Resource People 2015


Alastair McIntosh Alastair McIntosh (Scotland) has been described by BBC TV as “one of the world’s leading environmental campaigners.” A pioneer of modern land reform in Scotland, he helped bring the Isle of Eigg into community ownership. On the Isle of Harris, he negotiated withdrawal of the world’s biggest cement company (Lafarge) from a devastating “superquarry” plan, then agreed to serve (unpaid) on that company’s Sustainability Stakeholders Panel for 10 years. Alastair guest lectures at military staff colleges, most notably the UK Defence Academy, on nonviolence. His books include Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power (Aurum), Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition (Birlinn), Rekindling Community (Green Books) and Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service (due in September, Green Books). He is a fellow of the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh and a visiting professor at the College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow.
Ashish Kothari Dr. Ashish Kothari (India) is founder-member of Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh. Ashish has taught at the Indian Institute of Public Administration. He coordinated India’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan process, has served on Greenpeace’s International and India Boards, and been on the steering committee of commissions of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He was a member of the Government of India Committee on Implementation of the Forest Rights Act. He has been active in civil society movements relating to destructive development, conservation, and natural resource rights. Ashish is the author or editor (singly or jointly with others) of over 30 books; the latest, Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India with Aseem Shrivastava, exposes the devastating impacts of economic globalisation and presents an alternative framework for human well-being.
Daniela Del Bene Daniela Del Bene (Italy/Spain) holds a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Turin (Italy) and a BA in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Triest (Italy). She also studied ethnology, history and politics in Southern Asia and Hindi language at the Sued Asien Institut, University of Heidelberg (Germany). She is currently a PhD candidate in Ecological Economics at ICTA – Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Barcelona; her research is on energy sovereignty and conflicts related to dams and hydropower. Her main topics include environmental justice studies, political ecology, political economy and degrowth, focusing mostly in Southern Asia (Indian Himalayas), Europe (Alps) and Latin America. Daniela is involved in social movements and advocacy groups working on water and energy issues, human rights to water, socio-environmental justice, and debt.
Eda Elif Tibet Eda Elif Tibet (Turkey) is an independent documentary filmmaker and a visual anthropologist who mostly films and produces her own films on local livelihood rights and social justice. Through her award-winning film ‘Amchi’ (2013) on Tibetan healers, Eda was named most inspiring filmmaker of the year by the Jakarta Film Festival (2014). Her film ‘Hey Goat!’ (2014) on nomadic pastoralists of Turkey has been screened at the History Museum of Geneva and received the jury prize at Slovakia’s International Festival of Sustainable Development Films. Her latest musical documentary ‘Refugee Here I Am’ (April 2015) is directed with Enzo Ikah, a Congolese musician and refugee himself. This documentary has premiered in cinemas in Turkey and is currently touring the world intending to create dialogue between the displaced and the authorities in charge. Eda holds a MPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Kent (UK). Whilst completing her doctorate at Bern University in Switzerland, she currently works as a researcher on a Swiss National Science Foundation funded visual anthropology research project documenting unaccompanied minor refugees in Turkey and their biographies on education. She continues filming and producing her own films under her label, Tibetto Productions.
Elizabeth Rahman Dr. Elizabeth Rahman (UK/Spain), a social and medical anthropologist, is a Postdoctoral Associate of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford and tutor for the Department of Continuing Education. Elizabeth specializes in hands-on, indigenous and applied techniques that cultivate mindfulness in diverse environmental and climatic settings, with a special focus on Amazonia and rural Spain (Canary Islands). Her doctoral research ‘Made by Artful Practice: Reproduction, Health and the Perinatal Period among Xié River Dwellers of North-Western Brazil’ (2014) examined the repertoire of hands-on perinatal techniques used by the Warekena of tropical Brazil (north-western Amazonia) and how these are used to make particular types of mindful and healthy people adept at living in such an environment. Elizabeth is currently interested in applying biosocial anthropological research to promote wellbeing and sustainability – as part of the curriculum and through outdoor pedagogic approaches – in primary, secondary and tertiary education. She is a native English speaker and also speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese and lingua geral (Amazonian lingua franca).
Emily Caruso Dr. Emily Caruso (UK/Italy) completed her PhD in anthropology at the University of Kent (UK) in January 2012. She carried out her research – funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) – among the Ashaninka, an indigenous Amazonian people living in Eastern Peru. It explored the relationship between their concepts of selfhood and alterity, and their modes of relating with the nation-state, conservation and development projects, and NGOs. She has a particular interest in the practices and politics of formal conservation interventions, community-based conservation, and the mutual, affective relationships that exist between people and places. Since 2002, she has worked with various international NGOs supporting indigenous and forest peoples’ rights, and since 2007, she has accompanied Ashaninka federations in their daily operations and broader political struggles. Emily is a native English speaker, and fluent in Italian, French and Spanish.
