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Conference Presenter Bios


Abbas A. Abouauf, Advisor to AOAD Director General For Food Security

Dr. Abbas A. Abouauf has a Bachelor of Science, Masters and Ph.D in Agricultural Economics.  He has been a Professor of Agricultural Economics since 1983.  He joined AOAD staff in 1988 and stayed with them until 2009 and progressively promoted to Director of Studies and Research Department (1994-1997), Minister Plenipotentiary at League of Arab States (1994-2009), and Technical Advisor (1997-2009).  He has been an Advisor to AOAD Director General from 2010 to present day.  His work includes being team advisor for preparing “Arab Sustainable Agriculture Development Strategy for the next two decades (2005- 2025)", and the “Arab Food Security Emergency Program,” which are endorsed by Arab Summit, 2007 and 2009, respectively.  Dr. Abouauf is the author of numerous scientific researches on the different  fields of, or related to, agricultural economics and food security.  Presenter:  Setting Food Security Policy Priorities: An International Partner Perspective

Moujahed Achouri, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for the Near East and FAO Representative, Egypt

Moujahed Achouri, national of Tunisia, specialist in Soil and Water Conservation and Watershed Management. Graduated from the Insitut National Agronomique de Tunisie (INAT) in 1979 and from the Utah State University (USU), USA in 1982, Mr. Achouri worked for the Ministry of Agriculture of Tunisia until the year 1994. He performed several tasks in the ministry mainly in relation to policies and action programmes related to soil and water conservation in the country. He acted, during the period of 1991-1994, as Deputy Director within the Soil and Water Conservation Department, Ministry of Agriculture, period during which he was in charge of large programmes on the mobilization of water resources in the country, within the 10 year strategy (1991-2000) for soil and water conservation.  Mr. Achouri joined FAO in 1995 as Chief Technical Adviser (CTA) for the implementation of watershed management activities in Pakistan/Punjab. Starting in 2004, and after 3 years in FAO Rome as technical officer/watershed management, Mr. Achouri was assigned the  task of Chief Operations for the Near East Region, in charge of the implantation and monitoring of field projects in about 26 countries. In 2007, Mr. Achouri was nominated Chief of the Forest Conservation Service at HQ/FAO Rome, where he was coordinating the implementation of activities related to forests and climate change, forests and biodiversity, arid zone forestry, urban and peri-urban forestry, watershed management and forests and water. Mr. Achouri was promoted in December 2010 to his actual position as Deputy Regional Representative, Head of the Multi-disciplinary Team for Oriental Near East (Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Iran) and FAO Representative in Egypt.

Abdallah Al-Dardari, Director of Economic Development and Globalization Division, UN-ESCWA

Mr. Al Dardari has a wealth of information and expertise on poverty reduction strategies, governance and macroeconomics. Mr. Al Dardari is currently the Director of the Economic Development and Globalization Division (EDGD) since 7 September 2011. Mr. Al Dardari was Deputy Prime Minister for Economic affairs from 2005 -2011 and Minister of Planning in Syrian Arab Republic (Chairman of the State Planning Commission- 2003 -2005) and UNDP's Assistant Resident Representative in Syria (2001-2003). Mr. Al Dardari has also extensive experience in the areas of competitiveness, investments and international trade negotiations. Mr. Al Dardari holds an Honorary Doctorate from Yalova University in Istanbul, a Masters in International Political Economy from University of Southern California, BA Economics from Richmond University London, and Post Graduate Research at the London School of Economics. He has taught economics and international relations at Syrian and Arab Universities.

Perrihan Al Riffai, Research Analyst in the Development Strategy and Governance at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC

Perrihan Al Riffai joined IFPRI in September of 2009.  She is a Research Analyst in the Development Strategy and Governance Division of IFPRI. She received an MPhil in Economics from George Washington University. Her background is in CGE modeling. Currently, her research focuses on Trade and Biofuels. Her previous areas of work include: public expenditures reallocation and poverty reduction and agricultural sector development.

Fawzi Al Sultan, Board of Trustees at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Kuwait

Fawzi Al-Sultan is the chair of IFPRI’s board of trustees. He is also active on several boards for agricultural research, water, and education, and advises a number of regional private sector companies. Prior to this, he served as the managing director of a private Kuwaiti bank. Fawzi also served as president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and as an executive director at the World Bank.  Presenting: Opening & Closing Remarks

Mohamed Aw-Dahir, Regional Food Systems Economist, FAO Regional Office for the Near East, RNE

Mohamed Aw-Dahir is a socio-economist with about 20 years of experience in humanitarian emergency, conflcit and post conflict environment, food security and early warning systems, vulnerabilty assessment, and livelihoods analysis in the Greater Horn of Africa Region. Worked with International NGOs and more recently with the USAID/Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) as a country representative for Somalia and, as a the Regional Director for the Greater Horn of Africs. Worked extensively in the in the Greater Horn of Africa sub-region to implement releif and devlopement programs. His personal interests include food insecurity early warning, livelihood analysisi, food market and cross border trade, and institutional capacity building.

