Dr. José A. Zaglul is the President Emeritus of EARTH University, an international, private, not-for-profit institution in Costa Rica, dedicated to preparing leaders with ethical values to contribute to the sustainable development of the tropics and to construct a prosperous and just society. Dr. Zaglul was President of EARTH University since its inception in 1989 until December 2017 and provided the vision and leadership for this innovative institution and its unique educational environment that encourages the development of responsible leadership based on values, social commitment, environmental consciousness, academic excellence and an entrepreneurial and enterprising spirit.
Dr. Zaglul holds a PhD in Animal Science from the University of Florida. In addition, he obtained two Masters degrees: an M.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida and an M.S.in Animal Science from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He completed his undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut.
Prior to serving as EARTH University’s President, Dr. Zaglul was Head of the Animal Production Department at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica, an international center for tropical research and the oldest postgraduate school of agriculture in Latin America. He was also a Food Science professor and later Vice President of Research and Extension of the Costa Rica Instituto of Technology (TEC) from 1981 to 1985.
Dr. Zaglul is the current President and past President (2005-2007) of the Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture (GCHERA), the founder and president of the Central American and Caribbean Meat Processing Symposium (1983-2005) and serves on the Boards of the American University of Beirut, Citizens in Solidarity and United World College. He served as the co-chair of the five-year SEMCIT international seminar series (Sustainability, Education and the Management of Change in the Tropics) and travels extensively around the world to present EARTH University’s innovative educational model and raise funds for the institution. He presently serves on the Board of the CRUSA Foundation in Costa Rica.
Dr. Zaglul has committed most of his professional life to academia. He believes in the power of education to change lives and to improve the socioeconomic conditions of society. Being the son of Lebanese immigrants of limited economic conditions, he understands clearly how challenging it is to have access to higher academic institutions if you do not receive quality education in primary and secondary schools. He believes that entrance exams do not necessarily measure the intelligence and intellectual capacity of individuals, and that entrance exam results are determined more by the quality of the applicant’s elementary and high school education. And unfortunately the more successful university applicants are from the more economically advantage families with the capacity to attend private schools or the highest quality public schools localized principally in urban areas. This is why he has dedicated most of his academic life to promote and create the conditions for more open access of underprivileged applicants to the university and to transform the higher education system to be more experiential, participatory, and student centered. The goal is to motivate and emphasize student learning and development, to create a university environment where students become self-directed and self-motivated learners, where they create knowledge through discovery, and the professor is a facilitator of the learning process, guiding the learning process by creating a motivating and challenging environment for student discovery and learning.
Dr. Zaglul’s 28-year experience leading the creation of a values based, student centered, experiential and participatory learning educational model for EARTH University including a focus on community engagement and social entrepreneurship, gives him the strength and the conviction to promote changes in our higher educational systems. This is the driving force for GCHERA over the next few years and the reason he is motivated to promote change and share his experiences globally as President of GCHERA.