Emily Ryan Emily Ryan (US), MSc, is an independent transformative educator and facilitator. She works collaboratively with organizations and individuals to design and deliver unique learning journeys for communities of people all over the world. The goal of each offering is to empower participants to reconnect to their ecological identity by providing information, guidance and support. This is done through holistic, experiential practices that honor and encourage all ways of knowing, particularly the desire to return to a wholehearted, authentic state of being that experiences the primacy of interconnectivity. Emily works with organizations such as the Global Diversity Foundation, Bioneers, Schumacher College, Women’s Earth Alliance, and the Pachamama Alliance.
Flurina Schneider Dr. Flurina Schneider (Switzerland) is a human geographer and senior research scientist at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern. She has conducted extensive research for sustainable and just development, particularly on conditions and processes that hinder or foster social learning and transdisciplinary co-production of knowledge. Moreover, she has developed methods and approaches for integrating inter- and transdisciplinary research results and managed transdisciplinary processes of knowledge co-production and learning between academic and non-academic actors (e.g. moderation of stakeholder platforms, participatory scenario development). Currently, she is the principal investigator of a project entitled: “Increasing the Effectiveness of Transdisciplinary Research for Sustainable Development” and the coordinator of the r4d project: “Managing telecoupled landscapes for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services and poverty alleviation”. Her research takes place in Switzerland, Myanmar, Laos and Madagascar.
Jeremy Narby Dr. Jeremy Narby (Canada) is an anthropologist and author of several books including “The cosmic serpent: DNA and the origins of knowledge” (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 1998) and “Intelligence in nature” (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2005). He works as director of Amazonian projects for Swiss NGO “Nouvelle Planète”, backing the initiatives of indigenous organizations in favour of land titling, bilingual and intercultural education, sustainable forestry and fish-farming.
Gary Martin Dr. Gary Martin (US/France), the Director of the Global Diversity Foundation, has been involved in conservation and ethnobotanical work for over thirty years. He has engaged in applied research and training in more than forty-five countries. After studying botany as an undergraduate, he received his MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. From 1998 – 2011, Gary was a research fellow and lecturer at the School of Anthropology and Conservation of the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. Between 2010-2012, he was a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Society and Environment in Munich, Germany. Since 2011, he has been the Director of the Global Environments Summer Academy and is the creator of the incipient Global Environments Network. He is a native speaker of English, speaks Spanish and French, and is learning Moroccan Arabic.
Gonzalo Oviedo Gonzalo Oviedo (Ecuador) is IUCN’s Senior Advisor for Social Policy, based at the IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, since 2003. For the last 20 years, he has worked for international conservation organizations at senior levels in social policy and social science fields. He is an anthropologist and environmentalist, with experience on the social aspects of nature conservation, traditional knowledge, indigenous peoples and rural communities, environmental and rural education, human rights, and environmental governance. He facilitates implementation of IUCN’s policies on social issues and their integration in IUCN’s conservation programmes worldwide, working together with IUCN constituents and partners.
InancTekguc Inanc Tekguc (Cyprus) finished his MA in Visual Anthropology at the University of Kent, UK in 2010, where he found himself drawn to discussions about climate change, sustainable development, eco-tourism and conflict between conservation projects and local communities. He has been interested in using his academic training as a tool to explore the relationship between humans, other species and their shared ecosystems. Setting this interest as a background, Inanc wishes to improve his photography skills and work with like-minded colleagues.Ever since he joined GESA in 2011 as a student participant, he has felt at home among friends and has kept his involvement in the subsequent courses. He is very excited about seeing the GESA family grow.
John Agbonifo Dr. John Agbonifo (Nigeria) is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of  Sociology, Osun State University, Nigeria. His published works include Development as Conflict: Ogoni Movement, the State and Oil Resources in the Niger Delta, Nigeria; Corporate Social Responsibility: An Oversocialized View of Multinational Corporations in Africa; Territorialising Niger Delta Conflicts: Place and Contentious Mobilisation; and Environmentalism and Environmental Movements in Nigeria. John is a recipient of several fellowships, including the Rachel Carson, and Swiss Government Excellence fellowships. He holds a doctorate from the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Bioneers 2014 Joshua Sheridan Fouts (US) is a globally recognized media innovator and social entrepreneur known for his visionary work paving new inroads for meaningful understanding between cultures. He is currently Executive Director of Bioneers, a 26-year-old NGO focused on movement building and vanguard social justice and science solutions for people and planet. A cultural anthropologist by training, Joshua has worked in both film and the arts. He began his career in Washington, DC in the 1990s where he worked at the US State Department and began to experiment with new ways to use radio, television and Internet technology for cultural collaboration. He went on to launch two first-of-their-kind think tanks focused on digital media innovation and cultural relations at the USC Annenberg School in Los Angeles where he founded the first-ever blog about digital journalism and later created a new master’s degree in public diplomacy. Joshua spent his formative years doing chimpanzee sign language research in his parents’ primatology studies. During his 20-plus years career in education, international and cultural relations, Joshua has personally worked with the peoples of Malaysia, Africa, and indigenous tribes of the Amazon and Canada. He is fluent in Portuguese (Brazilian) and English.
