WHOI Director Appointed to U.S. Commission to UNESCO


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) President and Director Robert Gagosian has been appointed to the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The National Commission, re-established by the U.S. Department of State on October 20, 2004 to support the U.S. re-entry into UNESCO, will serve as a federal advisory committee, providing advice to the U.S. Government on matters relating to UNESCO. It will serve as a liaison with organizations, institutions and individuals in the United States interested in the work of UNESCO.

The commission will comprise of no more than 100 members from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), state and local governments, federal government employees, and various individuals. Dr. Gagosian is the only oceanographer, and the only head of an independent research laboratory.

Members are appointed by the Secretary of State. Their terms will vary from one to three years, and are renewable for an additional three year-period. Among the 50 NGOs represented are the National Academy of Sciences, Rotary International, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Gagosian has been Director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution since 1994 and was named President in 2001. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966 and a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from Columbia University in 1970. He was a National Institutes of Health Post-doctoral Fellow from 1970 to 1972 at the University of California at Berkeley before joining the WHOI staff in 1972 as an assistant scientist. He was promoted to associate scientist in 1976 and to senior scientist in 1982. Dr. Gagosian served as chair of the Chemistry Department from 1982 to 1987, when he assumed the position of Associate Director for Research at the Institution. He then served as Senior Associate Director and Director of Research from 1992 to 1993, and was Acting Director from August to December 1993 before being named Director in January 1994 and President in 2001. He is the recipient of Honorary Doctor of Science Degrees from Southampton College of Long Island University and Northeastern University, both awarded in 2000. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, independent marine research and engineering and higher education organization located in Falmouth, MA. Its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean's role in the changing global environment. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, the Institution operates the US National Deep Submergence Facility that includes the deep-diving submersible Alvin, a fleet of global ranging ships and smaller coastal vessels, and a variety of other tethered and autonomous underwater vehicles. WHOI is organized into five departments, interdisciplinary institutes and a marine policy center, and conducts a joint graduate education program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.