Prof. Dr. Dirk Funck is a lecturer for Multichannel-Retailing, Sales, Social Innovation and Methodical Basics at Nuertingen-Geislingen University in the south of Germany. His interests in research and transfer lie in the topics of "Medium-Sized Retail", "Sustainable Community Development" and "Social Innovation". He is leading the DAAD-funded projects "Middle East Social Innovation Lab” (MESIL) and “Middle East Productive Landscapes” (MeProLand). After his studies, doctorate and research activities at the University of Göttingen, Dirk spent 8 years in leading positions in medium-sized retail cooperation.
In 2011, he was appointed professor at the University in Worms. In 2014, he moved to Nuertingen-Geislingen University.
Dirk was elected Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Rid Foundation for Medium-Sized Bavarian Retailers in 2011. He also works for the foundation as a trainer and coach.



Dr. Ellen Fetzer holds a doctoral degree in landscape architecture from Kassel University, Germany. The focus of her work at Nürtingen-Geislingen University is on computer-supported collaborative learning. She further coordinates a Master's program in landscape architecture and ERASMUS+ projects.

Arati Uttur,  a masters student at International Master of Landscape Architecture (IMLA), Nürtingen-Geislingen University.

After working for 14 years in the architecture field, Arati decided that her constant approach of integrating green elements in architectural projects, along with her growing interest in residential, farmhouse, and school garden projects needed a more focused approach. She started pursuing her master's in IMLA and this was the first time she took part in the MESIL program as a student in the summer of 2019, after which she integrated herself as a tutor for the following MESIL seminars.

As a passionate gardener, hiker, and nature lover, Arati presently works with kindergartens and schools to integrate the understanding of sustainable natural environments and harmonious co-existence with nature into young minds to build a nature-empathetic mindset in the future generation. Arati believes in engaging communities, along with an inter-disciplinary approach by working with professionals from different backgrounds to bring out sustainable and long-lasting solutions in the social, landscape, and environmental fabric that surrounds human settlements.

Rachelle El Khoury holds an International Master's in Landscape Architecture (IMLA) in cooperation between the Nürtingen-Geislingen University (HfWU) and the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT).  Rachelle has also obtained a master’s in Architecture at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in Lebanon (USEK). She is a student assistant providing scientific research and processing of textual and graphical information for the Middle East Productive Landscapes (MEPROLAND). She has more than 5 years of professional experience in Architectural practices, including design, permit, and execution drawings. Her Master’s thesis portraying possible landscape contributions injected into the city quarter of Beirut shows her interest in the power of landscape resources as catalysts able to change the behavioral patterns of a society.

Luke Miller is a South African Student currently writing his Master's thesis in Landscape Architecture at the Weihenstephan Triesdor University in Freising in cooperation with Nürtingen-Geislingen University (HfWU), Germany. He has a background in Architecture and has pursued a career in Landscape Architecture as this appeals more to his interests and passion for the landscape, ecology, and designing and planning spaces that support both social and ecological domains. Luke has been involved in numerous agricultural projects in South Africa: primarily in the development of sustainable agriculture through the implementation of community-based management strategies and the utilization of farming techniques such as rotational and strip grazing, maximizing water catchment and storage through vegetation management and topographic analysis. His skills are focused on graphic presentation, mapping, design, and agriculture.


Osama Hasan is the Eco-tourism Development Manager at the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). With 25 years of experience in designing and executing eco-tourism development projects in Jordan and the Middle East for nature and cultural heritage sites, with their associated landscapes, and developing socio-economic projects for surrounding local communities to improve and sustain their nature-based economic growth. Osama has professional qualifications and experience in planning and developing eco-tourism infrastructure, programs, visitors management, and Interpretation media and programs, including guides capacity building and training. Osama has qualified experience in construction management, renewable energy, and green technology for eco-buildings, urban landscaping, and xeriscape landscaping.

Osama holds a Masters's degree in Natural and Cultural Heritage Eco-Tourism Management from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, SPAIN, and a Bachelor's of Agricultural Engineering in Horticulture & Landscaping from Aleppo University, SYRIA. He is a very devoted person to nature, culture, and human-environmental activities and he is also passionate about sharing his knowledge and experiences.

Leen A. Fakhoury,  Industrial professor at GJU, with an academic experience of 30 years; heritage specialist with more than 30 academic publications, and has participated in regional and international conferences. Vice president for CulTech (NGO). Her professional experience covers the Preparation of Urban Regeneration and Tourism Development Plans for the City of Madaba,  Irbid and Kerak / Jordan. Architect heritage expert & team leader for Taibet Zaman project, a product of (Jordan Tourist Investment) for the reuse of the traditional village into Taibet Zaman, awarded the 1996 Tourism for Tomorrow Award by British Airways. In addition, Leen is a Consultant and researcher for the Risk Management Plan of Petra organized by UNESCO office in partnership with K-Leuvan University/Belgium 2012. Team Leader/Heritage specialist for “Heritage for Development: investing in people for the protection and management of historic city centres” (H4D), ENPI-EU project in partnership with the Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation/Bethlehem, and RehabiMed Association/Spain (2012-2014).

Kawthar Rayyan is a second-year Ph.D. student in Landscape architecture at Virginia Tech university. She is a Jordanian Architect with a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Jordan in 2008. Her interest in landscape architecture started while working in private architectural firms and offices, working on landscape-oriented projects that profoundly lacked the experience or scientific foundation to adapt to the Jordanian climate and context. Therefore, she pursued her master's in landscape architecture from the University of Arizona in 2013 to understand arid land and desert landscape better. Following that, seven years of teaching experience as a full-time lecturer at the German Jordanian University.

