American University of Beirut

Who is NCC’s new director, Dr. Alain Daou?

​​​​​Sally Abou Melhem, Office of Communications,​

AUB recently announced the appointment of Dr. Alain Daou as director of AUB's Nature Conservation Center (AUB-NCC), who started serving in this capacity at the beginning of 2021. Daou is an assistant professor in entrepreneurship at the Olayan School of Busines (OSB) and has been working with AUB-NCC since 2018, leading research and development projects related to waste management, inclusive and sustainable SMEs, and circular economies.

“Amid the different challenges we are facing, be it the pandemic and the different environmental threats such as waste management and pollution, AUB-NCC is committed more than ever to its mission of promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and encouraging individuals to relate to nature through research, education, community development, and knowledge dissemination," said Daou when asked about his plans for NCC now that it is under his leadership. “I will be reaching out to all stakeholders as we are all responsible to safeguard our environment. More than ever, the private sector has a key role to play. It is imperative for us to work with established businesses as well as educating youth and giving them the tools and mindset needed to see nature as an ally through alternative business models such as nature capital, circular economy, and social and green entrepreneurship."

He added that “the work done at AUB-NCC is remarkable be it in terms of community impact and research. Our interdisciplinary approach and ability to work closely with the community while producing top quality academic knowledge is a strength that we should reinforce. We have published in top journals on key topics. This is why we need to disseminate further and strengthen our links through local and international partnerships."

“I would like to reach out to faculty throughout AUB to work together and build new projects. This call is for all across faculties and disciplines, as nature conservation concerns everyone from history, to literature, medicine, business, engineers, chemistry, data analytics, nutrition, nursing, etc. Nature conservation should be looked at as a holistic approach that needs people from across professions and expertise," Daou said.​

NCC projects
One of the projects that Dr. Daou has worked on is a study where a team from NCC collected data and knowledge on endusers' perception and inclusion around solid waste management in 11 target areas where the European Union (EU) has financed facilities over the last 15 years. This study was part of a wider evaluation project that aimed to identify the status of the operation and service provision of these facilities to create a tailored recommendation framework. The study scope also included an external facility service area that is applied as a benchmark for good performance in the Lebanese context.

Another NCC project that Daou worked on was the implementation of an EU-funded pilot project called WISE (Wine Innovations for Sustainable Economies), which aims to demonstrate the technical, economic and environmental viability of an enterprise-based composting process to exclusively treat organic waste resulting from wine making in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley.

Daou is also working on a third, still ongoing NCC project, on waste management called MED-InA (Mediterranean Integrated Alliance on Waste for cities and citizens). It is a three-year and €2.84 million project, which proposes to develop and roll out a “Zero Waste" public policy adapted to Mediterranean cities as an exemplary and participatory approach for waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.

“We will always be looking at current and relevant questions facing us. For instance, through the Med-Ina project, we are working on the impact of COVID on waste management," Daou said. “We will work with three cities across the Mediterranean to support green start-ups in finding solutions to the waste concerns amid the pandemic."

More on his career
Prior to joining AUB-NCC, Daou worked over 10 years with several not-for-profit organizations as project manager, country manager, in-house advisor, and consultant in Canada, Central America, the Middle East, and Africa. Upon completing his PhD at Laval University in Canada (2014), he moved to the KU Leuven in Belgium to complete a post-doctoral research project on social entrepreneurship. Through his research, Daou tries to understand how certain types of enterprises such as social enterprises, not-for-profit, and small and medium businesses innovate, scale up and have a positive social and economic impact on stakeholders and society as a whole.

In 2020, he was chosen as part of the #thinklist of racialized thinkers in responsible business, by the University of Bath's Centre for Business, Organisation and Society (CBOS). Currently, in addition to his new NCC and OSB roles, Daou is chair of the Khaddit Beirut SME Impact Initiative (awarded AACSB “Innovation that Inspires" 2021); advisor for the Business In Conflict Areas Research Group (BICAR) at OSB (awarded AACSB “Innovation that Inspires" 2020); visiting professor, Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven, Belgium; member of the French Red Cross Research Foundation's Scientific Committee; and a member of the Lebanese Social Enterprise Association's Evaluation Committee.

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