Board of trustees

Michel Afram

Chairperson, Lebanon

Dr. Michel Afram is currently the Director General and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI). He is a specialist in agricultural education and policy and holds many other positions, including Deputy Director of the Global Association of Francophone Agricultural and Food Processing Universities. Dr. Afram is also a member of the Lebanese Higher Agricultural Council; Professor at the School of Agriculture, Saint Joseph University; and a member of several Lebanese national committees pursuing improved agriculture and food production.

Dr. Afram has received many international awards in the past including the Golden Award for Best Research and Practice from the European Society for Quality Research and the London-Oxford-Award for best research activities. In 2019 he received the Bizz award. The Bizz award gathers and recognizes leading businesses from different regions that contribute to the daily growth of their local economy and the world economy

Ruth Haug

Vice Chairperson, Norway

Ruth Haug is professor of development studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Her field of expertise is rural development, with a focus on agriculture, food and livelihood security; conflict and forced migration; climate change and management of natural resources; agricultural extension and community development; and gender issues in development.

Previously, she was deputy vice chancellor (2008-2013) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Before that she was head of the Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric) for seven years.

Haug has research and teaching experience in Africa and Asia. She has worked with NORAD, the World Bank, and the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture. She serves as a member of several boards. She has been involved in a number of international policy processes in relation to food and agriculture. In particular, she represented Norway in CGIAR meetings (1995 to 2012) and has been a member of the CGIAR Fund Council. She was also a member of the International Food Policy Research Institute Board of Trustees, represented Norway in several FAO meetings, and is a member of the Svalbard Seed Vault Council.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in the U.S.

Aly Abousabaa

Director General, Ex Officio, Egypt

Aly Abousabaa became ICARDA’s director general in October 2016. He brings 33 years of strategic leadership in sustainable development, operational and policy-based lending, and project management, spanning 35 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

As vice president of the African Development Bank, Abousabaa led the preparation and execution of the Bank’s key strategies. He was also in charge of resource mobilization and management of a US$ 11 billion portfolio in the areas of agriculture, water, natural resources management, climate change, infrastructure, women and youth, and governance, making transformational impact on the lives of millions of people in Africa.

He has an established global network of international partners on development, including the World Bank, the United Nations, European Union, African Union, bilateral agencies, such as GIZ, DFID, and NORAD, and non-governmental organizations.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Alexandria University, Egypt, and a master’s in civil engineering from Montana State University in the United States. 

Faouzi Bekkaoui

Morocco, Canada

Faouzi Bekkaoui is the Director of INRA Morocco. He was previously the Director of the Agriculture School and the coordinator of the AgroBioSciences Research program at the University Mohammed 6 Polytechnic (UM6P) Benguerir. Bekkaoui has also worked in the Wheat Improvement Flagship Program at NRC Canada 2012-2017, the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute (PBI), ID Biomedical in the area DNA diagnostics, and Genome Prairie.  During his career, Faouzi has co-authored 38 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of DNA diagnostics, molecular biology, genomics, and plant physiology. He holds three U.S. patents involving DNA diagnostics.

Bekkaoui holds a Bachelor in Physiology from the University of Tours and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of Sorbonne (ex-Paris 6). 

Fadlallah Gharzeldeen


Garzaldeen is deputy head of planning affairs with the Planning and International Cooperation Commission of the Syrian Arab Republic. He has been with the commission since 1997. He has extensive experience in using macro-economic models as a planning tool to support Syria's economic and social development.

Garzaldeen holds a bacheler’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in general accounting from Damascus University.

Mouwafak Jbour


Jbour joined the ICARDA board in the spring of 2018. He has served as deputy director general of the General Commission for Scientific Agricultural Research within the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform since 2015.

Between 2006 and 2012, he led the Syrian government’s institutional development of organic agriculture. He has published widely on topics of organic agriculture systems, emerging farming systems, and potato physiology and varieties. He serves as a member of the board of directors of the Higher Commission for Scientific Research in Syria.

He received his Ph.D. in agronomy in Warsaw, Poland.

Trilochan Mohapatra


Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra holds a B.Sc. (Agriculture) from the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneshwar, and an M.Sc. in Genetics and a Ph.D. in Genetics from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. 

He presently holds the position of Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education & Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. Prior to this, he worked as the Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and was the Director of the National Rice Research Institute (formerly CRRI) and as a researcher and teacher at the National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, and IARI. His area of specialization is molecular genetics and genomics. 

Dr. Mohapatra is also a Board member of three other CGIAR Research Centers: Bioversity-CIAT, ICRISAT, and IRRI.  He is also a member of the CGIAR System Council.

Dr. Mohapatra has received honors and awards in recognition of his excellent academic and research contributions, including the INSA Young Scientist Award, the Prof. LSS Kumar Memorial Award, the NAAS-Tata Award, the IARI-BP Pal Award, the DBT Bio-science Award, and the NASI-Reliance Industries Platinum Jubilee Award. He also received the Recognition Award of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences for the biennium 2013-14 for significant contributions in Plant Improvement and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Indian Genetics Congress in recognition of outstanding contribution in the field of Plant Genetics. 

He is a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, the National Academy of Sciences-India, and the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Shilpa Patel


Shilpa Patel’s work focuses on understanding how to mobilize private capital for climate investments in developing countries.  She consults for a number of organizations on climate finance and is principal adviser to the Finance Center at the World Resources Institute, an environmental research organization based in Washington, D.C.

Previously, she worked at the International Finance Corporation, where she headed its work on climate strategy and metrics, including understanding the impact of climate change on private business and IFC’s operations.  She also helped launch IFC’s first green bond and worked with institutional investors and other stakeholders to define green bond criteria and standards. Shilpa started her career in the World Bank, where she worked on private sector development across a number of sectors, regions and economies in transition, including agriculture in the Maghreb. She has taught courses on project finance at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Shilpa holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Struik

The Netherlands

Paul Struik is professor of crop physiology and head of the Center for Crop Systems Analysis at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His expertise includes crop systems biology, photosynthesis, resource-use efficiency, seed systems, agro-biodiversity, and the synergy between natural and social sciences.

Struik is the author and co-author of numerous publications. His most recent article, “Deconstructing and unpacking scientific controversies in intensification and sustainability: Why the tensions in concepts and values?” was published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (2014). Another recent article, “Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2014).

He serves on the editorial board of several international scientific journals. He has been editor-in-chief of Potato Research since the 1990s; editor of Annals of Applied Biology since 2004; and academic editor of PLoS ONE since 2014. He is a member of the Council of the European Association for Potato Research, and in 2014 received recognition for Outstanding Paper on Plant Genetic Resources from the Crop Science Society of America.

He received his master’s in agronomy and a Ph.D in agricultural sciences from Wageningen University.

Hilary F. Wild

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland

Hilary Wild is a chartered accountant. She has a portfolio of independent roles within international organizations, specializing in financial management, audit, risk, and governance.

She has held senior positions in financial management in public and private sector organizations. Previously, she was Comptroller of the World Health Organization in Geneva for seven years. Prior to that, she was director in the Kleinwort Benson group in London, initially in investment banking, and subsequently in asset management. Wild has also worked for UNICEF as chief of finance and a major commercial bank in London, as the bank's representative in Greece.