She also managed to promote and advocate a better perspective for reading and designing Jordan's landscape through her student projects, published articles, and community projects. She has collaborated with different universities in Germany, having cultural dialogue and innovation lab and workshop with German and Jordanian students.

Kawthar has been working as a landscape consultant working on Sanaa masterplan in Yemen and Sulaymaniyah masterplan in Kurdistan, and many projects in Jordan. Her main research interests focus on the cultural landscape and the impact of policies and management strategies on shaping Jordan's cultural landscape.

Kawkab Ahmad, is an engineer, a general safety supervisor, and a social activist. She has a BA in Chemical Engineering from Mutah University and has worked as an environmental inspector in the Jordanian Ministry of Environment. Kawkab has participated with many non-governmental organizations and institutions specialized in the field of human rights, democracy, and sustainable development. Her hobby is recycling old and unusable materials into valuable and usable objects. Therefore, she set up her own business to recycle and contribute to creating beautiful scenery.

Lama Khushman, an Architect, researcher, and consultant in the field of Urban Planning, with mixed experience in academic teaching and urban development research and practice. She graduated in 2015 from the German Jordanian University with a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering. Today, she holds a Master’s degree in spatial planning from the German Jordanian University. She has a large experience in intercultural programs and activities, such as workshops and research projects with TU Dortmund, and Bauhaus University in Weimar. Aside from the research activities, she has also been part of planning projects like master plans and city assessment.

Lama is currently working as a research and teaching assistant in the German Jordanian University with 5 years of academic experience, where she is responsible for multiple courses like architectural design, urban planning, and computer-aided designs.

Tala Awadallah, an architect with a Masters degree in Sustainable Architecture attained in 2011 from the Jordanian University, currently teaches at the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the German Jordan University in Jordan, and formally worked as an architect at the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan from 2003 to 2011. Tala has provided energy efficiency and consumption in buildings consultation works for the Ministry of Public Works and housing in Jordan, and the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) through specialized mapping projects, both on a local and international scale. She is passionate about teaching and working with students on innovative architectural design and applications.


Nayla M. Al-Akl is Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the American University of Beirut. She is a co-founder and administrative member of the Lebanese Landscape Association (LELA). Nayla has worked on a number of landscape architecture, planning, and urban design projects in the Middle East, the US, and China. Her research interests lie in the relationship between humans and their environments and the interface of nature/culture/society. Nayla’s most recent work looks at the role of urban landscapes, including university campuses and urban cemeteries, for the promotion of social inclusion, human wellbeing, and ecological health. Nayla holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Beirut and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Beata Dreksler is Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the American University of Beirut, Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management. She holds a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture from Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Poland. She has more than 20 years of experience as a landscape architect in Europe and Central America. She worked on different projects: landscape planning and management, natural reserves, urban parks, and residential development. In 2017 she won the First Prize for The Best Public Space in Poland in the competition organized by the Society of Polish Town Planners and Association of Polish Cities. Her research focuses on urban revitalization and ecosystem services in both – rural and urban contexts.  She works also on applications of digital tools in landscape architecture and participatory planning, with a focus on Virtual Reality.

Sabrina Ulmasova is currently serving as a tutor for the Middle East Social Innovation (MESIL) project. She also is a post-graduate researcher/young academic for the Middle East Productive Landscapes (MEPROLAND) project. Sabrina studied Economics for her Bachelor’s degree, Environmental Policy for her Master’s degree as a Fulbright Foreign Student, and is currently finishing her 2nd Master’s degree in Natural Ecosystems Management at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Her professional experience includes environmental project management and consultancy on sustainable land management, rangeland management, and ecosystem-based approach to rural development. She speaks Arabic, English, Persian, and Russian, and is fond of authentic Biryani recipes.


Samar Nazer (Al-Nather) obtained a Ph.D. in Landscape architecture in 2008 from the Landscape Department, University of Life Sciences, UMB Aas/Norway. Nazer got a Master of Philosophy in Landscape design, Newcastle Upon Tyne University, U.K. She also obtained her Bachelor of Architectural Engineering from the University of Jordan-Amman. Nazer has 40 years of academic experience as a lecturer, instructor, and head of the department of architectural engineering in the College of Engineering and Technology (Polytechnic University) and Birziet University in Palestine. Teaching many courses of architecture and landscape architecture on the Bachelor and Master level  Supervises graduation Projects for undergraduate students.  She supervised many master students on their thesis. Samar Nazer also has 28 years of professional experience as a freelance landscape architect and chief landscape architect in many consulting engineers’ offices working on architectural and landscape design and supervision and consultation of many projects. Her research interest is in landscape change, landscape perception, planting design, landscape ecology, and rural development. She also published many papers and did many types of research related to these interests. She is also a member of many Associations, Institutes, Federations, Councils, committees, and development programs.

Sara Khasib is an instructor at the Department of Architectural Engineering, Birzeit University, Palestine. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Birzeit University in 2013 and was granted her Master’s degree in Architecture Design from the University of Nottingham, UK in 2016. As an architect and a scholar, Sara is interested in urban design issues, city planning, and the cultural and socio-political aspects of architecture and urbanism. She has previously worked as a teaching and research assistant at the Department of Architectural Engineering at Birzeit University.


She currently teaches different courses of Architecture Design, History of Architecture, visual communication skills, and drawing courses.