U.S. Science Envoy Dr. Barbara Schaal will travel to Colombia September 15-21 in support of President Obama’s initiative to strengthen the United States’ science and education relationships overseas. During her time in Colombia, Dr. Schaal will meet with and speak to senior government officials and representatives from the scientific, academic, and business communities on the role of biotechnology in addressing climate change, innovation in agriculture research and development, and science education.
Dr. Schaal is the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor and Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2005, she became the first woman elected to the vice presidency of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Schaal is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers. She is an evolutionary biologist recognized for her work on the genetics of plant species, particularly for her studies using DNA sequences to understand evolutionary processes such as the domestication of crop species.
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. Since the program’s inception Science Envoys have visited 21 countries. Dr. Schaal is the first Science Envoy to visit Latin America.
The Science Envoys travel in their capacity as private citizens and share the knowledge and insights they gain from their travels and interactions with the U.S. scientific community upon their return. These exchanges contribute to further cooperation and dialogue with key partners.