming the Vice-President of Tsinghua University in 1999. He has been Director of Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology. From 2006-2011, he also served as President of Tianjin University. He received a prestigious Fellowship from the Russian Academy of Aerospace Sciences in 2002. Since 2009, he has been Vice-President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) and the Chair of its Committee on Information and Communication. He currently holds the positions as Vice-President of the Chinese Institute of Electronics, Vice-President of Chinese Institute of Communications, and Member of the Standing Committee of China Association for Science and Technology. His research area covers wireless communications, radio broadcasting of digital TV, as well as higher education and R&D polices.

Jörg Hinrich Hacker, Germany

  • President, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Jörg Hinrich Hacker is President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. He was Vice-President of the German Research Foundation, President of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and Director of the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology at the University of Würzburg. His research focuses on the molecular anaylsis of infectious bacteria and of host-pathogen interactions. He has coordinated many international collaborative research projects and is a member of numerous national and international academies, scientific societies and boards: He serves on the Scientific Council of the Institute Pasteur, France, represents Germany on the Board of the InterAcademy Council and is a member of the Ethics Commission for a Safe Energy Supply of the Chancellor of Germany. Hacker is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the German Science Journalists’ Association. He has received many awards and prizes, among them the Gay-Lussac-Humboldt-Science award and the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Maria Ivanova, Bulgaria

  • Co-Director, Center for Governance and Sustainability and Director, Global Environmental Governance Project, University of Massachusetts Boston

  • Assistant Professor of Global Governance at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston

Maria Ivanova is an international relations and environmental policy scholar specializing in governance and sustainability. Her research and policy work focus on global environmental governance and the performance of international environmental institutions. She has worked on issues such as financing for the environment, US foreign environmental policy, and sustainability on campuses and in organizations. Her career, marked by teaching excellence and policy leadership, has bridged academia and policy. Her academic work has been recognized for bringing analytical rigor and innovative input to the international negotiations on reforming the UN system for environment. She has worked closely with national governments and UN agencies in providing an academic perspective into their political positions about international environmental governance. Ivanova served as a coordinating lead author in the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), the flagship UN environmental assessment in 2012. She has numerous publications, has produced three short documentaries on global environmental governance, is the editor of the Governance and Sustainability Issue Brief Series, and serves on the editorial board of Global Environmental Politics. She co-leads (with Robyn Hannigan, Dean of the School for the Environment) a National Science Foundation project on Coasts and Communities, which will train doctoral students as environmental problem solvers and focus on the complex interactions of natural and human systems in urban and urbanizing coastal areas across Massachusetts Bay and the Horn of Africa. Ivanova holds a PhD (with distinction) and two masters degrees, in International Relations and Environmental Management, from Yale University.

Eugenia Kalnay, Argentina

  • Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, USA

Eugenia Kalnay is Professor of atmospheric and oceanic science in the University of Maryland (UMD) and an expert in predictability and ensemble forecasting, numerical weather prediction, data assimilation, coupled ocean-atmosphere modelling and climate change. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). In 2009, she received the prestigious World Meteorological Organization IMO Prize. Her work on the impact of land use on climate change was chosen by Discovery Magazine as one of the top 100 science results of 2010, and her seminal paper on reanalysis is the most cited paper in all geosciences. Prior to her coming to UMD, she was Branch Head at NASA Goddard, and later served for 10 years as the Director of the Environmental Modelling Center within the National Weather Service, where she was instrumental in major improvements in the NWS models' forecasting skill

Eva Kondorosi, Hungary

  • Research Professor, Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary

  • Research Director at the Plant Science Institute of CNRS, France

Eva Kondorosi graduated in Biology and received her PhD (Genetics) at the L. Eötvös University in Budapest. She was postdoc at the Max Planck Institut für Züchtungsforschung (Köln, Germany) and visiting scholar at the Sussex, Harvard and Cornell Universities. She is the founding director of the BAYGEN Institute (2007-2012) which is now part of the Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged, where she directs the Symbiosis and Functional Genomics Unit. She was a founding member of the Institut des Science Végétales of CNRS, in France as one of the first research directors and group leaders. For her original discoveries she received several awards including the Széchenyi and the IS-MPMI awards in 2012. Her current research focuses on dual exploitation of natural plant strategies in agriculture and public health. She is a member and foreign associate of several Academies including the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and Academia Europaea. She is a Scientific Council member of the European Research Council and member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and the Board of Directors at the International Society of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. She was involved in the initiation of the UNESCO ‘Women in Science’ Programme and was a member of the international jury of the l’Oréal-UNESCO ‘For Women in Science’ Awards.

