Science, Technology and Innovation

Bios of Steering Committee Members

Ismahane Elouafi
[ Ismahane Elouafi 
Ismahane Elouafi, FAO Chief Scientist

Ismahane Elouafi is the first Chief Scientist of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, a new position created within FAO’s core leadership structure.

She has two decades of experience in agricultural research and development in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She is internationally known for her work on promoting neglected and underutilized crops, use of non-fresh water in agriculture, and empowerment of women in science.

From 2012 until her appointment at FAO, Elouafi led the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture based in the United Arab Emirates. Previously, she held senior scientific and leadership positions in the Ministry of Agriculture in Canada and at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. She has also worked as a scientist with several international research organizations and served as a board member of several notable organizations.

Ismahane Elouafi holds a B.Sc. in Agricultural Sciences and an M.Sc. in Genetics and Plant Breeding, and a Ph.D. in Genetics.

Miguel Garcia-Winder, Ambassador and Mexico' s Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Rome

Miguel Garcia-Winder holds a BSc. in agronomy with a major in animal production from the National School of Agriculture in Mexico, a MSc. in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska and a Ph. D in Reproductive Physiology from West Virginia University. During his professional career, Miguel has occupied diverse positions with government, education, private industry and international organizations.

He has published over 40 papers in referenced journals and has dictated numerous conferences around the world and served in several national and international initiatives, fora and committees. Currently he serves as Ambassador and Permanent Representative from Mexico to the UN Agencies based in Rome (FAO, IFAD and WFP). His main professional interest are centered in the area of food and nutrition security, agricultural and animal production, poverty reduction, Indigenous Peoples, food systems, the role of science and innovation, the inclusion of youth and women in agriculture, and the development of public policies to create competitive and sustainable food agricultural based systems capable of improving living condition, reducing social inequalities and protecting the environment and the biodiversity.

During his career, Miguel has received several recognitions for his work in agriculture and animal production.  


[ Miguel Garcia-Winder
Gabriel Ferrero y de Loma-Osorio
[ Gabriel Ferrero
Gabriel Ferrero, Ambassador at Large Global Food Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation

Gabriel Ferrero y de Loma-Osorio is Director General of Sustainable Development Policies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation. Previously, he held many high-level Advisory roles for the United Nations on the 2030 Agenda and climate change.

He co-drafted the Synthesis Report of the Secretary General "A Road to Dignity by 2030";. Previously, in his role as Deputy Director General for Planning, Development Policies and Aid Effectiveness at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, he pioneered the Country Association Frameworks for bilateral cooperation and the Strategic Agreements with Multilateral Organizations. He has represented Spain at the OECD DAC, in international Aid Effectiveness forums, before the European Union, at ECOSOC, the Committee on World Food Security, and other international forums.

Gabriel holds a PhD and is a Full Professor of High Education in development and cooperation.

Bernard Lehmann, Chairperson of the HLPE Steering Committee

Bernard Lehmann is an Agricultural and Food Economist. He is:

  • Chairman of the Steering Committee of the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food security and Nutrition at CFS [vice-chair 2019-2021; chair 2021- 2023].
  • Member of the Executive Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust [ 2019-2023].
  • Chairman of the Science Policy Interface of the Swiss Academy of Science [2022 -].
  • President of the Foundation Council of the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, FIBL [2022 -].

Previously, Lehmann was a full professor of agricultural economics and the head of Department of Agricultural and Food Science at ETH Zurich. Then, he served as the Director General of the Federal Office for Agriculture and President of Agroscope (the Swiss Confederation’s center of research in the agricultural, environmental and food sciences). He served as delegated State Secretary for international agricultural affairs.

His main areas of expertise are food systems economic research, policy design in the areas of local and global food security, the globalization of agricultural markets and climate mitigation and adaptation.

[ Bernard Lehmann 
Segenet Kelemu, Director General, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)


Segenet Kelemu is the fourth Director General & Chief Executive Officer, and the first woman to lead ICIPE.

A citizen of Ethiopia of humble beginnings, educated in Ethiopia and in the United States of America, she has dedicated her life to the achievement of poverty reduction and sustainable development. She is a 2014 L'Oréal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in Science Awards and one of the top 100 most prominent African women listed in the May 2014 edition of Forbes Africa.

