Hello, my name is Kamal Zurba. I am originally from Palestine, and currently living in Germany. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences, a master’s degree in Water and Environmental Sciences, and a doctoral degree in Geo-ecology (Earth System Science), the title of my dissertation: “Is short rotation forestry sustainable? I have been working on various environmental topics since 2010, mainly on greenhouse gas emissions and ecosystem assessment. Before that, I worked at the agricultural extension and rural development department at the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. In my free time, I enjoy swimming and cooking, I also like making and editing videos.
What project idea did you generate or nurture during your time in EMPOWER program?
“Increase the Public Awareness About Woody Biomass as a Sustainable Source of Energy in Palestine: Short rotation forestry as an example”
Palestine facing severe issues, e.g., political, economic … etc. Furthermore, electricity, mainly in mid of the summer and the winter is very important. Improving this sector will positively influence the development and the security in the region. Thus, using woody biomass can contribute to solve partially this problem.
What lasting memories do you associate with your time in EMPOWER program?
During the EMPOWER sessions, we always made discussions in smaller groups, which led to successful outcomes. I feel discussing in large groups are less productive.
What is the current status of your EMPOWER project?
The project idea went through different development stages and modified to be more realistic, based on discussions and feedbacks. The achievements until now are as follows:
- A logo for this project is already designed (see Picture: 2), in addition to a short-introductory video has been created about this idea
- Connection with institutes and people in Palestine has been established, a first meeting via ZOOM were held through Dr. Nasreen Tamimi (Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technology) who facilitate the connection with master students and academic staff working at the Palestine Technical University-Kadoorie. Based on this meeting, many studies will be done in the future about this topic, and the ability to conduct such project in Palestine.
What is the next phase of your project?
Increase the connection with new institutes to introduce the project idea, then to communicate with people from the industrial sector who might adopt this type of energy source.
What internal and external contacts did you build throughout your time in EMPOWER program?
An external contact with Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie is initiated.
What is your motivation for joining this EMPOWER project?
Trying to share our gained knowledge and experience with our home country, by implementing projects that might contribute with solving some challenges.
Which elements of EMPOWER training do you find most helpful?
In general, most of the trainings provided during this program helped us to develop our ideas, and the discussions held during our regular meetings. Personally, I liked the statistical analysis course.