Reiko Kuroda, Japan

  • Professor, Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science

Reiko Kuroda obtained M.Sc and Ph.D. from the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo in chemistry. She worked in the Department of Chemistry and later of Biophysics, at King’s College London and obtained a permanent position at the Institute of Cancer Research (UK). She went back to Japan to take up a position as Associate Professor, and later became a full Professor in the Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo, before moving on to her current position at the Tokyo University of Science. She had and has many governmental and international appointments, including a member of CSTP, an advisory board to the Prime Minister on science and technology policy (2001-7), the Vice-President of the International Council for Science (ICSU) (2008-11), and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO. She received an honorary professorship from the Sichuan University, Chengdu, China and an Honorary Doctorate from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. She is a member of the Science Council of Japan as well as a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. ​Her current research focuses on chirality, covering a wide area including solid-state chemistry, crystallography, chiroptical spectroscopy, as well as molecular and developmental biology. She led the JST’s ERATO and SORST Kuroda Chiromorphology research projects as the Director for the last ten years. She obtained the Saruhashi Prize, Nissan Science Prize, Yamazaki-Teiichi Prize, and received the 2013 l’Oréal-UNESCO Award ‘For Women in Science’.


© UNESCO

Dong-Pil Min, Republic of Korea

  • Emeritus Professor of Physics, Seoul National University

  • Ambassador for Science and Technology Cooperation of Republic of Korea

Dong-Pil Min was Chairman of the Korea Research Council of Fundamental Science and Technology (KRCF) which establishes the policies of 13 Korean government-funded research institutions as their common Board of Trustees. In 2010 he launched an international forum of public research institutes for science and science policy, Seoul Science & Technology Forum, to provide an arena for the serious discussion about global challenges and to start an effective cooperation to address them.  He served as scientific advisor to the presidential candidate Lee Myung Bak in 2007 and led the ‘Science and Business Belt Task Force’ of the 17th Presidential Transition Committee in 2008. Previously, Min held several leadership positions including Vice-President of the Korean Physical Society, Chair of National Information Research Center Council, Director-General of Korea Research Foundation, and Chair of the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science and Technology (KRCF). For the previous 28 years, he was Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Seoul National University. Min received his PhD and Docteur-ès-Science in Theoretical Physics from the University of Paris in 1976 and 1980 respectively.

Carlos Nobre, Brazil

  • National Secretary for R&D Policies at the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation of Brazil

Carlos Nobre is one of Brazil's best known climate scientists. He was the Director of the Center for Earth System Science and Senior Scientist at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) of Brazil, Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Research Network on Global Climate Change (Rede CLIMA), Scientific Director of the National Institute for Climate Change Research. Nobre's work focused on the Amazon and its impacts on the Earth system. He chaired the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), an international research initiative designed to create the new knowledge needed to understand the climatological, ecological, bio-geochemical, and hydrological functioning of Amazonia, the impact of land use change on these functions, and the interactions between Amazonia and the Earth system. He is also a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a well-known public figure who has been advocating new ways of reducing deforestation by focusing on the value of forest products, led by developing nations like Brazil and India. He is currently National Secretary for R&D Policies at the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation of Brazil.

Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, India

  • Chairperson, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  • Director-General, TERI, India

Rajendra Kumar Pachauri is the Chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the scientific intergovernmental body that provides decision-makers and the public with an objective source of information about climate change. He is also Director General of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), a major independent research organisation providing knowledge on energy, environment, forestry, biotechnology, and the conservation of natural resources. Dr Pachauri is a prominent researcher on environmental subjects, recognised internationally for his efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change. He has been appointed as Senior Adviser to Yale Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI) from July 2012 prior to which he was the Founding Director of YCEI (July 2009 – June 2012). He is active in several international forums dealing with the subject of climate change and its policy dimensions. He was awarded the second-highest civilian award in India, the 'Padma Vibhushan' in January 2008 by the President of India and received the 'Officier De La Légion D’Honneur' from the Government of France in 2006. He has been conferred with ‘The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star’ by His Majesty Akihito, Emperor of Japan, the ‘Commander of the Order of the White Rose of Finland’ by the Prime Minister of Finland, the ‘Commander of the Order of Leopold II’ by the King of the Belgians and Mexican Order of the ‘Aztec Eagle’ by the President of Mexico in June 2012.

