Former IUCN Presidents

Past IUCN Presidents include leaders from a variety of academic disciplines and professional experience in fields such as botany, zoology, genetics, law, psychology, politics, physics and mathematics. Their vast expertise and diverse perspectives have enriched the Union and helped IUCN fulfil its mission.


Continuous engagements

Yolanda Kakabadse surveys the landscape on a visit to the Rio Doce watershed. Photo: Rio Doce Panel

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Mohamed Kassas, IUCN President in 1978-1984, and Harold J. Coolidge, IUCN President 1966-1972 and colleagues Photo: IUCN Photo Library / © Bernardo Zentilli

Mohamed Kassas's presidency (1978-1984) oversaw the publication of the World Conservation Strategy in 1980, developed by IUCN, UNEP and WWF, in collaboration with FAO and UNESCO.

IUCN Presidents - 1948-2019

Name Dates Nationality
Zhang Xinsheng 2012-present China
Ashok Khosla 2008-2012 India
Valli Moosa 2004-2008 South Africa
Yolanda Kakabadse 1996-2004 Ecuador
Jay D. Hair 1994-1996 USA
Sir Shridath Ramphal 1991-1994 Guyana
Monkombu S. Swaminathan 1984-1990 India
Mohamed  Kassas 1978-1984 Egypt
Donald J. Kuenen 1972-1978 Netherlands
Harold J. Coolidge  1966-1972 USA
François Bourlière 1963-1966 France
Jean G. Baer 1958-1963 Switzerland
Roger Heim  1954-1958 France
Charles J. Bernard 1948-1954 Netherlands



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