1964 B.Sc. (First Class Honors) Cairo University
1968 M.R.P. (With Distinction) Harvard University
1972 Ph.D. Harvard University

Honorary degrees

1996 Doctor of Sociology, University of Bucharest, Romania
1996 Doctor of Agricultural Science, University of Melbourne, Australia
1997 Doctor of Science, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India
1998 Doctor of International Affairs, American University, Washington, DC, USA
1998 Doctor of Science, Punjab Agricultural University, India
1998 Doctor of Science, Tamil Nadu Veterinary & Animal Sciences Univ., India
1998 Doctor of Natural Resources Management, Ohio State Univ., USA
1999 Doctor of Science, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India
1999 Doctor of Science, ANGRAU, Hyderabad, India
1999 Doctor of Economics and Management, CNAM, Paris, France
1999 Doctor of Science, Egerton University, Kenya
1999 Doctor of Agricultural Science, University of Tuscia, Italy
2000 Doctor of Humane Letters, American University in Cairo, Egypt
2002 Doctor of Science, SNHU, Manchester NH, USA
2003 Doctor of Science, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
2004 Doctor of Letters, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
2004 Doctor of Letters, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France
2005 Doctor of Laws degree, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
2006 Doctor of Letters, Université de Nantes, Nantes, France
2007 Doctor of Science, Azerbaijan State Economic University, Baku, Azerbaijan
2007 Doctor of Society Development, Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan
2008  Doctor of Letters, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
2009 Doctor of Arts, Beirut Arab University, Beirut, Lebanon
2009 Doctor Diploma, Azerbaijan Cooperation University, Baku, Azerbaijan
2009 Doctor Diploma, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of History, Baku Azerbaijan
2009 Doctor of Letters, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
2010 Doctor Degree, ANAS Institute of Oriental Studies, Baku, Azerbaijan
2010 Doctor Degree, Georgian American University, Tbilisi, Georgia
2010 Doctor Degree, Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia
2012 Doctor Degree, University of Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia
2012 Doctor Degree, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia
2012 Doctor Degree, State Agricultural University, Ganja, Azerbaijan
2012 Doctor Degree, Odlar Yurdu University, Baku, Azerbaijan


Director, Library of Alexandria, and chairman of the board of the ten affiliated research institutes and the four affiliated museums
Ambassador of the Alliance of Civilizations
Chairman of the Executive Council of the World Digital Library (WDL).

Also serves as chair and member of a number of Boards of Directors and advisory committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions and civil society efforts.

Previous appointments

  • Professor, International Chair Savoirs contre pauvreté (Knowledge Against Poverty), Collège de France (2010-2011)
  • Distinguished University Professor, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
  • Co-Chair of the African Biotechnology Panel (with Calestous Juma)
  • Member of the High Level Group (HLG) of the Secretary-General’s UN initiative for the alliance of Civilizations (2005-2006)
  • Chairman, Youth Employment Summit (YES) Campaign (1998-2002)
  • Special Advisor, The World Bank
  • Co-Chair (with Jacob Palis), The Inter-Academy Council Panel on Capacity building in Science and Technology (2002-2004)
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, American University in Cairo (AUC) (2000/2001)
  • Advisor to the Egyptian Government on the New Library of Alexandria
  • Vice President of the World Bank till July 2000, (for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, from October 1992 to March 1998, and for Special Programs from March 1998 to July 2000)
  • Chairman, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR, 1994-2000)
  • Chairman, Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP), a microfinance program (1995-2000)
  • Chairman of the Global Water Partnership (GWP, 1996-2000)
  • Chairman, World Commission for Water in the 21st Century (August 1998-March 2000)
  • Vice President of The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)

Worked in a number of capacities at the World Bank since joining in 1972. Economist in education and human resources (1972-76); Division Chief for Technical Assistance and Special Studies (1977-80), and for Urban Projects in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (1980-83); Director for Programs in West Africa (1984-87), Country Director for Central and Occidental Africa (1987-89), Technical Director for all Sub-Saharan Africa (1990-92), and Vice-President for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (1993-98). In addition, he was active in promoting NGO-Bank relations, and served as Co-Chairman of the NGO-Bank Committee (1997-99). Prior to joining the World Bank, worked as a consultant in city and regional planning, and taught at Cairo University and Harvard University.

