Amir Kassam OBE, FIBiol, CBiol, PhD, MS, BSc (Hons)

Amir Kassam is a Visiting Professor in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading, UK, where he teaches a course on Rethinking Agricultural Development to post-graduate students. He is a consultant to FAO, Rome, in the various aspects of sustainable production intensification with a particular focus on Conservation Agriculture. He was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty the Queen in her Honours List in 2005 for services to tropical agriculture and to rural development. In 2004, Kassam retired as Interim Executive Secretary of the CGIAR Science Council at FAO, Rome where he was responsible for facilitating the Council's work in research priorities and strategies, and in research monitoring and evaluation.

Kassam's previous positions include: Deputy Director General for Programmes at WARDA (Côte d'Ivoire) from 1998-2000; Senior Agricultural Research Officer, TAC Secretariat of the CGIAR, FAO (1990-1998); Chairman of the Aga Khan Foundation (UK) from 1985-1989; Chairman of the FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Europe Foundation from 1995-1998; and Chairman of the Tropical Agricultural Association (UK) from 2005-2008. Born in Tanzania, Kassam received his BSc (Hons) in Agriculture and PhD in Agricultural Botany (agro-ecology) from the University of Reading, and his MSc in Irrigation from the University of California--Davis.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Kassam worked with several national agricultural systems in Asia and Africa, several CGIAR centres, and FAO either as staff member or as consultant in the fields of agronomy, agricultural ecology, natural resource management, land resources evaluation for development planning, and rural development. Kassam also worked with NGOs in rural development in Asia and Africa, and in humanitarian assistance in Central Asia.

Kassam is Fellow of the Institute of Biology, London (since 1991), Co-Editor of the Journal of Irrigation Science (since 1976), a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Experimental Agriculture, and a member of the steering committees of the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research, Bioversity International, and of Agricultural Innovation in Dryland Africa project, CIRAD. He is the Convenor of the Land Husbandry Group of the Tropical Agriculture Association (UK), a member of the International Advisory Group of the Professional Alliance for Conservation Agriculture (PACA), and the Moderator of the Global Communication Platform for the Conservation Agriculture Community of Practice (CA-CoP) hosted by FAO.