Lara Hanna-Wakim is the Former Vice-Director of the Higher Center for Research at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Lebanon from 2019-2021.
Prior to that, she served as Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at USEK from 2013-2019, where she led the Faculty through a rigorous, sustainable and inclusive strategic planning process while providing decision-making discretion and autonomy, which has resulted in building new academic programs built on evidence-based practice, and fostering a more human workplace culture.
Among her accomplishments at USEK were developing a qualified and diverse Faculty, strengthening interdisciplinary collaborations at the local, regional and international levels, expanding the Faculty’s initiatives in entrepreneurship, leadership, sustainable development, innovation, diversity and inclusion.
Through her commitment to this role, she has succeeded in rising the ranking of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences of USEK as one of the regional’s leading agricultural school by obtaining the American accreditation ABET for the Diploma of Agricultural Engineering, the First in the MENA region.
As a seasoned professional whose contribution to Learning and Leadership Development spans nearly 15 years, Prof. Hanna-Wakim is serving as Senior International Officer (SIO) at the Academy of Leaders in International Higher Education (AIEA), Duke University, North Carolina, USA. She is currently acting as the Executive Consultant of STOCHOS, Sydney, Australia.
For over 12 years, Prof. Hanna-Wakim has been a noteworthy leader in the Food Process Engineering and Food Security space. You may know her from being the first scientist to represent the MENA Region as a Permanent Member at the Governing Council of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST), Canada, since 2014. She is representing as well the MENA region in the IUFoST Taskforce on Food Systems and COVID-19, acting as Co-Chair of the IUFoST Working Group on Food and Nutrition Security, and serving as a member of the IUFoST Codex Committee.
Prof. Hanna-Wakim is a prolific scholar who has been widely published through numerous articles, book chapters, and books in the most selective indexed journals and publishers, and has served on the editorial boards of many leading academic journals in the food process engineering and food security. Additionally, she has been honored, at the Lebanese Parliament, as Women Leader in Lebanese Universities and Research Pioneers, in the frame of the National Initiative for the Centennial of Greater Lebanon.
With an extensive career of scholarly and academic leadership, the Lebanese Minister of Agriculture has also honored her for her major accomplishments and outstanding leadership and performance.
Prof. Hanna-Wakim’s passion for serving communities can be traced back to 2008, where she spent significant time working as Strategy Food Safety Consultant at the Emirates Institute for Health and Safety, Abu Dhabi-UAE. She has served as well as Focal Point of the Arab States Green University Network (ASGUN) at the United Nations for Environment Program (UNEP), and National Food Safety Expert at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). She is currently serving as National Coordinator of the “Faith for Earth Initiative” at UNEP.
Prof. Hanna-Wakim has led an impressive career in developing pathways that engage students and stakeholders in innovative solutions to the grand challenge of food security. This enabled her to act as Vice-President of the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations in Agriculture and Life Sciences (GCHERA), USA, in 2015, and to serve as a Member of the Patriarchal Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (PCARD), Maronite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch in Lebanon.
In 2021, she has been nominated as a Member of the National Advisory Board at the WaterMedYin Project “Youth and Innovation for Sustainable Use of Water and Marine Resources in the Mediterranean” sponsored by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation AICS, executed by CIHEAM Bari and the National Council for Scientific Research – Lebanon (CNRS-L). She has been nominated by the Lebanese Minister of Education and Higher Education as National Contact Point (NCP) for “Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials” for the EU Commission within Horizon 2020 Framework Programs. She is as well the Leading Expert in the AGRIFOODMED Delphi Exercise, part of the new Partnership on Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) Project, 2018-2028.
Prof. Hanna-Wakim holds a Ph.D. in Food Process Engineering from AgroParis Tech (Paris, France), an MS in Quality Assurance from INAP-G (Paris, France), an Agricultural Engineering Diploma from USEK (Lebanon), a Professional Certificate in Designing Courses for Significant Learning from Dee Fink and Associates, Oklahoma, (USA), an MS in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from Norwich University (USA), and a MA/PG Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from University of Chester (UK).