The Rockefeller Foundation Announces New President

Oct 06, 1997, 01:00 ET from Rockefeller Foundation

    NEW YORK, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Gordon Conway, 59, has been named
 president of the Rockefeller Foundation, based in New York City.  Effective
 April 1, 1998, he will become the 12th president of this international
 philanthropic organization, which is one of the oldest and largest foundations
 in the world.
     Currently vice chancellor of the University of Sussex in Brighton,
 England, one of the United Kingdom's leading research universities, Conway is
 a world renowned agricultural ecologist who has worked and lived in numerous
 countries including India, Malaysia and Thailand.
     He pioneered integrated pest management in Borneo (Malaysia) in the 1960s,
 developed agroecosystems analysis in Thailand in the 1970s, and in the 1980s
 was one of the first to define the concept of sustainable agriculture -- a
 field that is critical to successful development of poor countries.  He has
 written more than 100 papers, monographs and books on applied ecology,
 resource and environmental management, and international development.  He
 developed interdisciplinary centers of environmental education at London
 University in the 1970s and helped set up similar centers in the Sudan,
 Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
     In the late 1980s he worked on participatory projects in northern Pakistan
 and Ethiopia which enabled villagers in these countries to analyze, define and
 implement solutions to their own agricultural and environmental problems.
     A former Ford Foundation representative for India, Nepal and Sri Lanka,
 Conway spent 12 years as an administrator, director and professor at England's
 Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine and currently chairs the
 Runnymede Trust's Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, a UK think
 tank on race and ethnicity.  The commission will release its final report
 later this month with Britain's Home Secretary Jack Straw.
     Conway has also worked with several American-based research institutions
 including leading a team charged with producing a new vision for CGIAR (the
 Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) in Washington,
 D.C., which coordinates the work of the International Agricultural Research
 Centers, many of which are Rockefeller Foundation grantees.
     In November, Conway's book "The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in
 the 21st Century" will be published by Penguin Books.
     He is the first non-U.S. citizen to lead the Rockefeller Foundation, which
 was founded in 1913 by philanthropist and international businessman John D.
     According to Alice Stone Ilchman, president of Sarah Lawrence College, and
 chairman of the board of trustees and of the presidential search committee,
 the foundation is committed to helping accelerate the pace of global
 development and was looking for a candidate with depth and breadth of
 international experience.  "We decided early in the process that it was
 critical to find a person who can continue to operate effectively in the
 international arena, and who, at the same time, is committed and innovative in
 his approach to finding solutions to domestic issues we face.  Gordon Conway
 is an effective leader, serious scholar and proven scientist -- with the
 vision and background to lead this foundation into the next century," said
     "Working with the exceptional staff of scholars, managers and experts we
 have at the foundation, we're confident that the Rockefeller Foundation can
 continue to manage its complex portfolio addressing global and domestic
 concerns," she added.
     Conway will replace Peter C. Goldmark Jr., who is leaving the foundation
 at his own request.  According to Conway, in large part due to Goldmark's
 leadership and vision, the Rockefeller Foundation is in a unique position to
 tackle the critical global issues of the 21st century.
     "We are in the midst of far-reaching technological revolutions -- in
 biotechnology, information technology and energy transformation, to name a
 few," said Conway.  "While exciting, these technological advances pose major
 social, economic, political and ethical questions, and hint of the potential
 threat of tremendous global inequities," he added.
     Conway points out that the global integration of communication, finance,
 governance and technology can be used to alleviate hunger, illness and
 suffering, or it can be seized in wasteful ways.  "The Rockefeller Foundation
 is, in creative ways, helping those in need around the world to improve their
 lives," he believes.
     "I'm especially intrigued by how global integration is increasing contact
 among groups that were previously distant.  Most countries, including Britain
 and the United States, are having to adapt to becoming far more multicultural.
 We need to learn to harness the experiences of diverse cultures, religions and
 ethnic groups to begin to solve the fundamental problems of poverty, illness
 and cruelty.
     "Foundations are critical to helping resolve some of these issues in
 thoughtful, effective ways.  Among foundations, the Rockefeller Foundation is
 clearly a world leader," Conway said.
     "Because of this, and due to the foundation's solid history of success in
 harnessing modern science and technology to benefit people throughout the
 world, I'm honored to become its next president."
     The Rockefeller Foundation, with assets of $2.8 billion, is a private
 foundation dedicated to improving the well-being of people throughout the
 world.  Foundation programs address a wide spectrum of human and social
 concerns including arts and humanities, community building, school reform and
 jobs creation strategies in the United States.  Globally, the foundation
 supports grantees working to increase the numbers of African girls enrolled in
 school, increasing the amount of food produced, sustaining environmental
 resources, creating new ways of producing and using renewable energy, family
 planning and reproductive health, and quality health care in low income,
 developing nations.

SOURCE Rockefeller Foundation