David Zilberman is a co-director of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program. He is a professor and holds the Robinson Chair in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the USDA, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
by David Zilberman
As we celebrated our 15th anniversary, in human terms, the ELP is a teenager approaching adulthood. All together, we have had a happy childhood, with nurturing and supporting parents (the CNR, the Beahrs family and our other friends), and we have already built a wonderful alumni base. But that will allow us to expand, grow and contribute to the change. In addition, the ELP has a young and very dynamic sibling, the Master of Development Practice (MDP); there are synergies between the programs in terms of curriculum and personnel. The synergies between the programs will allow both of them to flourish. Finally, the ELP is now becoming part of CNR’s International & Executive Programs (IEP). The new home will bring an extended family that will include excellent environmental training.As we look into the future, it is clear that the summer program will continue to be a core event of the IEP, but I expect to see several other events that will enrich the ELP family and benefit the world. First, we have had several attempts to build affiliated ELP programs; the one in Russia was the most successful but unfortunately did not last, after the passing of Dr. Svetlana Chernikova. But we would strive to think about alternative models. For example, we may consider having two ELP annual programs, one in Berkeley and the other rotating across locations. The program does not need to be of the same length, and the rotating program may be specialized. I always welcome your input and suggestions for new programs.
Second, the current ELP mostly targets international students, and it is quite extensive, providing an excellent introduction to the Berkeley community. We may consider a shorter summer program that will be aimed at the ELP alumni and the whole Berkeley alumni community. It can be a one-week refresher of environmental and international problems that will combine cutting-edge knowledge with Berkeley fun! Such a program can integrate the ELP and CNR communities with the whole Berkeley community, and hopefully yield useful partnerships.
Third, the ELP as well as CNR’s IEP will aim to offer educational programs that will foster life-long learning opportunities to our alumni. The fast development in technology and policy, new tools, as well as emerging challenges require professionals to update themselves, and we believe that the CNR and the ELP can be in the frontier to provide the training, both on campus and globally.
Finally, this future vision is ambitious but achievable. A key immediate challenge is to improve the communication and collaboration among all of us; it is to take advantage of our means of communication like the blog, the newsletter, and encourage the members of our alumni to engage in initiatives that will allow us to come together and start new projects. I believe that the IEP, under the leadership of Mio Katayama Owens, and Dean Gilless, CNR and of course, Dick Beahrs and our other friends, will be supportive of sound initiatives that will allow the ELP to grow. We would appreciate feedback and concrete proposals on how to enhance communication and interactions, ideas for new projects and even identifying new sources for support. I believe that together, we can make the world a better place.
Mio Katayama Owens, Ph. D., is the director of the International and Executive Programs (IEP). Building on the outstanding success of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, IEP functions as a mechanism for effectively linking academic and professional entities, developing non-degree professional programs in Berkeley and overseas.
by Mio Katayama Owens
Dear ELP Alumni and Friends,
This year marks both the Beahrs ELP’s 15th anniversary and its first year as member of International and Executive Programs (IEP). I am excited to join the ELP at this important junction in its history. Now more than ever, we need to prioritize global education, to connect thinkers and movers, and to inspire innovations in the face of critical changes to our natural and social environments.
The College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley has always produced groundbreaking research, but 15 years ago, ELP’s co-director David Zilberman had a realization that “many practitioners in the environmental field could benefit from the extra knowledge and skills that Berkeley has.” To meet this need, the Beahrs ELP was conceptualized and founded by David, Dick Beahrs, Robin Marsh and many other contributors. Their efforts were instrumental in nurturing the ELP from a 3-day program with 9 participants to the comprehensive, 3-week program it is today. The potential for growth was boundless, and the College decided to do more. In 2013, IEP was established to give the College more channels to extend its research to scholars, practitioners, professionals and executives.
IEP upholds the mission of the College of Natural Resources of “[serving] society by generating and disseminating knowledge in the biological, physical, and social sciences in order to provide the tools both to protect the Earth’s natural resources and ensure economic and ecological sustainability for future generations” through non-degree training programs. For example, we have organized programs on climate and energy policy and spatial data science, bringing practitioners around the globe to Berkeley and engage with our experts.We also collaborate with government agencies and companies to design programs that cater to their specific needs. In 2013 and 2015, we brought representatives from the Department of Agriculture of the Philippines to Berkeley for two courses on the intersections between climate change, agriculture and livestock. With our colleagues at UC Davis, we organized field trips and workshops to bolster the livestock industry in the Philippines. This wonderful program was only possible because of Ruth Miclat-Sonaco, one of the ELP alumni who wanted to promote sustainable agriculture within her agency.
