The son of a career diplomat, Arif Gamal was born in 1949 and raised in Khartoum, Sudan. He left Sudan for France in 1975 to attend graduate school, returning after receiving his doctorate in environmental science. Following the 1989 military coup d’état in Sudan—and with his family under constant government surveillance—Gamal received an invitation to be a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and has lived in Northern California with his family ever since. Gamal has been a panelist and keynote speaker for many national and international conferences, seminars and workshops, from Nicaragua to Sweden, and in the early ’90s he lobbied in both the House and the Senate for the African Trade Bill.