should have been filed last December... but we just learned of all the details
... We have known for many years that Ismail Serageldin is a very avid scuba
diver, and a strong supporter of coral reefs and actions to conserve them.
Every year he escapes from all his obligations to commune with the corals
and the fishes whether in the Red Sea or in the Caribbean. So, it was natural
that we should see him profoundly and deeply absorbed by a truly magnificent
book on corals - the three volume "Corals of the World" produced
by J.E. Veron of Australia. It is a truly spectacular book.
However, the most amazing thing is that
one of the corals in that book has been named after Ismail Serageldin. The
Montastrea serageldini. Ismail is extremely proud of that and was deeply
moved by the gesture of Prof. Veron in honoring him in this fashion.
We inquired into that matter a bit more,
and learned that beyond his love for the sea and for corals, Ismail has been
at the forefront of supporting a lot of serious work to study and protect
corals all around the world. He helped involve the world Bank with the first
efforts at designing a Marine conservation Strategy, and then in the design
of a world-wide system of protected marine areas (along with IUCN, GBRMPA
and others). Ismail also worked closely with the late Captain Jacques-Yves
Cousteau, and then joined forces with the Cousteau society on protection
of the coastlines, an effort led by Francine Cousteau. He also worked with
then Under-Secretary of State Tim Wirth on the launch of the international
Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). He also organized the world conference on saving
the world's coral reefs (see the beautiful volume edited by Marea Hatziolos
and Andy Hooten), ending with an eloquent plea for action. Serageldin also
supported the global efforts to establish the global taxonomy of coral reefs
partly done at ICLARM, and the special efforts of the one and only J.E. (Charlie)
Veron. But it was such an unusual honor for Prof. Veron to bestow upon Ismail
Thank you Charlie, we know that nothing in the world could
have pleased Ismail as much!