|1994 ICIPE Annual Report (ICIPE, 1995, 48 p.)|
Tribute to Dr William T. Mashler
William T. Mashler
This 22nd Annual Report of the ICIPE is dedicated to the memory of the late Dr William T. Mashler, Chairman of the 1994 ICIPE Governing Council. It is befitting to do so because of Dr Mashler's consistently creative ideas and belief in applying science and technology to address the issues of hunger, health and environment, issues which are at the heart of ICIPE's own mandate. Bill Mashler's contribution to funding agricultural research and development for the benefit of the underpriviledged has been recognised by the many institutions he supported in the developing countries.
Early in his career, immediately after the Second World War, Dr Mashler was associated with the international endeavour to liquidate the colonial system. When by 1962, the major task in decolonisation had been achieved, he turned his attention to assisting the newly independent countries to develop their economic and social systems. This took him to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where in 1971 he was appointed Director for the newly established Division of Global and Interregional Projects, eventually rising to the rank of Senior Director.
For those who know the history of ICIPE, they will confirm that without Bill, ICIPE would not be where it is today. In 1971, he helped set up ICIPE's scientific research programme and brought to it the first major financial support base from UNDP; he subsequently persuaded other donors to provide financial support in the Centre's formative years.
Bill had a global vision. He readily acknowledged that ICIPE was a pathfinder and innovator in the area of biological control of insects, which today has come to be universally accepted as one of the key aspects in the concept of agricultural and environmental 'sustainability'.
As one of the intellectual godfathers of ICIPE, Dr Mashler's concern for ICIPE's strategic planning was so intense that just two months before his death in August, 1995, he sent a message to the Governing Council urging them to ensure that in designing the scientific programme, it should be drafted in such a way as to persuade all involved of its vision and true efficacy and of its potential for collaboration with other scientific institutions. Impatient with theory, he sought always to put his ideas into practice. All this was backed by a character which upheld the virtues of integrity, trust in humanity, good humour and courtesy.
Apart from his close association with ICIPE, Bill Mashler was himself an 'institution' in the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and its institutes. We are thankful for his life and at this time of ICIPE's 25th year, we remember all the many others who have joined him in supporting ICIPE. Bill himself singled out for mention Dr Monty Yudelman, who played a central role in ICIPE's earliest years.