In an expansion of the groundbreaking science diplomacy program that grew out of President Obama’s “New Beginnings” speech in Cairo last year, the State Department has released the names of three new U.S. Science Envoys. The new envoys were announced last night at an awards event by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) at the request of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They are Dr. Rita Colwell, a Distinguished Professor at both the University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, a Distinguished Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University and an acclaimed plant breeder and geneticist; and Dr. Alice Gast, President of Lehigh University. The new envoys will travel to South and Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Central Asian/Caucuses region in the coming months. To read more about the envoys, see the State Department’s official release.
The event at which the new envoys were announced was hosted by the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, which last night conferred its prestigious George Brown Award upon one of the Nation’s first three envoys: Dr. Bruce Alberts. OSTP Director John Holdren introduced Alberts at the event, noting that Alberts’ trip to Indonesia was “spectacularly successful” and included a meeting with President Yudhoyono who, as a result of Alberts’ visit, addressed the Indonesian Academy of Sciences—becoming the first Indonesian president to do so in the country’s history—and outlined a bold new plan for Indonesian science and technology and a reinvigoration of cooperation with the U.S.
Alberts and the other two inaugural Science Envoys—Dr. Elias Zerhouni and Dr. Ahmed Zewail—who were named last November, together traveled in the past year to a total of 11 countries in North Africa; the Middle East; South and Southeast Asia; and Europe to build relationships and create new science and technology collaborations.
For more information on the Science Envoy program, visit OSTP’s Global Science Diplomacy page.