Joachim von BraunDirector of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), and Professor for Economic and Technological Change, University of Bonn, Germany

Joachim von Braun is Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), and Professor for Economic and Technological Change at University of Bonn, GermanyHis research addresses international development economics topics, economics of natural resources, poverty; science and technology; food policy, and trade. von Braun was Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington, DC, U.S.A. 2002 to 2009. 2000-03 he was President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE).He serves on various international, UN, and European advisory councils, and is member of the International Policy Council (IPC). von Braun is member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences; received a honorary Doctoral degree from University of Hohenheim, and the Bertebos Prize of the Swedish Academy of Agricultural Sciences 2009 and the Justus von Liebig Prize of the Fiat Panis foundation 2011 for his research on world food security. FSAW Keynote Speaker: Arab Development in a Changing World

Clemens Breisinger, Economist & Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC

Clemens Breisinger is an economist and research fellow in the Development Strategy and Governance Division (DSGD), which he joined in 2006. His research and policy advisory work cover a broad range of issues, including economic transformation and the role of agriculture, resource booms and development, poverty reduction and food security, and impacts of global crises and climate change.  Clemens’ research has been published in numerous academic journals and policy briefs and cited by a variety of media. Since 2009, Clemens is leading DSGD’s projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Presenting: Beyond the Arab Awakening: Policies and Investments for Food Security and Poverty Reduction

Erol H. Cakmak, Professor of Economics, TED University, Ankara, Turkey

Mr. Cakmak is currently a Professor of Economics at the TED University, in Ankara, Turkey.  He is also serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Science at the same University.  He obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Department of Economics, Middle East Technical University.  He received his Ph.D. from Food Research Institute, Stanford University.  He was a faculty member at the Middle East Technical University until January 2012. He served as a consultant in various projects of national and international institutions.  He was senior advisor for monitoring and evaluation to the Undersecretariat of Treasury during the agricultural reform implementation project in Turkey.  He has been involved in several Research Framework projects of the European Commission. His research focuses mainly on the sectoral and economy-wide impact analysis of domestic and international agricultural policy changes, including irrigation water pricing and management.  His recent works have addressed the impact of climate change on Turkish agriculture in general equilibrium context. Chair: Economic Transformation, Food Security and Poverty Reduction

Paul A. Dorosh, Division Director of the Development Strategy and Governance Division at IFPRI, Washington, DC

Paul A. Dorosh is the Division Director of the Development Strategy and Governance Division. He was the Deputy Division Director of IFPRI’s Development Strategy and Governance Division from June 2010 to April 2011. From August 2008 through June 2010, he was an IFPRI Senior Research Fellow and Program Leader of the Ethiopia Strategy Support Program in Addis Ababa.  Paul worked at the World Bank from March 2003 to August 2008 as a Senior Economist with the Spatial and Local Development Team of the Finance, Economics and Urban Development Unit (2007-08) and Senior Rural Development Economist of the South Asia Rural and Agricultural Development Unit (2003-07). Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked for IFPRI as a research fellow and senior research fellow from 1997 to February 2003, serving as Chief of Party of the Food Management and Research Support Project in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1997 to 2001. Other affiliations are: Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program in Washington, DC and Ithaca, New York, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria.  Moderator:  Setting Food Security Policy Priorities: An International Partner Perspective

Imed Drine, Research Fellow, UNU-WIDER

Imed Drine is a Research Fellow at UNU-WIDER and holds a PhD in economics from Sorbonne University.  From Tunisia, he previously served as associate professor of economics and Head of Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sousse in Tunisia. Imed is an econometrician and his recent research focuses on development economics and climate change, with a regional specialization in Middle East and North Africa. Presenting: Creating Jobs for the Youth

Olivier Ecker, Postdoctoral Fellow of the Development Strategy and Governance Division of IFPRI, Washington, DC

