About The Author
James Alix Michel was born on 16 August 1944 on the island of Mahé, Seychelles.
He was the third president of the Republic of Seychelles, succeeding France Albert René upon the retirement of the latter on 14 April 2004, and was elected as president in July 2006, re-elected in May 2011 and again re-elected for a final term in December 2015.
In April 2016, an amendment to the Constitution, proposed by Michel, limiting presidential mandates to two terms of 5 years in office was approved by the country’s National Assembly. Faithful to his commitment not to hold on to power, “for power’s sake”, James Michel resigned as president barely 10 months after taking office, handing over office to the Vice President.
James Michel was responsible for the democratisation of the islands’ education system in the early 1980s. Today all Seychellois children have access to a minimum 14 years of non-fee-paying education and equal opportunities to learning. Mr. Michel established the University of Seychelles in 2009, and was its chancellor until he resigned in 2021.
James Michel has propelled Seychelles on the international scene as an ardent advocate of the cause of small island developing states, the preservation of the environment and, the Blue Economy. He has been responsible for the promulgation of legislation transforming half of Seychelles’ territory into nature reserves – the highest proportion in the world. He co-chaired the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and has mobilised political support for the Blue Economy and marine protected areas within island regions of the world. He is also one of the patrons of the World Sustainable Development Forum (WSDF).
A recurring theme of Michel’s is the need to invest in the youth – the leaders of tomorrow. To that end, he has formulated policy and initiated several programmes aimed at their global holistic development and capacity building. This includes the Young Leaders’ Programme – an in-service training programme leading to an MBA
- Outstanding Civilian Service Medal – Conferred by the United States Army in 1995.
- Named a Paul Harris Fellow in 1997 by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world”.
- Knighthood of Science and Art – Presented by the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences in 2001, in recognition of the “great personal contribution in the guarantee of the stable development of the Republic of Seychelles and for the prosperity of the Seychelles people”.
- Grand Cross of the Order Pro Merito Melitensi – Conferred by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 2001.
- UNESCO Gold Medal of the Five Continents in recognition of his work “to promote the ideals of peace, tolerance and his work to sensitize the international community about the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States” in 2009.
- Most Innovative People Award (for Natural Innovation) by the Global Leadership Team at the Lebanon 2020 Summit, in 2009.
- Made Honorary Citizen of Daejeon City (Republic of Korea) in 2009.
- Special Award for Eco-Safety from the World Eco-Safety Assembly of the International Eco-Safety Cooperative Organization, in 2010, in view of his “leadership in the field of environment and the long-standing efforts of the Government to foster sustainable development”.
- Grand Cross of the Knightly Order, Special Class, pro Merito Melitensi – Conferred by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in recognition of the “exceptional relations that exist between the Order and the Republic of Seychelles” in 2010.
- Doctorate (Phil) Honoris Causa awarded by TERI University in Delhi (The Energy and Resources Institute) for his “advocacy of the cause of small island states and the preservation of the environment” in 2010.
- Grand Commander of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (GCSK) – conferred by Dr Navin Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius in 2012 in recognition of his role in “strengthening the special ties of friendship and cooperation between Seychelles and Mauritius”.
- Sustainable Development Leadership Award in 2013 from the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, for his “visionary and strong leadership in the implementation of sustainable environmental programmes, economic and social renaissance”.
- African Development Excellence Award 2013, presented at the 2nd African Investment and Development Award 2013, in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to Africa’s economic growth and development”.
- Recognized as an “Oceans 8 Champion” by the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission of UNESCO in June 2017 in appreciation of his efforts to actively promote the “Blue Economy” concept as a new paradigm of development, as well as his endeavour to develop an innovative debt swap scheme that has enabled Seychelles to finance local ocean science and climate resilience programmes.
- National Geographic Planetary Leadership Award, received in June 2019 for his “commitment to establishing globally protected areas” and having “worked for years to position the Seychelles at the forefront of ocean leadership”