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February 21, 2013

Renowned Egyptian Thinker Ismail Serageldin to Speak at Library of Congress March 8

Public Talks to Cover Restoration of Library of Alexandria, Future of Libraries

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today that Ismail Serageldin, director of Egypt’s national library the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, will give two public lectures at the Library of Congress on Friday, March 8. The first talk – at noon in Room 119 of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First St., S.E. in Washington, D.C. – will be on "The Loss and Rebirth of the Library of Alexandria." The second lecture, in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, will take place at 7 p.m. on the topic "The Knowledge Revolution and the Future of Libraries." These lectures will be free and open to the public; no tickets are necessary.

"I am delighted that my friend and fellow explorer of the life of the mind will return to the Library of Congress to share his insights," said Billington, who invited Serageldin to deliver the March lectures following the First International Summit of the Book in December, an event held at the Library of Congress that Serageldin keynoted.

Serageldin, in addition to directing his nation’s library, also chairs the boards of directors for each of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina's affiliated research institutes and museums. He serves as chair and member of a number of advisory committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions and civil-society efforts which includes the Institut d'Egypte (Egyptian Academy of Science), U.S. National Academy of Sciences (Public Welfare Medalist), the American Philosophical Society, TWAS (Academy of Sciences for the Developing World), the Indian National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is former chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR, 1994-2000), founder and former chairman of the Global Water Partnership (GWP, 1996-2000) and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP), a microfinance program (1995-2000) and was professor of the International Savoirs Contre Pauvreté (Knowledge Against Poverty), at Collège de France, Paris, and distinguished professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

He has also served in a number of capacities at the World Bank, including as vice president for environmentally and socially sustainable development (1992-1998), and for special programs (1998-2000). He has published more than 60 books and monographs and over 200 papers on a variety of topics including biotechnology, rural development, sustainability, and the value of science to society. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Cairo University and a master's degree and a Ph.D. from Harvard University; he has received 33 honorary doctorates.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

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PR 13-031
02/21/13
ISSN 0731-3527

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