Ismail Serageldin

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Ismail Serageldin
Sadat Museum Ismail Serageldin.jpg
Ismail Sergeldin speaking at the inauguration of the Sadat Museum.
Born 1944
Giza, Egypt

Ismail Serageldin (born 1944 in Giza, Egypt) is the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. He also chairs the Boards of Directors for each of the BA's affiliated research institutes and museums. He was Vice President of the World Bank, and was Professor at the Collège de France, Paris, and a Distinguished Professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He was a member of the Senate in Egypt (Majlis Al-Shura).

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Cairo University and master's degree and a Ph.D. from Harvard University and has received 34 honorary doctorates. He has published over 100 books and monographs and over 500 papers on a variety of topics including biotechnology, rural development, sustainability, and the value of science to society.[1] He is sometimes referred to as the "most intelligent man in Egypt".[2] Serageldin received the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences on May 1, 2011.[3] He has received the Order of the Rising Sun from Japan and the Legion d’Honneur from France and is a Commandeur of Arts and Letters of the French Republic. The Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation of India awarded him the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 2006.[4]

He speaks Arabic, French and English. He is married and has one son.


1964 B.Sc. (First Class Honors) Cairo University
1968 M.R.P. (With Distinction) Harvard University
1972 Ph.D. Harvard University

Honorary degrees[edit]

1996 Doctor of Sociology, University of Bucharest, Romania
1996 Doctor of Agricultural Science, University of Melbourne, Australia
1997 Doctor of Science, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India
1998 Doctor of International Affairs, American University, Washington, D.C., USA
1998 Doctor of Science, Punjab Agricultural University, India
1998 Doctor of Science, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India
1998 Doctor of Natural resource management, Ohio State University, USA
1999 Doctor of Science, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India
1999 Doctor of Science, Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad, India
1999 Doctor of Economics and Management, CNAM, Paris, France
1999 Doctor of Science, Egerton University, Kenya
1999 Doctor of Agricultural Science, University of Tuscia, Italy
2000 Doctor of Humane Letters, American University in Cairo, Egypt
2002 Doctor of Science, SNHU, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA
2003 Doctor of Science, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2004 Doctor of Letters, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
2004 Doctor of Letters, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France
2005 Doctor of Laws, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
2006 Doctor of Letters, Université de Nantes, Nantes, France
2007 Doctor of Science, Azerbaijan State Economic University, Baku, Azerbaijan
2007 Doctor of Society Development, Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan
2008 Doctor of Letters, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada
2009 Doctor of Arts, Beirut Arab University, Beirut, Lebanon
2009 Doctor Diploma, Azerbaijan Cooperation University, Baku, Azerbaijan
2009 Doctor Diploma, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of History, Baku Azerbaijan
2009 Doctor of Letters, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
2010 Doctor Degree, ANAS Institute of Oriental Studies, Baku, Azerbaijan
2010 Doctor Degree, Georgian American University, Tbilisi, Georgia
2010 Doctor Degree, Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia
2012 Doctor Degree, University of Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia
2012 Doctor Degree, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia
2012 Doctor Degree, State Agricultural University, Ganja, Azerbaijan
2012 Doctor Degree, Odlar Yurdu State University, Baku, Azerbaijan

2015 Doctor of Humane Letters, American University of Beirut, Lebanon


Serageldin is currently the director of the Library of Alexandria, and chairman of the board of the ten affiliated research institutes and the four affiliated museums.

He is advisor to the Egyptian Prime Minister in matters concerning culture, science and museums. He serves as Chair and Member of a number of advisory committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions and civil society efforts. He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, member of the Institut d'Egypte (Egyptian Academy of Science), US National Academy of Sciences (Public Welfare Medalist), the American Philosophical Society, TWAS (Third World Academy of Sciences), the Indian National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Brookings Doha Center, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the World Social Science Report 2013 and 2016, UNESCO. He is Co-Chair of the African Biotechnology Panel (with Calestous Juma). He is a foreign fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences [5]

Ismail Serageldin is also a member of the Fondation Chirac's honour committee,[6] ever since the foundation was launched in 2008 by former French president Jacques Chirac in order to promote world peace. He also participates as jury member for the Prize for Conflict Prevention[7] awarded every year by this foundation.

