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from the desk of dan ashe

IUCN Presidential Endorsement

By Dan Ashe
min read

Razan Al Mubarak—AZA’s Choice for IUCN President

Let’s be honest. Based on any objective, factual metric, wildlife conservation is in an ever-deepening crisis—failing, and failing dismally. We need leadership that will change our course and destiny. We need a new generation of leaders.

We need leadership that will help make conservation relatable and relevant in a rapidly changing world. Leadership that engages and inspires younger, more diverse audiences. Leadership with experience, but without the shackled expectations that are often the casualty of decades of struggle in bureaucratic trenches. We need leadership that will challenge us to be better versions of ourselves, as professionals, and as professional organizations.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums invited each of the candidates for President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to answer a series of questions. Each of the three candidates responded, for which we are grateful, and you can read their thoughtful pieces here.

Razan Al Mubarak

Malik Amin Aslam Khan

Dr. John G. Robinson

Each is an outstanding candidate and offers strong leadership qualities. Each has earned our respect for the commitment demonstrated in their distinguished careers, and their courage in presenting themselves as candidates.

Razan Al Mubarak speaking at a podium

In our opinion, however, Razan Al Mubarak is the candidate for these times.

We need a leader who offers skilled management and a courageous, strategic vision. Someone who will not just sail the IUCN ship, but set it to a better course. We believe Razan Al Mubarak’s 20-plus years of experience in government, sustainability, citizen engagement and philanthropy make her that candidate.

If elected, she will be only the second woman to lead the IUCN in its 72-year history. And importantly, the fact that she is the mother to a young daughter will make her a more influential  leader, more relatable, and more able to inspire conservation’s next-generation. These characteristics are particularly critical for the person who will lead IUCN at this crucial moment.

AZA has never before endorsed a candidate for the IUCN Presidency. But this is a time like none before it. Wildlife conservation is in crisis, itself inextricably tied to a crisis in global health. We need leadership that will take us into a new era. We need Razan Al Mubarak as President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums will cast its vote for Razan Al Mubarak. We urge our members and our global aquarium, zoo, and conservation partners, who are also voting IUCN members, to do likewise.

First: Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak.
Last: Ms. Al Mubarak addressing the Arabic language media during the World Future Energy Summit.

Dan Ashe is the President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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