Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed receives the 2024 AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy

Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed, executive director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, receives the 2024 AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy for his leadership in using science to build relationships across the Middle East, particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, to work together to address mutual environmental concerns.

Dr. Keith Yamamoto (left), President of AAAS, presents Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed (right) with the 2024 AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy at the 2024 AAAS Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. Credit: Robb Cohen Photography & Video


The award recognizes an individual or a small group working together in the scientific, engineering or foreign affairs communities making an outstanding contribution to furthering science diplomacy. First established in 1992 as the International Scientific Cooperation Award, AAAS renamed its Award for Science Diplomacy in 2021 for David and Betty Hamburg, who championed science diplomacy throughout their careers in science and medicine as a means of advancing science, human rights, peace and cooperation. 

Abu Hamed is a chemical engineer, a graduate of universities in Turkey and Israel, and the first Palestinian to head an academic institute in Israel. As the executive director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Abu Hamed builds trust and fosters cooperation to address the effects of the climate crisis on vulnerable communities. His career at AIES has also seen him lead the Transboundary Renewable Energy Working Group, through which he brought together experts from Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan to work on socially impactful renewable technology projects. As the director of the Center for Renewable Energy, he was involved in small-scale renewable energy projects in the region. He has mentored students as the academic director for AIES, which is a key pathway for Palestinian and Jordanian students into Israel postgraduate programs. As AIES leader, a role he has held since 2021, Abu Hamed launched the Center for Climate Change Policy and Research. 

Outside of his work at AIES, Abu Hamed was the highest-ranking East Jerusalem Palestinian in the Israeli government when he served first as deputy chief scientist, then acting chief scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space in 2015 and 2016. He co-chairs the Regional Cooperation and Security Task Force of Israel’s Climate Forum to promote regional and international collaboration on climate change. Abu Hamed served as a member of the Israeli government delegation to COP26: the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and led a delegation to COP27 that featured an Israel, a Palestinian and a Jordanian.

“I am genuinely honored to receive the 2024 AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award,” said Abu Hamed. “This recognition reinforces my belief that we must hold onto hope in the face of incredibly difficult circumstances. The Arava Institute remains unwavering in our commitment to advance peace and sustainability through science diplomacy and cross-border environmental cooperation. It is this approach that will allow us to rise above conflict and ultimately deliver a better future for the region and the world.”


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