icipe Director General honoured for research impact on African farmers


icipe Director General (DG) & CEO, Dr Segenet Kelemu, has been recognised as the 2019 Science Honoree of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, an institution that aims to improve human condition through plant science (https://www.danforthcenter.org/)

Each year, the Center acknowledges an exceptional individual who has had extraordinary impact in agriculture, food nutrition, or human health. Dr Kelemu was honoured for her distinguished career in advancing international agricultural research to deliver impact for African farmers.

Dr Kelemu is the first African to receive the Danforth Center Science Honoree recognition. She joins a list of previous acclaimed awardees including: Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the World Food Prize, Norman Borlaug: internationally renowned botanist and powerful conservation advocate, Peter Raven (USA); eminent plant biologist and geneticist, Joanne Chory (USA); Sir David Baulcombe, a British plant scientist and geneticist; and Vicki Chandler, noted as one of the foremost geneticists in the world.

“It is a great privilege to receive an award that combines two of my passions: science and agriculture,” noted Dr Kelemu.

“Much of my scientific career has focussed on using molecular tools to address agricultural constraints. In addition, having grown up in rural Ethiopia, I have been continually inspired by the possibility of changing the lives of farmers, moving from a vicious cycle of struggle to a virtuous one of prosperity,” she added.

Dr Kelemu described icipe as an outstanding institution that strongly epitomises her ideology of science and agriculture, observing: “While icipe generates high quality, world class knowledge, the Centre’s most authentic strength is the success in transforming livelihoods of numerous endusers including farmers.”

The presentation of the 2019 Science Honoree to Dr Kelemu marked the start of Danforth Center’s 20th Annual Fall Symposium. The DG delivered the inaugural presentation at the event, whose theme was ‘Crop Improvement: Climate Resilience for Nutrition’.