Rwandan physicist Romain Murenzi, director of the AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, has been named executive director of TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world.
As a minister in the Rwandan government between 2001 and 2009, Murenzi was an architect of Rwanda’s science-for-development strategy, which is transforming a chronically poor nation, devastated by genocide, into one whose people have the best food security of any nation in East Africa.
Murenzi joined the AAAS International Office in 2009 as a senior scholar, and was named director of the sustainable development center in July 2010. Since coming to AAAS, he has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, and the developing world to discuss the importance of science, technology, and education. He is expected to assume his new post around 1 April.
“Romain Murenzi is an ideal executive director for TWAS,” said Alan I. Leshner, the CEO of AAAS and executive publisher of Science. “He is an expert in capacity building, science education, and international cooperation, exactly the domains in which TWAS works.”
Nations such as China, India, and Brazil are demonstrating that investment in science, technology, and education can produce significant economic growth and human well-being—and around the world, other nations are adopting a similar model. Rwanda, for example, is a tiny country with limited resources, but it has achieved dramatic advances in health and education—and enviable economic growth—under S&T policies pursued by President Paul Kagame.
From 2001 until 2006, Murenzi served in Kagame’s administration as minister of education, science, technology, and scientific research; he then served as minister in the president’s office in charge of science, technology, and scientific research until July 2009.
At TWAS, Murenzi will succeed Mohamed Hassan, the eminent leader who is retiring after directing the organization since it was formally launched by the United Nations in 1985.
TWAS was founded in 1983 as the Third World Academy of Sciences, but changed its name in 2004. Today, the academy has nearly 1000 members from some 90 nations, each elected for their scientific accomplishments. It is based in Trieste, Italy, and receives funding from the Italian government. It has regional offices in Brazil, China, Egypt, India, and Kenya.
TWAS provides administrative support for the Organization of Women in Science for the Developing World, the InterAcademy Panel, and the InterAcademy Medical Panel.
Listen to a 2010 AAAS.org podcast in which Romain Murenzi discussed the lessons of Rwanda’s commitment to science and education and the role of S&T in developing nations.
Learn more about TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world.