Dr Abouleish, founder of SEKEM, received the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ in 2003 for implementing an innovative business model which combines commercial success with social and cultural development.
Dr Monika Griefahn, Chair of the Foundation’s Board, said: “On behalf of the entire Right Livelihood Award family, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the Abouleish family. Dr Abouleish was a true visionary and trailblazer, and the world is only now starting to catch up with his 40-year-old model of environmentally sustainable, socially just and economically viable development. A joyful and warm-hearted person, he will be greatly missed by all of us and his many colleagues and friends around the world.”
Dr Abouleish founded SEKEM in 1977 as a blueprint for the healthy corporation for the 21st century. Taking its name from the hieroglyphic transcription meaning “vitality of the sun”, SEKEM was the first entity to develop biodynamic farming methods in Egypt and has since broadened its scope to address health, educational and cultural issues. Dr Abouleish also founded the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development where students study science, technology, arts, engineering and economics with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Over the years, SEKEM and the Heliopolis University played host to meetings of the World Future Council and the Right Livelihood Award Laureates.
“Ibrahim Abouleish’s remarkable initiative SEKEM has brought the desert alive. His Heliopolis University broadens the human mind, challenging modern monocultural thinking. Both show how much more humans can achieve when their work is based on cooperation, solidarity, mutual respect and the common good. His life achievements SEKEM and Heliopolis University are pioneering projects healing people and planet,” said Right Livelihood Award and World Future Council Founder Jakob von Uexkull.
A tireless advocate for sustainable development over five decades, Dr Abouleish has received numerous awards and recognitions in addition to the Right Livelihood Award, including the German Federal Cross of Merit and the United Nations ‘Land for Life’ Award. He was also named a distinguished social entrepreneur by the Schwab Foundation.
According to Islamic traditions, Dr Abouleish will be buried tomorrow, Friday, 16 June at 12:00.