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Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa Board of Regents today (April 15) approved a request by Iowa State University to award an honorary doctorate degree to Federico Mayor, director general of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The honorary doctorate is for Mayor's achievements as a biochemist, and for promoting and nurturing peace in the Middle East and throughout the world.

Mayor, a native of Barcelona, Spain, has been the director- general of UNESCO since 1987. He has made significant contributions to global peace and sustainable development. He played an important role in paving the way for the Oslo Accords, which provided a foundation for the peace process in the Middle East.

In 1993, Mayor helped set up the International Institute for Theoretical and Applied Physics at Iowa State. IITAP is an international physics center established in partnership with UNESCO to foster world peace through the sharing of scientific advances. IITAP is only the second institute of its type in the world.

Prior to becoming director general, Mayor was deputy director-general of UNESCO from 1978 to 1981. He also served as director of the Institute of the Sciences of Man, Madrid, Spain (1983 to 1987), and as Minister of Education and Science for Spain (1981-1982). He is a former member of the Spanish parliament.

A biochemist by training, Mayor also spent 15 years (1963- 1978) in academic posts. He was a professor of biochemistry at the University of Granada from 1963 to 1973 and also served as rector of the university from 1968 to 1972. He was a visiting professor in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate H.A. Krebs and a senior fellow at Trinity College, Oxford University in 1966-1967. From 1974 to 1978, Mayor was the director of the "Severo Ochoa" Molecular Biology Center, Autonomous University of Madrid.

He received the Ph.D. from the Complutense University of Madrid, and has published research work in the area of neonatal pathology and cell biology.

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