Local professor has been elected vice-president of one of the world’s largest scientific bodies

A professor at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has made history by becoming the first African woman to be elected vice-president of one of the world’s largest scientific bodies.

On Friday, Hassina Mouri, a professor of medical geology at UJ, was elected vice-president (2020 to 2024) of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), one of the world’s largest scientific organisations.

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

“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,” Mouri said.

“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.”

International experience

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

Before joining UJ, Mouri’s name had been associated with: the University of Paris; the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle 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 developed an 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.

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

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