CEESP Sharing Power Keynote Speakers

The CEESP Sharing Power Conference was honoured to host five exceptional Keynote Speakers, two of which are the Conference Patrons. Each Keynote has a personal story that is as inspirational as their professional achievements - each one made a commitment to a vision of a better world for their people, for the world at large, early in their careers. The following biographies provide only a snapshot into their remarkable lives.

Keynote Speakers
Ashok Khosla, India

Ashok Khosla (India)

President of IUCN

Ashok Khosla was elected President of IUCN at the 4th World Conservation Congress held in Barcelona in October 2008. He has been associated with IUCN since 1975, and has been a member of the Council for over 20 years – as a Regional Councillor as well as Deputy Chair and Chair of CEESP (then known as CEP).

  • Chairman of Development Alternatives, a social enterprise headquartered in New Delhi, dedicated to global, national and local sustainable development through innovation of technologies, institutions and policies.
  • Earlier, set up and headed the Office of Environmental Planning and Coordination, Govt of India – the first national environmental agency in the South. Subsequently was Director, INFOTERRA, the global information system of the UN Environment Programme.
  • Was Special Advisor to the Brundtland Commission. Served as advisor to the United Nations, World Bank, GEF and other inter-governmental and government agencies.
  • Currently also Co-President of the Club of Rome and Co-Chair of the International Panel on Sustainable Resource Management. Has served on several international boards, including the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), EXPO 2000 in Hannover, IISD, SEI, ANH; also WEF NGO Council and the World Future Council^.
  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Won the United Nations Sasakawa Environment Prize 2002, the premier global prize in the field. Also received the Klaus Schwab Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award, Stockholm Challenge Award, and the Nehru Award for Popularising Science.

Ashok Khosla was born in India, studied in schools in Kashmir, the UK and Europe, graduated from Cambridge University and received his doctorate in experimental physics from Harvard University. He taught physics, astronomy and environmental science at Harvard. Has also lectured at Yale, MIT, Oxford, Turin, Leiden, JNU, and IITs. He has authored more than 300 papers and articles.

Winona La Duke

Winona La Duke, Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe)

Founding Director, White Earth Land Recovery Project

Winona LaDuke is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg who lives and works on the White Earth Reservations, and is the mother of three children. She is also the Executive Director of Honor the Earth, where she works on a national level to advocate, raise public support, and create funding for frontline native environmental groups.

In 1994, Winona was nominated by Time magazine as one of America's fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age. She has been awarded the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, the BIHA Community Service Award in 1997, the Ann Bancroft Award for Women's Leadership Fellowship, and the Reebok Human Rights Award, with which she began the White Earth Land Recovery Project.

A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, Winona has written extensively on Native American and Environmental issues. She is a former board member of Greenpeace USA and serves, as co-chair of the Indigenous Women's Network, a North American and Pacific indigenous women's organization. In 1998, Ms. Magazine named her Woman of the Year for her work with Honor the Earth. Also in 1997, her first novel, "Last Standing Woman", was published by Voyager Press. In 1999, South End Press published "All Our Relations", a non-fiction book on Native environmental struggles. Both books are available through the Native Harvest catalog. Winona's editorials and essays have also been published numerous times in national and international journals and newspapers.

Professor Hirini Mead

Professor Sir Sidney Moko Mead (Aotearoa)

Professor Sir Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead (Ngāti Awa ,Tūhoe, Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi), is an esteemed scholar, traditional leader and innovative thinker who is responsible for establishing many ground-breaking initiatives to progress Māori culture, language and education.

He gained his PhD from Southern Illinois University (USA) in Anthropology, and commenced his university career teaching at The University of Auckland before moving overseas to take on a position as Associate Professor (visiting) at McMaster University (Ontario) and Canadian Commonwealth Fellow at the University of British Colombia.

On returning to New Zealand as Professor of Māori at Victoria University of Wellington he created the first department of Māori studies in the country, separating Māori studies as a discipline in it's own right from Anthropology. In addition, he was responsible for building the first university-based marae on a mainstream campus – Te Herenga Waka Marae at Wellington and for establishing Marae graduation ceremonies for Māori students. When Hirini retired from Victoria University, he established a tribal university,Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi at Whakatāne, among his people of Ngāti Awa.

He was also the chief negotiator for the Ngāti Awa claims, which were settled in March 2005, and is now assisting with the transitional stages and the implementation of the settlement. He was appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2003.

In 2007 Hirini was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Māori and to education. He was subsequently Knighted in August 2009.

The list of honours, awards and publications are too numerous to list but include; the Elsdon Best Memorial Medal, the Pacific Arts Association Manu Daula Award and appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. As well, the Distinguished Service Medal of the Order of Ruatara, DSM, Te Pïhopatanga o Aotearoa. A lifetime spent in research and publishing was recognised with the 1991 Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Award as a participant in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and in 2002 the Montana New Zealand Book Award for reference and anthology, and the Reed Publishing 2002 received the Distinguished Author Award in recognition of 50 years of continuous publishing history producing over seventy publication. A selection of his books underscores his standing as one of the most prolific writers on every aspect of Māori society. They include Tāniko Weaving in 1952, Te Toi Whakairo, the art of Māori carving in 1986, Landmarks, Bridges and Visions: Aspects of Māori culture and Māori Art on the World Scene in 1997, Ngā Pëpeha a ngā Tūpuna: The Sayings of the Ancestors in 2001 and Living With Māori Values: An Introduction to Tikanga Māori in 2003.

