GCHERA Conference 2019 Keynote Speakers Short Bios
Iman Kaffas, Capacity Development and Organizational Transformation, Global Forum for Agriculture Research (GFAR) and Association of Arab Universities (AArU)
Iman Kaffas is individual consultant on higher education and institutional development currently advising the Association of Arab Universities on its strategic plan 2030 and on fulfilling its mandate in supporting universities in the region in their transformation and strategic reform. Iman is a seasoned executive with proven expertise working with development and donor organizations including United Nations Organizations (FAO/GFAR), CGIAR, European Commission, USAID and others in different parts of the world. Areas of expertise and consulting include organizational review/assessment and strategy development with focus on agriculture research and innovation organizations and universities, management of change, program monitoring and evaluation, and systems capacity strengthening. Assignments covered multiple countries and regions in Africa, the Near East and North Africa (NENA), Central and South West Asia, the Americas, as well as South and North of the Mediterranean.
Iman led the development of the initiative on Transformational Learning and Student Leadership Development that was adopted by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) and coordinated its implementation through partnerships between GFAR, RUFORUM, the Association of Arab Universities and multiple universities in Africa and the NENA region.
Iman Elkafas has a Ph.D. in the Administration of Higher Education with focus on Institutional Assessment and Development from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, the USA. Her Masters’ Degree is in Public Administration with focus on Strategic Leadership and Performance Improvement. Iman is fluent in English & French, as well as Arabic.
John Porter, CIHEAM-IAMM – SupAgro - MUSE Univ Montpellier, Montpellier, France
John Porter is an internationally known agro-ecological scientist with an expertise in ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems, including agro-ecology, simulation modelling and food system ecology including that of cities. His main contribution has been multi-disciplinary and collaborative experimental and modelling work in the response of arable crops, energy crops and complex agro-ecosystems to their environment with an emphasis on climate change, ecosystem services and food systems.
He has received three international prizes for his research and teaching and three others jointly with his research group. From 2011 to 2014 he led the writing of the critically important chapter for the IPCC 5th Assessment in Working Group 2 on food production systems and food security, including fisheries and livestock. This chapter was one of the most cited from the IPCC 5th Assessment and formed an important scientific bedrock of the COP21 agreement in Paris in 2015. He has recently become a member of the inter-disciplinary international working group on post-growth economics and is a founder member of the Advanced Research Institute of the University of Montpellier. His mottos are: 'The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing' and 'Enough with less'.
Arjen Wals, Wageningen University and Research (WUR), The Netherlands
Arjen Wals is Professor of Transformative Learning for Socio-Ecological Sustainability at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, one of the leading international universities in environmental and lifes sciences. He also holds the UNESCO Chair of Social Learning for Sustainable Development. His teaching and research focus on designing learning processes and learning spaces that enable people to contribute meaningfully sustainability. A central question in his work is: how to create conditions that support (new) forms of learning which take full advantage of the diversity, creativity and resourcefulness that is all around us, but so far remain largely untapped in our search for a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect?
In 2014 he was the lead author of an article published in Science on the role of citizen science in bridging science education, environmental education and sustainability. He is editor and co-editor of a number of popular books including: ‘Higher Education and the Challenge of Sustainability’ (Kluwer Academic, 2004), ‘Creating Sustainable Environments in our Schools’ (Trentham, 2006), ‘Social Learning towards a Sustainable World’ (Wageningen Academic, 2007), ‘Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change’ (2012), Routledge’s International Handbook on Environmental Education Research (2013) and Envisioning Futures for Environmental and Sustainability Education (Wageningen Academic, 2017). Recently he contributed as a senior policy advisor to UNESCO’s Global Education Monitor Report ‘Education for People and Planet’ on the role of education in helping realize the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs).
Current research focusses on: 1) T-learning in times of climate change, which is part of 1 of the 3 Transformative Knowledge Networks funded by the ISSC, 2) The development of whole school approaches to sustainability, funded by the Dutch Science Foundation and 3) the design of Living Labs as learning ecologies facilitation transitions towards sustainability at the interface between scince and society.
Arjen maintains a popular blog at www.transformativelearning.nl A short video on his ambitions for sustainability in education can be viewed here: Two-minute YouTube clip