UJ’s Prof Hassina Mouri elected as Vice President – and the first African female – for global scientific body

Hassina Mouri, a Professor in Medical Geology at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), became the first African female elected as the Vice President (2020-2024) for the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), one of the world’s largest scientific organisations on Friday, 30 October 2020.

Founded in 1961, with members representing over a million geoscientists, IUGS promotes and encourages international co-operation and participation in the study of geological problems, especially those of worldwide significance. It also supports and facilitates international and interdisciplinary cooperation in the Earth sciences.

Says Prof Mouri: “I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude for the confidence that the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa had in me to nominate me for this prestigious position and to all council members who supported my nomination. This position, together with my most recent appointment by UNESCO for the position of council member of the International Geoscience Programme (#IGCP), are equally important for African geoscience. It is a privilege and an honour and I look forward to contribute to both organisations and the future of earth sciences in Africa and globally.”

As a South African, born in Algeria, Prof Mouri has an internationally recognised educational background. She studied and worked in different institutions on three continents (Africa, Europe and America).

Before joining UJ, Prof Mouri’s name has been associated with the University Paris; the Museum National d’Histoire Naturel Paris (MNHN); the University of Helsinki; the Geological Survey of Finland; the Swedish Museum of Natural History; the University of Minnesota and the University of Pretoria.

She has developed interest in medical geology since 2013 with a focus on issues related to the African continent, presented her work at several international conferences, and published in several international journals.

Prof Mouri is the former chairperson of the South African National Committee for the IUGS (2017-2020) and member of the advisory board of the South African Journal Of Science (SAJS).

During the extraordinary session of the council meeting held from the 28 to 30 October 2020, Prof. Mouri received the highest percentage of votes (38%) from the IUGS’ council members. The First Runner-up who is the second elected Vice President is from Korea with 27% votes. The competition was quite rigorous given the status of the other candidates representing some of the most powerful members of the union including Russia and China.

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