UNU/UNESCO International Conference:
Speaker and Presenter Biographies
Professor, Center for Nano-Science and Technology, Tokyo Polytechnic University (Japan)
After working as a research chemist in private industry, Akihiro Abe joined Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1977. Upon retiring from that position in 1994, he moved to Tokyo Polytechnic University (Japan) and Polytechnic University (NY, USA). He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kigetsu-Shoin scholarship foundation (since 1969) and served as President of the Society of Polymer Science, Japan (SPSJ, 1992–94). Dr. Abe has received a number of awards and honours, including the Award for Distinguished Service in Advancement of Polymer Sciences (1998, SPSJ), P. J. Flory Award in Polymer Science (2001), and Doctor Honoris causa Degree in Chemistry (2006, Russian Academy of Sciences). He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (Polytechnic University).
Ana Maria Cetto
Deputy Director-General and Head, Department of Technical Cooperation, International Atomic Energy Agency
Ana Maria Cetto has 35 years of experience as a lecturer in theoretical physics and electron microscopy. She has served as Dean of the Faculty of Sciences and head of the Department of Physics and the Department of Theoretical Physics of the Institute of Physics, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and as coordinator of the UNAM Museum on Light project. She is currently Secretary-General of the International Council for Science (ICSU), a Member of the Board of Trustees of the International Foundation for Science (IFS), and a member of several international scientific organizations. Prof. Cetto is a former member of the UNU Council and President of the Executive Committee of the Pugwash Conferences. She has received several awards, most recently the 2006 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award, and was named "Woman of the Year" in Mexico in 2003. She holds a Ph.D. in Physics from UNAM.
Assistant Director for the Biological Sciences Directorate, National Science Foundation, USA
James Collins is a Professor of Natural History and the Environment in the School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University (ASU); he previously served as Chairman of the Zoology and Biology Departments. His research centres on morphological variation within species, and he heads an international team of investigators studying the role of pathogens in the global decline of amphibians. Dr. Collins is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Association for Women in Science, a member of several academic societies, and chair of the Advisory Committee to NSF's Assistant Director for Biological Sciences. He holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan.
Hama Arba Diallo
Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Before joining UNCCD, Hama Arba Diallo was Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). He previously served 24 years as a top official in the state and foreign ministries of Burkina Faso, including as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador of Burkina Faso to China, India, and Japan. A specialist in African economic development and environmental issues, he was long involved in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and from 1979 to 1983 served as Deputy Director of the United Nations Sudano-Sahelian Office in New York, operating under the UNDP. From 1966 to 1976, Mr. Diallo served as a delegate to the UN General Assembly as well as to other UN agencies.
Director, Bureau of Strategic Planning, UNESCO
Prior to joining UNESCO in 2000, Hans d’Orville served as Director of Information Technologies for the Development Programme, Bureau for Development Policy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Since 1975, he has held a variety of posts in the United Nations Secretariat and at UNDP. From 1987 to 1995, he served as Executive Coordinator of the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government. Dr. d’Orville is a member of the Executive Committee, Africa Leadership Forum, and was advisor to the Independent Commission of Population and Quality of Life and the Independent Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Konstanz (Germany).
Nagia M. Essayed
Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, African Union Commission (AU)
Nagia Essayed was elected as AU Commissioner in March 2004. Prior to that, she had worked for more than 30 years as a civil servant — including as Town Planner, Head of Urban Planning, and Chief Engineer of the Municipality of Tripoli — and as an academic — with the Faculty of Engineering, University of Al-Fateh (Libya), and Faculty of Engineering, University of Garyounis (Libya). Prof. Essayed is a member of the Libyan Association of Engineers and the Scientific Society of Engineers, She holds a Ph.D degree in Housing and Urban Design from the University of Liverpool (UK).
Andrew Barde Gidamis
Executive Secretary, African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD), Kenya
As head of AICAD, Andrew Barde Gidamis coordinates research, training programmes, and information networking among public universities in East Africa, and liaises on AICAD programmes with the governments of East African countries and the government of Japan (through the Japan International Cooperation Agency). Prior to joining AICAD in 2003, he spent 18 years with the Department of Food Science and Technology, Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania), including serving for six years as department head. Prof. Gidamis has published extensively in peer-refereed academic journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Agriculture from Kyoto University (Japan).
