Commission on Education and Communication

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Mexico, North America and the Caribbean

Manfred Meiners Photo: (photographer): Gabriela Montaño MEINERS Manfred

Co-founder and Director, Ambiente y Desarrollo Biodiverso, A.C. (BIODIVERSO)

Email - Website

Manfred was born in Mexico, he studied biology and has promoted nature conservation projects with non-profitorganizations, governments and international agencies for over 20 years. He has developed various outreach projects using photography and documentary-films as a tool to raise awareness for the broad public. He is a member of IUCN CEC since 2010 and in 2013 received the Ecological Merit Award in the category of environmental communication by the Government of Mexico. His work as a photographer has been exhibited in more than 10 countries in galleries and public spaces. He has been editor of several photographic projects and has also directed documentaries on environmental issues featured in numerous film festivals. He believes in the power of images to connect people beyond words.  


Eastern Europe, North and Central Asia

Russian Federation

Anya Zavadskaya Photo: Anya Zavadskaya ZAVADSKAYA Anna

Senior Staff Scientist at Kronotsky Reserve


Being a Senior Scientist of Kronotsky Reserve in Kamchatka, Anna is a leader of many educational and scientific interdisciplinary projects, connecting social and natural sciences, protected areas and people (both economically and emotionally). She is supporting nature managers with essential knowledge for making tourism a tool for conservation of unique wild nature and development of local communities and evaluating values and ecosystem services of Nature. A huge focus of all her projects for over 10 years is education (both of children and adults – environmental awareness campaigns, annual field schools and professional trainings) aimed to introduce people to nature, effectively communicate the importance of biodiversity and apply behavioral change methodologies to combat poaching. Her current project is connecting scientific knowledge about human-wildlife conflicts and how tourism impacts upon brown bears population with decision making and tourism management as well as with education of local communities in the Southern Kamchatka. 
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Meso and South America

ROCIO_Alejandra Photo: ROCIO_Alejandra ROCIO TORREZ TARQUI Alejandra

Coordinator at Universidad del Valle, Conservationist at Alianza Gato andino


I am a 37 year old Bolivian biologist. I developed extensive experience in the research and conservation of threatened species and biodiversity in Latin America and Spain, fundraising, coordination and project management during the last 12 years. I have been involved with nature conservation and education projects for the past 7 years. Currently I work at the Andean Cat Alliance, my particular interest is the Andean cat and its conservation. My work has had a lasting impact with continued success in research and conservation, this has allowed for a change in attitude, commitment and leadership of new conservationists living in remote communities.


South and Southeastern Asia


Kedar Gore Photo: Kedar Gore GORE Kedar

Director of The Corbett Foundation


Kedar Gore has been actively engaged in wildlife conservation and environmental protection work for over two decades. A passionate bird-watcher since the age of 10, Kedar was drawn into full-time conservation profession in 1996 when he completed his Master’s Degree in Zoology. He joined The Corbett Foundation in 2009 as its Director, where he has been instrumental in launching several landscape-level conservation programmes including the campaign to save the Critically Endangered Great Indian Bustard. He has been serving as a CEC Member since 2005. Kedar is passionate about conservation photography and has been actively raising conservation issues through his articles, blogs and photographs in reputed publications and his innumerable nature trails, camps and talks for nature lovers of all age groups.
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North Africa

Brahim Abouelabbes Photo: Brahim Abouelabbes ABOUELABBES Brahim

CEO of Association Marocaine pour l’Ecotourisme et la Protection de la Nature

Email - Website

Brahim Abouelabbes is a Forest engineer, CEO of Association Marocaine pour l’Ecotourisme et la Protection de la Nature, member of IUCN and an excellent environmentalist. He has trained and inspired many teachers and students for nature conservation. He got a grant to open a fishing school to learn more about fresh water fish & sustainable use where children get connected with nature through experiencing and exploring live animals by non killing fishing concept.
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Eastern and Southern Africa

Sam Dindi Sam Dindi Photo: Sam Dindi DINDI Sam

Co-founder of Mazingira Yetu magazine and organisation

I am a 35 year old Kenyan trained in Tourism and wildlife management from Moi University and have been involved in environment conservation activities for seven years now. I co-founded Mazingira yetu magazine in November 2012 with an aim of educating, inspiring and sharing environmental related information and news. The target audience were education institutions but as time went by the publication grew to cover the general society. My inspiration comes from a Tibetan proverb that says, An ant with a stout heart can lift an elephant. The challenges that I have been through emboldened me to always be innovative, to never give up and to pursue my goals of inspiring a generation that would make sound choices and judgment on issues related to environmental conservation and that they will pursue it as a career and not a hobby.


West Asia

Abfallah Aisha Abfallah Aisha Photo: Abfallah Aisha



A wilderness leader and environmental educator. She works to prepare competent outdoor leaders who understand the processes that shape the places they visit, the diversity of life they harbor and who practice and communicate the ethics of stewardship on Earth. As a member of the IUCN CEC, she holds diplomas in wilderness leadership horse-packing and canyoneering from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), she is a Leave No Trace Master Educator and served as Coordinator of Saudi Arabia’s national Leave No Trace training program. She helped draft the “Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change” in Istanbul (2015) and gave presentations at the WANA Forum in Jordan (2010) and for the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) in Morocco (2016). She received a Ford Conservation and Environmental Grant for her project Curriculum Design for Wilderness Leadership Education in Arabia.