Shankar Sastry, USA

  • Roy W. Carlson Professor of EECS, BioE and ME

  • Dean, College of Engineering, UC Berkeley, USA

  • Faculty Director, Blum Center for Emerging Economies

Shankar Sastry obtained his BS degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and his MS and PhD degrees from University of California, Berkeley. He became an Assistant Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1980-2), Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor at University of California, Berkeley (1983–present). He has held visiting appointments at the Australian National University, Canberra the University of Rome, Scuola Normale and University of Pisa, the CNRS laboratory LAAS in Toulouse, Professor Invité at Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, France, and as a Vinton Hayes Visiting Fellow at the Center for Intelligent Control Systems at MIT. Most recently, he has been concerned with cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection, and has helped establish an NSF Science and Technology Center, TRUST (Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technologies). He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2001 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) in 2004. He is member of the Technical Advisory Group of the President’s Council of Advisors on S&T. He was on the US Air Force Science Board from 2003-2006, and is Chairman of the Board of the International Computer Science Institute. He is also a member of the boards of the Federation of American Scientists and ESCHER (Embedded Systems Consortium for Hybrid and Embedded Research). Among his many honors, he received the President of India Gold Medal, the IBM Faculty Development award, the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Eckman Award of the of the American Automatic Control Council, the Ragazzini Award for Distinguished Accomplishments in teaching, and the distinguished Alumnus Award of the Indian Institute of Technology.

Hayat Sindi, Saudi Arabia

  • Co-Founder and Director of ‘Diagnostics for All’

  • Founder and President, Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity (i2institute)

Hayat Sindi is founder and President of the Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity (i2institute), in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and a co-founder and director of ‘Diagnostics for All’, a nonprofit institution fusing biotechnology and microfluidics, dedicated to creating low-cost, easy-to-use, point-of-care diagnostics designed specifically for the 60 percent of the developing world that lives beyond the reach of urban hospitals and medical infrastructures. She graduated with a degree in pharmacology in 1995 at King’s College, UK and earned a PhD in biotechnology from Cambridge University in 2001. She has invented a machine combining the effects of light and ultra-sound for use in biotechnology. Along with her scientific activities, she participated in numerous events aimed at raising the awareness of science amongst women, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim World. She is also interested in the problem of brain drain. In 2010, Sindi was the winner of the ‘Mekkah Al Mukaram’ Prize for Scientific Innovation, given by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal. She was also named a 2011 Emerging Explorer by the National Geographic Society. In 2012, she was named one of Newsweek's "150 Women Who Shake the World". She became UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2012 “in recognition of her work to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and social innovation for scientists, technologists and engineers in the Middle East and beyond, her efforts to bring the youth closer to innovators and her dedication to the ideals and aims of the Organization.”

Wole Soboyeyo, Nigeria

  • President, African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Garki

Wole Soboyejo is President, African University of Science and Technology, in Garki, Nigeria. He has been Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and the Director of the Undergraduate Program at the Princeton Institute of Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM) and the US/Africa Materials Institute (USAMI) at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from Cambridge University in 1988 and worked as a research scientist at the McDonnel Douglass Research Labs from 1988 to 1992. He then taught Materials Science at the Ohio State University and MIT before joining the Princeton faculty in 1999. Soboyejo is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Nigerian Academy of Science. His research interests include nanoparticles and BioMEMs for cancer detection and treatment, and cell/surface interactions on biomaterials. Soboyejo is currently the Chair of the African Renaissance Institutes of Science and Technology (ARIST) and the African Scientific Committee. He is the recipient of two National Young Investigator Awards (National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research) and ASM's Bradley Stoughton Award for Young Teachers of Materials Science.

Laurence Tubiana, France

  • Professor, Sciences Po Paris and Professor, Columbia University
  • Founder and Director, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI)
  • Co-Chair, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Leadership Council
  • President, French Development Agency (AFD) Board of Governors

Laurence Tubiana is Founder of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) in Paris. She is Professor and Director of the Sustainable Development Center at Sciences Po Paris. She is also a Visiting Professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. Since September 2012, she serves as Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)'s Leadership Council and co-chairs the SDSN working group on Deep Decarbonization Pathways. She is also President of the Board of Governors of the French Development Agency. In 2012, Laurence Tubiana was appointed by the French government to the National Steering Committee on Energy Transition to facilitate the discussion on France's energy and provide recommendations for reducing France's reliance on nuclear energy. From May 2009 to May 2010, she was in charge of launching the new direction of Global Publics Goods of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. From 1997 to 2002, she served as Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of France on environmental issues and conducted a number of international negotiations on this subject. Previously, she served as Member of the French Council of Economic Analysis and as Research Director for the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). She also represented European NGOs at the World Bank and directed the French-based NGO Solagral. She is member of several scientific boards of main research institutions such as the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the India Council for Sustainable Development and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. Founder of the journal Le Courrier de la Planète, she has published a number of articles and books on environment, development and international issues. Since 2007, she co-directs the publication of the annual review Sustainable Development in Action – A Planet for Life. Laurence Tubiana studied at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris and holds a PhD in economics.