Kelemu received the Women Economic Forum's highest honor, "Woman of the Decade in Natural and Sustainable Ecosystems," in April 2018 for her remarkable leadership. In 2022, she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which is granted to persons "who have made it their purpose to share their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, limitless compassion, unique abilities, and unselfish kindness with those less fortunate".

Kelemu has received other awards and recognitions including recognition by Bill Gates, as one of five ‘heroes in the field’ who are using their talents to fight poverty, hunger, and disease, and providing opportunities for the next generation (2018); the TWAS Prize for Agricultural Sciences (2011); the 2019 College of Agriculture Alumni Fellow of Kansas State University, USA (2019);  Science Honoree of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri, USA (2019) and; the TWAS Regional award for leadership and building vibrant scientific institutions (2020).

[ Segenet Kelemu
Martin Kropff
[ Martin Kropff
Martin Kropff, Global Director, Resilient Agri-Food Systems, CGIAR

Martin Kropff is the Global Director of CGIAR’s new Resilient Agro-Food Systems science area. In this role, he is building the world’s largest scientific group on resilient agri-food systems and uniting scientists across 6 regions in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and through 15 Research Initiatives in themes such as farming, cropping, and livestock/aquatic food systems. From 2015 and up until the middle of 2021, he was Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Before joining CIMMYT, Kropff was rector magnificus of Wageningen University and vice chair of the executive board of Wageningen University and Research. During his 10 years’ tenure, it developed into the highest-rated agricultural university in the world. He was also a member of the Top Team developing the Agri & Food TopSector in the Netherlands. Kropff earned a graduate degree in biology at Utrecht University and a Ph.D. at Wageningen University, both cum laude. He holds honorary doctorates from the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences, Ukraine and the Czech University of Life Sciences. He concurrently holds a professor position with Wageningen University.

His scientific background is in systems agronomy, agroecology, crop modelling and climate smart agriculture. He has supervised more than 30 Ph.D. students, many of them working in developing countries.

Robert Bertram, Chief Scientist, USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security 

Rob Bertram is the Chief Scientist in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, where he serves a senior advisor on agriculture and nutrition in the implementation of Global Food Security Act.  In this role, he leads USAID’s evidence-based efforts to advance research, technology and implementation in support of the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future.  He oversees USAID’s food security research portfolio that spans the U.S. University-led Feed the Future Innovation Labs, the CGIAR and other International Agricultural Research Centers and public-private partnerships in agricultural biotechnology, all of which collaborate with and build capacity of national research organizations across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

He is active in multilateral science contexts, where he leads USAID participation in the CGIAR and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, chairs the FAO Global Action on Fall Armyworm Technical Committee, and formerly chaired the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Bertram’s academic background in plant breeding and genetics includes degrees from University of California, Davis, the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland.  He also studied international affairs at Georgetown University and was a visiting scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.  Before coming to USAID, he served with USDA's international programs and with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Rob Bertram
[ Robert Bertram
[ Kennedy Gastorn
Kennedy Gastorn, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the UN and Co-Chair of the 2022 STI Forum

Bio coming soon!

Mohamed Hag Ali Hassan, President of The World Academy of Sciences

Mohamed Hag Ali Hassan is President of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Italy; President of the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences (SNAS); Chairman of the Governing Council of the United Nations Technology Bank, Turkey and Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the Centre for International Development (ZEF), Germany.

He was Professor and Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Khartoum; President of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP); founding Executive Director of TWAS; President of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS); founding President of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC); Chairman of the Council of the United Nations University (UNU); and Chairman of the Honorary Presidential Advisory Council for Science and Technology, Nigeria.

Among his honours: Comendator, Grand Cross, and National Order of Scientific Merit, Brazil; and Officer, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. He is a recipient of the G77 Leadership Award and the Abdus Salam Medal for Science and Technology

He is a member of several merit-based academies of science, which include, TWAS, AAS, the academy of Sciences of South Africa; the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Hassan II Academy of Science and Technology.

Mohamed Hag Ali Hassan
[ Mohamed Hag Ali Hassan
[ Ren Wang
Ren Wang, Senior Advisor on International Cooperation Agricultural Genomics Institute, Shenzhen Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Dr. Ren Wang obtained his Ph.D in Entomology in 1985 at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.  He was a researcher (Assistant Research Professor, Associate Professor and Professor) at the Institute of Biological Control of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) during 1985-1993, and pioneered China’s program of managing invasive exotic plants using the classical biological control approach. From 1993 to 1995, he was the Deputy Director, Programme Development of the International Institute of Biological Control (IIBC), CAB International, UK.

