Dr. Nabegh Ghazal Asswad
Since an early age, Nabegh was always a caring individual looking after nature in his surroundings and was fascinated by what can be seen in excursions with family into the countryside to enjoy nature. Having earned a degree in flora, forestry and ecology from the University of Aleppo, he was eager to learn about the other half of the natural world and this was the motivation to pursue a doctorate from the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham on wildlife ecology and management at Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.to understand wild animals, with a special focus on birds and how they use their natural habitats to thrive.
Before joining IFAW as a programme manager in the Middle East and North Africa office in October 2021, Nabegh worked for BirdLife International Middle East Office in Amman, Jordan (2016-2021) to coordinate the conservation and awareness activities of the EU LIFE Egyptian Vulture New Life Project in some of the Middle East countries. This was following a stint as a consultant to the Migratory Soaring Bird Project with Birdlife, UNDP & GEF to advocate for tackling one of the threats that migratory birds were facing in the Middle East: hunting. He negotiated some common ground with ethical hunters to hunt responsibly and abide by the hunting rules in terms of hunting season, methods and species by having elite hunters from the Middle East act responsibly and in an exemplary way in 2013. After the regional assessment of the illegal killing of birds in the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula, Nabegh co-led the development of a road map to tackle the hunting issue in the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East in 2020-2021.
He was the Chair of the Syrian Society for Conservation of Wildlife (NGO) from 2012-2017, where he advocated for the conservation of wildlife. During his career, he taught undergraduate and master’s students modules covering wildlife & protected areas, ecology, woodlands, and forestry at the University of Aleppo as well as at The University of Nottingham. He enjoys bird banding.
Nabegh is a member of several commissions and groups at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) including: the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), the Species Survival Commission (SSC) in the Middle East, the IUCN SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) for Asia and for West Europe, the Expert Assessment Group for Green List (EAGL) in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula Plant Specialists Group (APPSG), and the Regional Conservation Forum for West Asia.
He has been vice president of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East (OSME) since 2013, a member of the OSME Research & Conservation Fund Committee since 2017, and has assisted in editing and revising the Arabic version (both the hard and digital ones) of the Field Guide for Birds of the Middle East.
Using his experience with birds and in dealing with hunting and how to combat poaching, he is leading the work to supervise the rescuing efforts for injured birds in Lebanon by LAMB with IFAW’s support. He is currently developing this primitive facility into a better rescue centre that will be involved in a long-term activity to continue the rehabilitation work and release those treatable birds into the skies to continue their migration between Europe and Africa.
Upon joining IFAW, he is helping with capacity building and DISRUPT training in the area and in supporting the prevention and combat of wildlife trafficking and providing general advice and guidance about animal welfare where needed. He worked on updating the Arabic version of the Identification Manual for Species in Trade (CITES listed species) in the MENA region to be in line with the latest CITES appendices and as per the needs of customs and law enforcement personnel to apply CITES rightly and effectively in the MENA region. He will then aid in developing the Manual to be targeted for Eastern Africa as per the latest updates from CITES CoP19. He will also be involved in a project funded by the USFWS to combat the illegal trade of big cats between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
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