Formerly on the faculty of the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Ayala is the Founder of the PANGEA WORLD corporation. Her efforts have empowered PANGEA WORLD with endorsements from the highest levels of the scientific community, from international organizations such as UNESCO, and from a range of political leaders and diplomats. Trained as a landscape and social ecologist, Dr. Ayala originated the “Tourism for Conservation through Research” (TCR) economic-development model, the hallmark of her work around the world.
At the invitation of UNESCO, Ayala translated the TCR model into an economic-development blueprint for the nations of the Pacific Island Region, offering these nations the opportunity to maximize their potential to value and protect the knowledge-rich natural assets that make them unique among their peers. A sequel to this endeavor, “Pangea’s Action Plan for National Development and International Prestige of the Republic of Fiji,” was endorsed by Fiji’s Cabinet on 13 February 2001 and 7 May 2002.
Panama was the first country to adopt the TCR approach. The Presidential Decree of 30 November 1998 endorsed and formalized the “TCR Action Plan for the Republic of Panama,” developed by Dr. Ayala at the invitation of the Panamanian government. The Smithsonian Institution and the World Bank were among the hosts of the project’s culminating international events organized by Ayala in Washington, DC in August 1999. The TCR has been the subject of laudatory articles in the popular and specialized press and other media, including Hotels, Science, Scientific American, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), La Prensa/Martes Financiero (Panama), Salon magazine and Civilization, the magazine of the Library of Congress.
Ayala has organized and coordinated numerous international conferences on the PANGEA WORLD-championed fusion of tourism economy and knowledge economy, including those hosted by the Beckman Center of the United States National Academies of Sciences and Engineering (Irvine, California, September 2005, April 2009, and February 2014), the Willard InterContinental (Washington, DC, March 2007), and the United Nations International School (New York, September 2010).
Ayala lectures widely in her areas of expertise. She has addressed culture and sustainable development for UNESCO (Fiji, 1997; Samoa, 2007); South Pacific regional tourism (Vanuatu, 2001); issues for the hospitality industry in the new millennium (New York, 2001); information resources for global sustainability (Czech Republic, 2003); science, conservation, and national identity (Mexico, 2004); geography and ecology of the knowledge economy (Panama/City of Knowledge, 2007); the Pacific’s competitive advantage in the “21st century of biology” (Fiji and New York, 2010); the knowledge enconomy’s potential to foster a culture of peace (Madrid, Spain, 2014); and boundless knowledge as an economic vision for the world’s heritage (Villa Tugendhat—UNESCO World Heritage Site, Czech Republic, 2017).
Dr. Ayala was awarded a Gold Medal by Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic) in 2003 “in recognition and appreciation of extraordinary merits in advancing science, culture, and art.” In 2006, she was honored for her professional achievement by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC.
Together with her husband Dr. Francisco J. Ayala (University Professor at the University of California, Irvine/UCI, 2001 National Medal of Science Laureate, and 2010 Templeton Prize Laureate), Hana Ayala has made philanthropic contributions benefitting science and education. Shared recognitions include the Hana and Francisco J. Ayala Dean, School of Biological Sciences, UCI, and Francisco and Hana Ayala’s joint membership in the Einstein Society of the United States National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Hana Ayala, a US citizen, is a native of Brno, Czech Republic. She holds a degree of Doctor in Natural Sciences from the Masaryk University. Dr. Ayala is fluent in Czech, English, and Spanish.