Ira Pastor, ideaXme exponential health ambassador and founder of Bioquark interviews Dr Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, biodiversity scientist and former President of Mauritius 2015-2018.
Today ,we are going to touch on several themes from recent shows (including natural products, bio-diversity, conservation, innovation, Africa, island nations, and micro-nations) and bring them together for what is going to be an exciting episode.
Lately, novel research disciplines, including inter-kingdom signalling and semio-chemical communication, the respective abilities of one species living signals to affect the genome of another, not to mention in-depth study of the micro-biome and virome, are highlighting entirely new ways that non-human bio-products can affect the human genome for positive transitions in health and wellness.
Simultaneously, we are finding out more and more about the novel, combinatorial biochemical approaches that nature utilizes (as evolutionary dynamics would never follow the single magic bullet approach promoted by the pharma industry) to address multiple levels of the disease-biome simultaneously. Such integrated dynamics that nature uses, represent a major contrast when compared to the reductionist, highly siloed model at play in the pharma industry today.
As current environmental disasters continue to remind us, hundreds of millions to billions of years of evolutionary knowledge locked up in such species, can be wiped out and lost forever- so we need to keep this in mind as we efficiently tap this treasure trove of potential in the 21st century
Dr. Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim is a Mauritian biodiversity scientist and politician who served as the President of Mauritius from 2015 to 2018.
Her autobiography is entitled “Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: My Journey”.
Dr. Gurib-Fakim is the first woman elected as President of the country and is the third woman to have served as Head of State following QE2 and Monique Ohsan Bellepeau.
She graduated from the University of Surrey in 1983 with a BSc degree in chemistry. After obtaining her PhD degree in organic chemistry at Exeter University, she returned home in 1987 to take employment at the University of Mauritius, where she was a Professor with a chair in Organic Chemistry. She served as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Pro Vice Chancellor. She also worked at the Mauritius Research Council as Manager for Research (1995-1997).
She worked as Managing Director of CIDP Research & Innovation (formerly Cephyr, Centre for Phytotherapy Research) and had been involved in publishing several scientific books / chapters in books on related topics including but not limited to: Mauritius through Its Medicinal Plants: towards a better understanding of medicinal plants of the Indian Ocean Islands; Novel Plant Bioresources: Applications in Food, Medicine and Cosmetics; Chemistry for Sustainable Development in Africa; Floral Biodiversity of the Mascarene Islands; Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the Indian Ocean Islands, and Fighting Multidrug Resistance with Herbal Extracts, Essential Oils and Their Components: Harnessing Traditional Knowledge to Treat Existing and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa.
She served as the Chairperson the International Council for Scientific Union Regional Office for Africa (2011 -2014) prior to her Presidency of Mauritius.
Dr. Gurib-Fakim has also been the recipient of international awards including the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, Laureate for the National Economic and Social Council, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation and New Partnership for Africa’s Development for African Women in Science and the African Union Award for Women in Science.
She was also made Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (CSK) by President Anerood Jugnauth in 2008 for her contribution in the education and the scientific sector.
She was awarded the Order of the Chevalier de Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the Government of France in 2009.
Upon becoming President, she was elevated to the highest civilian award of Grand Commander of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (GSCK).
In 2015, she was named the vice-chairman and trustee of the Planet Earth Institute.
Here, Dr. Gurib-Fakim talks of:
– About her background, how she developed an interest in science, in chemistry, in phyto-medicine, in environmentalism, and in politics, and how she rose to prominence in the Mauritian political system
– About her vision regarding the world needing “real policies for properly communicating science to the people
– About her vision for Africa becoming a supplier of human talent and capital to the world.
– About her views on African sustainable development
– About her future plans
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