AAAS has applauded the announcement of three additional U.S. science envoys: past AAAS President Rita Colwell, former AAAS Board member Alice Gast, and Science author Gebisa Ejeta. The announcement was made by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) at the request of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The three new science envoys “will travel to South and Southeast Asia; Africa; and the Central Asian/Caucasus region in coming months,” Lugar reported.
The first three U.S. science envoys were announced in November 2009: Science Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts, Science Translational Medicine Chief Scientific Adviser Elias Zerhouni, and Nobel laureate Ahmed Zewail.
Colwell, Gast and Ejeta were named science envoys 17 September at an event hosted by the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, where Alberts also received the prestigious George Brown Award. John P. Holdren, director of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy(OSTP), noted that Alberts’ trip to Indonesia was “spectacularly successful.” Alberts, Zerhouni, and Zewail “together have 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,” the OSTP reported.
Colwell is a distinguished professor at both the University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She served as president of AAAS from 1995-1996. Gast, president of Lehigh University, served as a member of the AAAS Board of Directors from 2006-2010. Ejeta, a distinguished professor of agronomy at Purdue University in Indiana, is a leading plant breeder and geneticist whose Science Perspective, “African Green Revolution Needn’t Be a Mirage,” was published 12 February 2010.
Science envoys “travel in their capacity as private citizens, and they advise the White House, the Department of State, and the U.S. scientific community about the knowledge and insights they gain from their travels and interactions,” the U.S. State Department announcement explained. The program was proposed in April by Lugar and co-sponsored by Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland), Edward Kaufman (D-Delaware), and John Kerry (D-Massachusetts).
Read past AAAS.org coverage of the U.S. science envoys.