Hans Van Ginkel
Rector, United Nations University (UNU)
Hans van Ginkel has served as Rector of UNU and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations since 1997. Prior to joining UNU, he was Rector of Utrecht University, the Netherlands (1986–1997). From 2000 to 2004, he served as President of the International Association of Universities (IAU), and is currently Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT, Thailand); a member of the Academia Europaea; and Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC, the Netherlands). Among his many distinctions and awards is "Knight in the Order of the Netherlands' Lion", received in 1994. Rector van Ginkel holds a Ph.D. degree from Utrecht University and honorary doctorates from universities in Romania, USA, Ghana, and Slovakia. His fields of interest are urban and regional development, population, housing studies, science policy, internationalization, and university management. He has published widely and contributed extensively to the work of various international educational organizations.
Director, United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA)
Dr. Karl Harmsen was appointed Director of UNU-INRA in February 2006. Prior to his appointment he served from 2002 to 2005 as Director of the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific in Dehradun, India. He was Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis (2001–2002) and Rector (1997–2000) at the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Enschede, The Netherlands and was Executive Director (1994-1996) of the West and Central African Programmes with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Director of the ICRISAT Resource Management Program in Hyderabad, India (1992–1994), and before that he was Director of the Institute for Soil Fertility, Haren, The Netherlands (1986–1992). Dr. Harmsen holds Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees from the Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Mohamed Hag Ali Hassan
Executive Director, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)
In addition to his role as with TWAS, Mohamed H.A. Hassan serves as President of the African Academy of Sciences (Kenya) and Chairman of the Hon. Presidential Advisory Council for Science and Technology (Nigeria). He previously was Professor and Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Khartoum (Sudan). Among his honours are the Grand Cross (2005); National Order of Scientific Merit, Brazil; and Officer of Merit of the Italian Republic (2003). Dr. Hassan is a member of several scientific academies, and was a Founding Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences. He holds a D.Phil. degree from the University of Oxford (UK).
Minister for Science and Technology, Nigeria
Professor Turner T. Isoun is the Honorable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in Nigeria. Previously he was Director and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and founding father of the Niger Delta Wetlands Centre (NDWC). He was Executive Editor of the African Academy of Sciences. He has served as Vice Chancellor for Rivers State University of Science and Technology and has been a Special Advisor on Science and Technology to the Government of the Rivers State, a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, and a lecturer and Professor of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Ibadan. He has been awarded research and travel grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Foundation (DAAD), the Commonwealth Fellowship Foundation, and the International Development Research Foundation (IDRC). Professor Isoun holds a B.Sc. (hons), D.V.M., and Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine and Pathology.
Former Minister of Agriculture, Iran
Issa Kalantari served as Iran's Minister of Agriculture from 1988 to 2000, and then as Advisor to the President of Iran from 2000 to 2005. He joined the Ministry of Agriculture in 1982, serving successively as Head of the Agricultural Extension Organization; Head of the Plant and Seed Improvement Institute; and Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Extension. From 1985 to 1988, he was Managing Director of Moghan Agro-Industrial Complex. Dr. Kalantari has also served as President of the United Nations World Food Council (1991–1996) and President of Iran's Farmer's House. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Crop Physiology from Iowa State University (USA).
President, Science Council of Japan
Kiyoshi Kurokawa is a Professor of the Research Institute of Science and Technology, Tokai University, and the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo. He formerly taught at the UCLA School of Medicine (USA) and University of Tokyo faculty of Medicine, and served as Dean of the Tokai University Schools of Medicine. He currently is a member of the Science and Technology Policy Committee of the Cabinet of the Government of Japan; Master of the American College of Physicians and Governor of its Japan Chapter; and an elected member of many professional societies. In 1999, Dr. Kurokawa received the Order of Purple from the Government of Japan for Excellence in Academic Achievements.
Director, Energy-Environment Technology Division, Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI)
Sameer Maithel began his career in 1988, working in oil and gas production. He joined TERI in 1994, working in the area of clean and renewable energy technologies for applications in villages and small industries. From 2000 to 2003, as Area Convenor for the Biomass Energy Technology Application, he coordinated work on development of modern biomass energy technologies. Currently, as Director of the Energy-Environment Technology Division at TERI, Dr. Maithel supervises 60 research professionals and 6 research areas. He holds a Ph. D. degree in Energy Systems Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, and has worked in projects in several developing countries in Asia and Africa.
