Scripps Oceanography Director Named Science Envoy by U.S. Department of State


The United States Department of State has announced that five eminent scientists, including Margaret Leinen, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and vice chancellor of marine sciences at the University of California at San Diego, have begun service as U.S. Science Envoys in February 2016.

Leinen is the former assistant director for geosciences and coordinator of environmental research and education at the National Science Foundation. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an award-winning oceanographer. As Science Envoy, Leinen will focus on ocean science in Latin America, East Asia, and the Pacific.

“This noteworthy achievement recognizes Margaret Leinen’s leadership, long tenure, and expertise in ocean and earth sciences,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “As a U.S. Science Envoy, Margaret will bring a unique perspective and collaborative spirit to enhance science policy and global cooperation. We are excited that she will represent the national scientific community, as well as UC San Diego.”

The U.S. Science Envoy program demonstrates the United States’ commitment to science, technology, and innovation as tools of diplomacy and economic growth.

“I’m extremely proud to serve as a science envoy for the United States and I look forward to advancing the understanding and protection of our world, which is in every country’s interest,” said Leinen. “This is a wonderful opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the oceans, backed by solution-based science to meet the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead for our planet.”

Like their 13 predecessors, these distinguished scientists will engage internationally at the citizen and government levels to develop partnerships, improve collaboration, and forge mutually beneficial relationships between other nations and the United States to stimulate increased scientific cooperation and foster economic prosperity. Science Envoys travel as private citizens and help inform the White House, the Department of State, and the scientific community about potential opportunities for cooperation.

The other newly announced envoys include:

Linda Abriola, PhD, is a professor at Tufts University and former dean of the Tufts University School of Engineering. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. As a Science Envoy, Dr. Abriola will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and engineering in the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Central Asia.

Mark Hersam, PhD, is a professor of materials science and engineering, chemistry, and medicine and director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Northwestern University. He holds the Bette and Neison Harris Chair in Teaching Excellence and is a 2014 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. As a Science Envoy, Dr. Hersam will focus on emerging technologies in Eastern Europe.

Daniel Kammen, PhD, is a distinguished professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley, and founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. He is also co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, and serves on the Advisory Committee for Energy & Environment for the X-Prize Foundation. As a Science Envoy, Dr. Kammen will focus on energy innovation in the Middle East and Africa.

Thomas Lovejoy, PhD, is a professor at George Mason University, senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation, former president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment; and founder of the public television series Nature. He is a former senior advisor to the president of the United Nations Foundation and served as the chief biodiversity advisor and lead specialist for the environment for the Latin America region for the World Bank. He is also the former executive vice president of World Wildlife Fund-U.S. As Science Envoy, Dr. Lovejoy will focus on biodiversity and wildlife conservation in Latin America, East Asia, the Pacific.

For further information, please contact Kia Henry at and follow @StateDeptOES and #USScienceEnvoy on Twitter.

— U.S. Department of State and Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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