Participant Testimonials



Chapotera, Mphatso Edda - Photo[About David Riemer, Communications Workshop leader] I would like to admit that since I attended your session on communication during Beahrs ELP 2015 I have become a better person in communication than I was a year ago. I used all the techniques which you told us during my Role Modeling Event at my High School in order to motivate high school students to join Agriculture Research and Development Professional. The results were so amazing and within 5 minutes I was approached by more than 30 students to help build their career choice.
Mphatso Edda Chapotera, Environmental Capacity Building and Development Officer, Pact International, Malawi (ELP 2015)

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P1030776The substance and knowledge learned from the ELP have given me a chance to broaden my scope and look at the bigger picture. Personal development sessions, such as “Collaborative Leadership for Sustainable Change,” added more ammunition to the success of my professional career. Access to information, UC Berkeley faculty, researchers and academics, and the networking just add on to the already highly effective learning from the program.
Dr. Kyaw Thu, Program Specialist, UN-Habitat, Myanmar (ELP 2014)


IMG_8961 2Something has changed as a result of my participating in the ELP and that is me; now, I am full of expectations and willing to apply all that I learned in Berkeley. With time passing, people lose the energy and the drive to change the world (save wildlife, prevent pollution, etc.), and at the end of the day, the world changed us, mainly by putting away our original challenges. After the ELP, I believe again that something else can be done in regards to environmental management.
Monica Ribadeneira-Sarmiento, Senior Expert, KfW, Ecuador (ELP 2014)

I have attended a number of seminars, conferences and training courses in the last few years and none have compared to the breadth and quality of the information provided in various presentations at the ELP. This course was an incredible learning experience. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ‘accomplished’ upon leaving an educational event before.
Dr. Khaled Sassi, Associate Professor, National Agronomic Institute,
Tunisia (ELP 2014)


IMG_8554I had many opportunities to discuss and share the environmental challenges that my country, Afghanistan, has with my ELP peers. For instance, I shared the issue of pollution caused by plastic bags and other solid wastes…one of the ELP participants shared her experience and informed me about recycling the plastic material and converting them into blankets. I am still in contact with her and would like to replicate the same sort of project under my program here in Afghanistan.
Aimal Khan, UNDP – GEF Small Grants Programme, Afghanistan (ELP 2014)

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Lara, Rey 2013As I embark on a higher mission of working for the environment, my learnings and insights from the course will help the government plan, manage and make priority programs and projects for the environment and for sustainable development. My training will be applied in helping the Department of Agriculture formulate the Regional Action Plan for Hazard Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.
Rey Baro Lara, Chief of Plans and Programs, Department of Agriculture, Philippines (ELP 2013)


Ponce, Eduardo 2013
As a result of participating in the ELP, my abilities to communicate, analyze and confront conflicts, and leadership skills, have definitely increased. Before, I considered environmental conservation and management and conflict resolution among stakeholders a huge challenge. Now I see it as a clear objective that is achievable.
Eduardo Ponce-Guevara, National Autonomous University of Mexico,
Mexico (ELP 2013)

Iscenco, Alexander 2013
The knowledge and insights from the ELP are already being applied in my activities. Together with a number of participants we have started to push forward the Free Sustainable Energy in Ghana Challenge initiative on Dreamups, as well as to develop the learning content for the Moldoval Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA). The ELP will play a very important role in the development of both Dreamups and MEGA.
Alexandr Iscenco, Let’s Do It!, Moldova (ELP 2013)


IMG_8554I very much enjoyed the trip to Morro Bay because we were able to learn from the experience of three different stakeholders (fisheries, local government and NGO) and how they united and collaborated for the same objective. It was not easy, but the way they endured was incredible and it shows how we need to persist in our jobs with diligence, even though the results are not immediate, things will eventually change.
Diana Corona Vadillo, Minera Cardel S.A. de C.V from Golgroup Mining,
Mexico (ELP 2013)

