Currently Browsing Alumni of: Community Development

Sara Amelia Mateo Centeno

My expertise is in the development of environmental policies and strategies for natural resources management at local and national levels; although my first job was related to urban environmental planning, I most enjoy working with natural resources.

When I was young I joined a non profit organization as a volunteer to work in environmental education and Local Agenda 21. It was very nice to work as an activist in environmental demonstrations in my city. Years later, I was a consultant in environmental quality systems ISO 14000 for a private company. I also have international experience in environmental management in Uruguay, Poland and British Columbia.

I currently work in the Amazonian area of Peru developing Regional Strategies and Action Plans for biodiversity management, developing projects about natural resources with indigenous people, developing proposal for bio-commerce, and helping environmental authorities in the development of their environmental policies.

I am the Biodiversity Management Specialist of the Biological Diversity of the Peruvian Amazonia – BIODAMAZ Project.

I work on developing regional strategies for biological diversity to achieve the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The project is under the supervision of the Peruvian Amazonia Research Institute and the University of Turku in Finland. The local partners are the five Amazonian Regional Governments of Peru (60% of the country), the National Environmental Council of Peru, NGOs, local universities, public and private organizations, indigenous groups and the civil population.


My background is in Geographical Engineering, which I studied in Peru. I did a Masters in Environmental Management in Wageningen University in The Netherlands, and my Master’s thesis on environmental policies was developed in the University of British Columbia in Canada. I attended a short program on biodiversity monitoring at the Smithsonian Institute, and Development of Projects with INWENT in Germany. I also attended a short program on business and administration in Lima.

Kristen P. Patterson

Kristen P. Patterson is the People, Health, Planet program director with the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) in Washington, DC. Kristen first lived in Sub-Saharan Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger in a rural village for two years. Her experience in Niger ignited a passion for exploring innovative ways to integrate access to primary healthcare, women’s reproductive health, and biodiversity conservation.

She has 20 years of experience working at the nexus of community development, public health, and environmental conservation. Prior to joining PRB, Kristen managed external affairs focused on community-based conservation for the Africa Region of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for almost six years. During her tenure with TNC, Kristen helped launch a PHE project in western Tanzania called Tuungane. Prior to TNC, Kristen worked in Madagascar as a USAID Population-Environment Fellow to improve health care, access to family planning, and natural resources management in rural communities adjacent to national parks. Kristen has also conducted research in Niger with the International Livestock Research Institute on conflict management strategies used by farmers and pastoralists.

Mid-career, Kristen got a master of public health with a focus in women’s and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins, where she was the recipient of a prestigious Sommer Scholarship. She is a 2006 alumna of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program at the University of California-Berkeley. Kristen has a master of science in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development and a Certificate in African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Science from Colby College.

Christopher Aldridge

I had the privilege to be a Beahrs participant at Berkeley in 2005, building on 3 preceding years of poverty alleviation projects on nature reserves in south-west China.

Now retired, in the East Midlands of England, UK, I find myself still energised by my “Beahrs experience”. At the time of this update, my youngest son is 8 years old – a unique retirement gift!

I departed Berkeley in that summer of 2005 imbued with an enthusiasm and expanded sense of duty which are really best described as being my default settings.

I am a governor at my young son’s junior school (termed Years 3 – 6 in the UK). Beyond much joint effort to expand science in the junior curriculum, I am singularly encouraging an initiative to teach young children that easing poverty should be much more than taking a £1 coin to school on national and international charity days. Beyond shortage of cash, there is very challenging poverty of stability in many modern families, and equally worrying, increasing poverty of filial care to underpin the expanding populations of elderly citizens in care homes – many within walking distances of schools.

My “Beahrs default” is very much in place.


Joelisoa Ratsirarson

1. Joelisoa Ratsirarson holds a Ph.D. degree in Ecology from the University of Connecticut (USA). He is an Associate Professor at the Forestry Department of the School for Agricultural Sciences, at the University of Antananarivo (Madagascar). He is also the Assistant Dean of the School for Agricultural Sciences of the University of Antananarivo.
He is currently interested in the fields of forest ecology and plant-animal interactions. He is involved in a community-based conservation program with local residents, and in charge of coordinating conservation activities in two protected areas (Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve in southwestern Madagascar and Tampolo Classified Forest in eastern Madagascar) run by the School.
He has published several articles in selected journals and has received grants from several funding agencies to undertake field projects for conservation purposes in Madagascar.
2. The most important environmental issues and challenges my institution is facing today is the lack of well trained leaders in sustainable resource management, and the issues at global scale. The skills needed to better address these challenges are to reinforce capacity of human resources in policy makers as well as global resource management. In addition, the success of the conservation of the two protected areas run by our institution is highly linked with the better understanding of sustainable environmental management. I look forward to translating what I will learn in this summer program into effective policies for long-term management of resources in Madagascar.

Angela Weber

Angela Weber

Graduate student in Social Sciences


1.  I am a graduate student on Social Sciences, and am currently doing a specialization course on Management and Social Responsibility. I am mother of four grown children and have dedicated the last 20 years of my life to pro bono work on the fields of gender and environment. I am also an entrepreneur in the food business and work preparing and delivering healthy and balanced meals. Working with women’s movements  I  have been part of international conferences like Women’s Conference Beijing 1995, Rio+10 2002; COB 8 2007; and many others, making a network of people and NGOs, with matching interests. Currently I am developing projects on a region called Chapada Diamantina. The main goal of these projects is sustainable development and its many faces. One of the projects is called Parnaiba Sustainable Eco Tourism and is on the BID site ( as a finalist for two years of the Bid Challenge.  My main interest is to understand the concepts of development and sustainability. In order to do so I am mostly concerned with the interaction mechanisms of Global to Local and vice versa.  I believe that to reach real sustainable development we need to listen to and value the traditional communities’ knowledge.

2.  Currently I have two main projects – one is my final work for the specialization course on sustainable development and its implementation throughout worldwide politics, i.e. to understand how global public politics affect a small village in a remote area in the northeast of Brazil.

The other project is in partnership with the archeological department of Federal University of Bahia and developed within the community.  It is tasked with seeking new ways for their development, using their own parameters to reach sustainable development.

3. I have been an exchange student in San Jose Ca, a graduate student in Anthropology in Federal University of Rio de Janeiro 1972-1974; graduate student on Social Sciences at Federal University of Bahia 1975-1976.  I am currently doing a specialization course on Management and Social Responsibility at Federal University Bahia.  I worked pro bono for more than twenty years with women’s movements working with many NGOs in Brazil and abroad. Currently I am the president of a small NGO called Transformar witch main goal is social and environmental issues.

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