Sudan: Prof. Mohamed Haj Ali - Ambassador for Scientific Excellence and International Science Cooperation

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For a career of accomplishments in research and international cooperation, Professor Mohamed Haj Ali al-Hassan has been elected a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Hassan, president of the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences, has been appointed last November by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences based at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.

The Pontifical Academy is one of the world's oldest and most august scientific bodies, with roots dating to the early 17th century. Under Academy statutes, 80 members receive lifetime appointments "on the basis of their eminent original scientific studies and of their acknowledged moral personality, without any ethnical or religious discrimination."

Born in November 1947, Hassan has, in the global scientific community, a reputation as an ambassador for scientific excellence and international science cooperation.

He was the founding executive director of The World Academy of Science (TWAS) - originally the Third World Academy of Sciences. He served in that role for 26 years establishing a reputation as a scholar and diplomat who moved effectively at every level of the global research, education and policy communities.

Working closely with a succession of distinguished TWAS presidents, Hassan helped to build highly productive partnerships with many nations, and the relationships remain the anchors for a network that spans the globe. He built productive partnerships with the government of Italy and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), which have provided key funding to the Academy and its programmes across many years. In addition, an endowment fund was established to solidify TWAS's financial security.

After retiring as executive director in 2011, Hassan continued to serve as TWAS treasurer until the end of 2015.

He has been elected to the post of TWAS's president for a four-year term beginning 1 January 2019.

In 2016, then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named him to chair the Governing Council of the new Technology Bank for Least-Developed Countries.

He formerly served as president of the African Academy of Sciences, founding president of the Network of African Science Academies and president of the InterAcademy Partnership, an associated partner of TWAS; and as chairman of the Council of the United Nations University.

He is a member of several merit-based academies and has served on the board of many organisations. He has won numerous awards, including the TWAS Abdul Salam Medal -named after TWAS founder Abdus Salam, the Pakistani physicist and Nobel Prize winner, and the G77 Achievement Award.

With a PhD in mathematics from the University of Oxford (UK), Hassan's scientific contributions range from theoretical plasma physics to the development of mathematical and physical models in environmental, geoscience and space science. He has also authored articles on science, technology and innovation in the developing world. In addition to his leadership at the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences, Hassan currently is a professor of mathematics at Khartoum University and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Al Mashreq University, both in Sudan.

Source: Cristina Serra (Sudanese National Academy of Sciences' webpage) and Edward W. Lempinen (TWAS's webpage).

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