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Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 3.50.20 PMThe well designed workshops and thematic groups facilitated by highly inspiring UC Berkeley faculty, whose conviction and passion on the state of the environment has no doubt, provoked us to become more active champions in our own particular fields of endeavor.  I am truly grateful to now be a part of a network of environmental professionals whose knowledge and resources will help me pursue a more purposeful leadership in the environment.
Ramon de Mesa, Global Environment Facility, Philippines/USA (ELP 2012)


Victoria Pebbles
The diversity of ELP participants has been given me a much more global perspective on environmental issues. Although every region and every country faces unique challenges, ELP allowed me to also see where commonalities exist, and inspired me to try to build on those attributes by using the ELP network to enhance knowledge and information exchange for broader geographic benefit.
Victoria Pebbles, Great Lakes Commission, USA (ELP 2012)

Akwetaireho, SimonThe most memorable field trips were to the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration project and the central coast of California. They were enriching, professional, and exposed me to the practical reality of integrated landscape/seascape conservation and development approaches. I liked most the business model being used at ALBA (Agriculture Land-Based Association) as it empowers the farm workers and when they develop their wings to fly (capacity), they start their own farms. This is a classic example of sustainability.
Simon Akwetaireho, The Jane Goodall Institute, Uganda (ELP 2012)


Vargas, Armando SanchezI feel that I am in a better position to face the challenges of my work after participating in the ELP.  The ELP provided me with new tools and the training to be innovative and a better negotiator.  I must say that the course was so inspiring that I have come back to my country with a lot of energy to develop an improved research project and the confidence to approach some stakeholders to make it real!
Armando Sanchez, Professor, National Autonomous University of Mexico,
Mexico (ELP 2012)

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Msoffe, Fortunata
ELP participants not only learn from others but also have the chance to educate their fellows in terms of what they are dealing with back home.  In my point of view, this is the best way to come up with sustainable solutions we are facing as women scientists in Africa, because in the end it gives one the confidence and ability to tackle situations regardless of how big they are.
Fortunata Msoffe, Udzungwa Mountains Nat’l Park, Tanzania (ELP 2011)


Gondolini, GianlucaTopics were tackled in a comprehensive manner and participants contributed to analyze challenges from different facets showing that they demand responses from multicultural and multidisciplinary communities of practitioners. Back home I expect to streamline systemic thinking in my area of work which relates to sustainable food supply chains, and apply innovative and creative concepts to cross-cutting issues such as rural development, environmental management and climate change.
Gianluca Gondolini, Rainforest Alliance, Italy (ELP 2011)

Rana, EakELP was an eye opening event to me. I benefitted much from the workshop called collaborative leadership. It provided me with applicable tools and techniques on conflict resolution and facilitation in multicultural groups. I attended two national workshops and several meetings when back to Nepal. I felt different than before as I could share views and opinions more confidently and in convincing ways. The course has been proved to be effective.
Eak Rana, ICIMOD, Nepal (ELP 2011)


Going by the saying that ‘change begins from me’, I sense that I am empowered and armed with all it takes to make meaningful change in any existing system in a collaborative manner both in my professional and family life.  My vision is to see small-scale farmers in Cameroon and beyond work collaboratively and develop into small-scale agri-businesses as we saw with “Full Belly Farm” (Capay Valley, California).
Ebenezar Asaah, World Agroforestry Centre, Cameroon (ELP 2011)

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The ELP allowed me to reach out to peers across the world. As we are all involved in work that is ultimately related to each other, I accessed a wealth of information and approaches that I can use in my profession. The best modules were those dealing with collaborative tools and skills for leading change, because these are the sorts of skills I require on a permanent basis.
Federico Bellone, Avina Foundation, Italy/Brazil (ELP 2010)


