ICRISAT bids an emotional farewell to Dr Paco Sereme, a member of ICRISAT’s Governing Board for nearly seven years and Chair during the last two years, who will be remembered for helping the institute navigate through difficult times. Last week, Dr Sereme chaired his last Board meeting before handing over office to Dr Prabhu Pingali.
“In my country, we say a person can never be a 10,” Dr Sereme said during his farewell, reflecting on his tenure at ICRISAT even as he demonstrated his characteristic grounded nature, unfailing integrity and a zeal for pursuit of excellence. He further told the Board during the virtual meet, “We have discussed many matters intensively but have always come to agreements in the end.”
The Board members lauded Dr Sereme for the calmness he always exuded and for demonstrating strong leadership while adhering to consultative processes. They recollected his contributions to build ICRISAT positively, with a passion for the institute’s mission, and his tenure providing the institute many valuable lessons.
Dr Sereme’s tenure as Chair of ICRISAT Governing Board brings his career a full circle and will serve as inspiration for young researchers. A plant pathologist by training, he recounted how he had started his career at ICRISAT in Burkina Faso, from where he hails. Before he was appointed to the Board, Dr Sereme had served as Director General of INERA and Executive Director of West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD).
As one of the founding members of the National Academy of Sciences, Arts, Letters of Burkina Faso, Dr Sereme currently chairs the academy. In recognition of his contributions to agriculture, he has received several awards such as Officer of the National Order (Burkina Faso), Knight of the International Academic Palm Order (CAMES) and the National Education Order of Merit (Côte d’Ivoire).
He also appreciated Ms Renerose Tan, the Board Secretary, for her commitment to the Board and wished the best for ICRISAT and One CGIAR. “I have always sought transparency to guide me. I request the Board to continue this way,” he said.
In a tribute to Dr Sereme, snapshots of his time with ICRISAT were compiled in a farewell video.