Rakan A. Zahawi

Executive Director

Rakan A. “(Zak”) Zahawi starts his new role as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Charles Darwin Foundation on March 1, 2021. He received a B.S. in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Zak is a tropical restoration ecologist who has worked in many areas of Latin America, including fieldwork for his master’s in northwestern Ecuador. He is committed to putting research into practice to promote conservation.

With an affinity for oceanic archipelagos, Rakan comes to CDF from the Lyon Arboretum, a research unit of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. From 2006-2016, Dr. Zahawi was Director of Las Cruces Biological Station & Wilson Botanical Garden, one of the largest and busiest in Costa Rica. There Dr. Zahawi interacted with a wide range of scientists from the Americas and Europe, giving him extensive experience in dealing with a broad range of interests and needs. Dr. Zahawi taught plant ecology and taxonomy, mentored students in developing their field research skills, and oversaw the complex logistics of running field courses at multiple sites. He advanced the mission of the Las Cruces Biological Station by improving facilities, revitalizing collections, increasing staffing, and enhancing outreach with the local community.

Dr. Zahawi has a long history of public education and capacity building—starting with outreach lectures for his research, and later as director where he oversaw the development of an environmental education and outreach program. He is an Associate Researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Adjunct Faculty at Duke University, North Carolina.

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondacion Charles Darwin  pour les Iles Galapagos’, Association Internationale sans but lucrative (AISBL), has its registered office at Avenue Louise 54, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

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