Born in Kut, Iraq in 1958, Azzam Alwash spent much of his younger years in Nassariya on the fringes of Iraq’s southern Mesopotamian marshlands, once the 3rd largest wetlands in the world and home to the Ma’dan Marsh Arabs, the descendents of the ancient Sumerian.
After completing his BS in Civil Engineering at the California State University at Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southern California, Dr. Alwash subsequently worked for twenty years as a soil and environmental engineering consultant in southern California. In 1997, he became active in Iraqi expatriate politics and joined the Board of Directors of the Iraq Foundation, an Iraqi NGO based in Washington, DC. Prompted by the release of a United Nation’s Environmental Program’s report in 2001 that detailed “one of the world’s greatest environmental disaster’s” – the desiccation of 90 percent of the Mesopotamian marshlands at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s regime – Dr. Alwash and his wife, Dr. Suzie Alwash, founded the Eden Again Project and began to work for the restoration of the Mesopotamian marshlands. By August 2003, Dr. Alwash took a leave of absence from his consultancy work to direct the Eden Again Project operations in Iraq – the seed for the eventual formation of Nature Iraq, an independent, non-governmental conservation organization registered in Iraq.
Under Dr. Alwash’s leadership, Nature Iraq has grown to be Iraq’s largest and most effective
environmental advocacy organization that has learned how to operate under the country’s often
volatile security situation. He and the work of Nature Iraq have been featured in the local, regional and international press including programs on the CBS, BBC, Washington Post, The Guardian, NPR, etc.