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Corals, and an unusual honor for Serageldin
Cairo, 11 April 2001  --
This story 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. Cover of "Corals of the World" by J.E. Veron

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.

The Montastrea serageldini

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 Serageldin… Thank you Charlie, we know that nothing in the world could have pleased Ismail as much!

The Montastrea serageldini (detail)

 
 
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