Simonetta Di PippoDirector
United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
UNOOSA Director, Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo, maintains responsibility for the Office's management and administration, provides strategic guidance to its work and ensures that it is implemented in accordance with the mandates of the General Assembly, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), and the established policies of the United Nations. She develops the work programme of the Office and ensures the Office's efficiency, transparency and accountability. The Director also manages the peaceful uses of outer space programme.
Ms. Di Pippo serves as the senior advisor to the Secretary-General and represents the SG at meetings and conferences on matters relating to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space. She also discharges the Secretary-General's obligations under the UN treaties and principles on outer space.
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26 November 1999
Secretary-General Appoints Mazlan Othman
Director of Office for Outer Space Affairs
VIENNA, 25 November (UN Information Service) -- The Secretary-General has appointed Professor Datuk Dr. Mazlan Othman Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, as of 21 October 1999.
Dr. Othman is Professor of Astrophysics at the National University of Malaysia and, prior to joining the United Nations, was the Director-General of the Space Science Studies Division in Malaysia. She was educated at Malaysia’s elite girls’ boarding school and subsequently studied Physics at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand on a Colombo Plan Scholarship. She later took her Ph.D. in Astrophysics, being the first woman awarded a doctorate from the Physics Department nearly 120 years after its founding.
On her return to Malaysia she taught in the Physics Department of the National University of Malaysia. As the first astrophysicist in the country she established undergraduate and post-graduate courses in astronomy, on which she continued to teach until she left for the United Nations.
Realizing the need to promote knowledge of space science in Malaysia she was active in introducing it into the school curriculum. A decade of campaigning to promote public awareness of astronomy bore fruit when she was seconded to the Prime Minister’s Department in December 1990 to direct the design and construction of the National Planetarium, which became fully operational in March 1993. While at the Prime Minister’s Department, she also established the nation’s Space Science Studies Division. As Director-General she initiated the National Microsatellite Programme which gave birth to TiungSAT-1, due to be launched in early 2000. Always at the forefront of space issues she spearheaded initiatives to identify space R&D priorities, formulate space laws and strategize the national space policy.
Prof. Othman has published and presented numerous academic papers at national and international fora, not only on astrophysics but also on sustainable development and many aspects of management. She is a member of the Malaysian team attempting to detect gravitational waves from space.
Prof. Othman is a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and Fellow of the Malaysian Scientific Association. She was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Science by her alma mater, the University of Otago. She has won several national awards and was conferred “ Datuk” by His Majesty Yang Di Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
She is married and has a son and a daughter.