The Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Botanist and desert ecologist, professor Mohamed Kassas has spent over 35 years researching plant life in the deserts of Egypt, Sudan and other parts of the Middle East, a pioneer who warned the world of the dangers of desertification.
A professor of applied botany at Cairo University, member of the Shoura Council (the Upper House of the Egyptian Parliament,) senior advisor to the United Nations Environmental Programme and president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Kassas took his B.Sc (Hons) and M.Sc at Cairo University, and a Ph.D at Cambridge University. He played a major role in the UNESCO Arid Land Research Programme, which included drafting ecological maps of the Mediterranean basin (1950-1960), and in making the scientific preparations for the 1977 UN Conference on Desertification.
Professor Kassas is a member of the Egyptian Academy of Science, the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, chairman of the Environmental Research Council, the National Committees for the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) and the ICSU Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE). Egypt has awarded him the First Order of Sciences and Arts, the Order of the Republic (1978), the First Order of Merit (1981), and the State Prize in Science (1982).
His contribution to the understanding of desert plant ecology earned him worldwide recognition. He has served on the advisory panels of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) since its creation in 1973 and was one of the three science editors for the monumental UNEP study The World Environment 1972-1982. His international honours include the Golden Order for Education, the United Nations Prize for Environment, The Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization Gold Medal and Commander in the Order of the Golden Ark.
Published in 1984