By Chris Wamalwa
USA: Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Professor, Calestous Juma has been named one of Lo Spazio della Politica’s (LSDP) 100 Global Thinkers of 2012 by an Italian publication.
The Italian publication’s list recognises political leaders, business people, scientists, academics and intellectuals from around the globe.
Dr Juma, professor of the practice of international development, is director of the Science, Technology and Globalization Project at HKS and runs Harvard’s Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project.
Prof Juma is one of Kenya’s leading scholars based in the US. He is currently working on books tackling engineering for development and resistance to new technologies.
In recognition of his work, Prof Juma has been selected to the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), the Royal Academy of Engineering, the African Academy of Sciences and the New York Academy of Sciences.
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He is a member of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences.
In 2007 the Standard Group listed him as one of Kenya’s 100 most influential people.
LSDP selected Juma, “Because his writings on innovation in Africa enhance the understanding of the region which is essential for the economic and political growth of this decade.
“It is a great honor to be on a list that focuses on emerging trends rather than personalities per se,” said Juma. “I am delighted that that publication finds the role of innovation in Africa’s development significant enough to warrant being highlighted. I hope that its publication will help to focus policy attention around this critical issue as Africa continues to search for ways to address its economic challenges.”
Prof Juma grew up on the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria where he obtained early education. He first worked as an elementary school teacher before becoming Africa's first science and environment journalist at the Daily Nation newspaper.
Juma later joined the Nairobi-based Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) as a founder and editor of trilingual quarterly magazine, Ecoforum.
He later received an MSc in Science, Technology and Industrialisation and a DPhil in Science and Technology Policy from the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex.
He has written widely on science, technology and sustainable development and contributes his ideas Kenya’s local publications.