Karl Herweg Dr. Karl Herweg (Germany) is a Geographer and Head of the “Education for Sustainable Development” Cluster at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Bern University. He holds a PhD in Geography from Basle University (Switzerland) involving a three-year field research work on soil erosion in Italy. Hereafter he worked as advisor and project manager in a soil and water conservation research project in Ethiopia and Eritrea. His focus in research and teaching is on sustainable management of natural resources and impact/outcome monitoring, linking ecological, social and economic dimensions of sustainability. Over the last decade Karl was mainly involved in inter- and transdisciplinary training and learning events with Bachelor, Master and PhD students in various training institutions in Switzerland and overseas. He prefers integrative training approaches that involve students and lectures of different disciplines, if possible including field work and encounters with non-academic actors during the courses.
Liza Zogib Liza Zogib (Scotland/Philippines) is founder and director of DiversEarth, an international NGO based in Switzerland, working at the interface between nature, culture and spirit. DiversEarth engages with partners around the world to support and celebrate the cultural practices that contribute to nature conservation and, in particular, focuses on the protection, management and restoration of sacred natural sites. Liza previously worked with WWF International, specialising in protected areas in their diverse forms and social development for conservation. She is also a practitioner of Yoga and Bharatanatyam (an Indian classical dance form) and takes great inspiration from exploring the many links between these (and other) sacred arts and the natural world.
Peter Messerli Peter Messerli (Switzerland) is the director of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern. As a geographer specialized in inter- and transdisciplinarity, his research interests lie in the sustainable development of socio-ecological systems in Africa and Asia. He thereby focuses on increasingly globalized and distant driving forces of rural transformation processes and their spatial manifestations in the Global South.
 Ruth Krause Ruth Krause (Germany) is a Visual Anthropologist and Journalist based in Berlin. She sees video as a powerful tool for participating in public discourses and putting topics on the agenda that otherwise would not be heard. For her MA-thesis she explored the relationship between Human Rights defenders and victims of the armed conflict in Colombia. After graduating from the University of Kent in 2009, she started working for several German TV stations as a reporter and videojournalist. She is now mainly reporting for Deutsche Welle, the German international broadcaster, where she covers topics related to globalization, biodiversity, international youth politics and economics. She joined GESA in 2012 and enjoys the inspiring atmosphere and meeting like-minded people.
Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel Dr. Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel (Switzerland) is a geographer and ethnobiologist with extensive working experience in Latin America and Eastern and Southern Africa. She holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Bern, Switzerland and is currently carrying out a post-doctoral study on local knowledge, gender and agroforestry in the Peruvian Andes at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Presently a Senior Research Scientist at the Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Bern, she has over ten years of experience in the leadership of international cooperation programs involving research institutions, NGOs, and community-based organizations. Since 2010, she has been actively involved in the NGO sector, first as Executive Director and then as Director of Science and Conservation, at A Rocha Peru, a Peruvian environmental non-profit organization, part of the global network of A Rocha International, which engages in community-based conservation, scientific research, and environmental education. Her professional interests focus on sustainable development and natural resource management, indigenous environmental knowledge, social-ecological resilience, and social learning processes.
Seline Meijer Seline Meijer (The Netherlands) has a background in Environmental Sciences, holding a M.Sc. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford in the UK. She completed her Ph.D. in Forestry at University College Dublin, Ireland, in 2014. During her research, carried out in partnership with the World Agroforestry Centre, she spent three years in Malawi working with local subsistence farmers. Her research focused on farmers’ attitudes and perceptions towards tree planting and deforestation, and explored potential linkages between the two. In June 2015, Seline took up a new position as Programme Officer at IUCN in Gland, Switzerland, and is responsible for managing the development of, and contributing to, a new IUCN knowledge product called Human Dependence on Nature. This product aims to improve the understanding of the contribution of species and ecosystems to the livelihoods and economies of indigenous peoples and local communities.
Stephan Rist Dr. Stephan Rist works as lecturer in Human Geography and heads the Cluster Governance of Land and Natural Resources at the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern. He is Co-leader of Research Project 13 of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South on the transformation of agrarian systems. He holds a PhD in sociology from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and habilitated at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Rist also directs a research project entitled “Governance of Forest Multiple Outcomes in Bolivian Lowlands: Reconciling Livelihoods, Biodiversity Conservation and Carbon Sequestration” of the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) and is project leader of the interdisciplinary research project on “Sustainable Soil Governance and Large Scale Land Acquisitions originating in Switzerland”.
Susannah McCandless Dr. Susannah McCandless (US) is a geographer and political ecologist who completed her PhD at Clark University in Massachusetts, USA in 2010. Her fieldwork in the U.S. and Latin America focuses on questions of conservation of privately-held land and the possibility that it may function as a commons; and how gender, race, and ethnicity affect rights of access and movement. She has taught human geography at the University of Vermont, environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and worked formally and informally with organizations focused on land reform, community forestry, ethnobiology, environmental justice, and migrant farmworkers. Raised in Vermont, USA, Susannah is interested in the critical intersections between viable landscapes and just human livelihoods. Susannah is a native speaker of English, and also speaks Spanish and French.

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