Robert Maybury (44) retired in 2009 after serving 23 years as the voluntary executive director of the International Organization for Chemical Sciences in Development (IOCD) a nongovernmental organization registered in Brussels, Belgium. IOCD collaborates with scientists in developing countries applying chemistry to problems in agricultural, industrial and health sectors of these countries. Robert Maybury’s father, Reverend B. H. Maybury, who attended ENC in the early 1920’s prior to ordination as a Nazarene minister, sent his two sons (Robert and Paul Calvin) and daughter (Martha) to ENC. Four years of demanding but inspired teaching by Professor J. H. Shrader at ENC turned Robert Maybury’s high school interest in chemistry into a professional commitment to chemistry, leading to his BS in Chemistry in 1944. Robert Maybury then entered the US Navy, taking part in the Okinawa invasion.
When Dr. Shrader became ill in early 1946, Bob returned to ENC to teach Dr. Shrader’s courses while also studying at Boston University, obtaining his PhD in Chemistry in 1951. During these years, “Doc” Shrader and Robert Maybury became close personal friends and shared a meaningful intellectual journey that included participating in the monthly discussions of the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science, a group of scientists and theologians based at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in Boston. From 1951 to 1953, Robert Maybury held a postdoctoral fellowship in physical chemistry of proteins with Dr. John T. Edsall at Harvard University, after which Maybury commenced university teaching and research, winning the “Teacher of the Year” Award from the student body of the University of Redlands in 1960, while also carrying on research on proteins under grants totaling $1 million. From time to time, he also took short leaves at Argonne National Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, the University of Washington, and Harvard University. His community service included chairmanship of the Student Research Committee of the California Heart Association, receiving their Meritorious Service Award in 1962. He also served with the Faculty Associate Program of the Danforth Foundation.
In 1963, Robert Maybury was invited to join the Division of Science Teaching of UNESCO* in Paris, France, seeing this as an opportunity to work in behalf of struggling scientists in developing countries. He and his wife Helen (Conser, 46) took their five children to live in Paris. Maybury’s first project was organizing the UNESCO Pilot Project in Chemical Education aimed at improving teaching of chemistry in schools of Asian countries. This required his repeated travel to many countries in Asia. He also represented UNESCO in various international conferences, greatly broadening his experience and contacts. In 1969, Maybury took sabbatical leave from UNESCO to serve as acting director of Harvard Project Physics, a major national curriculum project. In 1972, he again took leave to prepare a book on Ford Foundation support to improving science education, travelling to Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Lebanon and the Philippines to gather information for the book.
In 1973, Robert Maybury transferred from Paris to Nairobi, Kenya, to become deputy director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Science and Technology. This brought him into direct contact with African scientists, including those in government working on science policy. Seeing how little the African scientists in government policy positions understood of the crucial role of technology in their countries’ economic development, Maybury appealed to the Science Adviser of the World Bank, Dr. Charles Weiss, to develop a training program appropriate to these African scientists. Dr. Weiss responded by inviting Maybury to consider coming to the World Bank in Washington on his retirement from UNESCO to work on preparing such a training program.
In 1980, Bob transferred back to Paris where he was appointed Managing Editor of the UNESCO periodical “Impact of Science on Society” until his retirement from UNESCO in 1983. At the same time, since Dr. Weiss had begun preparing a World Bank training program on technology management for developing countries, he requested UNESCO repeatedly to release Maybury for several month-long periods over the three-year period up to Maybury’s retirement in 1983. On retiring in 1983, Maybury then joined Dr. Weiss’s staff in Washington and continued working on the training program. He was also involved in its implementation, traveling to Africa several times over the next several years.
In 1987, when the founding director of IOCD, Dr. Pierre Crabbe, was killed in a motor accident, the president of IOCD, Professor Glen T. Seaborg (Nobel Laureate), visited Maybury at the World Bank, aware of his UNESCO and World Bank experience. He invited Maybury to put this experience to work for IOCD by becoming the executive director of IOCD. Maybury accepted the invitation, seeing this would give him opportunity to continue working on behalf of scientists in developing countries, the underlying passion for his service with UNESCO and World Bank, which, in 1963, drew him from academia into the international arena.
Robert Maybury is now Executive Director Emeritus of IOCD, but over the years while with IOCD, he also found time to present lectures on technology management in developing countries based on his World Bank experience: from 1990 and 2002, annually at the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands; from 1992 to the present, at the International Law Institute in Washington; in 1999 and 2000, at the Saudi Arabian Industrial Development Institute; and in 2002, at the University of Pennsylvania.
* UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization