State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Pedro Sanchez Elected into the National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Pedro Sanchez, Director of the Tropical Agriculture & Rural Environment Program at the Earth Institute, Columbia University and a World Food Prize laureate has been elected into the National Academy of Sciences, a highly prestigious honor recognizing individuals for their excellence in science.

“I have been working on committees and boards of the National Academy since 1972—it’s home to me in Washington,” said Sanchez. “Needless to say, it’s a great honor to be elected a member, especially being one of the few soil scientists on board and most probably one of the few Cuban-Americans so honored.”

For more than 50 years, Sanchez has worked on agriculture and hunger issues throughout the developing world. From 1968 to 1971 he led a research team in Peru that helped the nation achieve self-sufficiency in rice, placing the country among the highest rice producers in the world. In 1972, Sanchez worked with the Brazilian government to develop the Cerrado region, turning 30 million hectares of tropical land into a food-producer and radically changing how people approached farming tropical soils.

Since 2005, Sanchez has helped to establish and direct the Millennium Villages Project to promote policies to bring a green revolution to Africa and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

For complete bio:

Pedro Sanchez is the Director of the Tropical Agriculture & Rural Environment Program and Senior Research Scholar of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.  He also directs AfSIS, the African Soils Project, developing the digital soils map of the world and related information systems.

A native of Cuba, Sanchez received his BS, MS and PhD degrees in soil science from Cornell University.  His professional career has been dedicated to help eliminate world hunger and absolute rural poverty while protecting and enhancing the tropical environment. He is the author of “Properties and Management of Soils of the Tropics” (rated among the top 10 best-selling books in soil science worldwide), co-author of “Halving Hunger: It can be done” and of over 300 scientific publications

Sanchez was Director General of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya from 1991-2001, and served as Co-chair of the UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force.  He is also Professor Emeritus of Soil Science and Forestry at North Carolina State University.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.   Sanchez has received honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, the University of Guelph, Canada and The Ohio State University, USA.  He has received decorations from the governments of Colombia and Peru and was anointed Luo Elder with the name of Odera Akang’o by the Luo community of Western Kenya.  Sanchez is the 2002 World Food Prize laureate and 2004 MacArthur Fellow.

Here’s an interview he did a few years ago from the Millennium Villages of Sauri in Kenya.


Related Posts

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments