In a significant transition for The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Executive Director Prof Romain Murenzi, who has served for over a decade, retired on 30 November 2023. The outgoing director's departure marks the end of an era characterized by transformative initiatives and a steadfast commitment to advancing science in the global south. Acknowledging Murenzi's impactful tenure, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay praised TWAS for its vital role in creating conducive working conditions for scientists and fostering diversity in the scientific community.
Stepping into the role of interim Executive Director is Atish Dabholkar, the Director of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). With extensive experience and a deep understanding of TWAS's mission, Dabholkar is poised to lead the academy through this transition. Recognising the accomplishments under Murenzi's leadership, Dabholkar expressed gratitude for the collaboration, emphasising TWAS's increasing impact on science in the developing world.
In a farewell message, Murenzi reflected on the challenges he faced as a refugee striving to become a scientist in the developing world, highlighting the crucial role TWAS plays in providing opportunities for scholars facing similar obstacles. Despite stepping down as executive director, Murenzi remains committed to TWAS's mission and pledged to contribute as a TWAS Fellow, particularly in fundraising efforts.
As TWAS looks to the future under Dabholkar's interim leadership, the academy continues its commitment to scientific excellence in developing nations. Dabholkar will also oversee administrative matters related to the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), reinforcing TWAS's dedication to advancing science and addressing global challenges. The transition signals a new chapter for TWAS, building on past successes and laying the foundation for continued impact in the scientific community.