Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was the first female president of Mauritius, serving from 2015 to 2018. Prior to the presidency, she was the Managing Director of the Centre International de Développement Pharmaceutique (CIDP) Research and Innovation as well as Professor of Organic Chemistry with an endowed chair at the University of Mauritius. From 2001, she served successively as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Pro Vice Chancellor (2004-2010). She has also worked at the Mauritius Research Council as Manager for Research (1995-1997).
Mrs. Gurib-Fakim earned a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Surrey, UK (1983), and a PhD from the University of Exeter (1987), at which time she began working at the University of Mauritius. Between 1987 and 1992, she served as Project Leader for the first Regional Research Project on the Inventory and Study of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the Indian Ocean funded by the European Development Fund under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission. From 2000 to 2002, she served as the National Coordinator for the ‘Indian Ocean University’ funded by the European Union.
She has participated in several consultation meetings on environmental issues organized by international organizations such as the World Bank, SIDA, CIDA, EU and UN amongst others. Between 2011 and 2013, she was elected and served as Chairperson of the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa.
She has also served as an Independent Director on the Board of Barclays Bank of Mauritius Ltd between 2012 and 2015. As a Founding Member of the Pan African Association of African Medicinal Plants, she co-authored the first ever African Herbal Pharmacopoeia.She has authored and/or co-edited 28 books and several book chapters and scientific articles in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. She has lectured extensively across the world and is a Member of the Editorial Boards of major journals, has served on Technical Committees in various capacities, including the Chair of several National Committees in Mauritius.
Mrs. Gurib-Fakim has been elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 2007, Fellow of the Islamic Academy of Science, Jordan, in 2009, and Fellow of the African Science Institute in 2010 and the African Academy of Sciences. Mrs. Gurib-Fakim received the 2007 L’Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science and Laureate of the National Economic and Social Council. She is recipient of the special prize from the CTA/NEPAD/AGRA/RUFORUM and the African Union Commission Award for Women in Science, both in 2009.
Dr. (Mrs.) Gurib-Fakim was elevated to the Order of the Commander of the Star and Key by the Government of Mauritius in 2008, and admitted to the Order of the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the Government of France in 2010, and received DSc from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Sorbonne Université), Paris, France in 2013 and from Greenwich University Pakistan (2015).