Ethiopian botanical scientist Professor Sebsebe Demissew is one of 50 eminent scientists selected to be a Foreign Member of the Royal Society for their exceptional contributions to science. Professor Demissew is the first ever Sub-Saharan African scientist to be elected in the Society’s 357-year history. Professor Sebsebe has been made a Foreign Member for his lifelong work on promoting Ethiopian biodiversity and the direct benefit this has daily for people in his country, and right across Africa.

 

Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, says: “Our Fellows are key to the Royal Society’s fundamental purpose of using science for the benefit of humanity. From Norwich to Melbourne to Ethiopia, this year’s newly elected Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society are testament that science is a global endeavour and excellent ideas transcend borders. We also recognise the cutting edge innovation taking place across industry, with many of this year’s Fellows coming from the thriving tech industry. For their outstanding contributions to research and innovation, both now and in the future, it gives me great pleasure to welcome the world’s best scientists into the ranks of the Royal Society.” Professor Sebsebe said: “I am honoured and delighted to become a foreign member. I see my election as an honour for all African scientists and collaborators. This is a sign that the quality of our work is being recognized internationally. I hope that I will be able to use my membership of the Royal Society to further strengthen links between scientists in the UK and Africa in general and those that aspire to be future leaders of African independent research in particular.  I am also inspired to contribute to the improvement of the quality of education and scientific research in Ethiopia”.

 

Professor Sebsebe is Professor of Plant Systematics and Biodiversity in Addis Ababa University and Executive Director of the Gullele Botanic Garden in Addis Ababa. His research has documented the plant resources and vegetation of Ethiopia and Eritrea and their use by indigenous communities. He led the Ethiopian Flora Project from 1996 to its successful completion in 2009, involving 91 scientists from 17 countries. He has published over 50 new plant taxa and a species is named in his honour Aloe weloensis Sebsebe. Professor Sebsebe is also a recipient of the prestigious Kew International Medal, an annual award given to individuals for distinguished, internationally recognised work aligned with the mission of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBGK), where he is an Honorary Research Fellow. He also received an honorary doctorate from Nottingham University in 2010 and is an Honorary Professor at the University’s School of Biosciences.

 

SOURCE: Royal Society