Board of trustees

Michel Afram

Chairperson, Lebanon

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

Paul Struik

Vice Chairperson, 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.

Aly Abousabaa

Director General, 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). 

Patrick Caron

Ex Officio, CGIAR System Board

Patrick Caron has a deep understanding of the interface between science and policy, and leadership experience in steering, negotiating and forging alliances across groups with diverging views and perspectives. He is currently Vice President for International Affairs at the University of Montpellier, where he guides scientific and technical personnel across departments and faculties to consolidate the international ambitions of a university with 50,000 students and 5,000 staff. He is also International Director of the Montpellier University of Excellence, an alliance of 16 regional research and higher education organizations, Director of MAK’IT, the Montpellier Institute for Advanced Knowledge, and President of Agropolis International, a community with 42 member institutions. He was recently appointed as a member of the Scientific Group for the 2021 UN Food System Summit.

He spent much of his earlier career with CIRAD, a French public institution active in agricultural research in over 100 countries, including six years as Director General for Research and Strategy. He served two terms as Chair of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, the science-policy interface of the UN Committee on World Food Security. He holds a PhD in Geography, a master’s in Food and Nutrition, a master’s in Public Health and a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. He is also a certified mediator.

Ismahane Elouafi

Ex Officio, CGIAR System Board

Ismahane Elouafi has extensive international stakeholder engagement, networking, relationship- and partnership-building experience with public and private sector entities supporting the integration of science and policy. She is currently Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), an international agricultural research center based in the United Arab Emirates. She has been a member of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Board since 2015, and sits on the Board of the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI). She was recently appointed as a member of the Scientific Group for the 2021 UN Food System Summit.

Previously, she was Director of Research Management and Partnerships Division at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, overseeing the research and development portfolio on plant health, animal health and food safety. Prior to that she was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister of Research at the Canadian Federal Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Earlier in her career, she conducted scientific research, including with Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). She has sat on various strategy expert panels and advisory groups, including with the Food and Agriculture Organization, Global Commission on Adaptation and HarvestPlus. She holds a PhD in Genetics and an MSc in Genetics and Plant Breeding.

Shenggen Fan

Ex Officio, CGIAR System Board

Shenggen Fan has extensive experience in developing strong connections at the highest levels with a wide range of influential stakeholders, and has engaged widely on issues related to agriculture, food, health, climate change, natural resource management and information technologies. He is currently Chair Professor at the College of Economics and Management at China Agricultural University in Beijing. He is a member of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition; the Advisory Council of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford; the Board of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture; and the Council of Advisers of the World Food Prize. He also serves as a member of the Lead Group for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement appointed by the UN Secretary General.

He previously spent over 20 years with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), including as Director General for the ten-year period until his departure in December 2019. His previous roles within IFPRI included several years as Division Director of Development Strategy and Governance, and prior to that, as a Research Fellow. His earlier professional experience also includes time as a Research Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at the University of Arkansas and as a Post-doctoral Fellow and Associate Research Officer at the International Service for National Agricultural Research in the Netherlands. He holds a PhD in Applied Economics and an MSc in Agricultural Economics.

Marco Ferroni

Ex Officio, CGIAR System Board

Marco Ferroni has wide-ranging experience accumulated during a career in corporate philanthropy, government, and multilateral organizations. He currently advises public, private, and social sector partners on agriculture, food systems and sustainable productivity growth. In addition to serving as Chair of the Board of the CGIAR System Organization, he is on the board of the Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan and recently completed terms as an Adjunct Professor in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at McGill University.

From 2007 to 2017, he was Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, a developer and incubator of scalable solutions for smallholder farmers in low-income countries and emerging markets. Prior to this, he was an Executive Director at the Inter-American Investment Corporation and a board member and Alternate Executive Director at the Inter-American Development Bank, where he also served as Deputy Manager of the Sustainable Development Department. He was also a Senior Advisor to the World Bank’s corporate focal point on funder relations, concessional resources and partnerships. Earlier in his career he was a development economist and trade diplomat in foreign economic affairs in his native Switzerland. He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics.

He has served as Chair of the CGIAR System Board since his appointment in July 2017.