Professional Memberships

  • Institut d'Egypte (Egyptian Academy of Science), Vice President
  • US National Academy of Sciences (Public Welfare Medalist)
  • The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia
  • The American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Academy of Sciences of the Developing World (TWAS) Trieste, Italy
  • African Academy of Sciences
  • Bangladesh Academy of Science, Dhaka
  • National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India
  • European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Austria
  • American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
  • World Academy of Arts and Sciences, USA
  • Academia Bibliotheca Alexandrinae (ABA)
  • Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum
  • The Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg.
  • Supreme Council for Culture, Egypt
  • The International Academy of Food Science & Technology, Canada.
  • Scientific Advisory Committee of the World Social Science Report 2013, UNESCO
  • Council of the Patronage of Nizami Ganjavi International Center

Publications & Speeches

Over 60 books and monographs (edited or authored) and 200 articles, book chapters, and technical papers on various topics, including: Nurturing Development (1995), Sustainability and the Wealth of Nations (1996), Architecture of Empowerment (1997), Rural Well-Being: From Vision to Action (1997, with David Steeds), The Modernity of Shakespeare (1998), Biotechnology and Biosafety (1999, with Wanda Collins), Very Special Places (1999), Promethean Science (2000, with G. Persley), Biotechnology and Sustainable Development: Voices of the South and North (2003, with G. Persley), Discovery to Delivery (2005,with G. Persley), Changing Lives (2006, with E. Masood), Born Digital (2006), Reflections on our Digital Future (2006), Inventing our Future: Essays on Freedom, Democracy and Reform in the Arab World (2nd edition 2007), Science: The Culture of Living Change (2nd edition, 2007) Freedom of Expression (2007) and Islam and Democracy (2008). The Shape of Tomorrow (2010), The Arab cultural Project (2010); Mobiliser le savoir pour eradiquer la faim (the College de France/Fayard, Paris 2011), The Making of Social Justice (the 2011 Mandela Lecture, Johannesburg, South Africa); Alexandria’s Remembrance of things Past: Lessons for the future of Islam and Europe (the 2011 Nexus Lecture, The Netherlands).


1999: First recipient of Grameen Foundation (USA) Award for a lifetime commitment to combating poverty
2003:  Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters awarded by the government of France
2004: Pablo Neruda Medal of Honor, awarded by the Government of Chile
2006: The Jamnalal Bajaj Award for promoting Ghandian values outside India
2008: Order of the Rising Sun – Gold and Silver Star awarded by the Emperor of Japan
2008: Champion of Youth Award by the World Youth Congress, Quebec
2008: Knight of  the French Legion of Honor awarded by the President of France
2010: The Dr. M. S. Swaminathan Award for Environmental Protection (Chennai, India)
2010: Millennium Excellence Award for Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize, by the Excellence Awards Foundation, Ghana
2011: The Public Welfare Medal, by the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC
2011: Commander of the Order of Arts & Letters awarded by the government of France

2013: Calouste Gulbenkian Prize awarded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal

Television Programs prepared, produced and presented by Serageldin:

  • The Cairo Cultural Salon (a weekly program on Egypt’s Channel 1 - 128 episodes)
  • Muslim Scientists (a daily five-minute series aired throughout the month of Ramadan on Egypt’s Channel 1)
  • Horizons: (15 science programs of 30 minutes each, presented in two versions in English and Arabic)
  • Dialogues on Science: (6 episodes of 45 minutes each, in Arabic)


Ismail Serageldin is an Egyptian national, born in Guiza in 1944. He is married with one son. He is tri-lingual: Arabic, French and English.