TED Blog

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was just sworn in as the first female president of Mauritius. A TEDGlobal 2014 speaker, she tells us how this happened and what she plans to do while in office. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was just sworn in as the first female president of Mauritius. A TEDGlobal 2014 speaker, she shares the unusual way this happened and what she plans to do while in office. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

You’ve heard of a philosopher king. But what about a biologist president?

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim — the biologist who gave the TED Talk “Humble plants that hide surprising secrets” — was sworn in today as the sixth president of Mauritius, a small island off the coast of Africa, about 500 miles past Madagascar. Gurib-Fakim was appointed to the position by Mauritius’ parliament, and is the country’s first female president. And as she tells the TED Blog: The whole thing comes as a shock.

The TED Blog spoke to Gurib-Fakim about how she became an accidental president — and how she’ll approach the presidency differently, as both a woman and a biologist.

What…

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