He served two terms as Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences during 1995-2000 and 2010-2013, respectively. During 2000-2007, Dr. Wang served as Deputy Director General for Research at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based in the Philippines. In July 2007, He became the Director of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) based at the World Bank in Washington, DC, USA.  During Feb 2013 to Mar 2018, Dr. Wang served as Assistant Director General of FAO’s Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, based in Rome, Italy. In Mar 2018, he retired from FAO and returned to China to take up the assignment as Director General, China National GeneBank, Shenzhen (CNGB).  He finished his term at the CNGB in July 2022, and returned to CAAS to work as Senior Advisor, International Cooperation based at the Agricultural Genomics Institute, Shenzhen (AGIS-CAAS).

Masa Iwanaga, Special Advisor and former President of Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)

Masa Iwanaga is a Special Advisor and former President of Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), a National Research and Development Agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and the Fisheries (MAFF), Japan. JIRCAS carries out various collaborative research projects in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries with more than 30 countries, mostly from developing regions. Iwanaga has always shown great concern for political, social and technological issues influencing plant genetic resources for food security and climate change. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Wisconsin, USA.

Iwanaga had spent 27 years working for the following international research centers of CGIAR: International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru, for potato and sweet-potato genetic resources enhancement; International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, as Head of Genebank; International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI, now renamed Bioversity International in Italy), as Deputy Director General for Research (DDGR); and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, as Director General (2002-2008).

He was directly involved in international negotiations of ITPGRFA during 1993-2000 as DDGR of IPGRI representing CGIAR, and during 2000-2002 as a Japanese government representative for IT negotiation and served Chair of Working Group of drafting Article 15 (International Collections). He also served as a member of the Steering Committee of the High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) from 2013 to 2015. He was Chair of the Program Committee of the Board of Trustees of Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) until April 2017. He was the Chair of the G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) in 2018. He is now serving for the World Vegetable Center (formally known as AVRDC) as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors.

Masa Iwanaga
[ Masa Iwanaga
[ Maria Helena Semedo
Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, FAO

Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, is an economist and politician from Cape Verde. A leading expert in global development issues, she has worked in public service for over thirty years. Over the last decade, FAO has helped shape a new global narrative where agriculture is prominently recognized as a solution in addressing increasingly complex emerging issues ; from climate change and biodiversity loss to ecosystem degradation to overfishing.

Leading to deliver with impact, Semedo promotes an integrated approach, resulting in greater cros-ssectoral engagement and stronger strategic partnerships, better positioning FAO in its role to promote the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems. A key player on the FAO Core Leadership Team, Semedo heads flagship initiatives such as the FAO Green Cities Action Programme, the corporate Climate Change Strategy and strengthening the global One Health approach. She fosters high-level multi-stakeholder dialogues that optimize the Organization’s 75+ years of technical expertise and experience, its global reach and innovative advances, all contributing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Semedo is a firm advocate for women's empowerment and is well-known for her work promoting gender equity and social parity. Since October 2019 she has chaired the FAO Women's Committee and helped spearhead the Organization's Mentorship Programme, looking to build a more equitable transparent workplace.

Before taking up her current duties in 2013, Semedo gained valuable experience and insight in Africa, first as FAO Representative in Niger (2003-2008), then as Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and Sub-regional Coordinator for West Africa (2008-2009) and Regional Representative for Africa (2009-2013). Prior to her international career, she worked as an economist for the Cabo Verde Ministry of Planning and Cooperation before becoming Secretary of State for Fisheries, then in 1993 Minister for Fisheries, Agriculture and Rural Affairs; the first-ever woman Minister in her country. After serving as Minister for Tourism, Transportation and Marine Affairs from 1995-1998, she became Member of Parliament, a position she held until 2003.

Maurizio Martina, Assistant Director-General, FAO

Maurizio Martina, a national of Italy, is Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

From 2018 until joining FAO in January 2021, he served as Member of the Italian Parliament in the House of Representatives. From 2014 to 2018 he was Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry of the Italian Government, also holding responsibilities in the Committee of Coordination for the Universal Exposition of Milan 2015. From 2013 to 2014 he was appointed Undersecretary of State for Agriculture of the Italian Government. From 2010 and 2013 he was elected Councilor of the Lombardy Region.

