She is a water and soil scientist and agricultural engineer who has been director of IWMI since September 2005. Prior to that, she was director of research at the National Research Institute for Agricultural Engineering, Water and Forestry of the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture. She studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Agronomie in Toulouse, and obtained doctorates from the Institut National Polytechnique, Toulouse, and Lund University, Sweden. Her previous honours include the Guinness Award for Scientific Achievement from the Guinness Foundation, the International Foundation for Science/King Baudouin Award and the Kuwait Prize in Applied Sciences (waste recycling) of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences.
The CNR Rao Prize, which includes a USD5,000 cash award, will be awarded to Bahri during the TWAS 20th General Meeting and 11th General Conference in Durban, South Africa, from 20 to 23 October 2009.