President of Mauritius Joins EAT Advisory Board as First Head of State

Published September 15, 2017

President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim will bring her insight into harnessing science, technology and innovation to combat climate change and promote biodiversity to the EAT Foundation’s Advisory Board.

Gurib-Fakim is the first female president of Mauritius and was named one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers in 2015. She has a background as a leading scientist studying the flora of Mauritius, one of the world’s crucial biodiversity hotspots.

“The transformation of the food system into a sustainable one will be the biggest challenge facing mankind in the coming decades,” said Gurib-Fakim. “I fully endorse the vision of EAT for a ‘global food system that can deliver healthy, affordable diets to a growing world population within the planetary boundaries’. Being a member of the Advisory Board will provide me with an opportunity to make a humble contribution to the realization of EAT’s vision.”

The EAT Advisory Board helps set the overall scientific agenda for the foundation’s work towards that vision.

“It is an absolute honor and true pleasure to welcome President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim to the EAT Advisory Board,” said EAT President and Founder Gunhild A. Stordalen. “With her scientific background and strong environmental engagement, and as the leader of an African island state that is vulnerable to climate change and loss of biodiversity, Gurib-Fakim brings important perspectives and expertise to the Advisory Board. We also look forward to collaborating with the President to extend EAT’s reach in the African region and beyond.”

Gurib-Fakim will participate at the next EAT Advisory Board session to be held in September in New York, where EAT will be co-hosting a briefing on its new Food and Land Use initiative on the sidelines of the United Nations 72nd General Assembly.

«I fully endorse the vision of EAT for a ‘global food system that can deliver healthy, affordable diets to a growing world population within the planetary boundaries» President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

A diverse group of global experts

The Advisory Board is made up of representatives from EAT’s academic partner institutions as well as global experts within their field. Other members include Johan Rockström of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Professor Walter Willett from Harvard School of Public Health, Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Erik Solheim, the head of the UN Environmental Program.

Prior to being elected President of Mauritius, Gurib-Fakim founded and worked as Managing Director of CIDP Research & Innovation, where she researched on the medical and nutritive qualities of indigenous plants of Mauritius. Previously, she was a Professor in Organic Chemistry at the University of Mauritius. She also worked at the Mauritius Research Council as Manager for Research and served as the Chairperson the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa from 2011 to 2014. She holds a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Surrey, UK and a PhD from the University of Exeter.

Gurib-Fakim has been the recipient of several international awards including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science in 2007.

She also chairs the Food Forever Initiative, which was launched at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum in June 2017 by Crop Trust. Food Forever aims to raise awareness of the importance and urgency to conserve and use agricultural biodiversity to enhance food and nutrition security. The initiative is supported by numerous champions and partner organizations, including EAT.