Ag alumnus receives prestigious goodwill ambassadorship

Abdelouahhab Zaid with the FAO Director-General José Graziano

Abdelouahhab Zaid with the FAO Director-General José Graziano

Many undergraduate and graduate students in Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences translate their studies into careers in sustainable agriculture. For Abdelouahhab Zaid, his passion for sustainable agriculture, informed by his doctoral work at CSU, has propelled him into an academic and diplomatic career that has spanned decades. Now, Zaid has been named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Arab Emirates by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Food safety and nutrition expertise

Zaid’s expertise relates to the integrated pest management of date palms, an important industry in the UAE. His food safety and nutrition expertise has been used through the Gulf region as well as in countries across Africa and around the world. He has also served as Agricultural Advisor at the UAE’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs and as General Secretary of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation which works to harness the UAE’s leading expertise in the cultivation of this valuable tree and promotes greater date palm research worldwide.

Zaid also has many scientific publications, the most important of which is a book about date palms, published by UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Arabic and English and of which several editions have been issued. He also authored a dictionary of biotechnology terms in food and agriculture, initially published in English and eventually translated into five languages.

While at CSU, Zaid studied under Professor Harrison Hughes in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

Impact on a global level

“As an advisor and mentor, it is especially gratifying to see one of your students have such an impact on a global level,” said Hughes. “Dr. Zaid is yet another example of how the research and teaching coming out of our college can and does contribute to the enhancement of people’s lives everywhere. His work highlights the direct connection between food and economic systems, not only here in the United States but around the world.”

In fact, Zaid’s son, Salah E. Zaid, is currently pursuing his Ph.D., also under the supervision of Hughes. Abdelouahhab Zaid graduated in 1990 with a Ph.D. in Horticulture. He has held faculty appointments at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, United Arab Emirates University, and is a faculty affiliate in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at CSU.

“I am very proud to have received my Ph.D. from CSU,” said Zaid. “Professor Hughes was an outstanding advisor and is a model scientist that I cherish a lot. This is why I encouraged my son to continue his higher education at CSU and with the same advisor.”

About FAO

FAO creates and shares critical information about food, agriculture and natural resources in the form of global public goods. FAO focuses on five main activities: putting information within reach and supporting the transition to sustainable agriculture; strengthening political will and sharing policy expertise; bolstering public-private collaboration to improve smallholder agriculture; bringing knowledge to the field; and supporting countries in preventing and mitigating risks. For more information visit the website.