Farewell Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram

Published Date
February 18, 2021
Published by
ICARDA Communication Team
Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram Presents at the World Food Prize
Dr Sanjaya Rajaram

It is with sadness to hear of the passing of our dear friend and respected scientist Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, on the 18th of February 2021. 

Over the past four decades, Dr. Rajaram made a unique and long-lasting contribution to poverty reduction and global food security through his work with ICARDA and CIMMYT. 

Dr Rajaram completed a PhD on wheat rust at the University of Sydney and then joined CIMMYT in 1969 where he worked closely with Nobel Prize Laureate and scientist Norman Borlaug in Mexico, helping to release hundreds of  high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties of improved wheat. After 33 years with CIMMYT, Dr. Rajaram joined ICARDA as Director of the Center’s Integrated Gene Management Program. After his retirement in 2008, he continued to offer his expertise on wheat improvement strategies that tackle challenges facing the production of the crop in dry areas, including stripe rust, an endemic threat to worldwide wheat production that is worsening due to climate change. 

His lifelong work to improve quality, yields, and worldwide food security through increasing global wheat production resulted in his being awarded the prestigious World Food Prize in 2014. Along the way he also received other awards such as the the Padma Shri Award, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award, and the Friendship Award from China.

Dr. Rajaram contributed so much to ICARDA’s work in Syria and Morocco and our wheat and barley programs. He has improved the lives of thousands of farmers in dry regions where ICARDA works across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, and his unique contribution to science has formed the basis of improved crops worldwide - Mr. Aly Abousabaa, Director General, ICARDA 

Right up until entering hospital Dr. Rajaram had been steadfastly attending to his wheat plots in Obregon, Mexico.

ICARDA will deeply miss him and wishes his family well during this time of sadness.