Dr Segenet Kelemu

Dr Segenet Kelemu

Dr. Segenet Kelemu, is the Director General & CEO of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) Nairobi, Kenya. She is the fourth Chief Executive Officer, and the first woman to lead icipe.  After more than 25 years in the United States of America and Latin America applying cutting-edge science that saw her garner numerous professional and state honours for an exceptional career as a scientist, Dr Kelemu, returned from the diaspora in 2007 to contribute to Africa’s development. Dr. Kelemu is a 2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in Science Awards, and one of the top 100 most influential African women featured in the May 2014 Edition of Forbes Africa. Dr. Kelemu was listed among the 10 most influential African women in agriculture by the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security.

In January 2018, she was recognised by Bill Gates, as one of five ‘Heroes in the Field’ who are using their talents to fight poverty, hunger and disease, and providing opportunities for the next generation. The ‘heroes in the field’ have been featured in a Time magazine article (http://time.com/5087356/ this-ethiopian-scientist-is-saving-lives-by-studyinginsects/) guest edited by Mr. Gates; a short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rTidBE32g& t=5s) that he has narrated; on his blog (https:// www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/These-Heroes- Are-Saving-the-World); on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Facebook page (https://www.facebook. com/gatesfoundation/videos/10156388914603072/), and through a series of tweets from Mr. Gates: https:// twitter.com/BillGates?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle% 7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor. 

In April 2018, the Women Economic Forum awarded Dr. Kelemu their highest award “Woman of the Decade in Natural and Sustainable Ecosystems” for outstanding leadership.  In 2018, she has been featured in The CEO Magazine, Australia, as one of the six exceptional leaders from around the world, breaking ground and shattering the glass ceiling. (http://www.icipe.org/sites/default/files/leadingbusinesswomen_EU1018_segenet-icipe.pdf ).

She has been received other awards and recognitions including the TWAS Prize for Agricultural Sciences (2011) and an Honorary Doctorate from Tel Aviv University for her professional contributions to society (2015). She has been featured in “the Mind of the Universe”, the BBC, CNN’s African Voices, The EastAfrican among others. She serves in various Boards, advisory panels in major global initiatives and has served in international juries of key science awards.


  • Attitude: Goal oriented


  • Networking: Networking and partnership
  • Monitoring/compliance: Leadership
  • Monitoring/compliance: Ensuring financial stability