Science Breakfast - November 2011 - Alex Dehgan

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Dr. Alex Dehgan is the Science and Technology Adviser to the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and heads the Office of Science and Technology within the new Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning.


As the S&T Adviser, Dr. Dehgan serves as the key focal point for implementing the Administrator’s vision to restore science and technology to its rightful place within USAID and ensure that USAID is the global leader on employing science, technology, and creativity to help solve traditional and persistent development challenges in novel ways. Dr. Dehgan is working to elevate the role of science and technology in shaping development strategies, identify and coordinate novel science-based initiatives to better advance the Agency’s mission, support and help advance existing technical personnel at USAID and bring in new specialized expertise, and develop novel relationships with nontraditional partners in academia, the private sector, and USG technical agencies in support of these goals.

Prior to coming to USAID, Dr. Dehgan worked at the Department of State. He most recently served as a Senior Scientist and Policy Adviser to the Science Adviser to the Secretary of State, where he worked on science diplomacy issues with the Muslim world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Dr. Dehgan was a Senior Adviser to Amb. Dennis Ross, the Special Adviser for the Gulf and South West Asia, where he developed a science diplomacy engagement strategy with the Islamic Republic of Iran, advised on internal political dynamics, and served as the liaison to Amb. Holbrooke and the Office of the Special Representative to the President for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dr. Dehgan ‘s other posts at the Department of State include serving as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Diplomacy Fellow in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), and as the Special Advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority for Nonproliferation in Iraq. Working with other AAAS Fellows, he created the Iraqi Virtual Science Library, which made available thousands of journal titles to 100 % of Iraqi students and scientists, as well as Iraq’s technical ministries.

Dr. Alex Dehgan also was the founding Afghanistan Country Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Afghanistan Biodiversity Conservation Program. During his tenure there, WCS conducted the first comprehensive biological surveys of the country in 30 years in Nuristan, Herat, Wakhan, and Hazarajat Plateau, wrote many of Afghanistan’s biodiversity conservation legislation and policies, helped end illegal wildlife trade on US airbases, assisted in the development of Afghanistan’s national park system, including the creation of Afghanistan’s first national park at Band-e-Amir in Bamiyan Province.

Dr. Dehgan holds a Ph.D and M.Sc. from The University of Chicago’s Committee on Evolutionary Biology, where he focused on extinction and adaptation of 12 lemur species during environmental change in tropical forests in Madagascar, a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and B.S. in Zoology and Political Science from Duke University. He was chosen as an “Icon of Science” by Seed Magazine in 2005, and has received international recognition for his research and professional work.


Alex Dehgan of USAID - Science Diplomacy & Transformational Development

Pictures of the event