Rhonda Hardy
I have now had the time to digest, reminisce, and review the amazing experience of participating in the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program at UC Berkeley. Each day I wake up and smile about the many experiences. The highlights were: a new group of friends from around the world, the high caliber of presenters, the debate panel, the field trips, and an increased awareness of global issues.
Rhonda Hardy, University of Illinois Extension, USA (ELP 2010)

Zabardast Bangash
I just went global from national and regional levels. We discussed priority issues of population growth and food security and how to feed 10 billion people by 2030. ELP tried to bring out the real leader in me and I am extremely thankful for this. ELP has broadened my vision and has equipped me with necessary tools to play my role in the conservation world. This is an elevated feeling.
Zaberdast Khan Bangash, IUCN, Pakistan (ELP 2010)


The program was very intensive. I am impressed by the huge amount and diversity of valuable information we could gather from lectures, field trips, and various exchanges during the three weeks at Berkeley. Several ready-to-use tools for self-knowledge, dealing with people, problem solving and negotiations are all very relevant and useful for my work, as well as my daily non-professional life.
Lanto Andriamampianina, WCS, Madagascar (ELP 2010)

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Nur Endah ShofianiThree weeks was indeed a very short time, but the ELP was intensive enough to develop common concerns and shared ideas for environmental integrity that motivates participants coming from different backgrounds, cultures and professions to incorporate those perspectives into day-to-day work. The program was also able to build a foundation for participants’ personal leadership potential as well as for strengthening collaboration among the ELP participants and alumni even after the program is over.
Nur Endah Shofiani, ESP – USAID, Indonesia (ELP 2009)


Lasisi AdedoyinThe Beahrs Environmetal Leadership Program is the best environmental training I have taken part in during my ten years of working as an environmental practitioner. My participation at the ELP has been beneficial to my Ministry, including the approval of my various recommendations for new Ministry activities. Among them I have started the Student Environmental Education Project within the Ministry School Advocacy Program, and new bio-indicators for water monitoring within the R&D Department.
Lasisi Adedoyin, Lagos State Ministry of the Environment, Nigeria (ELP 2009)

Erdene GanjuurjavThe fantastic environmental program has changed my point of view in many things, including cooperation with all kinds of stakeholders. We know that ‘many hands make light work’ and without the help of our global partners and friends from different cultures, the load would be profound. Policy making is the main part of my job. Now I have easy access to exchange work ideas and experiences in many different countries.
Erdene Ganjuurjav, Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, Mongolia (ELP 2009)


Ramon CorreaThe workshops, their academic content, the field trips and all the interrelated activities are incredible and outstanding. Probably, most ELP participants attend this program because we feel the need to enhance our environmental awareness and we are looking to devise better strategies to promote sustainable development. However, we received and exchanged much more than our initial expectations. Beahrs ELP changed my life.
Ramon Correa, Engineering Manager, MYP Intermex S de RL de CV,
Mexico (ELP 2009)

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Monique Mikhail
ELP was an incredible educational adventure that allowed me to share experiences and knowledge with bright, passionate people from diverse disciplines, sectors and regions.  Since I work on the nexus of agriculture and water, I found most exciting the potential of ecoagriculture and multi-stakeholder negotiation.  The program truly attracts and provides the best minds in the field of environment and development.  Bravo!
Monique Mikhail, International Development Enterprises, USA (ELP 2008)


Roberto RivasAs soon as I returned from Beahrs ELP, I came with several ideas to put into practice within my organization. Now I’m able to perform better in teamwork and applying leadership and communication skills. I was able to mobilize and encourage my colleagues to prepare our own environmental leadership course. I’ll carry an extraordinary network of environmentalists and peers who will be my reference persons for both Latin America and worldwide.
Roberto Rivas, Universidad Centroamericana, Nicaragua (ELP 2008)

Rofi Alhanif
Words are just not enough to express my appreciation to the ELP. The program is so powerful. It provides me with new perspectives on how humans and nature are interrelated: how small the earth to fulfill human needs and how big the impact of human development on this small earth. The program should be shared and spread all over the world to bring more positive impact!
Rofi Alhanif, Ministry of Marine Affairs & Fisheries, Indonesia (ELP 2008)


IMG_8554ELP helped me to re-evaluate the relationships within the business-environment-people mix. All sustainability-minded ‘environmental initiatives’ should incorporate this mix into program design and management.  It also helped me better place the importance of environmental health within a framework of environmental sustainability and livelihood security in rural communities.  There is need for greater collaboration.
Torjia Sahr Karimu, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone,
Sierra Leone (ELP 2008)

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P1030776Beahrs ELP was just what I needed. The curriculum was rich and it constituted some of the best professors I have encountered in all my years as a student, professor, and administrator. It was indeed a perspective-changing experience of a lifetime. I returned home a totally different person with a renewed belief that ‘champions’ can make a positive difference towards sustainable environmental development.
Anthony Penaso, Vice-Rector, Central Mindanao University,
Philippines (ELP 2007)


Elabass photo
This initiative to develop the capacity and skills of mid career environmental leaders has come at a critical period of a global environmental transformation. The ELP was a great learning experience for me and an excellent opportunity to network and focus on things crucial to my work development. The trainers are experienced and professional. We received an excellent collection of materials that we can use over and over again.
Mahasin Elabass, Ahfad University for Women, Sudan (ELP 2007)

Haywood Photo croppedWorking mostly in environmental science, I was excited to learn from fellow participants the importance of social issues such as health, gender, poverty alleviation and environmental education in achieving sustainable development. It was the passion and energy of the participants and faculty of the ELP that has had a positive impact on my future outlook to environmental challenges.
Lorren Haywood, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research,
South Africa (ELP 2007)


Lira (Chile)I was looking for a smart way to gain specialized knowledge about environmental issues from a global perspective, with a strong theoretical background, but also with the practical perspective of the problems of the real world. I’m a busy professional, so I wanted a very intensive program in a short period of time. In the Beahrs ELP I found everything I was looking for.
Valentina Lira, Head of the Forestry Conservation Development Program,
Chile (ELP 2007)

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P1030776Working on biodiversity issues in the Peruvian Amazon, it was very enriching to learn from professionals who have successful conservation strategies to share from the other side of the globe.  I believe, without a doubt, that bringing together an international group so diverse and capable on environmental issues is a huge leadership accomplishment for UC Berkeley.  Definitely, the ELP changed the way I view the world and inspired me to create local solutions that contribute to solving global problems.
Sara Mateo Centeno, Amazonian Research Institute of Peru, Peru (ELP 2006)


Lazarus JosephMy Beahrs ELP experience is nothing short of a revelation. This is manifested in the fact that there are at least 38 people who through this distinguished program, have been empowered to make a meaningful contribution in addressing our planet’s ecological problems. I take this opportunity to encourage those of you who believe that you have a contribution to make in salvaging this planet to join those of us form around the world that made this commitment through the ELP at Berkeley.
Lazarus “Joe” Joseph, Grenada Ports Authority, Grenada (ELP 2006)

PhamKnowledge gained from the course in collaborative processes for managing conflict will assist me to better deal with conflicts among different stakeholders in managing the natural resources in the Vietnamese context and the diversity of culture in Vietnamese society. The course has provided me with a different and new way to look at poverty as an issue closely relation to population, economy, culture, politics and the environment.
Pham Dieu Trang, Center for Environment & Community Assets Development, Vietnam (ELP 2006)


hansenI found that the workshop on the linkages between population, health and environmental issues had a lot to offer.  Matter of fact, as a direct result of this workshop, we will start to coordinate with the health sector. The leadership for sustainable development workshop taught me about the tremendously important role of communication skills in virtually all development activities. I use the principles from this workshop on a daily basis. I was very pleased to participate in the ELP course 2006. It fulfilled my every expectation.
Jens Hansen, Danish International Development Agency, Denmark (ELP 2006)

