September 18-22, 2017



Invited Speakers

Lamis chalak


Plant Production Department, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, The Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon



Lamis Chalak holds a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from University of Montpellier II, France, in 1995. Currently she is the Head of Plant Production Department at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon. She is also the Head of the National Committee on Plant Genetic Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Lebanon. Her current research interests are focused on plant genetic resources, agrobiodiversity and neglected fruit crops. She was the National Focal Point of Lebanon for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture [2005-2008], and for the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture - FAO Rome [2005-2015]. She is member of the Roster of Experts of the Benefit Sharing Fund of the ITPGRFA.  She is also an expert in the Ad Hoc FAO Technical Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO Rome. She was recently the focal point and co-author of the country report on “Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture in Lebanon”, for FAO Rome. She was the Regional Coordinator for the regional FAO/TCP/SNO project "Optimizing the use of Plant Genetic Resources in Iran, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon for adaptation to climate change". She also prepared the National Strategy for the “Conservation and management of plant genetic resources in Lebanon”, for the Ministry of agriculture.  Last but not least, Lamis is Lebanon Focal Point for FAO GM Foods Platform.


Genetic resources of Fruit Trees in the Fertile Crescent: a hotspot heritage


Chikelu mba

Chikelu Mba

FAO, Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources Team, Plant Production and Protection Division, Rome, Italy



A Plant Breeder Geneticist, Chike leads the Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources Team of the Plant Production and Protection Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Team provides the oversight for FAO’s work on the conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; crop improvement and seed delivery systems. The portfolio of the Team’s activities includes providing technical support and advice to FAO member countries on the developments of relevant policies, regulations and laws and the overarching strengthening of institutions and human capacities. Prior to joining FAO over seven years ago, Chike led the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory of the Joint Division of FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency for Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria. The mandate of the Laboratory, where he worked for seven years, is induced crop mutations. Previously, he was a cassava molecular geneticist and Coordinator of the Cassava Biotechnology Network for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia. His career in agricultural research and development commenced in his native Nigeria where he worked for several years as Cassava Breeder Geneticist and Program Coordinator at the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria. The speaker holds a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics; a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and a BSc in Botany – all from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.


FAO supports countries in the implementation of the second global plan of action for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.


Julian heyes

Julian Heyes

Institute of Food, Nutrition & Human Health, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand



Is Professor of Postharvest Technology and Director of the Centre for Postharvest and Refrigeration Research at Massey University. He leads a large and active team of researchers working on postharvest storage of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. His research is increasingly focussed on understanding how phytochemical composition of fruit and vegetables is affected by the choice of germplasm, growing environment, harvest maturity and storage conditions. Prof Heyes is a plant physiologist by training and obtained his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in 1984. In August 2014 Prof Heyes joined the Executive of ISHS as Chair of the Commission of Fruit and Vegetables for Health within the International Society for Horticultural Science. Prof Heyes is a Life Member of the NZ Society of Plant Biologists and a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science.


Underutilised fruit and vegetables for human health