Inspiring Stories
Rafael M. Grossi

Rafael M. Grossi

Class of 1997
Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (since 2019)

Rafael Mariano Grossi graduated from the Geneva Graduate Institute with a PhD in International Relations in 1997.

Grossi is an Argentinian diplomat with over 35 years of experience in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament. In 2013, he was appointed Ambassador of Argentina to Austria, and Argentine Representative to the  International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other Vienna-based international organisations. He is the first Latin American to serve as Director General for the IAEA. 

In addition to his diplomatic career, Grossi has advocated for gender balance in the nuclear field since 2017, when he joined the International Gender Champions leadership network. In his words, “Women play a vital role throughout the Agency, but they are still not adequately represented. For me, gender parity means 50 percent women and 50 percent men – and that is the goal I set for myself. It will be challenging, but it is not impossible”. 

In 2020, Grossi met with Iranian President Hassan Rohani to discuss IAEA’s access to two nuclear sites. The IAEA has been verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), sometimes referred to as the Iran nuclear deal. However, since February 2021, verification and monitoring activities were affected because of Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA. Iran is therefore at the core of Grossi’s IAEA mandate.

In 2021, Director General Grossi led a delegation of experts at COP26 to engage in discussions and foster an informed debate on the benefits of nuclear science and technology, including nuclear power, in climate change mitigation, adaptation and monitoring.
His interview at COP26 marked a new era of engagement for the IAEA in the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) process to address climate change. Although the Agency has participated regularly in COP events, it had not previously taken a prominent position to represent nuclear energy and explain its role.
Grossi argued that achieving net-zero without nuclear power would be "extremely difficult, far more expensive and longer," and that "there is an increased recognition that it is part of the solution and it will be part of the solution”.

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Rafael M. Grossi