Born in Alexandria to a Greek family that was originally from Istanbul, Jean dedicated both his personal and professional life to animal production all around the world. His passions for small ruminants and the Mediterranean were probably rooted in his Greek and East Mediterranean origin:
- He prepared his Ph.D. in France with the famous INRA team led by Jacques Poly and Bertrand Vissac on the genetic improvement of Lacaune dairy ewes in the Roquefort region. This first experience marked his life, his networks, and his friendships.
- Jean later became a scientist in the Animal and Dairy Science Institute in Pretoria. He was appointed from 1971 to 1986 as adviser for Technology, Agricultural Research and Rural in the South African Embassy in Paris and then to their Consulate in Los Angeles.
- After this period, he was nominated Professor at Thessaloniki University in Greece.
- From 1993 to 1997, he oversaw the FAO Department of Sustainable Development in Rome.
- From 1997 to 2002, Jean was elected as Executive Vice-President of the European Association of Animal Production (EAAP) and General Secretary of ICAR (International Committee for Animal Recording) of the WAAP (World Association for Animal production).
- From 2003 to 2005, his last official professional position was head of the Regional Actions Service for OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) in Paris.
Jean Boyazoglu received two of France’s highest honors: Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour) and Ordre du Mérite Agricole (Order of Agricultural Merit).
We must also remember that Jean was one of the founders of IGA with Warren Foote. He personally led the negotiations between IGA and Elsevier in the 1980s for the creation of Small Ruminant Research. Thanks to this initiative, small ruminants received a high-quality scientific review. This shows how Jean played a key role in the awareness and importance of sheep and goat production, their sectors, their originality, their specificity and the role they play in many countries where they are also a part of the culture.
When he was President of the IGA (1992 to 1996) and Editor-in-Chief of SRR (2005 to 2012), he endeavored to develop scientific information on these two animal species and to publicize research teams working on sheep and goats (especially on goats because he felt that this species faced difficulty when being considered at a scientific level). We, who were very close to him, especially when he became Editor-in-Chief of SRR, could see his determination to publish interesting articles whose authors were not used to writing in international scientific reviews. He always helped these authors to achieve a satisfactory result. On these occasions, we appreciated his high human qualities and the extent of this cultural knowledge. He really considered his various tasks as missions and was always concerned by the progress of new fields for science and SRR. He always paid attention to the field realities and especially the human problems posed by sheep and goat production.
Jean was also passionate about many other subjects, such as wine and cheese (he was, for several years, also President of the Scientific Committee of the European Denominations of Origin for wine in Brussels), or the History of the Middle East, especially during antiquity and he liked to position present issues in their historical context.
Fewer people know that he was an international expert in ceramics and he published with Louis de Neuville, a book which is still a reference for specialists in Delft earthenware and was very interested in the influence of Middle East on major European ceramic centers.
But let us remind you, once again that his two passions above others were the Mediterranean area and small ruminants. And it is probably the reasons why he wanted his ashes to be dispersed in the Mediterranean Sea which he loved so much.
It was a wonderful experience to see how quickly and strongly he was always ready to help people as soon as there was a conference to organize or a project to develop. We were also touched to see him so happy during seminars or conferences in Mediterranean countries, whether he had organized them or not.
He was a true force of Nature.
Jean, you were a man who enriched us professionally, humanely and culturally. You were always ready to give your energy to others. You were often a great support for us all. You will remain a strong model and a source of inspiration for those who knew you, and for future generations!
Pierre Morand-Fehr and Jean-Paul Dubeuf
IGA President 2000 to 2004 IGA President 2008 to 2012