. Africa News .

Diarra: launch of NASA scientist into Mali politics
by Staff Writers
Bamako (AFP) April 17, 2012

Cheick Modibo Diarra.

Mali's new prime minister, Cheick Modibo Diarra, is an accomplished astrophysicist who worked on five NASA missions and became a US citizen, but said he never forgot the Malian town of his birth.

He earned degrees from universities in France and the United States, where he later taught mechanical and aerospace engineering before returning to Mali to found a political party ahead of an aborted presidential run.

He had planned on running in Mali's April 29 election, but that vote was scrapped following a coup by junior army officers on March 22.

On Thursday, he was named prime minister by interim president Dioncounda Traore, charged with heading a transitional government which aims to organise fresh elections and restore civilian rule in a country where Tuareg and Islamist rebels now control more than half the territory.

Before joining Malian politics, Diarra served as Microsoft's Africa chairman.

Born in 1952 in the small central town of Segou, Diarra graduated from Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris in 1976 and in 1987 earned a PhD from Howard University in Washington DC, according to a biography on Microsoft's company website.

He taught at Howard, then joined the US space agency NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and worked as an interplanetary navigator on the Magellan mission to Venus and the Ulysses mission to the poles of the sun, among others.

But, in his 2000 book "Interplanetary Navigator", Diarra wrote that long before his prestigious career began, he was shaped by the values of his ancestors in central Mali.

"I am an heir to hard workers of the land, who instilled in me a work ethic and a love for the work of the countryside," he wrote.

The married father of three said he was driven to run for the Malian presidency by his desire to better the lives of the country's rural poor.

"I returned to my country to cultivate my land in Segou from 2003 to 2006.... I cultivated the land of my fathers until 2007, before owning and cultivating my own land," he wrote on his campaign website.

"My top concern today is the promotion of the rural world, the development of agriculture and livestock and fisheries," the former UNESCO goodwill ambassador further wrote.

While in Mali and working on his land, Diarra was approached by Bill Gates to serve as Microsoft's Africa chairman, the Microsoft biography said.

When he launched his political party, the Rally for Development in Mali in the capital Bamako on March 2011, he said that "politics must not only be a matter for professionals."

According to Mali's constitution, a fresh election must be organised within 40 days.

But the West African bloc ECOWAS, which brokered the April 6 deal that forced the junta to quit power, recognised that it could take longer to organise given Mali's persisting political and military crises.

Related Links
Africa News - Resources, Health, Food

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

DR Congo must arrest war crimes suspect: rights group
Kinshasa (AFP) April 13, 2012
Congolese President Joseph Kabila's suggestion that he might arrest war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda was a positive sign, but the arrest should be carried out immediately, Human Rights Watch said Friday. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant in 2006 for Ntaganda, dubbed the "Terminator", on charges of war crimes for using child soldiers in his militia group. W ... read more

India won't be able to store another bumper crop

Rapid climate change threatens Asia's Rice Bowl

Determining total fertility in strip-tilled fields

Strip-till improves soybean yield

Under climate change, winners and losers on the coral reef

Don't assume the sand is safe

South Africa issues shark warning around washed-up whale

Study shows adaptive capacity of reef corals to climate change may be widespread

Half of England in drought: officials

US greenhouse gases back up after decline

Miniature Sandia sensors may advance climate studies

Confirming carbon's climate effects

Diesel Technologies Drastically Cut Emissions in Real-World Conditions

India seeks U.S. green energy investments

Amazon, Apple, Twitter score low on clean energy: study

Russia to liberalize natural resources sector

Policies, learning-by-doing played important role in reducing ethanol costs

Hawaii plans biorefinery

Solazyme and Bunge Form Joint Venture for Commercial-Scale Renewable Oil Production Facility in Brazil

Mascoma and Lallemand Ethanol Technology Announce Commercial Agreement with Pacific Ethanol

Toxic gases hamper search at Pakistan avalanche site

New underwater images show damage at Fukushima

Quake-hit Christchurch to build cardboard cathedral

Indonesia warns runaway prisoners after quake chaos

Huge tyre fire causes Kuwait 'catastrophe'

Black carbon ranked number two climate pollutant by US EPA

35,000 gallons of prevention

State of the planet

Cameron offers to help China probe Briton's death

Japan's Toshiba to pay $850 mn for IBM retail unit

Mongolia to suspend mine licences over China buyout

Outside View: China widens yuan trading

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement