Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Founder, SEKEM
Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, born in Egypt 1937, studied chemistry and medicine at the University of Graz, Austria, receiving his Ph. D. in 1969. In 1977 he decided to establish a sustainable development initiative in Egypt called SEKEM which aims to set out a blueprint for the healthy corporation of the 21st century. Sekem was the first entity to develop biodynamic farming methods in Egypt. Its strong commitment to innovative development led to the nationwide application of biodynamic methods to control pests and improve crop yields. SEKEM has grown exponentially into a nationally renowned enterprise and market leader of organic products and phyto-pharmaceuticals which are now also exported to Europe and the USA. The challenges of the future – such as climate change, resource scarcity, population growth, extreme poverty, food security – need innovative, problem-solving solutions. To address these problems Dr Abouleish founded the Heliopolis University, which is committed to face these challenges and declared sustainable development to be its overall guiding principle. He received the Right Livelihood Award in 2003. In November 2008 Dr. Abouleish was honoured with the German Federal Cross of Merit. In addition he received a Special Award for his pioneering work in biodynamic agriculture, carbon footprint certification and ecologically responsible development by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. In 2009 SEKEM received the official approval to the “Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development” which is now already open to students.