Abdel Salam Majali
President, Islamic Academy of Sciences (IAS), Jordan
Abdel Salam Majali served as Prime Minister of Jordan during 1993–1995 and 1997–1998, and is currently Chairman of the Jordan Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A professor of medicine since 1973, he previously served as ENT Consultant and Director General, Royal Medical Services, Jordan Armed Forces (1960–1969); Minister of Health (1969–1971) and Minister of State for Prime Ministry Affairs (1970–1971 and 1976–1979); President of the University of Jordan (1971–1976 and 1980–1989); and Minister of Education (1976–1979). He also was Chairman of the University Council, United Nations University (1977–1982) and a Member of the Executive Board of UNESCO (1985–1990). Dr. Majali holds an M.D. degree from the Syrian University. He is a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences and President of the International Affairs Society (Jordan).
Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Throughout a long and distinguished career with the government of Japan, Koïchiro Matsuura served in many posts, including as Ambassador of Japan to France, and concurrently to Andorra and Djibouti (1994–1999); Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan (1992–1994); Director-General, North American Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1990–1992), Director-General, Economic Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1988–1990); Consul General of Japan in Hong Kong (1985–1988); Director, General Affairs Division, and Deputy Director-General, Foreign Minister’s Office (1982–1985); and Director, Aid Policy Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1980–1982). He was Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in 1998–1999.
President, International Council for Science (ICSU)
Professor Mehta is a leading researcher in the area of chemical Sciences and presently CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow in India. He is an author of over 400 research papers in leading international journals and has delivered over 200 lectures in major conferences around the world. Previously, he has been the Director of the Indian Institute of Science (1998-2005) and the President (Vice Chancellor) of the University of Hyderabad (1994-1998), two of India's most prestigious academic institutions. He has been the President of the Indian National Science Academy (1999-2001) and founding Co-Chair of the Inter Academy Council (IAC, 2001-2006). He is Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Fellow of TWAS and recipient of over 30 medals/awards and numerous Honorary Doctorate (D. Sc. h.c) degrees. Currently, he is the President of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
Member, House of Representatives, Japan
Koji Omi joined the Japan Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in 1956, and served in several key roles in Japan and abroad. He left MITI in 1982, and was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1983. Now serving his eighth term, he has occupied a number of prominent posts, including Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Finance; Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance; Director-General of three Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) bureaus; and Acting Secretary-General, LDP. Mr. Omi has twice served in the Prime Minister's Cabinet: as Minister of State for Economic Planning (1997–1998) and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs and for Science and Technology Policy (2001–2002). A prominent figure in science and technology policy, he founded the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum, which meets annually in Kyoto, with the aim of building a worldwide network among scientists, policy makers and business people. He is a graduate of Hitotsubashi University (Japan).
Environmental Affairs Officer, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Douglas Pattie is responsible for scientific issues related to desertification in arid, semi-arid, and sub-humid lands where policy issues relate to early warning, migration, natural disasters, traditional knowledge, and desertification benchmarks and indicators. From 1993 to 2003, he served as Project Manager at the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO, Japan) for sustainable forest industry projects in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, and Congo Basin countries. Dr. Pattie previously served in the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, as an analyst in forest planning, and was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, where he provided technical assistance for the construction of suspension bridges and drinking water systems. He holds a Ph.D. degree from Colorado State University (USA).
Director, Administration and External Relations, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)
After working in private industry, Decio Ripandelli joined the UN system in 1984 and worked on technical assistance projects in Tanzania, Niger, and the Philippines. In 1989, he entered the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where he worked on programmes financed by the Government of Italy through UN specialized agencies. He joined ICGEB in 1991. In his current role, he supervises the management of ICGEB and of its two components (Trieste and New Delhi) and also directs the Institutional Services implemented by the Centre. He holds a degree in Natural Sciences and Experimental Geology from the Pierre and Marie Curie University (France).
UNU-IAS Chair of International Economic Governance, former Director, Trade & Environment Division, World Trade Organization
Gary Sampson previously held the joint positions of Senior Fellow in Economic Policy with the Reserve Bank of Australia and Professorial Fellow at the Centre of Policy Studies, Monash University. He was then was appointed Director at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and in 1995 became a Director at the WTO; he directed a number of divisions in both of those organizations. He presently is Professor of International Economic Governance at UNU Institute of Advance Studies (Japan), a Professor at the Centre for Business and Public Policy at the Melbourne Business School (Australia), and teaches on a regular basis at London School of Economics (UK). He has published extensively in both the academic and popular press.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Thailand
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has served as Executive Vice President of the Thai Red Cross Society since 1977, as Faculty Member and Administrator of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy since 1980, and as Executive chairperson of Chipattana Foundation since 1988. She has undertaken development projects in school-based development, IT funds for the disadvantaged, biodiversity and plant genetic resources, and water resource and alternative energy development. The Princess currently serves as Council Member of the Refugee Education Trust, World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She received the Ramon Magsaysay Award (Public Service) in 1991 and the Indira Gandhi Award (Peace, Disarmament, and Development) in 2004. She holds an Ed. D. degree in Developmental Education.
