Prof. Batanouny was born on 30 January 1936 in Egypt. He is married. He is fluent in Arabic, English and German.
He obtained a BSc (Hons.) in Chemistry and Botany (1956), an MSc in Ecology (Botany) (1960), a PhD in Ecology (Botany) (1963), all from the University of Cairo (UoC), Egypt. He obtained a DSc in Ecology – Eco-physiology from UoC (1985).
He started his career as a Lecturer in the Department of Botany in the Faculty of Science at UoC (1964-1971), then became Assistant Professor (1971-1974), Head of the Department of Botany (1987-1993), Director of the Centre for Environmental Research and Studies at UoC (1993-1996), and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science at Cairo University for Community and Environmental Development (1994-1996). He was General Supervisor at the Desert Research Centre (DRC), Egypt (1995-1996), and is currently Emeritus Professor of Ecology in the Faculty of Science at UoC.
Prof. Batanouny has been Vice-President of the Egyptian Botanical Society (EBS) (1981-1987), President of the International Organisation for Human Ecology in Vienna, Australia (1984-1989), President of EBS (1987-present), a member of the Executive Board of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) in Paris, France (1995-1996), and a member of the Board of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (1997-1999).
He has a large number of scientific publications to his credit, and has participated in numerous national and international conferences in these fields. He has also authored a number of books, including Plants in the Deserts of the Middle East (publ. Springer Verlag), Plants in the Sayings of the Prophet (PBUH), and Plants in the Holy Qur’an. He has delivered a number of lectures to foreign universities, principally in Europe, and established a school in Egypt with around 40 MSc and PhD students.
He has been awarded a number of prizes and honours, including: the State Prize for Environmental Sciences (1981), the Prize of Arab Ministers for Environment – Achievement in Biological Diversity in Arid Lands (1997), the State Prize (Merit Prize) for Basic Sciences (2002), and the ISESCO Prize in Biology (2003). He was enrolled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement (1989).
Prof. Batanouny was elected as a Fellow of the IAS in 2006.