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Dr. Ismail Serageldin

Chairman of The Meeting of Minds Forum, Emeritus Librarian of Alexandria and Former Vice President of The World Bank

Dr. Ismail Serageldin is The Emeritus Librarian of Alexandria, and the Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), the new Library of Alexandria, inaugurated in 2002, is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Library of Alexandria. He is advisor to the Egyptian Prime Minister in matters concerning culture, science, and museums, and Advisor to the Shaikh Al-Azhar on the design of the new Library of Al-Azhar.


He serves as Chair and Member of a number of advisory committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions, including as co-Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC), and serves on the Board of the Science and Technology for Society (STS) Forum in Japan, and is a member of the Science Advisory Council (SAC) of the Islamic Development Bank and the SAC of the World Food Prize, and the SAC of the African Open Science Platform (ADSP), and also serves on the Steering Committee of the Innovation for a Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) in Tokyo.

He has held many international positions including as Vice President of the World Bank (1993-2000). He also co-chaired the African Union’s high level panel for Biotechnology (2006) and again for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in 2012-2013, and was a member of the ICANN Panel for the review of the internet future (2013). He was inter-alia the Chairman (1994-2000) of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the co-chair of the Inter-Academy Panel on Capacity Building for Science Research (2002-2004). He has served on the Advisory Committee of the World Social Science Report for 2013 and 2016, and Chaired the Executive Council of the World Digital Library (2010-2017). More recently he was a member of the National Academies’ panel on Human Genome Editing (2017).


Dr. Serageldin has received many awards including: The Order of the Rising Sun -- Gold and Silver Star awarded by the Emperor of Japan (2008); Knight of the French Legion of Honor awarded by the President of France (2008); The Public Welfare Medal, by the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC (2011); and is a Commander of the Order of Arts & Letters of France (2011); and holds the Nizami Ganjavi Gold Medal of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as many other awards.


He has lectured widely all over the world including delivering the Mandela Lecture (Johannesburg, 2011), the Nexus Lecture (Netherlands, 2011), the Keynote Address to the First International Summit of the Book (Washington DC, 2015), and the initiating lecture of the series “Out of the Ashes” at Trinity College Dublin (2018). He was distinguished professor at Wageningen University and at the College de France.

He has published over 100 books and monographs and over 500 papers on a variety of topics. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Cairo University and a Master’s degree and a PhD from Harvard University and has received over 35 honorary doctorates.

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