Olivier Ecker is a postdoctoral fellow in IFPRI’s Development Strategy and Governance Division. Before joining IFPRI, he worked as a research associate at the University of Hohenheim’s Department of International Agricultural Trade and Food Security, and was also the executive manager of the University’s Center of Excellence in Developing Collaboration in Food Security. Olivier received his doctoral degree from the University of Hohenheim.  Presentation: Developing a Country-specific Food Security Strategy: The Case of Yemen

Moataz El-Said, Senior Economist at the Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund

Moataz El-Said is a senior economist at the Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund. Currently he is working on Jordan, and previously he worked on Libya, Syria, and Sudan. Before taking his current position, he worked at the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF (2004-2007) and the Trade and Macroeconomics Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (1997-2004). Moataz also taught economics at Cairo University between 1994 and 1996.  Moataz, an Egyptian national, obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from the George Washington University, and received his undergraduate degree in Economics from the American University in Cairo. In his dissertation, he applied innovative techniques linking macro and micro models to quantify growth and distributional implications of free trade agreements, with an application to the case of Egypt. His recent work has been on energy subsidy reform, and has published articles and book chapters in the area of computable general equilibrium modeling.

Eltighani Elamin, Policy Research Professor in Agricultural Economics and Policy Research Center (AEPRC), Khartoum, North Sudan

Eltighani Elamin has been an IFPRI policy research professor since March 2003, working for the Agricultural Economics and Policy Research Center - AEPRC in Khartoum, North Sudan.  Up to 31 December 2010, he has been working for the AU-IBAR - Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources in Nairobi, Kenya as a TL-for Policies and Capacity Development Programme.  Mr. Elamin has a combined long term experience of both research and field practice in the area of food security and food aid in Africa and have worked for the main stakeholders, WFP-VAM Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping, EC-Food Aid Specialist, USAID Food Aid Monitoring Specialist as well as North Africa and Middle East communities at large. Most importantly, he has conducted with the African Economic Research Forum -AERC a two year research study titled “Reconciling the trade-off between Domestic Demand and Export Market: The Case of Sudan Dry land Agriculture”, and “Commercialization and Food Security for the Sudanese Agrarian Economy,” have been price awarded by the WB- Cairo based ERF-Economic Research Forum in 2001 and 2004, respectively.   For the last two decades, Mr. Elamin has undertaken work assignments and administering training workshops for the NGO, UN and EC supported projects on policies of food security, vulnerability and poverty including mapping, interpretation and designing interventions addressing livelihood, recovery and social protection aspects, nationally and regionally. Chair: Governance and Conflict

Shenggen Fan, Director GeneralInternational Food Policy Research Institute

Dr. Shenggen Fan was appointed Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in December 2009. He joined IFPRI in 1995 as a Research Fellow and led IFPRI's program on public investment before becoming the Director of IFPRI’s Development Strategy and Governance Division. Prior to working at IFPRI, he held positions at the International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) in the Netherlands and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at the University of Arkansas. He received his PhD in applied economics from the University of Minnesota and his bachelor's and master's degrees from Nanjing Agricultural University in China. Dr. Fan's research has centered on pro-poor development strategy, pro-poor investment, and rural-urban linkages in developing countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Presenting: Opening & Closing Remarks

Sherine Ghoneim, Director of Global Development Network, Cairo, Egypt 

Dr. Ghoneim has more than 15 years of experience in the field of knowledge networks and research communications capacity building. Within GDNet, a knowledge hub that brings together and communicates policy-relevant research from the Global South, she is leading to position the program as an internationally recognized focal point/ knowledge broker for development research to inform policy debate. Prior to GDN, she was the Information and Communications Manager at the Economic Research Forum from 1994 – 2001.  In 2000, she obtained her Ph.D. in Information Management from the Management School, Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine, and University of London, U.K. Panel discussion: Setting Food Security Policy Priorities: An International Partner Perspective

Dr. Stephen Hall, Director General, The WorldFish Center

Stephen Hall is the Director General of The WorldFish Center, a leading international research institute, headquartered in Malaysia and devoted to reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries. Previous leadership roles include CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Professor of Marine Biology at Flinders University, Australia. Stephen has served on several international advisory panels and in 2010 was a member of a global team overseeing the reform of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a USD600m consortium dedicated to addressing reducing poverty, improving food and nutrition security and protecting the environment. Presenting: Opportunities for Fishery and Aquaculture

Heba Handoussa, Professor of Economics and Political Science, American University in Cairo

