Dr. Miriam Silberstein
Miriam is an expert in plant protection, phytopathology, and entomology, an Internal and External Quality Auditor, and a project manager with extensive experience in consulting to international development projects. She is the leader of the Northern Israel Integrated Pest Management Project in fruit trees, and a lead consultant to a similar project in the Bikat Handadiv region.
In her previous positions in Israel she served as lead auditor for field agriculture under BQVI Israel, the SIT Operations Manager at BioBee company, Manager of the Fruit Trees Gene-Bank & Nurseries, Scientific Editor of "Alon Hanotea" (the Israeli Fruit Growers Association monthly publication), and a high school teacher. Internationally, Miriam’s passion for teaching came into play in the training and courses she conducted Vietnam, India, Kenya, Bosnia-Herzogovina, and China. In Jordan she led a SIT area-wide project in citrus, and in Ghana she was part of a team establishing and training the laboratory staff responsible for the improvement of ornamental and forest trees. Currently she is teaching international courses related to her expertise in Agro Studies in Israel.
Miriam received her PhD and B.Sc. from the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University and her M.Sc. from the Biology Department at Tel Aviv University. Following her post-doctoral training in the Botany Departments of the University of Bristol and the University of Riverside, California she took advanced courses for agricultural experts in the management of business enterprises, quality management, organic agriculture, and internal and external auditing.
Raz Arbel is the General Manager of TREKITISREAL, an organization specializing in the development of community trails in Israel and an advisor on regional, desert, and eco tourism projects to governmental organizations, municipalities, NGOs, and private businesses.
Ras was the General Director of Ramat Negev Tourism & Partnerships Department until 2014. In addition to being responsible for the planning, organizing, and marketing of all tourist related activities, Raz was the coordinator for the Partnership 2000 between Ramat Negev and the Jewish Federations of Denver, Las Vegas, Palm Springs. In previous positions Raz served as the General Director of Har HaNegev Tourist Non-Profit Association, Director of Sde Boker Field Study Center where he initiated a series of local innovative nature-based, and Assistant Manager of Marketing of the Society for the Protection of Nature where he coordinated and produced environmental quality and hiking events. Between 2007 and 2009 he was the Jewish Agency emissary in Colorado. A highlight for Raz were his two years as a nature guide for the Sde Boker Field Study Center.
Raz is a certified tour guide who still practices his vocation with international delegations. He received an accreditation in Regional Tourist Management from Midreshet Rupin College, and completed a Strategic Administration program for directors of non- profit organizations conducted jointly by Ben-Gurion University and Haifa University.
Dr. Ido Aviani
Ido’s interest in the research and implementation of innovative sustainable agriculture practices began in his B.Sc. days in Agricultural Studies at the Hebrew University. Soon after he received his degree he traveled westwards to California to become an Intern at Enterprise Vineyards, working closely with viticulturist Phil Coturri on practices of organic high end wine grapes production. Upon coming back to Israel he became the viticulturist at Saslove Winery and managed organic and conventional vineyards in the Upper Galilee, completing his M.Sc. in Soil Science and Microbial Ecology in parallel. His thesis on ‘The effects of organic and conventional fertilization regimes on the physical, chemical and microbial parameters of soil’ corroborated the positive effects of organic farming not only on soil but also on crop yields. Ido’s Ph.D dissertation focused on agricultural waste management and recycling, an expertise that led him to initiate an innovative cost-effective production process for turning anaerobic digestion effluents into a valuable organic liquid fertilizer.
Dr. Aviani has been teaching sustainable agriculture and fruit tree farming courses to international students at the Agro-Studies International College in Israel since 2011, has served as the scientific consultant to the EU ENPI CBC MED project "MEDOLICO" at MATIMOP, and was the coordinator of the ENPI CBC MED project "Protecting Ground Water" at Eco Peace, an NGO specializing in water related projects and managed jointly by Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians. Ido is currently developing a commercial scheme for compost tea (a biological soil conditioner aimed at improving crop yields) production in Israel, and serves as the technical advisor for Wormarvell group - an Israeli Start-up Company turning vermicomposting organic wastes into valuable bio-humus and protein for animal feed.
Ido co-founded two community environmental projects: a food forest in his hometown of Binyamina, and the rehabilitation and revival of the “Taninim” coastal river. In his private life Ido enjoys nutritious and healthy cooking, playing his guitar, and travelling in Israel and abroad with his family.
In memory of Prof. Dov Pasternak
Dov Pasternak was a world known expert and researcher on irrigation systems, crop optimization in arid and semi-arid climates, and the reclamation and agricultural utilization of degraded lands. His work in developing countries focuses on vegetables and fruit trees production in semi-arid regions, use of saline water for irrigation, desertification control, and environmental control in greenhouses.
Dov served as the Principal Scientist for crops and systems diversification at ICRISAT-Niger, Director of the International Program for Arid Land Crops, Head of the Institute for Agriculture & Applied Biology at Ben Gurion University, the Scientific Coordinator of the regional Middle East (Israel-Egypt) Cooperative Arid Lands Research Program, the Morocco Vegetables Development project, and the Intensification of Agriculture in Ethiopia project through high value trees crops”.
His extensive international experience included consultations in 24 different countries on agricultural development, initiating and directing of the International Program for Arid Land Crops (IPALAC), introducing the African Market Garden to 8 Sahelian countries. He currently serves as senior adviser to MASHAV's trilateral Italy-Senegal-Israel TIPA project in Senegal and to the USAID food security and agricultural development program in East and North East Senegal.
Do led the selection and development of 16 vegetable and fruit tree varieties and participated co-developing 30 new species of ornamentals for export for the Sahel. He is the owner of five patents, author and co-author of 105 articles and 352 technical reports, author and editor of several scientific books, and the author of "Agricultural Prosperity in Dry Africa" – a book aimed at decision makers.
One of Dov’s great prides is the Farmers of the Future Project in Niger which he initiated, led, and continued to advise after his return to Israeld. The project helps create a new generation of market-oriented farmers by educating primary school children and their mothers to approach farming as a business.
Dov was a great mentor for us. We greatly miss him.