PARIS—Only a few weeks before UNESCO’s 50-nation Executive Board meets here for its semiannual session, a scientific front-runner has emerged in the race to succeed Senegal’s Amadou Mahtar M’Bow as director-general.

He is Federico Mayor Zaragoza, a 53-year-old Spanish biochemist and pharmacologist who was deputy director-general for UNESCO, the chief U.N. agency for scientific research from 1978 to 1981. He has since served as minister of education and research in Madrid, and currently is one of Spain’s members of the European Parliament.

UNESCO’s board is expected to act on a single nomination by October 7, and then seek ratification by the entire U.N. membership at a biennial general conference early in November.

Mayor, who was a visiting professor of biochemistry at Oxford University under the tutelage of Sir Hans Krebs, is deeply involved in the problems of developing countries. He has focused in particular on perinatal and mental development among...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!