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Sekem founder Ibrahim Abouleish dies

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Ibrahim Abouleish, the founder of the Sekem initiative, has died at the age of 80. His death was announced by his family last week.

Egyptian by birth, he was awarded a doctorate in chemistry by the University of Graz. In 1977,  when he returned to his homeland and saw people living in poverty and education in a desperate situation, he launched the Sekem initiative. He was determined to promote the social and material development of Egypt by means of organic agriculture.

Abouleish bought 70 hectares of desert to the north-east of Cairo that farmers cultivated using biodynamic methods. Today, more than 200 small farmers support the initiative and most of their crops are produced in keeping with Demeter guidelines.

A further objective has been the creation of better educational opportunities in Egypt. Among other activities, Sekem operates schools, employment and educational programmes and an academy for applied art and science.

In 2003 Abouleish was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize for his outstanding achievements. The committee honoured him for developing a  “business model for the 21st century".


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