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. Rockefeller. 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 Ilchman. "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