Filipina Scientist Appointed as International Atomic Energy Agency Director

Ambassador to Austria Maria Cleofe R. Natividad (second from the left) congratulates IAEA Division Director Dr. Jane Gerardo-Abaya (second from the right). They are joined by Consul General Deena Joy Amatong (far left) and Vice Consul Allen Carillo (far right). (Vienna PM photo)

VIENNA—An Austria-based Filipina scientist rose from the ranks and was appointed as one of the directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Ambassador to Austria Maria Cleofe R. Natividad congratulated Dr. Jane Gerardo-Abaya on her recent appointment as IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation Asia and the Pacific Division Director at a courtesy call in the Philippine Permanent Mission in Vienna’s chancery on January 18, 2019.

Dr. Abaya officially assumed her new position on January 1, 2019.

Ambassador Natividad conveyed the Permanent Mission’s full support to Dr. Abaya in carrying out her duties as a new Division Director at the IAEA. She said that Dr. Abaya’s appointment is a remarkable achievement in the Philippines’ efforts towards increasing women’s representation at the higher echelons of the IAEA. Ambassador Natividad also expressed her full confidence that Dr. Abaya “will be up for the task given her exemplary qualifications and extensive experience.”

Dr. Abaya is an Austria-based Filipina scientist who has been with the IAEA in various capacities since 1994. In 2017, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano conferred on her a “Superior Achievement Award.” In 2008, she received a “Distinguished Service Award” from then IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.

She received a Balik Scientist Award and a research grant from the Department of Science and Technology in 2008. Her works on isotope hydrology and water and geothermal energy resources were contributed to the University of the Philippines Diliman’s National Institute of Geological Sciences, where she is an alumna.

The Filipina’s appointment adds further impetus to the Permanent Mission’s steadfast commitment to deepen cooperation with the IAEA, particularly through its Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme, in line with the Philippines’ development goals.

The TC Programme, which is overseen by the IAEA-Department of Technical Cooperation, is the major vehicle through which developing countries benefit from the work of the IAEA. The Philippines is an active contributor to and recipient of IAEA projects on crop resistance to natural calamities, water resource management, and nuclear medicine, particularly cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Outside the IAEA, the Permanent Mission and Dr. Abaya have partnered in several activities in Vienna to raise the local Filipino Community’s awareness about the Philippine “Science Diplomacy” initiative.

The said initiative was launched in 2018 under Ambassador Natividad’s leadership to ensure strong representation of Philippine science-related interests in the multilateral arena.

For more information, visit or @PHLinAustria on Twitter.

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