Eliza Mayo and Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed from Israel
OWA-Winners 2021

Eliza Mayo and Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed from Israel work at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel which was founded in 1996. Eliza, Deputy Director, and Tareq, Academic Director, are part of a team of more than 40 scientists and peace activists at the Institute. Tareq's academic background is in renewable energy research and Eliza worked in kibbutz community leadership.

The Institute, in the heart of Israel's Southern Arava desert, focuses on advancing cross-border environmental cooperation through environmental research and preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to solve cooperatively the environmental problems of the Middle East region. The Institute is a unique oasis, not only of environmental education and international cooperation, but foremost for peace-building through education. So far, more than 1,400 alumni have enjoyed a sound education leaving the Arava Institute with utmost motivation to work together for the common cause of a sustainable future of the region's human and natural resources. The Jewish, Palestinian, and Jordanian students are joined by students from all over the world. While studying and living together they build regional and global networks for future cooperative work.


The academic research leads to practical applications in the fields of renewable energy, wastewater reuse, and climate appropriate sustainable agriculture. For almost five years, the "Track II Environmental Forum" promotes and initiates cooperation among Israel, Jordan and Palestine, bringing key environmental public institutions and civil society groups together.

The work in sustainable agriculture has emphases on arid lands and their natural resources. A special focus is on indigenous plants with their pharmaecological potential. Endangered desert plant species are cultivated and saved in the “Shelter Garden”.

The development of peace-building leadership skills is central in the academic curriculum. Partial and full scholarships are available for Middle Eastern students.

The staff and the students of the Arava Institute are delivering impressively on the objectives of the One World Award with regard to commitment and encouragement for a peaceful society. This oasis of peace in the Arava desert shows the potential that making peace with nature has for creating peace in a historic war zone and demonstrates how swords can be made into ploughshares..