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ALN’s senior management team provides centralised support functions to ALN members, including training, know-how and communications support.
Dr Diarra is a Malian astrophysicist, businessman, and politician. He was the Prime Minister of Mali from April to December 2012 and the chairman of Microsoft Africa from 2006 until 2011. He is a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO and also served as the CEO of the African Virtual University, based in Kenya, in 2002 – 2003.
In 1984, Dr Diarra joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California (a division of NASA). There he participated in various missions: Magellan to Venus, Ulysses to the Sun’s poles, Galileo to Jupiter and the Mars Observer and Mars Pathfinder. He later headed NASA’s Mars Outreach Program.
He studied mathematics, physics and analytic mechanics at the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie and then at the Ecole Centrale – both in Paris. Following these, he completed a Masters in Aerospace Engineering at Howard University in Washington D.C. In his distinguished career, Dr Diarra has received various honors and decorations: the African Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, the World Bank’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science and the Africa-America Institute Award for Excellence in Science (for inspiring youth worldwide to explore the cosmos), Commandeur de l’Ordre de l’Education Nationale in Gabon, Commandeur de l’Ordre du Merite du Lion in Senegal, Commandeur de l’Ordre National in Mali, Commandeur de l’Ordre du Merite Nationale in Cote d’Ivoire, Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts, des Lettres, et de la Communication in Burkina Faso.