Ismail Serageldin is also Co-Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center. Located strategically in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, the NGIC inspires leaders all over the world to address critical to global governance and peace. Based on the ideals of love for humanity, courage and ethics of the great Azeri poet Nizami Ganjavi, the Center attracts attention and has an impressive network of leaders from all walks of life. Its vision is to become a global center for discussing global issues affecting peace in open and creative ways, as a nervous centre between East and West, between world religions and cultures.

Previous appointments[edit]

He worked in a number of capacities at the World Bank since joining in 1972. Economist in education and human resources (1972–76); Division Chief for Technical Assistance and Special Studies (1977–80), and for Urban Projects in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (1980–83); Director for Programs in West Africa (1984–87), Country Director for Central and Occidental Africa (1987–89), Technical Director for all Sub-Saharan Africa (1990–92), and Vice-President for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (1993–98). In addition, he was active in promoting NGO-Bank relations, and served as Co-Chairman of the NGO-Bank Committee (1997–99). Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked as a consultant in city and regional planning, and taught at Cairo University and Harvard University.

He is former Chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR, 1994–2000), founder and former Chairman of the Global Water Partnership (1996–2000) and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, a microfinance program (1995–2000). He was Chairman of the World Commission for Water in the 21st Century (August 1998-March 2000). He was Professor of the International Chair Savoirs contre pauvreté (Knowledge Against Poverty), at Collège de France, Paris, for the academic year 2010/2011, and Distinguished Professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He was a member of the ICANN Panel for the review of the internet future (2013). June 2015, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, awarded Serageldin the "Dostlug" Order (Order of Friendship), of Azerbaijan, for his activity as Co-Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center.

Publications and speeches[edit]

Over 60 books and monographs (edited or authored) and 200 articles, book chapters, and technical papers on various topics, including: The Arab City: Its Character and Islamic Cultural Heritage (1982), Nurturing Development (1995), Sustainability and the Wealth of Nations (1996), Architecture of Empowerment (1997), Rural Well-Being: From Vision to Action (1997, with David Steeds), The Modernity of Shakespeare (1998), Biotechnology and Biosafety (1999, with Wanda Collins), Very Special Places (1999) and Promethean Science (2000, with G. Persley), Biotechnology and Sustainable Development: Voices of the South and North (2003, with G. Persley), Discovery to Delivery (2005,with G. Persley), Changing Lives (2006, with E. Masood), Born Digital (2006), Reflections on our Digital Future (2006), Inventing our Future: Essays on Freedom, Democracy and Reform in the Arab World (2nd edition 2007), Science: The Culture of Living Change (2nd edition, 2007) Freedom of Expression (2007) and Islam and Democracy (2008). The Shape of Tomorrow (2010), The Arab cultural Project (2010); Mobiliser le savoir pour eradiquer la faim (the College de France/Fayard, Paris 2011), The Making of Social Justice (the 2011 Mandela Lecture, Johannesburg, South Africa); Alexandria’s Remembrance of things Past: Lessons for the future of Islam and Europe (the 2011 Nexus Lecture, The Netherlands).

  • Making Development Sustainable: From Concepts to Action (1994) ISBN 978-0-8213-3042-5
  • Nurturing Development (1995)
  • Sustainability and the Wealth of Nations (1996)
  • Architecture of Empowerment (1997)
  • Rural Well-Being: From Vision to Action (1997)
  • The Modernity of Shakespeare (1998)
  • Biotechnology and Biosafety (1999)
  • Very Special Places (1999)
  • Promethean Science (2000)
  • Social Capital: A Multifaceted Perspective (2001) ISBN 978-0-8213-5004-1
  • Historic Cities and Sacred Sites: Cultural Roots for Urban Futures (2001) ISBN 978-0-8213-4904-5


  1. ^ "Prof. Serageldin, Curriculum Vitae". The Library of Alexandria, Egypt. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  2. ^ "Meine Lieblingsstadt (My favourite city)". Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  3. ^ "Ismail Serageldin to Receive Academy’s Most Prestigious Award". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Jamnalal Bajaj Award". Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  5. ^ List of Fellows of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
  6. ^ Fondation Chirac's honour committee
  7. ^ The jury for the Conflict Prevention Prize awarded by the Fondation Chirac

External links[edit]