Science Envoy Travels to Azerbaijan

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 7, 2011

U.S. Science Envoy Dr. Alice Gast will travel to Azerbaijan March 8-11 as part of President Obama’s initiative to strengthen science and education ties. Dr. Gast will identify areas for cooperation on energy, information technology, public-private partnerships, and education in meetings with senior government officials, ministers, and representatives from the scientific, education, nonprofit, and business communities. Dr. Gast will arrive in Azerbaijan on International Women’s Day, underscoring the importance of women’s contributions to science.

Dr. Gast is a prominent chemical engineer and President of Lehigh University. Since taking office in 2006, Dr. Gast has led the University to become a premier research university. Dr. Gast previously served as the Vice President for Research and Associate Provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also held the Robert T. Haslam Chair in Chemical Engineering. She has conducted studies on surface and interfacial phenomena, particularly the behavior of complex fluids.

The U.S. Science Envoy Program is a core element of the Administration’s commitment to global engagement in science and technology. President Obama announced the program in Cairo in June 2009. The first Science Envoys, Dr. Ahmed Zewail, Dr. Bruce Alberts, and Dr. Elias Zerhouni traveled to 11 different countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia.

In the coming months, two other Science Envoys, Dr. Rita Colwell and Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, will travel to South and Southeast Asia and Africa, respectively.

The Science Envoys travel in their capacity as private citizens and advise the White House, the Department of State, and the U.S. scientific community about the knowledge and insights they gain from their travels and interactions.

PRN: 2011/347