She calls herself a chemist and a gardener (and she has a collection of 200 bonsai), but Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is the leading scientist studying the flora of one of the world's key biodiversity hotspots, the island of Mauritius. As the managing director of the Centre for Phytotherapy Research (Cephyr) and a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Mauritius, she explores and analyzes plants from the island and their health, nutritional and cosmetic applications.
She co-authored the African Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the first resource of its kind, led the first regional research project on the inventory and study of medicinal and aromatic plants of the Indian Ocean, and was the lead coordinating author on the international assessment of agricultural knowledge, science and technology for development, spearheaded by the World Bank.
Ameenah was honored as one of Foreign Policy's 2015 Global Thinkers .
In June 2015, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim became the first female president of Mauritius.