José A. Zaglul is the President of EARTH University, an international, private, not-for-profit institution located in Costa Rica’s humid tropics. Established in Costa Rica in 1989, EARTH University is dedicated to the formation of leaders with ethical values who will contribute to sustainable development and to the construction of a prosperous and just society.
As the first President of the University, Dr. Zaglul had a leading role in shaping the institution’s philosophy and strategic vision and has provided the continuous leadership necessary for this innovative institution’s success. EARTH University offers a unique educational environment that encourages the development of responsible leadership based on values, social commitment, environmental consciousness, and academic excellence, as well as an entrepreneurial and enterprising spirit.
Born and raised in Costa Rica to parents of Lebanese descent, Dr. Zaglul holds a PhD in Animal Science from the University of Florida. In addition, he obtained 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.
Very early in his career, Dr. Zaglul decided to devote his life to the educational field. He was especially interested in forming young leaders from socio-economically depressed regions who would help their families toward a better future and, at the same time, contribute to improve the quality of life in their communities and countries, ultimately, to make this a better world.
Prior to serving as EARTH University’s President, Dr. Zaglul headed the Animal Production Department at the Center for Tropical Agriculture Research and Education (CATIE, as it is known by its acronym in Spanish) in Costa Rica, an international center for tropical research and the oldest postgraduate school of agriculture in Latin America. From 1981 to 1985, Dr. Zaglul was a Food Science professor and later Vice President of Research and Extension of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (ITCR, as it is known by its acronym in Spanish).
Dr. Zaglul is the former President (2005-2007) and a current Executive Committee member of the Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture (GCHERA). He is the founder and president of the Central American and Caribbean Meat Processing Symposia (1983-2005); he serves on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut and is a member of the Advisory Board of the United World College Costa Rica Foundation. He served as the co-chair of the five-year SEMCIT international seminar series (Sustainability, Education and the Management of Change in the Tropics).
Under his leadership EARTH University has graduated over two thousand students from thirty five countries, who are now spread around the World, transforming their own dreams and making EARTH’s mission a reality every day.
Dr. José Zaglul has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida (2010) and from the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut (2002). He has been awarded Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from the Chatham University of Pittsburg (2010) and the Honorary Doctor degree of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (2011).
He speaks Spanish, English and Arabic fluently, and is the author of a book about EARTH’s creation and early years titled, Children of the Earth.
Notwithstanding his innumerable professional achievements, Dr. Zaglul remains a humble man who has extensively traveled the globe to share EARTH University’s innovative educational model and search for new allies to support his mission: to assure quality educational opportunities for young leaders in the tropics, with the promise to transform them into agents of change, capable of creating a more sustainable world for all.
Dr. Zaglul has brought the language of love and respect to the university classrooms, motivating students and professors to wage a battle for peace between people as well as between humans and the environment that nurtures us. He promotes equal opportunities for people regardless of race, creed, nationality or gender. His strong faith in mankind anchors his belief in people´s capacity to learn and improve.
As a family man, Dr. Zaglul professes special admiration for his Lebanese ancestors and for his migrant parents, who built their home in the small community of San Ramón, in Costa Rica, where Jose and his siblings grew up and received their primary and secondary education. Dr. Zaglul is married to Rosario Ruiz; they have three children, Joumana, Samir and Layla, as well as two grandchildren –Lucia and Gabriel, from Joumana and her husband Erick.
In their small farm, “Los Candiles”, located in the Pacific mountains of Costa Rica, Dr. Zaglul has found solace and a refuge where he plants mangos and lemons while protecting the water springs. There he meets with friends, businessmen and political leaders who enjoy his wise and inspiring ideas.
At the threshold of his retirement, Dr. Zaglul is preparing to transfer responsibility to a new President of EARTH University who will continue to deepen the institution’s vital role in agricultural and environmental education, and take it to the next stage of development.