Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 17, 2011

U.S. Science Envoy Dr. Gebisa Ejeta will travel to South Africa May 16 - 20 as part of President Obama’s initiative to strengthen science and education ties. Dr. Ejeta will identify areas for cooperation on agricultural biotechnology, food security, public-private partnerships, capacity building, and science education, through his meetings with senior government officials, ministers, and representatives from the scientific, education, nonprofit, and business communities.

Dr. Ejeta is a prominent agronomist and Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and International Agriculture. He was a member of the team that launched the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa. Dr. Ejeta is the recipient of the 2009 World Food Prize. His research is focused on grain sorghum, which is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world and second most important feed crop in the United States.

The U.S. Science Envoy Program is a core element of the Obama Administration’s commitment to global engagement in science and technology. President Obama announced the program in Cairo in June 2009. Thus far, Science Envoys Dr. Ahmed Zewail, Dr. Bruce Alberts, Dr. Elias Zerhouni, and Dr. Gast have traveled to 12 different countries in North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and East Asia.

In the coming months, Science Envoys Dr. Rita Colwell and Dr. Alice Gast will travel to south and southeast Asia and to south central Asia respectively.

The Science Envoys travel in their capacity as private citizens and 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.

PRN: 2011/766