Goumbook’s Panel of Experts
Meet our Team of Experts and learn about their passion for the Environment:
Since 2009 Goumbook has had the privilege to benefit from the knowledge of different experts in the various fields included in the sustainability and environmental sector, getting valuable advice and guidance. Without their support we could have never gone as far as we have today. We take this opportunity to thank them dearly.
HE ABDUL AZIZ ABDULLA AL MIDFA
Energy & Environment
HE Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Midfa, former director general of Sharjah’s Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) and member of the Supreme Council of Sharjah, was the Head of The Sharjah Wildlife Center and of the adjoining breeding center until recently, where he run a unique project of Conservation for the endangered Arabian wildlife. HE Abdul Aziz Al Midfa, today Vice Chair at Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), was also recently appointed as Chairman of the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA).
Marwan has been involved in different sectors of the energy industry for the past 10 years. His experience in renewable energy was furthered through his involvement in projects for KAUST – where he created a model for solar thermal power projects in the Kingdom – and for Masdar – where he developed a feasibility study for Abu Dhabi’s solar roll out plan. Marwan holds a BS, with High Honors, in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin; an MS with a focus on Energy Systems from Stanford University; and, an MBA from Harvard Business School with a focus on entrepreneurship. He was raised in Sharjah and still calls it his home.
Researcher & Expert in Zoology, Ecology, Botany
Conservation Manager, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), an area of 225 square kilometres, 4.7% of Dubai’s total land area, was created to protect the last remaining pristine desert landscape of this forward thinking emirate. Located on Dubai-Al Ain Road, about 45km out of the city, DDCR stretches as far as Oman on one edge and Abu Dhabi on the other. Greg Simkins, the reserve’s conservation manager, is the Big Brother of this desert area – he has been working on the reserve since its inception and has seen wildlife and vegetation grow around him. He is the man behind the monitoring of the wildlife’s activity and breeding, and the studying of the reserve’s development.
Photographer, Naturalist and Wildlife Enthusiast
Chief Engineer, Dubai Natural History Group
Ajmal, who currently lives and works in Sharjah with a full-time job at a prominent University, is a wildlife lover and amateur photographer who has been shooting and documenting his finds in the UAE since 2009. Passionate about wildlife conservation, he makes efforts wherever he can to promote the local flora and fauna of the Emirates. With a special emphasis on reptiles, Ajmal started documenting his trips with images showcasing a variety of incredible wildlife: his long-time goal is to spread awareness about the local environment through all means possible. Dedicated trekker, he heads out into deserts, mountains, wadis and sabkhas of the UAE on a routine basis.
Ajmal has participated in many regional initiatives with research projects/papers and has had the chance to assist in many animals releases back into their habitat. Ajmal is also a Listed Photographer with the Marine PhotoBank project where one of his photos of a feeding flock of more than 10,000 Socotra Cormorants was nominated for the Marine PhotoBank 2010 Photo Competition. Ajmal has also contributed many photographs from his collection to leading wildlife projects such as ARKive and has also contributed many articles to the DNHG monthly newsletter, Gazelle. Since October 2015, Ajmal works as Education Manager in Mleiha under the Sharjah Investment & Development Authority, Shurooq.
With a burning passion for natural history and best known for his conservation awareness work about the marine environment, JAK, as he is known by friends and colleagues, is a filmmaker and wildlife commentator on a mission. Living in the region for over 25 years has given him opportunity to explore the Arabian Peninsula’s natural world in intimate detail on land and sea. As a filmmaker, JAK created and filmed the first regional natural history 12 part TV series featuring wildlife and conservation efforts throughout the mountains, deserts and seas of Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Jordan and Yemen called “Arabia’s Cycle of Life”. Not only a first for the region, but this award winning series was the first rehional production to ever have been picked up by the Discovery Channel for Animal Planet. As a diver and explorer with thousands of hours in the water, JAK has explored every nook and cranny in all the seas surrounding the Arabian Peninsula’s coastline, leading expeditions with scientists and film crew to study and observe the environmental conditions revealing new and important information. His current project called ‘Sharkquest Arabia’ is a 3 part documentary mini-series featuring the true status of sharks in our waters, looking at the importance of research, assessing the severity of conservation issues and highlighting the alarming role this region plays in supplying shark fins to the Far East. JAK will be contributing features about Arabia’s terrestrial and marine wildlife whilst stressing the importance about how increasing people’s exposure to natural history can help to heal their disconnection from nature.
Founding Member, Biodiversity East
Nancy Papathanasopoulou studied Environmental Law and Management in France, and has worked in Europe and in the Middle East in Marine Environment, Water Resources, Wetlands and Endangered Species, especially sea turtles. Through her conservation projects, such as the ones carried out for TOTAL in Masirah Island, Oman and three offshore atolls in Kuwait, the authorities as well as the public are informed about the status and protection needs of sea turtles and their habitats at national, regional and international level. Nancy believes the marine environment is an issue that has no borders and all nations should team up and participate at its conservation, which is becoming an emergency. Apart from scientific research, her work involves cooperating with local and national authorities on institutions, legislation, management plans based on sustainable development, environmental education and environmental information centers.
TANIA ABDUL KARIM FARHA
Nutrition and Health Coach
Born in Beirut and raised in London, Tania moved to Dubai in 1997. A few years later, she started her own business and opened the first Children’s Creative play center, with the idea of introducing children to art and creativity through play. On a personal level, Tania has always had a huge passion for Nutrition and Holistic Health and firmly believes in the positive impact it has on our lives. She started to implement the concept in her centers and became the first ‘Green’ Play area in the UAE, back in 2010. Six years and three stores later, Tania took the big decision to follow her growing passion and started studying Holistic Nutrition and Health. Tania practices a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that she looks at how all areas of our life are connected. She is a strong advocate on the importance of preventive care and sustainable weight loss that happens through proper wholesome nutrition, strengthening your immune system and giving you lots of positive energy. “I am thrilled to be able to share my passion with all of you here and will be posting practical tips that you can easily incorporate into your daily lives”.
Fatima Al-Banna is a bachelor student at Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology majoring in Business Administration and Marketing. Her environmental passion started at college with a mission to create and develop campaigns and projects to address the students and faculty impact at the campus in terms of the sustainability level through the support from her mentors. She is an environmental activist and has been a part of numerous green campaigns. She has initiated her paper recycling project called Project Pencil and also runs her sustainability club in college, Sustain Our Society (SOS) Facebook page. Fatima also worked with Bee’ah in creating mass awareness on waste management strategies.