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Humanitarian Board Member Dr Robert Zeigler

Director General

International Rice Research Institute IRRI, The Philippines

Bob Zeigler
Bob Zeigler is an internationally respected plant pathologist with more than 20 years experience in agricultural research in the developing world.

A citizen of the United States, Robert (Bob) Zeiglertook the reign over from Ronald Cantrell in December 2004. Bob had worked from as a plant pathologist from 1992 to 1998 at IRRI. During this period, he led the Rainfed Lowland Rice Research Program and the Irrigated Rice Research Program.

Dr Zeigler earned his PhD in plant pathology from Cornell University in 1982, his Masters in botany (forest ecology) from Oregon State University in 1978, and his BSc in biological sciences from the University of Illinois in 1972.

After graduating in 1972, he joined the Peace Corps and spent two years as a science teacher in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. After returning to the US he completed his studies before joining the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia as a visiting research associate working on cassava.

In 1982 Dr Zeigler went to Burundi to work for three years as a technical adviser for the African nation’s maize program at the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi. He then returned to CIAT, eventually becoming the head of the rice program.

It was his success at CIAT that led IRRI to offer Dr Zeigler his first position in the Philippines as the leader of the Institute’s Rainfed Lowland Rice Research Program.

After six years Dr Zeigler left IRRI to become professor and head of the Dept of Plant Pathology and director of the Plant Biotechnology Center at Kansas State University in the US, before briefly working as director of the Generation Challenge Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) based in Mexico.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines and with offices in 10 other Asian countries, it is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies.

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