Yana Gevorgyan, an award-winning international relations specialist at NOAA's Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) will be the new director of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Secretariat, the intergovernmental organization announced this week.
Established in 2005, GEO is a partnership of more than 100 national governments and more than 130 Participating Organizations and Associates that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive, and sustained Earth observations.
GEO closely coordinates Earth observation systems and shares the data openly and timely among its members. One of GEO’s top priorities is advancing the use of Earth observation data—both from satellites and ground-based “in-situ” observations— in real-world operations.
In her new role as GEO Secretariat Director, Ms. Gevorgyan will perform critical functions to serve the GEO community and support the collective efforts to achieve the organization's goals. Gevorgyan said she will use this three-year term to, “strengthen GEO’s core and increase the engagement among GEO members and regional structures, so that more members realize the value and benefits of belonging to GEO for their national interests.”
"Yana has been a strong, dedicated advocate and leader within the GEO community for 11 years," said Stephen Volz, assistant administrator of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service who has also served as the U.S. Principal to the Executive Committee of GEO. "During that time, she has built an impressive knowledge base and understanding of Earth observations, of the challenges facing GEO and of how the work of GEO can benefit the global community."
The United States is one of the four Co-Chairs of GEO’s governing Executive Committee, along with the European Commission, China and South Africa. At the leadership level, the United States is represented in GEO by a Principal and Principal Alternate. Presently, NOAA and USGS fill these roles, respectively.
Gevorgyan said she will work with the Secretariat team, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, to position GEO for a successful renewal of its mandate by ministers in 2025, “so that collectively, we may continue to realize the benefits of Earth observation to build a sustainable future for communities worldwide.”
Gevorgyan, an admitted fan of multiculturalism, added that she’s looking forward to exploring the natural beauty of the Geneva area with her family: “One of the main reasons I have loved my time with GEO is its multiculturalism. Communicating, collaborating and building across cultures, based on discovered commonalities and working through differences, are such rich and greatly satisfying processes.”