Ismail Serageldin

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In a Newsweek magazine interview Ismail Serageldin stated, “If the wars of the 20th Century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water.” Having held many senior positions at the World Bank and various global water agencies/institutions, Serageldin is a prominent neoliberal figure on the global water scene. Wageningen University (Netherlands), where he is a distinguished professor, refers to him as “very omniscient and experienced.”[1]

A Knight of the French Legion of Honor, Serageldin is currently the director of the Library of Alexandria and chairperson of the board of seven affiliated research institutes and three affiliated museums. He is a member of the Senate in Egypt, co-chair of the African Biotechnology Panel and Vice-President of The Academy of Sciences in the Developing World (TWAS). Serageldin has 22 honorary degrees and has authored over 60 books and 200 articles and book chapters.[2]

From 1972-99 Serageldin held many positions and worked in various capacities with the World Bank, including: Economist in education and human resources (1972-76); Division Chief for Technical Assistance and Special Studies (1977-80), and for Urban Projects in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (1980-83); Director for Programs in West Africa (1984-87), Country Director for Central and Occidental Africa (1987-89), Technical Director for all Sub-Saharan Africa (190-92), and Vice President for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (1993-98). From 1998 to 1999 Serageldin promoted NGO-Bank relations and was Co-Chairperson of the NGO-Bank Committee.[3]

In addition to his work at the World Bank Serageldin has played a key role in institutions and processes advocating market-led reforms in the water and waste-water sector. He is a former chair of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and was chairperson of World Commission on Water for the 21st Century.


  1. Wageningen University, Ismail Serageldin, accessed December 17 2008.
  2., Ismail Serageldin, accessed 8 December 2008.
  3., Ismail Serageldin, accessed 8 December 2008.