US-based Kenyan science scholar Calestous Juma is dead.
The internationally recognised professor at Harvard University was feted as one of the most respected people globally
One of the most respected global scientists Prof Calestous Juma has died.
The Kenyan professor at Harvard University in the US, who called himself “a genetically modified crop optimist”, died yesterday while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
The late professor is described in the Harvard University website as “an internationally recognised authority and leader in the application of science, engineering and innovation to sustainable development in developing and developed countries.” Prof Juma was in June named in the ‘2017 Most Reputable People on Earth’ inaugural list. He was the only Kenyan in the list. He was also the first African Science and Environmental journalist in the region, then working for the Daily Nation.
Compiled by South African consulting company Reputation Polls, the Most Reputable People on Earth list fetes 100 individuals who have “amassed high reputation for themselves through the works they have been engaged in.”
Born in June 9, 1953, Juma was listed among the most influential 100 Africans by the New African magazine in 2012, 2013, and 2014. He also won several international awards.
The professor, who has written widely on science, technology and environment, served on the boards of several institutions including the Aga Khan and the Pan-African universities. Yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga described him as a distinguished scholar and a patriot. President Kenyatta said his dedication to Kenya’s cause showed in his founding of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi where he served as the Executive Director until 1995 when he left to head the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal. “Those who had the pleasure of meeting him — or communicating with him online and offline — will testify to his warmth, his love of learning, and his great generosity. Whoever you were, he replied quickly and courteously, eager to let you have the benefit of his learning and experience. We will miss him,” Uhuru said.
Raila said the scholar had helped build the country’s profile across the globe. “We pray for and mourn with his family, students and the entire Harvard University fraternity,” he said.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the only African leader who made it to the ‘Most Reputable People’ list, said the world had lost “a brilliant mind who was dedicated to innovation, education and prosperity.”
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed termed him a “compatriot and a role model”, while Senate Minority Leader Senator Moses Wetang’ula noted that he had advised more than 70 governments on innovation and technology.