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         19 December 2000


The United Nations University (UNU) is pleased to announce that UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel has appointed Prof. A.H. Zakri as Director of the UNU Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU/IAS), effective 1 January 2001. Prof. Zakri, a national of Malaysia, will succeed Prof. Tarcisio Della Senta, the first Director of UNU/IAS.

Prof. Zakri is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor at the National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), a post he has held since 1992. He previously served the university as Head of the Department of Genetics and Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, and has been a full professor at the university since 1982.

Prof. Zakri also has extensive policy experience. At the national level, he sits on a number of key committees, including the (Malaysia) National Committee on Biological Diversity and the Genetic Modification Advisory Committee. At the international level, he served as Secretary-General of the Society for the Advancement of Breeding Research in Asia and Oceania (SABRAO) from 1981-89, and has worked extensively on committees of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Biological Protocol. He has consulted with the FAO, UNIDO, UNEP, UNCTAD, ASEAN, GEF/World Bank and Commonwealth Science Council, and since 1999 has been interim Chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (a major undertaking to assess the world's ecosystems).

Prof. Zakri received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding from Michigan State University in 1976. He has published extensively on issues relating to plant breeding, biotechnology and biodiversity, and has received numerous awards and honors, including as a Fulbright-Hays lecturer and from the Malaysian Academy of Sciences, Third World Academy of Sciences and Rotary Research Foundation.

UNU/IAS, based in Tokyo, is UNU's newest research and training centre. Since 1996, UNU/IAS has been developing original, forward-looking solutions to problems at the interface of societal and natural systems. Its research programme investigates interlinked themes related to environmentally sustainable development. As UNU/IAS Director, Prof. Zakri will oversee an academic community of core faculty and administrative personnel, adjunct professors, and postgraduate students.

More information about UNU/IAS is available online at

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For further information please contact: The UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346




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