Heba Handoussa is in the process of founding a new development initiative, The Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID).  She was the Principal Author and Coordinator for the Situation Analysis of the Cairo Agenda for Action on Aid Effectiveness in 2011.  She was previously the lead Author of the Egypt Human Development Report (EHDR) 2010 titled Youth in Egypt: Building our Future, and she was also Director and Lead Author of the previous three EHDRs: Partners in Development: The Social Contract and Civil Society Organizations in Egypt in 2007, A New Social Contract in 2005, and Choosing Decentralization for Good Governance in 2004.  Previously, for ten years, she was Managing Director of the Economic Research Forum for the Arab Countries, Iran and Turkey (ERF).  In 2006, for one year she served as the Research Director of the regional Gender Economic Research and Policy Analysis (GERPA) initiative.  Prof. Handoussa also previously taught at the American University in Cairo, where she was twice elected as chairperson of the Economics and Political Science Department and was subsequently appointed as Vice Provost. FSAW Keynote Speaker: Challenges and Opportunities of Transition

Jane Harrigan, Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Professor Jane Harrigan is Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She has researched and written extensively on the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa as well as sub-Saharan Africa. She is the author of eight books, including "Aid and Power in the Arab World", "Economic Liberalisation, Social Capital and Islamic Welfare Provision" and "Globalisation, Democratisation and Radicalisation in the Arab World". She has worked in the Ministry of Agriculture in Malawi as an agricultural pricing and marketing economist and has acted as a consultant to numerous international organisations, including the FAO. Her current research work is on the political economy of food security in the Middle East and North Africa, with a particular focus on Jordan and Lebanon, and this work is part of a larger research project funded by the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. In addition, she is about to commence work on a paper for the African Development Bank looking at the political economy of food security issues in North Africa. Apart from food security and agricultural policy, she has worked on the political economy of foreign aid, including aid to the MENA region. Presentation: Did Food Prices Plant the Seeds of the Arab Spring?

Habiba Hassan-Wassef, Research Consultant in Nutrition at the National Research Center, Egypt

Following retirement from a lifelong international career with the World Health Organization, Dr Hassan-Wassef is now a research consultant in nutrition at the National Research Center. Following graduation, she pursued post-graduate medical studies and research at the University of Paris and Columbia University where she was a Whitehall Research Fellow of the American Nutrition Foundation. Dr Hassan-Wassef currently serves on a number of national scientific committees and policy level think tanks in health, nutrition, mother and child health and welfare, and environmental health.  She is the National Coordinator for the 7th European Framework Research Programme for Theme 2, on Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology. She is an independent expert for the European Commission in the area of food and health. Dr. Hassan-Wassef is author of the policy chapter on ‘Redesigning Dietary Education’ for the Euro-Mediterranean publication “Mediterra 2012” to be launched in March 2012. Dr Hassan-Wassef is a founding member and trustee of the Accra-based African Nutrition Society and a member of the Transition Team providing support to the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Food Security to support the implementation of the roadmap for scaling up of nutrition programmes and reducing under nutrition. In 2008, she was awarded the Gold Medal of the Academy of Agriculture of France for exemplary work in nutrition and human health.

Dr. Nahla Hwalla, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Nahla Hwalla is the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. She has been professor of Nutrition at the American University of Beirut for eighteen years. She serves as the Director of the Associated Research Unit on Under-nutrition and Obesity supported by the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research and as the Director of the Lebanon World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Nutrition. Dr. Hwalla earned her PhD in basic Medical Sciences (Nutrition) from the American University of Beirut and was a Postdoctoral (fellow) at Columbia University, New York, USA. She is also a Registered Dietitian from the American Dietetic Association. She was elected as Fellow of International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) and appointed by DG of WHO to serve on WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Nutrition. She also serves as expert consultant to the UN agencies FAO, WHO, and IAEA and Governments in the region on nutrition related issues. Her research focuses on obesity, its prevalence, determinants, and dietary manipulation to curb its effects. Chair: Health and Nutrition

Vito Intini, Team Leader of the Unit of Emerging Trends and Conflict-related Issues at UN-ESCWA, Beirut, Lebanon

Mr. Vito Intini is Team Leader of the Unit of Emerging Trends and Conflict-related Issues at ESCWA. He graduated in International Economics and studied macroeconomics, regional economics, and development studies at post-graduate level. He has conducted extensive research activities in regional economics, development in conflict, private sector development, fiscal decentralization and public economics. Vito applied his technical background in varied contexts through different institutions such as the UN, The World Bank, European Commission, OSCE, OECD, and academia. Presentation: Cost of Conflict and Food Security

Nadim Khouri, Deputy Executive Secretary UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Beirut, Lebanon

