It is with deep sadness that we heard the news that Dr Seme Debela, Founding Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences passed away on March 8, 2018.
Dr Seme obtained B.Sc. degree in Plant sciences from Alemaya College of Agriculture (1963); M.Sc. in Agronomy from University of California, USA (1967); and a Ph.D. degree in Genetics and Plant Breeding from Iowa State University, USA (1972). Dr Seme served as General Manager of Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), now Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute (EIAR), for several years. During his tenure, he is known to have transformed the Institute to a premier agricultural research institute in the country. Dr Seme also served as Deputy Commissioner of Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission.
Dr Seme was a member and Founding President of Ethiopian Association of Agricultural Professionals; member of Crop Science Society of Ethiopia; member of Plant Protection Society of Ethiopia; Associate member of Ethiopian Economic Association; Board Chairperson of Action for Development; member of Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the CGIAR; member of Board of Trustees of the former International Livestock Center for Africa (ILCA) and of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).
Dr Seme was a recipient of several recognitions and awards including a Gold Medal Award for outstanding leadership in agricultural research institutions building and management in 2009. Further, he had publications on academic journals and national proceedings and had participated in many national and international conferences.
Dr Seme was the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee that was created to establish the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences. After retirement, he served as an independent consultant to the World Bank, UNDP, FAO, EU, SIDA and many more.
Dr Seme was a mentor for generations of agricultural researchers in the country. He will be missed by colleagues, friends and family. The Ethiopian Academy of Sciences passes its deepest condolences to all his colleagues, friends and family.