Beyond the borders of Ngāti Awa many other iwi as well as the Government have have called on Hirini to lend expertise to their causes. He played a central role in the highly acclaimed Te Māori exhibition that freed Māori traditional art from being confined to Museums as antiquities and enabled the world to recognise them as magnificant works of art. He has chaired Toi Māori, Te Māori Manaaki Taonga Trust, a member of the New Zealand Geographic Board, the New Zealand Council for Educational Research and a founding member and vice president of the Pacific Arts Association. He has given evidence many times in court hearings, select committees and before the Waitaingi Tribunal to support the claims of other iwi and Māori groups generally seeking proper recognition of their rights under tikanga Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi. Hirini was a foundation member of the NZ Bioethics Council and during his time on Council he developed a set of criteria to help the younger generation use tikanaga Māori (Māori values) to assess new technologies and information, such as genetically modified organisims, organ transplants and IVF treatments. The ten criteria Hirini developed are extensively quoted by Māori and other indigenous peoples as they seek ways of interpreting new concepts and technologies through their traditional cultural beliefs. For instance, Hirini writes, "Every living thing has a mauri (life-force), and in fact, we go one step further and say a forest is a living thing, so is a meeting house and even a rock. He asks can one be an individual in Māori society? and discusses the reponsibilities of people to the land.

Elinor Ostrom

Professor Elinor Ostrom (USA)

Elinor Ostrom is a political economist. She was awarded the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, which she shared with Oliver E. Williamson, for "her analysis of economic governance, and in demonstrating how common property could be successfully managed by groups using it." The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Ostrom's “research brought this topic from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention”. . ."by showing how common resources- forests, fisheries, oil fields or grazing lands can be managed successfully by the people who use them, rather than by governments or private companies". Ostrom's work in this regard, challenged conventional wisdom, showing that common-pool resources can be successfully managed without government regulation or privatization. She is the first woman to win the prize in this category.

Ostrom lives in Bloomington, Ind., and is on the faculty of both Indiana University and Arizona State University. She is the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science and Senior Research-Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University and Research Professor (Part-time) and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University. Ostrom is considered one of the leading scholars in the study of common-pool resources. She is a long-standing member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic & Social Policy (CEESP).

In particular, Ostrom's work emphasizes how humans interact with ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainable resource yields. Common-pool resources include many forests, fisheries, oil fields, grazing lands, and irrigation systems. She conducted her field studies on the governance of ground-water in California, of irrigation systems in Nepal, and of forests in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Ostrom's work has considered how societies have developed diverse institutional arrangements for managing natural resources and avoiding ecosystem collapse in many cases, even though some arrangements have failed to prevent resource exhaustion. Her current work emphasizes the multifaceted nature of human-ecosystem interaction and argues against any singular "panacea" for individual social-ecological system problems.

Ostrom identifies eight "design principles" of stable local common-pool resource management.

  1. Clearly defined boundaries (effective exclusion of external un-entitled parties);
  2. Rules regarding the appropriation and provision of common resources are adapted to local conditions;
  3. Collective-choice arrangements allow most resource appropriators to participate in the decision-making process;
  4. Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators;
  5. Graduated sanctions exist for resource appropriators who violate community rules;
  6. Mechanisms of conflict resolution are cheap and of easy access;
  7. The self-determination of the community is recognized by higher-level authorities;
  8. In the case of larger common-pool resources: organization in the form of multiple layers of nested enterprises, with small local regimes at the base level.

Solving the Climate Crisis

Ostrom cautions against single governmental units at global level to solve the collective action problem of coordinating work against environmental destruction. Partly, this is due to their complexity, and partly to the diversity of actors involved. Her proposal is that of a polycentric approach, where key management decisions should be made as close to the scene of events and the actors involved as possible but nested in larger regimes – eventually at the global level.

Julia Marton-Lefèvre

Julia Marton-Lefevre (Hungary, France and USA)

Director General of IUCN

Julia Marton-Lefevre is Director General of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) the world’s largest conservation/environment membership organization which brings together states, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, scientists and experts in a unique worldwide partnership. IUCN’s mission is to influence,encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

Prior to this, Julia was Rector of the University for Peace (UPEACE), a graduate-level international university, mandated by the United Nations, providing education, training and research on issues related to peace and conflict. Earlier offices held by Julia include Executive Director of LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development) International, a programme established by The Rockefeller Foundation to bring together and train mid-career leaders from all parts of the world in improving their leadership skills around the issues of sustainable development and Executive Director of the International Council for Science (ICSU), an important and respected global organization bringing together scientific academies and unions to promote scientific activities for the benefit of humanity.

Julia is a member of a number of boards, councils and committees for organizations such as the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), an advisory body to the Chinese Government, UPEACE, LEAD, International, the Bibliotheca Alexandria, the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Oxford University’s James Martin 21st Century School.

Previous board memberships have included the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Earth Charter International, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), the Lemelson Foundation, ICSU's Committee on Science and Technology in Developing Countries (COSTED) and the InterAcademy Council's Panel on Promoting Worldwide Science and Technology Capacities for the 21st Century. She was also a member of the jury of the Saint Andrew's and Alcan Prizes and has participated in two, corporate environmental advisory boards: to the Dow Chemical Company and to The Coca-Cola Company.

J. Marton-Lefèvre has co-authored numerous books and papers. In 1999 she received the AAAS Award for International Cooperation in Science. In 2008, she was awarded the “Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur” by the French Government and was named Global Ambassador for Hungarian Culture by the Hungarian Minister of Education and Culture. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of the United Kingdom and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. She studied history, ecology and environmental planning in the US and in France and was born in Hungary.

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