Ibrahim Abouleish, MD

Ibrahim Abouleish, MD, PhD


  • Alternative Nobel Prize Laureate (The Right Livelihood Award), Sweden
  • The Medal of Merit of the German Government
  • Founder of SEKEM

Born in Egypt in 1937, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish moved to Austria in 1956. He studied chemistry and medicine at the University of Graz, Austria, receiving his Ph.D. in 1969. Thereafter he engaged in medical research, and was Head of Division for medical research until 1977. In 1975, on a visit to Egypt, he became aware of its pressing problems in education, overpopulation and pollution. In 1977 he decided to establish a comprehensive development initiative, SEKEM.

Taking its name from the hieroglyphic transcription meaning “vitality,” Sekem was the first entity to develop biodynamic farming methods in Egypt. Its strong commitment to innovative development led to the nationwide application of biodynamic methods to control pests and improve crop yields. However, Sekem is not just an agricultural enterprise. It believes that sustainable profit making should go hand-in-hand with an integrated socio-economic business model, providing employees and farming communities throughout the country the opportunity to improve their education, health and quality of life.


1984      Chairman of the “Sekem Development Foundation”
1994      Chairman of the “Egyptian Biodynamic Association “
1999      Chairman of the “Heliopolis Academy for Applied Arts and Science”
2000      Chairman of the “Cooperative of Sekem Employees”
2005      Chairman of the “Abouleish Foundation"
2007      Founder of the “World Future Council”
2009      Founder of the “Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development”



1977      LOTUS Company for medicinal herbs
1986      ATOS PHARMA for natural pharmaceuticals
1988      LIBRA for biodynamic cultivation of all crops in Egypt
1996      HATOR for packing fresh fruits and vegetables
1997      ISIS for production of processed organic foodstuff
1998      NATURETEX for manufacturing organic textiles
2000      SEKEM Holding
2005      MIZAN for organic seedlings
2007      ECOTEC Holding for facilitate sustainable industrial development
2007      SEKEM for Land reclamation



2015      Land for Life Award from United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification
2012      “Business for Peace Award” by Oslo Business for Peace Foundation
2011       German Environmental Management Association B.A.U.M. award for commitment for environmental protection and sustainable development
2010      Honorary Doctorate awarded by Technical University of Graz
2008      The Medal of Merit of the German Government
2008      “Ethics in Business Award for Outstanding Individual” of the European Parliament
2005      Honorary Doctorate awarded by University of Graz.
2004      Award for Outstanding Medical Performance by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate
2004      Award for Outstanding Drug Research Performance by the Egyptian Health Ministry
2003      Alternative Nobel Prize Laureate (The Right Livelihood Award), Sweden
2003      Outstanding Social Entrepreneur 2003 by the Schwab Foundation, Switzerland
1999      Medal of Honour from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Ain Shams University, Cairo, for outstanding scientific Research, Egypt