In August 2011, Nadim Khouri joined the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) as Deputy Executive Secretary.  ESCWA focuses on assisting decision-makers and peoples of 14 Arab countries in the definition and implementation of policies leading to sustainable development, economic integration and good governance.  Before joining ESCWA, Nadim was for three years at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a specialized UN agency, where he led investments in poverty-focused rural development and food security as Director of the Near East, North Africa and Europe Region. From 1988 to 2008 he held a number of positions at the World Bank, leading policy and investment work in rural development and environment.  At the World Bank, he led agriculture strategy development and implementation work in the Middle-East, South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean regions. He also worked in the private sector in a consulting Engineering firm out of Beirut, Lebanon.  Nadim holds a PhD in Agriculture from the University of Massachusetts and Masters in Agronomy and Agriculture Development from the American University of Beirut and the University of London respectively.

Hoonae Kim, Sector Manager of the World Bank’s Agriculture and Environment Program in the Middle East and North Africa

Ms. Hoonae Kim, a Korean national, is currently Sector Manager of the World Bank’s Agriculture and Environment Program in the Middle East and North Africa covering 22 countries in the Region. Prior to her current position, she was responsible for the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Department based in Hanoi, Vietnam, covering $5 billion program in urban development, water, transport, energy, agriculture, environment and social development. Ms.Kim joined the World Bank in 1984 as a Young Professional (YP) and since then she has worked in over fifty countries in four different regions both in the Bank and IFC. During her tenure, she has supported several transitional economies such as China in the 1980s, Former Soviet Union countries in the early 1990s, pre-EU accession countries in the Central and Eastern Europe and most recently Vietnam. She also served in project teams that floated two country-funds in the New York and London Stock Exchanges and also advised clients through the Foreign Investment Advisory Services of IFC. Ms. Kim is currently a member of the World Bank’s Sanctions Board and the Agriculture and Rural Development and Environment Sector Boards.  She also serves on special committees and task forces, including the Diversity Committee. Prior to joining the Bank, she worked in the private sector and at Cornell University.  Ms. Kim was educated in Engineering and Economics from UC Berkeley, McGill University and Cornell University.

Dr. Henk C. van Latesteijn, Partner at Value Mediation Partners, Owner at Van Latesteijn Consultancy and Member of the Board of Directors at International Food and Agribusiness Management Association

Dr. Henk C. van Latesteijn (1953) studied biology and environmental sciences and graduated from the Leiden University and holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences from Wageningen University. After an initial period working as a scientist at the Leiden University he spent fifteen years working with the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy, one of the most important advisory bodies to the Dutch government. He contributed to numerous advice reports to the Dutch government and for six years he served the Council as Deputy Director General. After that he shifted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food quality as Head of Strategy within the Minister’s Office. In 2005 he was appointed as General Manager of TransForum, a public-private partnership aimed at achieving sustainable development in agribusiness through cooperation and innovation. After successfully closing down this program he started two private consulting companies in the field of agribusiness innovation.  Presenting:  Are Foreign Direct Investments by Arab Counties Really Needed for Achieving Food Security?

Roula Majdalani, Director of the Sustainable Development and Productivity Division (SDPD) in UN-ESCWA, Beirut, Lebanon

Ms. Roula Majdalani is the Director of the Sustainable Development and Productivity Division (SDPD) in UN-ESCWA. Ms. Majdalani returned to SDPD in April 2010 first as Chief of Productive Sectors Section and then as Director of SDPD in September 2010. Ms. Majdalani holds a masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Syracuse University. She worked with Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (London), from 1985 to 1988 as an Urban Planner preparing surveys, sectoral studies and research activities for urban development projects in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan and Morocco.  She joined UNESCWA in 1989 as Human Settlements Officer in the Social Development Division. She served between 1993 and 1994 in South Africa as a Political Observer in the UN Peace Building Mission. In 2002 she moved to SDPD and worked with the Water Resources Section as a First Economic Affairs Officer on issues related to IWRM and building capacity in the water sector. In January 2008, she was appointed Chief of the Technical Cooperation Section (TCS) in the ESCWA Program Planning and Technical Cooperation Division (PPTCD) providing ESCWA member countries advisory services, training activities and field projects, towards strengthen their efforts in the formulation and effective implementation of national policies, strategies and programmes towards the fulfilment of regional and global commitments.