Judi W. Wakhungu, Kenya

  • Professor of Energy Resources Management

  • First Cabinet Secretary, Ministry for Environment, Water and Natural Resources of Kenya

Judi W. Wakhungu is a former Executive Director of the African Technology Studies Network. She then became the Director of the Women in Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Institute at the Pennsylvania State University. She was also an Associate Professor of Science, Technology and Society whose research interests included Energy Policy and Development, Science Technology and Development, and Gender Issues in Science and Technology Policy. She received a B.S. in Geology from St. Lawrence University in New York, an MS degree in Petroleum Geology from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and her Ph.D. in Energy Resources Management from Pennsylvania State University. She has held a number of energy sector positions in the civil service industry and higher education in her native country of Kenya. She was the first woman to be hired as a geologist in the Ministry of Energy and Regional Development, where her duties entailed exploring for geothermal energy in Kenya's Rift Valley, the first woman petroleum geologist in the National Oil Corporation of Kenya, as well as the first female faculty member in the Department of Geology at the University of Nairobi. She has served on many national and international boards and committees with the distinction of being the "designated energy expert" for the United Nations Commission of Science and Technology for Development (Gender Working Group). She is currently First Cabinet Secretary, Ministry for Environment, Water and Natural Resources of Kenya.

Ada E. Yonath, Israel

  • Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2009

  • Director, Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly, Weizmann Institute of Science

Ada E. Yonath is a crystallographer best known for her pioneering work on the structure of the ribosome. She is the current Director of the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly of the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel. In 2009, she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz, for her studies on the structure and function of the ribosome, becoming the first Israeli woman to win the Nobel Prize out of ten Israeli Nobel laureates, the first woman from the Middle East to win a Nobel prize in the sciences, and the first woman in 45 years to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. In 2008, she became the first Israeli woman to win the l'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science for her vital work identifying how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. She accepted postdoctoral positions at the Carnegie Mellon University (1969) and MIT (1970). She headed a Max-Planck Institute Research Unit at DESY in Hamburg, Germany (1986–2004) in parallel to her research activities at the Weizmann Institute. She is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities; the European Academy of Sciences and Art and the European Molecular Biology Organization.


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Abdul Hamid Zakri, Malaysia

  • Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of Malaysia

  • Chair, IPBES

Abdul Hamid Zakhri obtained a Dip. Agric. from the College of Agriculture in Malaya, Malaysia (1969), a BS in Crop Science from Louisiana State University, USA (1972), and an MS (1974) and a PhD (1976), both in Crop Science (Plant Breeding) from Michigan State University, USA. Zakri is the Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of Malaysia. His senior leadership roles include Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University Kebangsaan Malaysia (1992-2000); Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the United Nations University, Japan (2001-2008); Chairman, Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (1997-1999); Co-chair, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2001 to 2005), and Member, Inter-Academy Council Committee reviewing the IPCC (2010). In January 2013 he was elected Chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Ahmed Zewail, Egypt

  • Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry & Physics, Director, Physical Biology Center for Ultlrafast Science & Technology, California Institute of Technology, United States;
  • Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Ahmed Hassan Zewail received a BS and a MS degree from the University of Alexandria before moving from Egypt to the United States to complete his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. In In 1999, Zewail became the first Egyptian and Arab to receive the Nobel Prize in Science or Medicine. For ten years, he served as the Director of the National Science Foundation's Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS), and is currently the Director of the Moore Foundation's Center for Physical Biology at Caltech. He received many international recognitions and awards including  the Albert Einstein World Award of Science for his pioneering development of the new field femtoscience and for his seminal contributions to the revolutionary discipline of physical biology, creating new ways for better understanding the functional behavior of biological systems by directly visualizing them in the four dimensions of space and time. In April 2009, President Barack Obama appointed him to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and in November of the same year, he was named the First United States Science Envoy to the Middle East.