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Speaker Event: Azzedine Downes
CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

November 14, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Join Crystal Cove Conservancy on the Cottage Check-in Deck for a special speaker event featuring Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The evening will begin with a reception where guests can mingle before an intriguing conversation and Q&A about Azzedine’s extensive career, as well as his book The Couscous Chronicles: Stories of Food, Love, and Donkeys from a Life Between Cultures. 

The Couscous Chronicles is a compelling collection of stories that will leave you believing in the power of compassion and the ability to make a difference—and yes, even in the power of couscous. Don’t miss this opportunity to join Azzedine as he shares insights and experiences and inspires us all to take action to create a better world for both people and animals in our shared home. Copies of The Couscous Chronicles will be available for purchase at the Park Interpretive Store prior to the event.

Event is free to attend, but RSVP is REQUIRED!
Sign-up using the form below.

When: Tuesday, November 14 from 4:00-6:00 PM
Where: Cottage Check-in Deck in the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District
Parking: Please park in the Los Trancos Parking Lot across PCH. There will be a $15 Day Use fee per vehicle; free with State Parks annual pass.


IFAW is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. They are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. They rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, IFAW matches fresh thinking with bold action. They partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish.

As President and CEO of IFAW since 2012 and since joining the organization in 1997 as its Executive Vice President, Azzedine Downes has worked closely with experts and decision makers from around the world, leading a groundbreaking period of geographic expansion and strategic consolidation.

Influencing international policies to create positive change on the ground, Azzedine led the signing of a historic lease agreement with a Maasai community near Amboseli National Park in Kenya, securing 16,000 acres of habitat for elephants, while helping to establish a first-of-its-kind cooperative framework between IFAW and INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Program.

Before joining IFAW, Azzedine served as the Chief of Party for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jerusalem and Morocco and was appointed by President Clinton as Acting Regional Director for the United States Peace Corps in Eurasia and the Middle East. In 2015, Fast Company named him one of the “The Most 100 Creative People in Business,” and he has been listed among The Nonprofit Times’s “Power and Influence Top 50.”

Selected to join the Forbes non-profit business council and then named to the prestigious Council for Hope of the Jane Goodall Legacy Foundation in 2023, Azzedine joins a group of prominent global thought and business leaders committed to using their influence to improve the world around us. His first book, a personal memoir entitled The Couscous Chronicles, is set for release in June.

A graduate of Providence College and Harvard University, Azzedine is fluent in Arabic, English, and French.



November 14, 2023
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Crystal Cove Cottage Check-in Deck
#35 Crystal Cove
Newport Coast, CA 92657 United States
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