Jean-François Maystadt, Research Fellow in the Development Strategy and Governance Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC

Jean-Francois Maystadt is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Development Strategy and Governance Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), where he joined as a postdoctoral fellow in September 2010. He is a development economist specializing in the study of Conflicts and Forced Migration. His current research at IFPRI is related to the causes and consequences of conflicts and forced migration in Central Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Somalia, Horn of Africa) and the Arab world. Presentation: Famine, Conflict and Food Security

Riccardo Mesiano, First Economic Affairs Officer of Productive Sectors Section of Sustainable Development and Productivity Division, UN-ESCWA

Riccardo Mesiano is a First Economic Affairs Officer with a 10 ys experience in Economic Development obtained with the UN system (UN-ESCWA, UNIDO, UNDP), the European Commission, and the Italian Trade Commission. With a PhD from Paris-Evry University and a Master Degree in International Trade, Mr. Mesiano has published a number of articles on Clusters, SMEs and Green Economy.  He has managed some important development projects on Trade Development in Asia focusing on SPS and TBT. Mr. Mesiano is currently working on Sustainable Development issues with a special focus on Green Economy and Food Security.  Mr. Mesiano has worked in South America, India, Morocco, Albania and Lebanon.

Milena Muhadinovic, Officer for the Economic Development and Globalization Division, UN-ESCWA

Ms. Muhadinovic holds the position of Associate Economic Affairs Officer at Economic Development and Globalization Division at UN ESCWA since May 2010. During that time, she has been specializing in issues related to financing for development and regional integration.  Before joining the United Nations, Ms Muhadinovic worked as adviser to Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro from 2008 to 2010, and Financial officer at Hotel Arts Barcelona, Ritz Carlton Hotel Company. Ms. Muhadinovic holds BSc in Economics from University of Montenegro and a Masters in Tourism development from MIB School of Management, Italy.  While her mother tongue is Serbo-Croatian, she is fluent in English, Italian, Spanish and French, and has been studying Arabic for the last two years.

Reem Nejdawi, Chief of Productive Sectors Section, Sustainable Development and Productivity Division, UN-ESCWA

Reem Nejdawi is the chief of the Productive Sectors Section within the Sustainable Development and Productivity Division at UN ESCWA. She has extended professional experience in the developmental arenas including designing and managing sustainable development, women empowerment, rural and SME development, and Microfinance programs and projects. She was the program manager at Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Ltd., a social business providing financial and non financial support to Microfinance Institutions.  She was managing the MENA programs and projects as well as managing financing MFIs in several other countries.    She is an accredited trainer in SME development and Microfinance.  She held several positions including Secretary General a.i. of the Jordanian National Commission for Women (2005-2006), and Director of the Small Business Development Center at The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development in Jordan (1999-2004).  She holds an MA Degree in International Trade/ Eastern Michigan University, USA.  She is Jordanian, married with four children.

Merna Hassan Ismail Nasser, Director of Water Resources & Environment of the Agricultural Projects Department at the Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation

Merna Hassan is an Engineer specializing in Civil engineering and water resources. She received Ph.D. from the University of Russia (Moscow) in Feb 2004. From January 2009 till 2011 she worked as an assistant to the National Coordinator for Developing the National Food Security Strategy and assist in finalizing the contract and its Annexes for MoPIC side with IFPRI in setting up a national Policy/Strategy on food Security, as well as the action plan with clear activities.  In current time working as a Program Assistant of World Bank & IFAD portfolio monitoring Unit at Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation, in addition to my official position as Director of Water Resources & Environment at projects programming sector.

Dr. Walid Abed Rabboh, Director General of Horizon for Sustainable Development, Ramallah/West Bank

Dr. Walid Abed Rabboh holds PhD in Natural Resource Management from the University of Arizona.  From 1974-1998 he worked as the Director of Policies and Planning in the Ministry of Jordan.  After eding that position, he was the Chief Technical Advisor for Agricultural Policy and Extension and Research Projects in Palestine with UNDP/ FAO until 2005. Dr. Abed took over as the Minister of Agriculture Palestinian National Authority until 2006 and is now serving as the Director General of Horizon for Sustainable Development, a Consultancy Office Based in Ramallah in the West Bank. Chair: Food Security, Trade and Rural Development

Sherman Robinson, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC

Sherman Robinson is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), and Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Sussex. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Netherlands. He joined the Economics Department at Sussex in 2004 and then accepted a joint appointment with IDS in 2005. He worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) from 1993 to 2004 as Director of the Trade and Macroeconomics Division (1993 – 2003) and Institute Fellow (2003 – 2004), and he rejoined IFPRI as a Senior Research Fellow in 2011. Before joining IFPRI in 1993, he was: Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Berkeley (1983-1994); Economist, Senior Economist and Division Chief in the Research Department of the World Bank (1977-1983); Assistant Professor of Economics at Princeton University (1971-1977); and Lecturer in Economics at the London School of Economics (1969-1971). He has been a consultant to the World Bank and has held visiting senior-staff appointments at the Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; the U.S. Congressional Budget Office; and the President's Council of Economic Advisers (in the Clinton administration), where he largely worked on trade issues, including regional trade agreements, GATT/WTO negotiations, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Presentation: Economic Consequences of a New Nile River Agreement

