Back to UC Berkeley’s Beahrs ELP: a step further to avoid knowledge waste and consolidate environmental leadership networking

by Dr. Noureddin Driouech (ELP 2012), Italy

1I first experienced the UC Berkeley system in 2006, under the framework of my PhD studies, as a visiting scholar/researcher in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management (ESPM). I carried out research and experiments on cover crops and agroecology under Mediterranean cropping systems with Professor Miguel Altieri and on physiological plant ecology and stable isotope biogeochemistry (15N) of self-reseeding legumes with Prof. Todd Dawson.

Five years later, in the summer of 2011, I had the chance to visit the UC Berkeley campus and meet with the Cal Alumni Association team. While discussing Alumni Networking with CAA leaders and R. Tucker Coop (former CAA executive director), I learned about the ELP program which is organized by the College of Natural Resources. Thanks to Robin Marsh’s (former co-director of ELP) presentation and illustration, the ELP appealed to me because unlike most summer training programs, there was a very strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research and cross-cutting science on environmental and natural resources management. Effectively, while participating in ELP 2012, I had hands-on experience that the program provides extensive knowledge and experiences in a number of disciplines (e.g. Policies for sustainable development, Leadership for collaborative change, Impact assessment and quantitative analysis, Mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, etc.) that are critical to environmental management success.

2Furthermore, my experience with the ELP program has resulted in career advancement to a highly responsible and technically challenging position. The caliber of fellow and worldwide participants in the program far exceeded my expectations. The program was a great platform gathering representatives of international institutions, organizations, academia, universities, agencies and NGOs. Faculty, researchers, agronomists, agri-food experts, forestry and wildlife biologists, conservation scientists, policy makers, managers, executive directors, economists and social scientists, practitioners, entrepreneurs and almost every other discipline in-between, come together to create an eclectic group that yields thought-provoking discussions, debate and an incredible network of colleagues and genuine friends.

4In addition, during the ELP 2012 activities, I enjoyed how the training program, covered and animated by various imminent UCB faculty and non-academia experts, focused on practical, real world environmental management and policy applications. My various interactions and discussions with many great and environmental-experienced worldwide people have helped me acquire leadership skills in Sustainable Environmental Management and provided me with an abundance of networking opportunities, opening doors for me in higher circles. In fact, under the UC Global Engagement with International Institutions and Partners, in October 2012 CIHEAM-IAM of Bari and UC Berkeley signed a convention recognizing the value of educational, cultural, and scientific exchange between international research institutions.

Going back to the ELP program in 2016 is considered as a follow-up initiative for my collaboration with UCB ELP and as an Alumnus. Actually during the last 4 years, I kept a fruitful connection with the ELP team by promoting the ELP program within the Mediterranean Alumni Network (FTN) that I am coordinating, and within my organization’s professional circuit. I also facilitate some ELP recruits and share useful info and knowledge (e.g. Call for Projects, Call for Conferences and Workshop, Job opportunities. etc.) within the ELP Alumni Network and community.

Additionally, partaking in the ELP 2016 could be a good opportunity to communicate and share with the new ELP cohort about my work experience and the actions/activities of my organization in terms of education/training, applied research and cooperation in the field of sustainable agriculture, rural development and food security in the Mediterranean region.

In return, I am expecting to consolidate and strengthen the on-going collaboration between my organization CIHEAM, UCB and the ELP program, and also to pave the way to establish an ELP satellite in the Mediterranean region. These may include:

  • Joint educational, cultural and research activities
  • Exchange of faculty, graduate students (MSc and PhD) and postdoctoral studies
  • Participation in seminars, workshops and academic meetings
  • Exchange of academic materials, publications and other information
  • Special short term program and visits

Finally the ELP program is definitely worth the time invested for those who are interested in promoting synergies for sustainable and environmental development between research communities and building cooperative programs based on multidisciplinary knowledge. Along with that comes an increased sense of self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.

Debate on Sustainable Development, Agriculture and GMOs with Prof. Miguel Altieri, Prof. David Zilberman (UCB) and Dr. Sarah Sherr (EcoAgriculture partners):

My Team working on a collaborative approach exercise, stakeholders analysis and conflicts management with Susan Carpenter (*from left to right Maité Arrien (Bolivia), me Noureddin Driouech (Morocco in Italy), Daniel Mumuni (Ghana), Mekdes Ijigu Asefa (Ethiopia) Hendra Yusran Siry (Indonesia), Mohamed Hama Garba (Niger in Senegal), Juliet Dima (Keyna), Umaru Farouk Bubiure (Ghana):

With ELP-er Juliet Dima (Keyna):

With ELP-er Angelina Davydova (Russia):

During the ELP 2012 opening ceremony with the Dean of the College of Natural Resources, Dean J. Keith Gilless:

During the ELP 2012 opening ceremony with UCB Cancellor Robert J. Birgeneau (Right ), Grace Modupe Adebo (left), and Alain Mathaukot Bayonne:

Family picture ELP 2012:

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