He also served as Secretary of the Democratic Party from July to November 2018.

During his term in office as Minister of Agriculture, Martina was, inter alia, President of the meeting of Agriculture Ministers of the G7 in Bergamo, Italy, and President of the European Council of Ministers of Agriculture (Brussels). Moreover, he participated in several high-level meetings, including the Meeting of the Agriculture Ministers of the G7 Countries in Niigata (Japan) and the Meeting of the Agriculture Ministers of the G20 in Istanbul (Turkey).

In 2020, he published, with Mondadori, “Cibo Sovrano”, a book revolving around the themes of the Covid-19 pandemic and food emergency. In 2017, the book “Dalla Terra all’Italia”, focusing on the themes of agriculture, food, environment, and sustainable development.

Martina was born on the 9th of September 1978, in Calcinate (Bergamo), and holds a Master Degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Macerata.

[ Maurizio Martina
Ms. Bouziane
[ Yasmina Bouziane
Yasmina Bouziane, Director ad interim, Office of Communications, FAO

Bouziane has over 20 years of international experience in the field of strategic communication, public information, news and media, and adovacy. In addition, she has worldwide experience working on the African Continent, Europe, the Maghreb, the Middle East,the Carribbean and the United States in various capacities.  

Bouziane has joined the UN after a career in international communications and independent filmmaking; leaving the corporate boardrooms of New York CIty and the halls of the film production industry, to join the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations and is currently with the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization.

She is an expert at Strategic Communication and Public Information within the United Nations with broad experience directing large communications and public inforamtion outfits with personal expertise in public advocacy campaigns, spokesperson, media relations, stratefic and crisis communication and broadcasting. 

Najat Mokhtar, Deputy Director General,  Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 

Najat Mokhtar was appointed Deputy Director General and head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 1 January 2019. Prior to her appointment, she wasDirector of the Division for Asia and the Pacific in the Department of Technical Cooperation at the IAEA.

From 2012 to 2014, Mokhtar was the Section Head of the   Nutrition and Health related Environmental Studies, Human Health Division. From2010 to 2012, she was the Director of Science and Technology at the Hassan II Academy of Science and Technology in Morocco, where she coordinated the national strategy on Education and Research. She worked as University Professor and Research Director at the University Ibn Tofail in Morocco for more than 20 years. Ms Mokhtar was a Technical Officer at the IAEA from 2001 to2007

Mokhtar holds a PhD in Nutrition and Endocrinology from Laval University in Canada and has a doctorate in food sciences from the University of Dijon in France. She has done her postdoctoral training as a Fulbright fellow at Johns Hopkins University in the United States of America.

Throughout her professional career, she has contributed to the publication of several books and peer reviewed publications and she worked as a consultant for various organizations and national and international institutions (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, WFP, USAID, WHO, UNICEF, FAO). She was mandated by the Moroccan government as national coordinator to develop "National Nutrition Strategy in Morocco 2011-2019", including training, education and research. In March 2011, she was elected President of the Moroccan Society of Nutrition.

[ Najat Mokhtar
Mohtar Photo
[ Rabi H. Mohtar
Rabi H. Mohtar, Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University

Rabi H. Mohtar, Professor at the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University. Mohtar’s research focuses on global resource challenges and the development of a Water-Energy-Food Nexus framework for linking science and policy; on characterizing the soil-water medium using thermodynamic modeling and the efficacy of non-traditional water, and on applications for sustainable integrated water management such as implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mohtar serves as a Governor of the World Water Council and is an Executive Board member of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), a Distinguished Alumnus of AUB, Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, and a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He founded the Texas A&M Water-Energy-Food Nexus Initiative (2015) and served as dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (2018-2021) at the American University of Beirut, where he also established the Water-Energy-Food-Health Nexus Renewable Resources Initiative (WEFRAH).

While at Purdue University (1996-2014), Mohtar was the inaugural director of Purdue’s Global Engineering Programs (2008) and a founding member of Purdue’s Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering (2006). In 2011, he founded the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute. Throughout his career, Mohtar has received a number of awards. Most recently, he received the PRIMA WEFE Nexus award and was honored at the American Chemical Society Division of Environmental Chemistry Symposium. He received the 2010 Kishida International award and was inducted as an ASABE Fellow in 2018.