Ehab Eid Ehab Eid Photo: Ehab Eid EID Ehab


Ehab Eid holds a Master’s degree in conservation, access and management of species in trade from the International University of Andalucía in Spain and a BSc in Biological Science from the University of Jordan. He developed extensive experience in marine and terrestrial biodiversity conservation, protected areas management, fundraising and project management over the past 18 years. Currently he is working as an independent consultant and provides advisory services for the flyway program at Birdlife International, Middle East office. He has contributed to several strategies and action plans at national, regional and international levels related to biodiversity conservation, climate change and environment. He has been publishing several peer-reviewed articles which contribute in increasing knowledge and experiences about biodiversity conservation in the Arab region.


East Asia

Xinglian Chen Photo: Xinglian Chen CHEN Xingliang

Vice Chairman and Secretary General of the Chinese Society of Forestry (CSF)
Website:(In development and will be ready and shared in one month)

CHEN Xingliang is one of the pioneer and convener for nature education in China. With over 30 years’ engagement in nature science and nature education, he has greatly promoted nature awareness and public participation in China. Mr. Chen is forestry professional. It is a natural responsibility for him to promote conservation and natural education.

Mr. Chen and his organization Chinese Society of Forestry (CSF), an IUCN member organization have initiated and organized dozens of activities in the past decades, such as setting up over 150 education and communication centers in forest reserves all over China, carrying out project “Youth Camp in Forest” for 36 consecutive years, launching educational campaigns at the China Annual Forest Week for over 10 years, organizing dozens of international exchanges on nature education and scientific research.



Hillary Macleod Hillary Macleod Photo: Hillary Macleod Hilary Macleod

Self-employed consultant
Website - Email

Hilary Macleod has been involved in education for sustainability for over 30 years as a secondary classroom teacher, environmental education adviser and curriculum developer at state, national and international level. She has also been a Lecturer in Environmental Education at Queensland University of Technology, the Coordinator of the Global Learning Centre in Queensland and has undertaken voluntary work for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project in Nepal. Her work has had lasting impact with the ongoing success of the environmental education program that she established for the Sabah Forestry Department in East Malaysia. Her particular interest in the Pacific stems from her roles as Long Term Adviser for the Tuvalu Australia Education Support Project based in Funafuti, Tuvalu and Short Term Adviser for the Primary and Secondary Teacher Education Project in Papua New Guinea. Now retired, she dabbles in consultancy, website development and volunteer work.


Leba Ciriyawa Halofaki Mataitini Leba Ciriyawa Halofaki Mataitini Photo: Leba Ciriyawa Halofaki Mataitini

Leba Ciriyawa Halofaki Mataitini

Independent Civic & Social Organization Professional University of the South Pacific
Website - Email

Leba Ciriyawa Halofaki Mataitini hails from the island of Fulaga in the Lau group in Fiji. She was born in 1951. Leba has been involved with IUCN for more than twenty-five years. She is an Engineer by training. Before retiring, Leba was working at the University of the South Pacific (USP). At USP, she first worked as a Technician in Physics, and through promotions to Senior and Chief Technicians and ultimately as Laboratory Manager for the Science, Mathematics and Computing, and Engineering Technology faculty before switching to Finance as Purchasing Manager for the last ten years in her thirty-five years of service at the University. She is a mother of three girls and one boy all of whom are University graduates, all married and have children of their own. In addition, she has fourteen lovely grandchildren.  She currently devotes her time to the Women’s groups at the Fiji Methodist Church and her local community.


West Europe

Maria-Mihaela Antofie Photo: Maria-Mihaela Antofie Maria-Mihaela Antofie 

Associate professor and Vice Dean in the University ‘Lucian Blaga’ of Sibiu 
Elena Project Website - Email

Maria-Mihaela Antofie is a biologist with a passion for communication for nature conservation and sustainable development. Her specialties are research in agro-biodiversity (plant cell physiology, genetics, biosafety, conservation) education in developing curricula as well as developing strategies and position papers for biodiversity conservation. She joined IUCN CEC in October 2009 and contributed to a different actions on request. The award nomination underlined her  involvement in the initiation, proposal and implementation of the ELENA project with excellent results, the participation into the organizing committee of the International Conference Făgăraș Mountains: an inventory towards a new national park (10-11 December, Bucharest, Romania) and support of #NatureForAll.



Diana Pound Photo: IUCN

Diana Pound

United Kingdom
Dialogue Matters
University of East Anglia
Dialogue Matters Website - Email

Diana Pound set up Dialogue Matters in 2000 to facilitate better and fairer decisions that help people and nature flourish. Diana worked on projects focused on land, sea, water, precious and protected places, farming, fisheries, development, climate change, technical innovations, complex science and organisational change. She worked all over the world from projects focused on small islands with local people, to international dialogue about climate change or global water futures with international experts. Diana champions the need for integrated decisions that deliver multiple benefits for multiple people, consensus building, co-production, and genuine empowerment. When it comes to the natural world, she embraces the Ecosystem Approach with its emphasis on integrated and equitable management. She is a member of IUCN CEC since 2004.

Pauline Verheij Photo: Pauline Verheij

Pauline Verheij

The Netherlands
Wildlife Crime Specialist
University of East Anglia
Ecojust - Email

Pauline Verheij is an independent wildlife crime specialist with nearly 20 years of experience working on environmental and wildlife crime. An environmental lawyer by training, Pauline has applied her skills in a variety of positions in the public, private and NGO sector, including with the Dutch police, the Dutch public prosecutors’ office, TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Justice Commission and IFAW. In 2012 she started her own consultancy EcoJust, providing advice on wildlife crime issues to NGOs and (inter-)governmental organisations. Pauline has conducted a wide variety of studies on topics ranging from wildlife cybercrime, jaguar and other wildlife trafficking in Bolivia and Suriname, ivory and rhino horn trafficking in Vietnam, Rosewood trafficking in Madagascar and the interaction between wildlife crime and insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pauline is a member of the IUCN Commissions on Environmental Law and Education and Communication.

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