42) ICRISAT's First Director General of the New Millennium Emphasizes the Human Face of Agricultural Research (January 2000)

Dr William D Dar, the new Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), urged the Institute to keep in mind that its real mission goes far beyond that of "producing quality and cutting-edge science. Its work must benefit most the marginalised, the disadvantaged, and the hungry of the semi-arid tropics."
Addressing the ICRISAT staff soon after he joined the Institute, Dr Dar underlined the value of the "human face of agricultural research". His speech was aptly titled "Serving with a heart", capturing the essence of his vision for the Institute's role in the new millennium.

Dr Dar said that he and his family were looking forward to settle in India as part of his new work. He thanked the Governing Board for putting their trust in him and also Dr L D Swindale who served as the Interim Director General of ICRISAT during the last 3 months.

Emphasizing the strength of ICRISAT as a family and a community, he said that despite the difficult challenges that are ahead of the Institute, he had confidence in the staff.

In addition to the present research projects, Dr Dar mentioned that ICRISAT will continue to focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and that it is actively participating with other institutes in the formulation of a research strategy for Africa.

Coinciding with the dawning of the new millennium, Dr Dar joined ICRISAT on 11 January 2000. At 46 years, he is the youngest Director General of the Institute. He is no stranger to ICRISAT, having served as a member of the ICRISAT Governing Board from 1997 to 1999. He is also well-known in the international agricultural research community. Before joining ICRISAT, Dr Dar was the Presidential Advisor on Rural Development in the Philippines.

On behalf of all the ICRISAT staff, Mr S Parthasarathy, Acting Director General, warmly welcomed the new Director General. Conveying the feeling of hope among the staff, he remarked, "It is entirely appropriate that we should make a new beginning in the new millennium."

Dr Ragnhild Sohlberg, Chair, ICRISAT Governing Board, also sent her best wishes to Dr Dar and wrote, "The Governing Board is looking very much forward to cooperate with and support you in the years ahead!"

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