In Memoriam: Ibrahim Abouleish, founder of SEKEM
“Deep inside of me there was a living image: In the middle of a desert I see myself scooping up water from a source. Carefully I plant trees, herbs, flowers and drench their roots with the precious moisture. The cool water attracts people and animals who quench and refresh themselves. The trees offer shade, the land turns green. Flowers spread their sweet scent, insects, birds and butterflies show their dedication to God, the Creator, as if they were reciting the first sura of the Quran. And the people - becoming aware of this silent worship of God - show their care and respect for all beings that were created as a representation of the garden of paradise on Earth” - Ibrahim Abouleish (23 maart 1937 – 15 juni 2017)
On Thursday 15 June 2017 Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish passed away at the age of 80 years. He was the founder of the SEKEM-initiative in Egypte which aims for sustainable development of the land and the community. In 2003 Abouleish won the Alternative Nobel Prize for this groundbreaking project in the desert of Egypt. Eosta's history and the history of SEKEM are closely entertwined. Eosta has done business with SEKEM in the past and Volkert Engelsman, founder of Eosta, was a close personal friend of Abouleish. In 2015 Ibrahim Abouleish was one of the guest speakers at the Celebrating Soil congress in Amsterdam, where he gave an inspiring speech on saving soils. One of the things he said, was: “Creating a fertile earth leads us to fertile thoughts and that is what we need for the future of the planet. I hope that all people of the earth will join this movement, and open their heart to mother earth, so our development as humans on earth will continue. Everyone is welcome to visit and see how in Egypt we have made thousands of hectares of desert fertile.”
Ibrahim Abouleish, who was a deeply spiritual man, will be remembered with love and appreciaton, and his work and thoughts will continue to live. His work at SEKEM will be carried onward by his son Helmy Abouleish, who is the current CEO of SEKEM Holding.
More information about life and work of Ibrahim Abouleish can be found here. For an impression of SEKEM, several video's can be found on Youtube, e.g. here.