Mark W. Rosegrant, Director of the Environment and Production Technology Division at IFPRI, Washington, DC

Mark W. Rosegrant is the Director of the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. With a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, he has 30 years of experience in research and policy analysis in agriculture and economic development, with an emphasis on water resources and other critical natural resource and agricultural policy issues as they impact food security, rural livelihoods, and environmental sustainability.  Dr. Rosegrant developed IFPRI's International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT), which has become a standard for projections and scenarios for global and regional food demand, supply, trade, and prices; and IMPACT-WATER, which integrates a detailed water supply and demand model with the food model. He currently directs research on climate change, water resources, sustainable land management, genetic resources and biotechnology, and agriculture and energy. He is the author or editor of seven books and over 100 refereed papers in agricultural economics, water resources, and food policy analysis. Dr. Rosegrant has won numerous awards, is a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, and in 2007 was elected Distinguished Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association.  Moderator: Setting Priorities for Food Security in the MENA and the New CRP2 Program of the CGIAR

Marie T. Ruel, Division Director of the Food Consumption and Nutrition Division of IFPRI, Washington, DC

Marie T. Ruel was appointed Division Director of IFPRI's Food Consumption and Nutrition Division in 2004. From 1996 until her current appointment, she served as Senior Research Fellow and Research Fellow in that division. Since joining IFPRI, she led the Multi-Country Program on Challenges to Urban Food and Nutrition and the Global Regional Project on Diet Quality and Diet Changes of the Poor. Prior to IFPRI, she was head of the Nutrition and Health Division at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama/Pan American Health Organization (INCAP/PAHO) in Guatemala. Dr. Ruel received her Ph.D. in International Nutrition from Cornell University and her Masters in Health Sciences from Laval University in Canada. Presentation: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Nutrition

Maurice Saade, Senior Agriculture Economist at the Middle East and North Africa Region, World Bank

Maurice Saade is a Senior Agriculture Economist at the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa region. The focus of his current work program is on food security in Arab countries, agricultural subsidies, linking farmers to markets, and rural development. Maurice holds a BSc and MSc in Crop Production and Protection from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon; an MSc in Agricultural Economics and Business from the University of Guelph, Canada; and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, USA. Maurice started his professional career in 1989 as Visiting Scientist at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) first in Aleppo, Syria, and later in Tunis, Tunisia. In 1994, he was appointed Senior Program Officer at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC-Canada), based at IDRC’s regional office in Cairo. Starting in 1998, he spent eleven years with FAO as Agriculture Policy Officer at the Regional Office for the Near East in Cairo, before joining the World Bank in 2009. Maurice has worked extensively in most countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Presentation:  The Role of Rural Development for Food Security

Pascale Sabbagh, Senior Program Manager for the CRP2 at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC

Pascale Sabbagh is Senior Program Manager for the CRP2, “Policies, Institutions and Markets to Strengthen Food Security and Incomes for the Rural Poor” Research program of the CGIAR. Prior to joining IFPRI, she worked in research, policy and consulting, both for the public and the private sector. From 2008 to 2010, she worked as a consultant in an organization and management consulting firm (France), where she helped clients manage their organizational and information systems related projects. Before that, she was Chief of the Agricultural and Forest Division in Regional Administration (France) for 4 years, assisting policymakers in designing regional agricultural and rural development policies. Between 1998 and 2003, she worked as both a research assistant and researcher on forestry related issues, in Canada, France, Sweden and the US. She holds 2 Masters of Sciences: one in agronomy and one in forest sciences.

Ziad Abdel Samad, Executive Director of the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) & General Secretary, Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, Lebanon

Ziad Abdel Samad is the Executive Director of the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), based in Beirut, since 1999.  ANND brings together 30 NGOs and nine national networks from 11 Arab countries active in the protection of social and economic rights.  Co-Founder of the National Euromed Platform and a member of the Lebanese Negotiating Committee for the accession in the WTO.  Member of the steering committee of the Civil Campaign for Electoral Reforms.  A member of the board of the Euro-Mediterranean NGO Platform.  Regional coordinator of Social Watch, an international network of citizen coalitions that monitors the implementation of the commitments made at the 1995 World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen.  Chair of the Civil Society advisory board to ESCWA, and a member of the advisory group of the Arab Human Development Report Regional coordinator of the Asia Pacific Research Network, and the coalitions Better Aid and the Open Forum for CSO Effectiveness also member of Asia Advisory group of the Reality of Aid.