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Wamiti Portrait-1This blending of diverse and knowledge-hungry participants and experienced faculty ensured a rich academic and social setting, excellent for building environmental leaders. I think this is the best form of education that exists in the world today where people living thousands of miles apart may work hand in hand. I personally appreciated that the program is meant for mid-career professionals who deserve such a life affirming training.
Stephen Wanyoike Wamiti, National Museums of Kenya, Dept. of Ornithology, Kenya (ELP 2005)


Mac Nga
The ELP training course is wonderful and especially valuable to those who have much practical experience but less professional training like me. I am opened up to a comprehensive picture in which I find my routine work in conservation interlinked with other related issues. The ELP helps me more clearly determine my career and gives me confidence and inspiration to develop and implement new projects.
Mac Nga, World Wildlife Fund, Vietnam (ELP 2005)

Siddiqui fotoI will be using some contents of the course in raising awareness and sensitization among the stakeholders with whom we are working. In the same vain, I think we will be using the poverty, population and environment nexus as a planning tool. My Indian colleagues have decided to replicate this ELP at the grassroots level. They will be partnering with me as well. Thus we will give a regional dimension to building environmental leaders.
Siddiqui Akbar Siddiqui, HAASHAR Association, Pakistan (ELP 2005)


Natalia VinogradELP program is a unique experience of integration of environmental knowledge from all branches of science and practice. The course was brilliantly organized with interdisciplinary workshops, cultural and social events, and fascinating field trips.  It was also a unique opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world, who really care about the environment in their countries. We had unforgettable time and best impressions of California and USA.
Natalia Vinograd, St. Petersburg State University, Russia (ELP 2005)

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For me it was the most productive and encouraging experience to take part in this training.  It went so smoothly that the managerial part was a great learning in itself.  The great thing for me was not only the course, but also meeting people from around the world who have similar interest and worries about how to save this world by taking care of social justice and equity. Berkeley is really a fantastic place for such debates.
Dinesh Paudel, Nepal-Swiss Community Forestry Project, Nepal (ELP 2004)


Vlademar Diaz
The Beahrs ELP gives to its participants “the state of the art” in environmental and leadership issues. Moreover, the program permits the interchange of experiences among its participants in a way that increases their awareness and imagination. Supporting this kind of program helps to reinforce positive North-South and South-South linkages in order to strengthen capacity building around the globe.
Valdemar Diaz, University of Mexico, Mexico (ELP 2004)

An Nguyen
The ELP was such a wonderful learning experience, both academically and practically. I was enriched and inspired by an excellent & talented group of lecturers, development practitioners, and environmental leaders from different corners of the world…I have been so fortunate to extend my circle of friends and networks of experienced leaders and experts in the field of environment.
An Nguyen, Ford Foundation, Vietnam (ELP 2004)


ErnedalProfessionally, the ELP has provided a valuable inspiration for the development and implementation of new projects. I particularly appreciate the importance of social conflict resolution and gender issues for natural resources and will apply these lessons learned in my daily work. Personally, I was most impressed, by the courage demonstrated by all ELP 2004 participants in handling difficult and even dangerous situations.
Sven Ernedal, Delegation of the European Commission in China,
China/Sweden (ELP 2004)

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P1030776I have attended several environmental trainings for mid-career people, but the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program is by far the most comprehensive and integrated one. It goes beyond just environment to also address most of the burning sustainable development issues all over the world. I would recommend it to all people working in the field of development who want to have a global picture of the interactions that exist between the three pillars of SD and who really want to make a difference in their job.
Abou Bamba, RAMSAR Convention, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (ELP 2003)


