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Monday, 19 October 2015

Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

Mauritius: A woman scientist designated President

On Monday June 1st, Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was designated President of the Republic of Mauritius, making her the first woman to hold the ceremonial position. DiscovHER proudly congratulates Prof. Gurib-Fakim, who proves that women in science can also reach the world’s top political echelons!
Born in a humble Mauritian family, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim’s mother was a housewife, and her father was a primary school teacher:
My love for plants - I owe it to my parents. My curiosity in the Sciences has been kindled by my school teachers to whom I am grateful and thankful. Much later my university lecturers taught me that there should be no compromise on hard work and always strive for excellence.
After studying in the UK, at Surrey University and at the University of Exeter, she obtained her doctorate in organic chemistry in 1987. Following her return to Mauritius, she decided to focus her research on natural product chemistry. Today, Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is known for having done the first full inventory of Mauritius and Rodriguez Island’s aromatic and medicinal plants. In her own words:
The goal of my research is to produce safe plant-based medicines to combat everyday ailments like diarrhoea, dysentery, or infectious illnesses, and to help children who are suffering here in Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean region, and also in Africa.
Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is currently the Managing Director of Mauritius’ Phytotherapy Research Centre (CEPHYR), which carries out research on plants for use in cosmetics, nutrition and therapy.
The decision of making her President of Mauritius will be validated this Thursday by the country’s National Assembly, and she is set to take her oath on Friday.
Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is an exceptional role model for women in science around the world, and living proof that perseverance and hard work can lead to success! Congratulate Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim on Twitter @aguribfakim! #womeninscience
Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim won the 2007 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award for Africa and the Arab States, for her exploration and analysis of plants from Mauritius and their bio-medical applications.  

Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, GCSK, CSK, PhD[1][2] (born October 17, 1959)[3] is a Mauritian biodiversity scientist who serves as President of Mauritius. As such, she is the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Republic of Mauritius. In December 2014, she was selected to be the presidential candidate of the Alliance Lepep. After Kailash Purryag resigned on 29 May 2015, both Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth, and leader of the Opposition Paul Berenger, positively welcomed her nomination, which was unanimously approved in a vote in the National Assembly.
Gurib-Fakim is the first woman elected President of the country and is the third woman to serve as Head of State following Elizabeth II and Monique Ohsan Bellepeau who acted as President in 2012 following the resignation of then President Anerood Jugnauth, and again in 2015 following the resignation of then President Kailash Purryag.
She is currently the Managing Director of CIDP Research & Innovation (formerly Cephyr, Centre for Phytotherapy Research) where she devotes her time to research the medical and nutritive implications of indigenous plants of Mauritius.[4] Previously, she was a Professor with a personal chair in Organic Chemistry at the University of Mauritius (2001) and where she has 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).[5] She served as the Chairperson the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa (2011–2014).[6]
Gurib-Fakim has also been the recipient of various international awards including the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science(2007), Laureate for the National Economic and Social Council (2007), the CTA / NEPAD / AGRA / RUFORUM for ‘African Women in Science’ and the African Union Award for Women in Science.[5] She was also made Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (CSK) by then President Anerood Jugnauth in 2008 for her contribution in the education and the scientific sector. She was awarded the Order of the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques’ by the Government of France in 2009.[7] Upon becoming President, she was automatically elevated to the highest civilian award of Grand Commander of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (GSCK).[8]


2011: Managing Director, CIDP (Research & Innovation ex - Centre for Phytotherapy and Research (CEPHYR), BioPark Mauritius, Socota Phoenicia, Phoenix, Mauritius
2006–2010: Pro-Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, University of Mauritius
2004-2006: Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius
Since 2001: Professor with an Endowed Chair in Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius
1995-2001: Associate Professor, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius
1995-1997: Manager, Research, Technology and Development’, Mauritius Research Council.
1991-1995: Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius
1987 – 1991: Lecturer, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius
1998-2000: Project Leader, “Education au Developpement” to the CAERENAD Project funded by Canadian International Development Corporation. Collaboration with TELUC, Quebec, Canada
1998-2000: National Coordinator, “Université de l’Océan Indien”. Project for the Indian Ocean University – Project funded by the European Union under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission
1998-2000: Head of the Chemistry Department, University of Mauritius
1997-1998: National Coordinator, Commonwealth Secretariat on the ‘Identification and Monitoring of Biodiversity in Small Island Developing States’
1994: Liaison Officer, Otto Essien Young Professional Training Programme, funded by the UNDP.
1990-1995: Project leader of the first Regional Research Project of the Indian Ocean Commission – Medicinal and Aromatic plants
1984–1986: Teaching Assistant, University of Exeter, UK
1981-1983: Research Assistant, Dow Chemicals Company, UK



Contract Research Organisation
January 2011 – Present (4 years 10 months)Mauritius
CIDP R & I ex - CEPHYR is a centre for phytotherapy research and development and has been incorporated in Mauritius. Our research work is focused on plants and their potential application in the field of cosmetic, nutrition and therapy.
CIDP R & I ex - CEPHYR belongs to the Group CIDC (Centre International de Developpement Clinique), CRO (Contract Research Organization) conducting clinical trials on behalf of pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
CIDP R & I ex - CEPHYR is well positioned geographically. It’s proximity to the African continent implies access to a rich and unique flora. The Mascarene islands are not only one of the biodiversity hotspots but are blessed with a diversity of traditions and culture.
CIDP R & I ex - CEPHYR has two strategic partners at the shareholding level - the Groupe MonLoisir (GML) and Ireland Blyth Group of Companies (IBL).
(Open)1 project
(Open)2 honors and awards
(Open)1 recommendation
  • Marcel Lindsay Noë
    Marcel Lindsay Noë
    Consultant in Cultural Tourism at Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority
    Ameenah is one of the National Treasures of Mauritius.View

Professor, Managing Director

Centre for Phytotherapy Research
January 2011 – Present (4 years 10 months)Mauritius
The CIDP R & I ex - CEPHYR [Centre for Phytotherapy Research (CEPHYR)] is part of a holding of companies (CIDC and CIDP) with Contract Research Organisation Status. Research work at CIDP R & I ex - CEPHYR is focused on plants and their potential in the fields of medicine, cosmetic and nutrition.
Along with the other clusters - [CIDP Pharma & Clinical Research; CIDP Preclinical services; CIDP Regulatory affairs and CIDP Biostats], which perform clinical trials on behalf of pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries; we have enlarged our service offerings by focusing on the clinical trials of herbal products, provide active ingredients for the cosmetic, phytotherapy, aromatherapy and food sectors as well as help in the marketing and communication strategies.
The holding is ISO 9001:2008 certified and operates under Good Clinical Practice and Good Lab Practices.
(Open)2 projects
(Open)1 organization


International Council for Scientific Union
May 2011 – December 2013 (2 years 8 months)Pretoria, South Africa

Dow Chemicals Company

United Kingdom
1981 – 1982 (1 year)
Research Assistant in the 'Discovery' Group on Agrochemistry


Her Excellency
Ameenah Gurib
Ameenah Gurib September 2015.png
6th President of Mauritius
Assumed office
June 5, 2015
Prime MinisterAnerood Jugnauth
Vice PresidentMonique Ohsan Bellepeau
Preceded byMonique Ohsan Bellepeau(Acting)
Personal details
BornOctober 17, 1959 (age 56)
Surinam, Mauritius
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Anwar Fakim (1988–present)
ResidenceState House
Alma materUniversity of Surrey
University of Exeter
//////Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

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