Dr. Mahmoud El Solh has more than 40 years of contribution to agricultural research and development to enhance food and nutritional security as well enhancing human and institutional development in the Middle East, North and Eastern Africa, Central and South Asia. He holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of California, Davis, USA. He has been associated with international agricultural research and development in the dry areas since 1972 when he joined the Arid Land Agricultural Development (ALAD) Program of the Ford Foundation in the Near East, the predecessor of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA). He had served ICARDA with distinction for nearly 16 years in various capacities – as Lentil Breeder (1978-80), Regional Food Legume Breeder in North Africa (1986-89), Regional Coordinator of the Nile Valley and Red Sea Regional Program (1990-96), and Assistant Director General for International Cooperation (1997-2002). He served as Associate Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences of the American University of Beirut between 1980 to1986. Dr. El Solh served for four years (2002 to 2006) as Director of Plant Production and Protection Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He served as the Director General of ICARDA from May 2006 to October 2016, the most critical period in ICARDA’s 40 years history. Dr. El Solh has in-depth knowledge of needs and aspirations of the national agricultural research and development systems particularly in non-tropical dry areas He has been involved in planning, implementation and evaluation of programs and projects for agricultural research for development; human resources and institutional development of national agricultural systems. More recently Dr. El Solh has been appointed to be the member of the High Level Panel for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) of the Global Committee for Food Security (CFS) cosponsored by United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Program (WFP). Dr. El Solh is the author of more than 120 publications/papers and articles including books and chapters of books. His contribution to agricultural research and development has been recognized through several prestigious awards and honors as indicated below:
Awards, Honors and Scholarships
2016. Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates;
2016. FAO 70th Anniversary Commemorative Medal for contributions to global food security, alleviation of hunger and malnutrition, and sustainable management of natural resources, FAO, Cairo, Egypt.
2015. Gregor Mendel Innovation Prize, granted by the Gregor Mendel Foundation in Berlin, Germany in recognition of Mahmoud Solh and his team efforts in saving/duplicating the valuable plant genetic resources collections at ICARDA GeneBank in Syria.
2015 Merits Award from the President of Sudan granted for high quality attributes and the highly-valued services contributed with dedication and trustworthy efforts to agriculture research for development in the Sudan. Khartoum, Sudan.
2013. Life Time Achievement Award for Dryland Development granted by the International Commission of Dryland Development.
2012. Honorary Doctors Degree by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden.
2011. Distinction Award for Outstanding Graduate of the University of California – Davis from College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, USA.
2009. Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indian Society of Pulses Research and Development, for outstanding contribution towards the promotion of grain legumes globally, Jodhpur, India.
2009. Gold medal award for Outstanding Scientist by the International PNASF, Chennai, India.
2008. Honorable Professor Award from the Seifullen Kazakh Agro-Technical University, Astana, Kazakhstan.
2007. Honorary Doctorate Degree from Tajik Agrarian University, Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
2004. Award from the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences of the American University of Beirut in recognition of Outstanding Achievements in the Agriculture Sector, Beirut, Lebanon.
1981. Sigma Xi, 1981, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
1978. Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, University of California at Davis (UCD), California, USA.
1975-1978. Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship, granted by the Rockefeller Foundation, NewYork, USA.
1966-1969. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Scholarship, USAID Mission, Beirut, Lebanon.
1969. Penrose Award, an honorary award made on the basis of scholarship, character, leadership and contribution to university life, awarded to the outstanding graduate of each faculty from the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
1967 and 1968. Dean's Honor List, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.