Patrick Karani
With the knowledge and skills obtained from the Beahrs ELP, I am confident and determined to catalyze policy change and institutional transformation towards restoration of clean air in our city. The approach of “willingness to pay” is challenging in our environment accustomed to “polluter pays principle”. Nevertheless, we were encouraged to be tough and stand firm if we believe that what we are doing is positive and right.
Patrick Karani, International Bureau of Enviornmental Analysis, Kenya (ELP 2003)

Bio NiazPicThe best thing about the course is its use of a mixture of techniques, how adults learn best. There was classroom instruction and participatory discussion of the issues, panels, group work, exercises and field trips. The course has equipped me with the necessary tools to do much better, whatever my future challenges will be. It has also provided me with requisite sensitivity. I believe that the people who make the right decisions are not necessarily those with the right credentials, but those with the right concerns.
Kazim Niaz, Government of Pakistan, Pakistan (ELP 2003)


At Berkeley I cherished the different lectures delivered and group activities with my colleagues, which gave me an opportunity to implant them individually at the back of my mind.  My 30 years of working with community-based organizations, and my ability to interact with and understand scientists and academicians, assures me that I will contribute meaningfully to positive environmental change in this part of the world.
James Rubakisibo, Lutheran World Federation, Rwanda (ELP 2003)

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I’ve learned to think outside of the box…to think beyond my experiences. I’m trained in economics and am used to thinking that way, but by interacting with other participants, who, for instance, are soil scientists, biologists, sociologists, I’m able to understand their perspectives. I think that is critically important when dealing with issues that are global in nature.
Justin Ram, University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago (ELP 2002)



I consider myself a happy man to have had such a great opportunity to participate in the summer Beahrs ELP course. I had an invaluable experience, gaining knowledge which I can use for the benefit of my country, for the well-being of its people, and not only for my country, but also for the whole of humanity.
Bolot Kulnazarov, Tabyat Osh Ecologival Movement, Kyrgyzstan (ELP 2002)

I must say that the ELP program will always be a memorable experience in my life. On my way to the Eastern Cape I told my colleagues here that I met brilliant and unbelievable people from 37 different countries and I shared with them the moments of fun we had in the bus, in group discussion sessions, and above all the enriching interactions we had on a person to person basis.
Nhlanhla Sihlophe, University of Natal, South Africa (ELP 2002)


The summer course has been a very informative and stimulating experience for me. I want to stress that the diversity of the participants’ backgrounds has added to this course an outstanding element of cross-cultural and knowledge exchange that can seldom be found in any other international course. I think that this is a very unique and unrivaled course, and I have truly enjoyed every single moment of it.
Sami Kamel, UNEP (in Denmark) Egypt (ELP 2002)

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IMG_8554The Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program is an excellent initiative in terms of capacity building at the global level.  By promoting interchange of experiences, generation of new ideas, analyses of alternatives, and development of an informal network between participants from different parts of the world, it achieves what is urgently needed by the world: human resources development at the very highest level. The potential of this program is immense.
Enrique Castelan, Third World Centre for Water Management, Mexico (ELP 2001)


The lessons I learned there, not only through the course, but also through your (fellow participant’s) kindness and eagerness to bring change in our world, were very important for me. Now I don’t feel alone because I know that I have friends all over the world from whom I can get advice and support for my projects.
Cisse Dieneba Sow, African Women Leaders in Agriculture and Environment,
Mali (ELP 2001)


We need international linkages to eliminate barriers of nationalism and country boundaries, to gather together as human beings who live in the same ecosystem, our lonely planet, the earth. I am very proud to be a part of the ELP alumni and hope I can contribute something to our vision for a better world for us and the next generations.
Ade Cahyat, Community Forestry NGO, Indonesia (ELP 2001)


The most precious things that came out of this summer session were the links established between colleagues from all over the world with the same passion for saving the world from environmental disaster. What is quite wonderful is that the links are more than just professional, but personal and full or warmth, camaraderie, and sincerity of friendship.
Anges Rola and Vicki Espaldon, University of Philippines,
Los Banos (ELP 2001)

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