This fall, we are hosting buyers and managers from Costco Wholesale for a program on Organic Agriculture that is designed to support informed decision making regarding sustainable food. They are learning from our experts such as Claire Kremen and David Zilberman on issues such as diversified farming systems and drought. These programs allow us to translate CNR’s expertise into action to support the health of people, environments, and economies around the world.
The Beahrs ELP joined our family of programs this year. Through this union, we have increased ability to reach more professionals on the development of specific knowledge base and skills. Your advice will be invaluable to the development of new initiatives, and I am excited to hear from you about the types of programs that would allow you to acquire new skills and explore new topics. My hope is that IEP continues to expand and deepen its collaborations, to build on past successes and come up with creative ways to disseminate knowledge. I look forward to engaging with you as we celebrate this year, and many fruitful years to come.
Richard “Dick” Beahrs (Class of ’68) with his wife Carolyn, established CNR’s Beahrs’ Environmental Leadership Program. He was the first recipient of the College of Natural Resources Citation Award in 2003 and is currently Co-Chair of the CNR Advisory Board Development Committee and a Trustee of the UCB Foundation. He is the retired former President of the Courtroom Television Network and Comedy Central. A true Cal supporter, Dick, Carolyn and their four children all have Berkeley degrees.
by Dick Beahrs
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since the welcoming reception for the first ELP was held on July 4th, 2001. I will always recall Chancellor Robert Berdahl’s opening remark that everyone at Berkeley “expects to learn as much from ELP participants as Berkeley can possibly convey.” His words strike me as prescient as there has been tremendous collaboration between ELP fellows and faculty over the years.From the very beginning, our perspective was that it would take many years to really be able to evaluate how impactful the program could be. Because of all of your spectacular work, there is reason to be excited about what has been accomplished. There have now been over 600 Fellows from 112 countries. The impact you have already had speaks for itself, and your successes hold great promise for the future. We’d like the ELP to help.
Happily, recent developments lead us to believe that the future can be even more exciting and that the ELP can do even more. New funding for the ELP will make it possible to strengthen the Alumni Network, the changes for collaboration and involvement with the Berkeley community. Here are some of the most important:
In the years ahead, Carolyn and I hope to visit many more of you in your home countries so that we can see your outstanding work on the ground. My visits with ELP Fellows in Russia (Svetlana Chernikova), China (Bill Valentino and Patrick Zhishao Tang), Ghana (Rafael Flor, Abenaa Akuamoa Boateng, and Frank McAvor), and Mexico (Eduardo Ponce Guevara), etc. have been lifetime highlights. I look forward to many more visits as we work together to expand the impact of your work.
I have had the privilege of working with ELP participants, staff, and faculty for most of its fifteen-year history. Every summer, as a new group of ELPer’s assembled for the three-week Berkeley program, I marveled at the amazing diversity of individuals in the class. I looked forward to reading where participants were coming from and what their particular environmental interests were. Each summer I learned more about the daunting obstacles each individual faced at home trying to manage wildlife in a national park, provide clean water to impoverished communities, promote sustainable agriculture, or develop viable urban refuse removal. The challenges to addressing any one of these problems were great. What made ELP exceptional to me was the strong vision and passionate commitment each participant brought to the session.
Susan Carpenter is a mediator, trainer, and writer in private practice. She has spent the past thirty-five years developing and managing programs to reach consensus and resolve controversies at the local, state, and national level. She was the founding director of the Program for Community Problem Solving in Washington, D.C. Ms. Carpenter has authored numerous materials including the book, Managing Public Disputes: A Practical Guide to Handling Conflict and Reaching Agreements.
by Susan Carpenter
One of ELP’s strengths over the years has been its ability to provide a variety of platforms for participants to talk about their issues with faculty, with local practitioners, and with their fellow ELPer’s. Through these different interactions people had an opportunity to learn, reflect, and strategize how they might best proceed when they returned home. As part of the leadership curriculum participants were exposed to state-of-the-art research on a broad-range of environmental issues along with the personal dynamics of leadership in the form of effective communication and collaborative problem solving skills. (ELP to its credit recognized the importance of paring technical knowledge with effective social skills in order to promote effective leadership when participants returned home.)This past month I had the opportunity to work in Vietnam with Do Thi Thanh Huyen (ELP ’14) thanks to the Buck Kingman Initiative. Huyen and I co-taught the first ever environmental education workshop for environmental educators from 20 national parks and nature reserves in Southern and Central Vietnam. I saw Huyen’s visionary, energetic leadership in action. I realized how many ELP participants return home to work on their causes without a strong network of local colleagues. I understood better how the ELP program can serve both as a re-energizer to its diverse participants while they are on the Berkeley campus and can provide a network of colleagues who can offer support and encouragement once participants have returned home.