Director, Maastricht Economic and Social Research and training centre on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT)
Luc Soete is Professor of International Economics (on leave) at the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands). He previously worked at the Centre for Development Studies, University of Antwerp (Belgium); Institute of Development Studies and Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex (UK); and Department of Economics, Stanford University (USA). He is a member of the Dutch advisory board on science and technology. Prof. Soete holds a D.Phil. degree in Economics from the University of Sussex. His research interests are focused on the impact of technological change (in particular, new information and communication technologies) on growth and development.
Katepalli R. Sreenivasan
Director, Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)
Professor K.R. Sreenivasan joined Yale University as Assistant Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 1979 and became a Professor in 1985. He held the Harold W. Cheel Professorship of Mechanical Engineering from 1988, also holding joint appointments in the Departments of Physics, Applied Physics, and Mathematics. He moved to the Institute of Physical Sciences and Technology (IPST) at the University of Maryland as the Distinguished University Professor and Glenn Martin Professor of Engineering and Professor Physics. He was the Director of IPST during 2002-2003. He is the Director of the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy. He has served as the Chairman of Mechanical Engineering at Yale (1985-91), as Chair of the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1991, and as a member of the Publications Oversight Committee of APS. He is a recipient of the Otto Laporte Award of APS and the Ferrari Prize from the Torino Academy of Sciences.
We regret to announce that Professor Sreenivasan has had to cancel his attendance at the conference. His paper, entitled "Globalization, Society and Policy-Making", may still be presented.
Monthip Sriratana Tabucanon
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand
Monthip Sriratana Tabucanon has extensive professional experience in the field of environmental management. She received postgraduate education in environmental engineering and management in Thailand and Japan, and professional training at universities in the USA. She established the Environmental Research and Training Centre in Thailand with support from the Government of Japan. In her current capacity, she oversees the promotion of natural resources conservation and environmental quality in Thailand. Internationally, she plays an important role in strengthening regional cooperation in ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and in promoting public participation in environment and natural resource management, environmental dispute prevention and resolution, and the promotion of education for sustainable development. She is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Environment, Office of the Parliament, and IUCN Regional Councillor for South and East Asia.
Board Chairman of the National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies, Cameroon
Maurice Tchuente previously served as Cameroon's Minister of Higher Education (2002–2004) and as Rector of the Universities of Douala (2000–2002), Ngaoundere (1998–2000), and Dschang (1996–1998). During his academic career, he taught computer science at universities in France and Cameroon. Prof. Tchuente serves on several scientific boards and has received such honours as the Boutros Boutros Ghali Award (1995), Chevalier Ordre de la Valeur Cameroon, Chevalier Légion d'Honneur France, and Commandeur Ordre International des Palmes Académiques du CAMES. He holds a Doctorat d'Etat ès Sciences Mathématiques from Grenoble I (France).
Vice-Rector, United Nations University Environment and Sustainable Development Programme
Itaru Yasui joined UNU in December 2003. He began his academic career with the Institute of Industrial Science in 1975, and from 1996 to 1999 served as Director of the Centre for Collaborative Research, University of Tokyo. He is a member of the Evaluation Committee for Independent Administrative Institutions of the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Prof. Yasui currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Japan Association on the Environmental Studies, and is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and a member numerous of academic societies and governmental councils/committees. He has been the recipient of a number of awards, most recently the 2002 Promotion Of Rational Technology (PORT) Award from Port for Techno-Democracy (Japan). He holds a Doctorate in Engineering from the University of Tokyo.
Director, UNU Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS)
A.H. Zakri is Co-Chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Board, a UN undertaking to assess the state-of-health of the world's ecosystems, and also a Vice-President of the Third World Academy of Sciences. He previously served as Secretary General of the Society for the Advancement of Breeding Researches in Asia and Oceania (1981–1989) and Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1997–1999). Prof. Zakri was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (1992–2000) and Founding President of the Genetics Society of Malaysia (1994–2000). A Fellow of several scientific academies, in 1998 he received the Langkawi Award, a national laureate for outstanding contribution in the field of environment in Malaysia. He holds a Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University (USA).