Remembering Alain De Waele

It is with great sorrow that IPF mourns the loss of Alain De Waele, Member of the Board of the International Polar Foundation, and long-time supporter of the activities of the Foundation and the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station.

Born in Antwerp in 1949, Alain De Waele began his career in the late 1970s at Interbrew (later InBev and then AB InBev) in Leuven, Belgium. During his career at the company, he worked in various commercial positions, rising up the ranks until he became Vice-President of External Relations in the 1990s.

In 1999 Alain De Waele was selected by InBev (as the company was known at the time) to become Secretary General of the InBev Baillet Latour Fund (later known simply as Les Fonds Baillet Latour). He was ideal for this position due to his friendly and outgoing nature, his extensive network of contacts, and most importantly his passion for philanthropy. In this capacity at the Baillet Latour Fund, he dedicated his life to charitable work, supporting medical research, the arts and culture, and, with the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, polar research.

Alain de Waele became interested in the work of Alain Hubert and the International Polar Foundation when he met Alain Hubert in 1999 at a conference in Deauville, France.

When the Princess Elisabeth Project was launched in 2004, Alain De Waele immediately stepped in to help. The Baillet Latour Fund financed all the scientific research equipment needed to equip the station on the advice of researchers consulted. He always felt that the Princess Elisabeth Station was an exceptional advertisement for Team Belgium, and was always ready to promote the exceptional qualities of Belgian research.

Alain De Waele had the initiative to set up the Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship, along the lines of other awards made by the Baillet Latour Funds, with the first award being made in 2008. The Baillet Latour Antarctic Fellowship was a bi-annual Fellowship of 150,000 Euros managed by the International Polar Foundation to support the research of early career polar scientists interested in conducting scientific research at, or in the vicinity of the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica. During the 12 years the Fellowship was in place, the award was able to assist several promising young researchers from Belgium and other countries in the fields of glaciology, microbiology, and Earth sciences.

In 2009, he was present at the inauguration of the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, and he remained very implicated in future plans, agreeing to find ways of financing the research and development initiatives that the Foundation wanted to put in place to support the development of new technologies at the PEA Station and further afield.

In 2012, Alain De Waele helped to organise the Gala event celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the creation of the IPF, and he remained always present and supportive in the next ten years. He remained Vice-President of External Relations at InBev until 2007, after which he became Secretary-General of the Baillet Latour Fund full-time as the Funds activities expanded. The Funds work became more well-known thanks to his extensive outreach efforts and active engagement with stakeholders.

Due to declining health, he was unfortunately forced to step down from his position as Secretary General of the Baillet Latour Fund in 2019.  He remained a Member of the Board (Administrator) of the Fund under the Presidency of Thomas Leysen.

The International Polar Foundation extends its sincere condolences to his family and his many friends.