Assad Serhal Nominated to IUCN conferral of Honorary Membership

Assad Serhal, the Director General of SPNL (Birdlife Lebanon) and the winner of Midori Prize 2018 is nominated by IUCN Council at its 98th Meeting in February 2020, on the recommendation of the Awards Jury, to the World Conservation Congress for the conferral of Honorary Membership. The selection will take place in June 2020 in Marseille, France, at the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress 2020.

Three prestigious awards are presented to deserving recipients during a ceremony that takes place during the Members’ Assembly.

Honorary Membership is awarded once every four years on the occasion of IUCN’s World Conservation Congress to recognize outstanding services to the conservation of nature and natural resources and exceptional contributions to furthering the goals of the Union. The award which consists of a certificate and a citation was created at the founding of IUCN in 1948 and as you will see here, there have been many distinguished recipients in the past.

Honorary Membership of IUCN will be awarded in June 2020, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, to the four outstanding individuals.

Council at its 98th Meeting in February 2020, on the recommendation of the Awards Jury, decided to recommend the following individuals to the World Conservation Congress for the conferral of Honorary Membership:

Mr Ropni Metyktire (Brazil, Meso and South America)

Ropni Metyktire, better known as Cacique Raoni, is the largest Mebengokre (Kayapó) leader – an indigenous group belonging to the Macro-Jê linguistic branch – and one of the most important indigenous leaders in Brazil and the world. Ropni is part of the Kayapó subgroup called Metyktire, which split and differed from its ancestral group in the region between the Araguaia and Tocantins rivers, in central-western Brazil, probably in the late 19th century. However, with the invasion of their territories, from the eighteenth century, the Kayapó went through a gradual process of migration in the northwest direction, entering the Xingu River basin.

Ropni was born in the state of Mato Grosso, probably in the mid-1930s, in a region called Kapot nhinore, on the right bank of the Xingu River, near the border with the state of Pará… Read more


Dr Richard John Watling (Fiji, Oceania)

Known to most of the Pacific conservation community as “Dick”,  he is well known for his pioneering work, knowledge, leadership and publications in diverse areas including Pacific Island birdlife and palms, wildlife management and protection of endangered species; tropical forest and mangrove ecology; national park and protected area management; invasive species management; environmental and nature education; and environmental impact assessment and governance in virtually all Pacific Island countries and territories, as well as in much of tropical Southeast Asia.

During his career, Dr Dick Watling has produced the first illustrated nature book for kids, the definitive field guides and scholarly works on palms and Pacific Island birds, including fold-out map-like field guides for the birds of Fiji… Read more



Mr Assad Adel Serhal (Lebanon, West Asia)

Mr Assad Serhal was born in the village of Kayfoun in the foothills of Mount Lebanon. Like many other children in Lebanon, some of his earliest experiences of the outdoors were on hunting trips with his father to the Lebanese countryside.

Social and political instability intensified in the Middle East during Assad Serhal’s youth. When the civil war broke out in 1976, Mr Serhal was on what was supposed to be a two-week visit to London. He was alone and unable to return to war-torn Beirut for one year, yet a teenager. Forced to live by his wits and resources and through the generosity of people who helped him, his experiences in London were a major influence on his outlook and his career.
Mr Serhal studied ecology and wildlife management at Oklahoma State University. He remained in the United… Read more


Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE (UK, West Europe)

Dr Jane Goodall is among the world’s most renowned ethologists, a globally famous advocate for nature conservation, a long-time IUCN Patron for Nature and member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

In July 1960, at the age of 26, Dr. Goodall travelled from England to what is today Tanzania and bravely entered the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. She was equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars. But with her unyielding patience and characteristic optimism, she won the trust of these initially shy creatures. She managed to open a window into their sometimes strange and often familiar-seeming lives. The public was fascinated and remains so to this day…Read more




The IUCN World Conservation Congress is where the world comes together to set priorities and drive conservation and sustainable development action. IUCN’s 1300+ government, civil society and indigenous peoples’ Member organisations vote on major issues, action which guides humanity’s relationship with our planet for the decades ahead. IUCN’s unique and inclusive membership gives the Congress a powerful mandate as it is not solely government or non-government, but both together.



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