Our New Executive Director: Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed

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Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed in front of solar panelsOn March 3, 2021 Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed was unanimously appointed Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, replacing David Lehrer who has led the Institute for 20 years. This is the first appointment of a Palestinian to head an Academic Institute in Israel.

Dr. Abu Hamed has served at the Institute as Academic Director and the Director of the Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation since 2016. Previously, Dr. Abu Hamed served in the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, first as the Director of Engineering and Applied Research and then as Deputy Chief Scientist, including 3 months as Acting Chief Scientist of the State of Israel.

Tareq Abu Hamed, a 48 year-old native and resident of Sur Bahar, East Jerusalem, holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ankara University and an M.A. in Public Policy from the Hebrew University. He did his first post-doctorate research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel; his second post-doctorate was at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Abu Hamed brings to the position a strong background in environmental science and engineering, in education, and a commitment to advancing environmental justice and cross-border cooperation. Dr. Abu Hamed is a leading researcher in field of Renewable Energy and Energy Poverty. His research focus includes alternatives for oil, notably hydrogen as an oil alternative; energy poverty in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan; Solar Air Heaters. He is one of the leaders in the Institute’s projects in Gaza with partners in Gaza for installation of atmospheric water devices, wastewater treatment units, and solar fields.

“Shared natural resources and environmental challenges need a cooperative cross-border approach. Ignoring such issues leads to serious consequences environmentally and to social injustices. My vision is to advance the Institute as a leader in advancing cross-border environmental cooperation– cooperation in research, academics, and community for the well-being and justice of our peoples and the environment – despite the conflict in our region,” said Dr. Abu Hamed

David Lehrer: “Tareq brings with him a professional understanding of environmental sciences and a deep passion for peace-building in the region. It will be with sincere satisfaction that I will be able to hand the management of the Arava Institute to such a capable and inspiring leader. I am sure that Tareq will lead the Institute to the next level.”

Dr. Abu Hamed will replace Mr. Lehrer in the summer of 2021.
For further information, photos and to coordinate interviews, please contact Eliza Mayo.