Ameenah Gurib-Fakim served as the first female President of Mauritius from 2015 to 2018, thus making her the third woman to serve as Head of State of the country.
Born in 1959, Gurib finished her higher school education at Loreto convent Quatro Bornes before studying chemistry at the University of Surrey. She completed her PhD in organic chemistry at Exeter University before returning to Mauritius in 1987.
In Mauritius, Gurib-Fakim taught organic chemistry at the University of Mauritius, where she also served as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Pro-Vice Chancellor. In 2009, Gurib-Fakim opened a research centre devoted to studying the medical and nutritious effects of plant life in Mauritius, where she is still Managing Director. She served as the Chairperson for the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa from 2011 to 2014. In 2016, she was in the Forbes List for the 100 "Most Powerful Women in the World" and 1st among the Top 100 Women in Africa Forbes List 2017, 2019. In 2019, Gurib-Fakim also served as a keynote speaker of Cambridge University's conference "Africa Together: Which Way Forward?"
For her efforts as a scientist, Gurib-Fakim has been recognized worldwide, receiving the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, Laureate for the National and Economic Council, and the African Union Award for Women in Science.
In 2019, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim received the "Trailblazing Award for Political Leadership" from the World Women Leaders Council in Iceland. In 2022, she serves on the Science Advisory Committee of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome.
Council member since 2016.