Board of trustees

Fadlallah Gharzeldeen


Fadlallah Gharzeldeen 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.

Neal Gutterson

Ex Officio, CGIAR System Board, United States of America

Neal Gutterson’s life’s work is to create value for farmers. He does this through a combination of scientific and technological expertise, broad-based management and board experience and the ability to convert innovative ideas and thinking into results.

Neal joined DuPont Pioneer in 2014. After DuPont merged with Dow, he was named Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the combined entity’s agriculture division, which was subsequently spun off and renamed Corteva Agriscience. There, he led the integration of three research and development organizations into one, developed the new company’s first integrated R&D strategy and oversaw the growth and expansion of its award-winning pipeline. While at Corteva, he championed and brought strategic clarity to the company’s efforts to use its expertise, intellectual property and technologies to address challenges facing small holder farmers globally.

Prior to joining Corteva, he held a number of senior roles with Mendel Biotechnology, rising from Vice President, R&D, to President, Chief Executive Officer and Board member. Earlier, he held a number of research roles with DNA Plant Technology Corporation. Throughout his career, he has used his knowledge of organizational design principles to forge collaborations with organizations of all sizes and stages of maturity. He also spent six years on the Board of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), along with a number of other associations. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry.

Mouwafak Jbour


Mouwafak 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.

Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl

Ex Officio, CGIAR System Board, Australia

Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl has a dynamic and energetic entrepreneurial perspective and approach to international development, a passion for the role of research and evidence-based change, and strong knowledge of sustainable business in the midcap/SME sector. She currently advises policy and programs in the European Commission regarding sustainable finance, eco-innovation and deployment for commercial or public-private partnerships to adapt to new market conditions brought on by the green and social economy. She is also a board member of UnternehmensGruen (German Federation of Green Economy), a politically oriented entrepreneurs’ association that campaigns for the environment and a sustainable economy.

A decade ago, she founded a social enterprise to grow and harvest cacao in Ecuador, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea for processing and sale in Europe, producing high-grade chocolate while increasing farmer livelihoods and agroforestry. Responding to the need for better farmer resilience, the enterprise pivoted to focus on cacao farmer education. This transdisciplinary education, drawn from planetary health and living income methodologies, contributed to improved farmer health, wealth and crop yields from Latin America to the Pacific. In the deep past, she spent a decade in corporate business as Head of International Communications at Deutsche Telekom, developing communication strategy for more than 50 countries, and as International Brand Manager for T-Systems (DEU), focused on M&A and market development. She is a former board member of the European Sustainable Business Federation and is currently conducting post-graduate research in Environmental Science regarding farmer training.

Trilochan Mohapatra


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.

Alice Ruhweza

Ex Officio, CGIAR System Board, Uganda

Alice Ruhweza has extensive experience working at the intersection of conservation and development in Africa and globally, fostering successful partnerships with a wide range of international institutions. She is currently the Africa Region Director for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), where she leads and oversees a regional program comprising 10 countries and 400 staff. There she is leading design of a new conservation framework that brings together work at national, transboundary and global levels, as well as development of a new system of program quality assurance. She sits on the Board of The Global Ever-Greening Alliance and on the steering committee of the Future Earth Water-Food-Energy Nexus working group.

Before joining WWF, she was Vice President of Programs and Partnerships with Conservation International, where she oversaw the Vital Signs Program, which provides data and diagnostic tools to help inform agricultural decisions and monitor outcomes around the world.  She was also the Team Leader and Technical Adviser for the United Nations Development Programme Global Environmental Finance Unit in Africa. In this role, she led a team supporting 44 sub-Saharan African countries to attract and drive public and private finance towards their sustainable development priorities. The program successfully mobilized over USD 600 million over six and a half years, which with co-financing made it the largest environment program in the UN. She is a former Sustainable Agriculture Intensification Commissioner. She holds an MSc in Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Hilary F. Wild

Ex Officio, CGIAR System Board, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland

Hilary Wild has extensive international experience in the fields of finance, organizational management, governance and risk management. She has been a member of the Board of International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and Chair of its Finance and Audit Committee since 2015, and a member of the Board of the Alliance of Bioversity and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) since January 2020. She is Trustee and Audit Committee Chair of WaterAid UK, a member of the Church Commissioners Audit and Risk Committee and a member of the Oversight Advisory Committee of the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

She was previously Chief Financial Officer of the World Health Organization (WHO), with overall responsibility for financial management of a USD 2 billion organization operating in 140 countries, and Director Business Change. Before joining the WHO, she held various positions in the international financial sector, including as a director of investment banking and asset management in the Kleinwort Benson Group. She also worked for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in New York as Chief of Finance, and for a major American commercial bank as its representative in Greece. She is a former Vice Chair of the World Agroforestry (ICRAF) Board and Chair of its Audit and Finance Committee. She has chaired oversight committees for the United Nations Development Programme, International Labour Organization, and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.