GAIN’s Vice Chair of the Board appointed President of the Pontifical Academy by Pope Francis

The Vatican has informed Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun, Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn and Vice Chair of the GAIN Board of Directors, that he has been appointed President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences for the next five years. Von Braun therewith succeeds the Swiss biologist and Nobel Prize winner Werner Arber.

“I am pleased about the appointment of Pope Francis and the collaboration with the approximately 80 high-profile scholars from all over the world,” says Prof. von Braun. “As particularly important topics to be dealt with by the academy, I see the connection between poverty, inequality and injustice in our world as well as the destruction of the natural resources. We must find new solutions for these issues.”

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences (in Latin: Pontificia Academia Scientiarum, PAS) was founded in 1603. In 1936, under Pope Pius XI, it was reformed into a modern independent academy, which is also independent of any denomination. Von Braun is Protestant Lutheran. The academy is under the authority of the reigning Pope. Its overall goal is to promote progress in the natural sciences and to study associated epistemological problems. The academy members meet twice a year. The results of the meetings are communicated to the Pope, who is thus informed about the latest scientific findings. The Academy is located in the heart of the Vatican Gardens, in the Casino di Pio IV. Among its members were and are the most respected scientists of the 20th century, including Stephen Hawking as well as Nobel laureates Ernest Rutherford, Max Planck, Niels Bohr and Otto Hahn.

The elected members of the academy are women and men of every ethnicity and religion. Relevant are the outstanding scientific qualifications and an exigent moral profile. Von Braun was elected as a member of the Academy in 2012.


This statement was originally published on the ZEF website

Listen to Prof. von Braun interview with the Vatican Radio here

Return to homepage news 

Published 23 June 2017