Prof. Behbehani was born on 13 April 1943 in Kuwait.

He obtained an MSc in Medical Parasitology from the University of Liverpool, UK (1969), and a PhD in Immunology from the University of London (1972). 

He has served as Deputy Director General of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), and Vice Rector for Research at the University of Kuwait. He has been working for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, since 1990.  He has been Program Manager within the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (1991-1994), Director of Tropical Diseases (1994-1999), and Director of the Eastern Mediterranean Liaison Office and in charge of Resource Mobilization for the Eastern Mediterranean Region. He became WHO Assistant Director General for External Relations and Governing Bodies in 2003 and in 2005 became WHO Envoy.

Prof. Behbehani is a member of many national and international organizations including the British Society of Parasitology, the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Electron Microscopy Society of America, and the European Academy of Arts, Science and Humanities in Paris, France. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (MRCPath), and a former visiting professor at Harvard Medical School.

He was awarded a Kuwait University scholarship as well as the best research award in Medicine, which was awarded to him by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). He has authored more than 100 scientific papers in international journals, as well as one book on science and technology.

Prof. Behbehani was elected as a Fellow of the IAS in 1992.