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Mohamed El-Ashry Passes Away

Florida, 10/07/2023

With profound grief and deep sorrow, the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) announced the passing of Dr. Mohamed El-Ashry (1940-2023), founding member of AFED Board of Trustees, in Florida, USA. Mohamed was a key pillar of AFED, who actively and passionately contributed to its work over the years, and was always there to advise and support until the last moment. Other than his duties as member of the Board, he served as Vice President for 6 years and contributed to AFED annual reports on Arab Environment, as co-editor, author and reviewer. He has participated as speaker in almost all AFED conferences starting in Bahrain in 2008.


Mohamed served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which he helped to establish, from 1994 to 2003. He also served as Chairman of the GEF during its Pilot Phase (1991-1994). Prior to joining the GEF, he served as Chief Environmental Adviser to the President and Director of the Environment Department at the World Bank, as Senior Vice President of the World Resources Institute, and as Director of Environmental Quality with the Tennessee Valley Authority.


He has held teaching and research positions at Cairo University, Wilkes University, and the Environmental Defense Fund. He has also served as Senior Environmental Adviser to UNDP, as Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the 1992 UN Earth Summit, and as a member of a number of international commissions and task forces including the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on System-wide Coherence, the International Commission on Climate Change and Development, and the World Water Commission. After retirement, he served on voluntary basis as Senior Fellow at the UN Foundation.


He received his B.S. degree with honors in 1959 from the University of Cairo and M.S. (1963) and Ph.D. (1966) degrees in geology from the University of Illinois. He is the editor and co-author of three books and has published or presented more than 250 papers.


The family announced the news in an obituary published in The Washington Post on 5 July 2023: “It is with great sadness that the family of Dr. Mohamed T. El-Ashry announces his unexpected passing on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at the age of 83 years. Mohamed will be lovingly remembered by his daughters, Dorraya (Paul) and Sumaya (Asif), and his grandchildren, Zane, Jaden, Sofia, and Lilah. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Patricia. Services private.”


Announcing the sad news to AFED community, Secretary General Najib Saab said: “AFED has lost a pillar and passionate board member; I lost a friend, mentor and confidant who was always there to advise and support. May his soul rest in peace, and his great heritage help open the road for better future to new generations.”