Azzedine T. Downes at Harvard Book Store


The Couscous Chronicles:
Stories of Food, Love, and Donkeys
from a Life between Cultures 

in conversation with JEFF CORWIN


July 26, 2023
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store and Boston Area Returning Peace Corps Volunteers welcome AZZEDINE T. DOWNES—President and CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare—for a discussion of his new book The Couscous Chronicles: Stories of Food, Love, and Donkeys from a Life between Cultures. He will be joined in conversation by Emmy award-winning television host, producer, and author, JEFF CORWIN.

About The Couscous Chronicles

Now an international leader in the fight for animal welfare, Azzedine began his career as a volunteer teacher and later was appointed to leadership in the U.S. Peace Corps. An American Muslim with Irish roots, he’s a natural cultural shape-shifter, immersing himself in the cultures of Morocco, Eastern Europe, Northwest Africa, Israel and his native United States. Along the way he befriends the glue-sniffing shoemakers of Fez, becomes the de facto manager of a traveling break-dance troupe, dodges bullets on his daily commute, and finds himself cursed over a feast of couscous gone very, very wrong.

But his most powerful story recounts Azzedine’s marriage to an elusive girl from Tangiers. Arranged after only two meetings their love story ultimately spans continents and withstands language barriers, international intrigue, and one very antagonistic State Department bureaucrat.

A labyrinth of tales as complex as its namesake dish, The Couscous Chronicles is for anyone who believes that the only real failure is to remain unchanged and in place, that true love is always a blind leap, and that a good story over a cup of tea holds the power to change one’s destiny.

Praise for The Couscous Chronicles

"The Couscous Chronicles is one of the most extraordinary and fascinating books I have ever read." —Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, ethologist and conservationist

“Azzedine has woven a masterful tapestry of a life lived in faraway places that very few people get to experience or even see. Every page is overflowing with a bouquet of unique characters, diverse cultures, and random humorous events that envelop and capture the senses.” —Sir Graham Russell, Founding Member and Songwriter for Air Supply

"A wonderful collection of stories told with humor, insight, and compassion. I was swept up in a world of travel, culture and rich human experience!" —Mark Beaudouin, Chair of IFAW Global Board of Directors

"Azzedine has lived an inspired life full of adventures and purpose. His accomplishments and impact would make any mother proud!" —Jon Levy, Founder of The Influencers, New York Times Bestselling Author of You’re Invited

Mask Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Azzedine T. Downes
Azzedine T. Downes

Azzedine T. Downes

Azzedine Downes is the President and CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Before joining IFAW, he served as the Chief of Party for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jerusalem and Morocco, as well as the Acting Regional Director for the U.S. Peace Corps in Eurasia and the Middle East. Fast Company has named Downes one of The 100 Most Creative People in Business. He is a member of the Global Tiger Forum Advisory Council, the Jane Goodall Legacy Foundation’s Council of Hope, and currently sits on the U.S. Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee. He currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island. The Couscous Chronicles is his first book.

Jeff Corwin
Jeff Corwin

Jeff Corwin

For nearly three decades, Jeff Corwin has been telling stories of wildlife and nature to a global audience through his many celebrated television series on ABC, NBC, Travel Channel, Food Network, Disney Channel, and Discovery Networks. Jeff’s television work has been awarded with multiple Emmys and the top broadcast industry awards. Jeff is also the creator and co-presenter of CNN’s groundbreaking documentary Planet in Peril, hosted alongside Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta. Jeff is Executive Producer and host of ABC’s Ocean Treks, five seasons of powerful and compelling stories exploring journeys of culture, adventure, and nature around the globe. Jeff is an Executive Producer and Presenter for the giant screen film Expedition Chesapeake and the Narrator for David Attenborough’s powerful, cinematic documentary Galapagos, Natures Wonderland. Jeff is also the author of 10 books on wildlife and nature, including Living on the Edge, Amazing Relationships in the Nature World. Jeff is a leader in conservation, recognized through his work as a television host, producer, journalist, author, explorer, and wildlife biologist. Jeff’s education includes Bachelor of Science Degrees in Anthropology and Biology from Bridgewater State University and a Master of Wildlife and Fisheries of Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Jeff is the recipient of numerous Honorary Doctorate Degrees in Education and Environmental Science.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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Co-Sponsored by

Established in 1978, Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (BARPCV) is a nonprofit, member-driven organization consisting of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who are committed to the values and spirit of the Peace Corps.

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