FAO names goodwill ambassador for UAE
General Secretary of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation (KIDPA) and Agricultural Advisor at the UAE’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Prof. Abdelwahab Zayed, has been appointed FAO’s goodwill ambassador for the UAE.
During a ceremony on December 15, 2015, at FAO in Rome, Italy, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva commended Prof. Zayed’s work and continuous dedication to FAO’s mandate and recalled his previous service as an FAO technical advisor, which in 1999 earned him the agency’s B.R. SEN Award for outstanding service.
Prof. Zayed’s appointment comes in recognition of his outstanding work in the area of date palm production and protection, as well as his support for the sustainable development of the UAE’s agricultural sector. He has worked extensively in the field of date palm propagation and production.
At a press conference in Abu Dhabi on December 17, 2015, Prof. Zayed reiterated his commitment to supporting the development of the agricultural sector in the UAE.
Congratulating Prof. Zayed on his appointment, Dr. Redouane Choukr-Allah, senior horticulture scientist at ICBA, said: “It is a great pleasure to see scientists like Prof. Zayed elevate on the ladder of success. His thorough experience will make a positive contribution to the achievements of FAO and international research programs that are related to date palm development in the MENA region. ICBA always looks forward to collaborating with all international organizations, particularly on selecting salt-tolerant date palms and developing the best technologies for managing irrigation and saving water.”
Prof. Zayed is an expert in the field of date palm cultivation. He contributed to establishing an exhibition of palms and dates in the UAE in 2005. Furthermore, he supervised the organization of many scientific forums, conferences and workshops that focused on date palm agriculture both in the UAE and internationally. He trained several national experts for undertaking responsibilities in the date palm sector in various organizations and ministries concerned with agriculture in general and date palms in particular.
Speaking at the press conference, Mehdi Drissi, FAO’s representative in the UAE, said that Prof. Zayed’s appointment will foster the collaboration with the UAE government and public and international institutions. He said: “Prof. Zayed’s role as General Secretary of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation has earned him the appreciation and attention of many international organizations, agencies and governments. Over the years he has been entrusted by the FAO with supervising research projects in many countries, such as Burkina Faso, Namibia, Jordan, Niger, Nigeria, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, and has achieved great success.”
The Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation works to harness the UAE's leading expertise in the cultivation of this valuable tree and promote greater date palm research worldwide.