Veteran environmental scientist, advocate Dr. Tewolde Berhan dies at 83
Addis Ababa March 21, 2023 (FBC) – The renowned Ethiopian veteran environmental scientist and advocate and Champions of the Earth Award winner Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher has died at age of 83 in Addis Ababa.
Dr Tewolde Berhan was born on 19 February 1940 in a small village near Adwa town in Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia.
Graduating from Addis Ababa University with a B.Sc. in Biology in 1963, Dr. Tewolde left to study for a doctorate in plant ecology at the School of Plant Biology, University of North Wales, and returned as Ethiopia’s first qualified plant ecologist in 1969.
From the time he graduated in 1963 until 1995, Dr Tewolde’s academic base was in the Department of Biology of Addis Ababa University.
His main responsibilities inside academia have been as Dean of the Faculty of Science from 1974 to 1978, and then Keeper of the National Herbarium from 1978 to 1983. Dr Tewolde’s other major post in academia was as President of Asmara University in what is now the independent country of Eritrea.
He has served his country with outstanding contributions both as a seasoned researcher, advisor and institutional leader. Dr. Tewolde was also Director General of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia for decades.
Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher won the Right Livelihood Award in 2000 “for his exemplary work to safeguard biodiversity and the traditional rights of farmers and communities to their genetic resources.
He also won Champions of the Earth Award in 2006 for campaigning for community rights in Africa and against the patenting of life forms.
The prize was aimed to recognize his outstanding achievements in protecting and improving the environment. The U.N. Environment Program called him a champion against patenting human life forms and for community rights in Africa.
Dr Tewolde has produced 38 research publications on interactions between society and environment in Ethiopia’s history as well as the international interface. Dr. Tewolde is survived by his three daughters.
By: Wondesen Aregahegn