Mahdi Elmandjra


Mahdi Elmandjra : biography

March 13, 1933 –

UNESCO (1961-1969)

  • Chief, Africa Division (1961–1963);
  • Director of the Executive Office of the Director general (1963–1966);
  • Assistant Director General for the Social Sciences, Human Sciences and Culture (1966–1969);
  • Visiting Fellow, Center for International Studies, London School of Economics, Univ.of London (1970);

UNESCO (1971-1976)

  • Assistant Director General for Programming and Future Studies (1971–1976);
  • Special Adviser to the Director General,(1975–1976);
  • Professor, Faculte des Sciences Juridiques, Economiques et Sociales, Universite Mohamed V, Rabat (1976–1979);
  • Assistant Secretary general, United Nations Programme for Development (UNDP): Coordinator, Conference on Technical Cooperation between African Countries (Nairobi, 1980);
  • Special Consultant to the United Nations during the International Year of Disable Persons,(1980–1981);
  • Special Advisor to the Director General of the Intergovernmental Bureau for Informatics IBI)(1981–1987);
  • Adviser to the Secretary general of the United Nations on the programmes of the UN System against the Abuse of Drugs (1990–1991);
  • Professor, Faculte des Sciences Juridiques, Economiques et Sociales, Universite Mohamed V, Rabat (1981);
  • Visiting Professor, Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo (1998);

Professional associations

  • World Future Studies Federation (WFSF), President (1977–1981);
  • Futuribles International, President (1981–1990);
  • Club of Rome (resignation in 1988);
  • Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco;
  • World Academy of Art and Science;
  • World Academy of Social Prospective;
  • African Academy of Sciences (Exec. Comm.);
  • Pugwash Movement;
  • Society for International Development (SID), Council (1982–1988), Exec. Comm.(1985–1988);
  • International Union of Architects, Rapporteur XIII World Congress of Architects, Mexico (1978);
  • Third World Forum;
  • Founding President of the Moroccan Association of Future Studies (AMP);
  • Founding President of the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH);
  • Morocco-Japan Association, Founding Member and Vice-President;
  • Moroccan Association of Economists;
  • Moroccan Association of Philosophy;
  • Moroccan Association of Historians.

Awards and decorations

  • Curzon Prize of French Literature, Cornell University (1953);
  • Rockefeller Award for International Relations, London School of Economics (1955);
  • Order of Independence of the Kingdom of Jordan (1959);
  • Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, France (1970);
  • Honorary Architect, International Union of Architects (1978);
  • Prix de La Vie Economique (1981), Paris;
  • Grand Medal of the French Academy of Architecture (1984);
  • Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, France (1985);
  • Order of the Rising Sun (III), Japan (1986);
  • Peace Medal of the Albert Einstein International Academy (1991).
  • Award of the World Future Studies Federation (1995)


  • International Architectural Contest for the Islamic Cultural Center of Madrid (1980);
  • Vice-President of the Jury of the International Architectural Contest for the "Tete de la Defense" project, Paris (1983);
  • World Contest of Young Architects, Tokyo (1984);
  • Venice Film Festival (1984);
  • Master Jury of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1986);
  • Jules Verne Science Television Prize, Paris (1990–1993);
  • President of the Jury of Third National Film Festival of Morocco, Meknes (1992).
  • FOUNDER of the "North-South Cultural Communication Prize" given annually since 1992 (financed from the royalties of the author).


Elmandjra started his high-school education at Lycée Lyautey (Casablanca) in 1944 where he got his Baccalaureat in 1948 . He then went to Putney School, Vermont, U.S.A. (1948–1950) before joining Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (1950–1954) where he obtained a B.A. Government degree. Elmandjra then went to England where he enrolled in the London School of Economics, and the University of London (1954–1957) obtaining a PhD.