In addition to reflections, anniversaries also give one the opportunity to think forward. With alumni now numbering close to 600, ELP has an opportunity to build more formal networks and programs among its talented graduates. By creating stronger regional and topical networks and by using social media to share opportunities, pose questions, and seek ideas, on-going learning and problems solving can be enhanced. Also as UC Berkeley proceeds to develop its new Global Campus up in Richmond, California, I am hoping that additional ELP activities such as topical or regional conferences and joint-projects between Berkeley faculty and ELP fellows can be initiated. I celebrate what ELP has accomplished to date and look forward to seeing it pursue even more productive activities in the future.
J. Keith Gilless is a co-director of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program. He is Dean of the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at UC Berkeley, and holds a joint professorial appointment in CNR’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and its Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He is a recipient of Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and the co-author of two textbooks on forest resource management and economics.
by Dean J. Keith Gilless
At this year’s annual reception for the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program in July 2015, we were able to share a milestone with this year’s cohort, instructors, staff and supporters. This year’s reception was dedicated to the program’s 15th anniversary, and it featured special speeches by three of our 2015 ELP fellows. On a windy afternoon, Binta Iliyasu from Nigeria, Sheelasheena Damian from Malaysia, and Marjana Chowdhury from Bangladesh spoke from the Giannini patio and shared stories of struggle and triumph in their journeys toward environmental leadership. Binta spoke of overcoming gender discrimination to attain her education in biochemistry. Sheelasheena explained how a late-night encounter with a sea turtle pushed her from the private sector to the world of wildlife conservation. Marjana shared how her experiences at a catastrophic earthquake site led her to work with UNDP to bolster communities against natural disasters.
As I watched these three fellows captivate their audience, I felt proud that the ELP had become part of their journeys. I was reminded of the power of the ELP to bring together diverse backgrounds and disparate minds to solve global challenges that need every voice and insight. Committed to ELP’s mission, Raymond Hurst documented the process of empowering the participants to speak up. Highlights from their speeches can be viewed in this outstanding video.15 years have passed since we decided to create a program that could act as a hub for different sectors, cultures, and academic perspectives. As the Dean of the College of Natural Resources and a current co-director of the ELP, I have a unique vantage point from which to view this program’s growth. I see cohorts come and go, taking new knowledge and connections with them as they pursue better environmental and social conditions around the world. I see the staff work tirelessly to ensure that every detail of the ELP experience is seamless. I see our faculty polish their presentations and walk into the Blum Center, ready to engage with participants of the highest caliber. Most of all, I see everything come together to produce innovative and thoughtful work that makes a real difference. From the Goldman Environmental Prize winning project by 2008 alumnus Prigi Arisandi, to the 47 Buck Kingman Initiative projects since 2003, to the work currently being done by all of our alumni and collaborators, we have witnessed amazing stories of global collaboration and change in these 15 years.
This program is fitting for UC Berkeley, an institution where so many work on research to support environmental and economic sustainability. Furthermore, as a university that strives for global connectivity, UC Berkeley continually works to create innovative, even audacious, ideas such as the Berkeley Global Campus at the Richmond Bay. This year, we are not celebrating ourselves. We are celebrating the ripples of change that each ELP session generates for people and environments around the world. I hope that this year’s participants feel that the knowledge they gained at the ELP will carry forth in their careers to help change lives in their home countries, and I hope that all of you can say the same.A bittersweet aspect of a program like the ELP is that our participants scatter far and wide as soon as their sessions end. Of course, many of you keep in touch, and the ELP team works hard to keep past and present cohorts connected through webinars, social media, and updates such as this newsletter. If you are reading this, I am grateful that you have stayed with us on our path to improve the ELP. Developing this program has been a deeply collaborative process that continually incorporates feedback from alumni. Over 15 years, we have refined our curriculum, created new workshops, and adjusted our program structure to predict the needs of future participants based on the wisdom of their predecessors.
The ELP team is constantly searching for new ways to engage you, and this year they are unveiling the Mentorship Program. This is a platform for you to reach out to a newly accepted participants before they arrive at the ELP, to give them advice and encouragement from your experiences here.I will let the ELP team provide you with more details in the coming weeks, but I am excited for the potential bridges they will build as we work towards a bigger and better future together. I wish you well, and hope to see you at Berkeley again- perhaps for ELP’s 20th anniversary.