Dr Mahmoud El-Solh, Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syria

Since 2006, Dr El-Solh has been Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), a research and training center based in Aleppo, Syria that is staffed by scientists from more than 50 countries.  In the 1980s, Dr El-Solh was a professor of agronomy and plant breeding at the American University in Beirut. He also served as Director of the Plant Production and Protection Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations from 2002 to 2006. He has accumulated an impressive record of scientific publications in plant breeding and international agriculture, with more than 120 papers, articles, books, and book chapters.  Dr El-Solh earned many prestigious awards the most recent was the Distinction Award from the University of California at Davis.  Presenting: Improving Agriculture and Livestock in Dry Areas

Kenneth Strzepek,  Research Scientist, at MIT’s Joint Program on Science and Policy of Global Change, Professor Emeritus, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Senior Research Associate, UNU-World Institute for Development Economics Research

Kenneth Strzepek has a Ph.D. in Water Resources Systems Analysis from MIT, an MA in Economics from the University of Colorado and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Prof. Strzepek is a Research Scientist at MIT’s Joint Program on Science and Policy of Global Change, Professor Emeritus of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, and Senior Research Associate at the UNU-World Institute for Development Economics Research.  Prof. Strzepek has long history of research collaboration with IFPRI with over 30 years as a researcher and practitioner at the nexus of engineering, environmental and economics systems.   He has worked for a range of national governments as well as the United Nations, the World Bank, the USAID.  He has been a contributing author to the Fifth and Second IPCC Assessment, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the World Water Vision, and the UN World Water Development Report.  He is currently the USAID Scientific Liaison Office on Water and Climate Change to the CGIAR.  He was a Arthur Maass-Gilbert White Fellow at the Institute for Water Resources of the US Army Corps of Engineer and received the Department of Interior Citizen’s Award for Innovation in the applications of Systems Analysis to Water Management, is a co-recipient of the Zayed International Prize for the Environment and as a lead author for IPCC he is a co-recipient of the 2007 Noble Peace Prize.  Presentation:  Economic Consequences of a New Nile River Agreement

James Thurlow, Research Fellow at the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research, Helsinki

James Thurlow is a Research Fellow at the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) in Helsinki. Prior to that he was a Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington D.C. James is jointly leading three projects at UNU-WIDER: Development under Climate Change; Prospects for Africa’s Youth; and Growth and African Poverty. James’ research generally focuses on the interactions between policies, economic growth and poverty, primarily using computable general equilibrium and micro-simulation modelling techniques. He has worked with national governments and researchers throughout Eastern and Southern Africa, and in Bangladesh, Ghana, Peru, Tunisia and Vietnam.

Dorte Verner, Climate Coordinator & Senior Economist in the Middle East & North Africa Region, World Bank

Dorte Verner, is the Climate Coordinator and Senior Economist in the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank. She leads the World Bank’s Flagship report: Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries and other climate change tasks in the region. Before taking on this position, she led the Social Implications of Climate Change program in the Latin America and Caribbean region. She has managed projects and published extensively in the areas of poverty, rural and climate change issues. Most recently she has written books and papers on poverty, labor markets, indigenous peoples, youth at risk issues, and social implications of climate change. Ms. Verner joint the World Bank in 1996 and before she worked in the OECD Development Center and as a researcher at European University Institute in Florence, Sorbonne in Paris, and University of Aarhus. She holds a PhD in Macroeconomics and Econometrics from the European University Institute, Italy and a postgraduate degree in Economics from the University of Aarhus, Denmark. Presentation: Impacts and Options for Adaptation to Climate Change

Xiaobo Zhang, Senior Research Fellow of the Development Strategy and Governance Division of IFPRI, Washington, DC

A citizen of China, Zhang earned B.S. in mathematics from Nankai University, China; M.S. in economics from Tianjin University of Economics and Finance, China; and M.S. and Ph.D. in applied economics and management from Cornell University in January 2000. Zhang joined IFPRI in 1998. He has published widely in the fields of economic growth, income distribution, public investment and rural industrialization in China and other developing countries. He is a Co-editor of Chinese Economic Review. He was selected as the president of Chinese Economists Society from 2005 to 2006. Presentation: Rural Non-farm Development Opportunities: Lessons from Asia