UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Environmental experts from around the world gather for summer workshop program

– Thirty-nine environmental leaders and policy makers from around the world have gathered at the University of California, Berkeley, to refine their scientific, community relations and leadership skills. The participants are students of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, which has just begun its fifth year and will run until Friday, July 15.

The summer certificate course includes six workshops taught by interdisciplinary teams of UC Berkeley faculty and other experts. Topics include environmental policy, water quality, community forestry and combating pollution - as well as building leadership skills, strategic planning and conflict management. In addition, field trips, interactive panels and group exercises drawn from participants' own cases keep the curriculum connected to frontline problem solving strategies.

Journalists are welcome to attend any of the program sessions and to interview any of the 39 participants, including:


  • Abdul Wahed Ahadi, who is reconstructing the devastated irrigation infrastructure of Afghanistan and working on other institution-building projects. Ahadi is currently an associate of Development Alternatives Inc., a large consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. He has worked for USAID, the European Union and the United Nations. After 25 years of wars and seven years of drought, Ahadi says rehabilitating Afghanistan's natural environmental is his highest priority and biggest challenge.

  • Abeena Akuamoa-Boateng, director of nutrition for the government of Ghana, has pioneered a school feeding program in Ghana, built around local food production. The program simultaneously provides improved nutrition for children, encourages children to attend school and supports local agricultural production. As a member of the United Nations Hunger Task Force, Akuamoa-Boateng is working to expand the scope of the program not only in Ghana, but also throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Here in the Bay Area, Akuamoa-Boateng met with Alice Waters, the moving force behind the Edible Garden project at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. The two women found striking similarities between the programs in rural Ghana and Berkeley.

  • David Velasco, director of international marketing of Café la Selva, a high-end Mexican coffee company that supports sustainable farming cooperatives in Chiapas, Mexico. Through "bean-to-cup" vertical integration, Café la Selva aims to ensure that a higher percentage of coffee profits end up in the pockets of coffee producers. The chain has made inroads in the United States and Europe, but Velasco now faces a major challenge from Starbucks, which has recently invested $20 million to strengthen its brand in Mexico.

A full list of participants is available at: http://nature.berkeley.edu/beahrselp/2005%20Participants.pdf.

The Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program at UC Berkeley was established at the campus's Center for Sustainable Resource Development with a $1 million gift from UC Berkeley alumni Richard and Carolyn Beahrs. Additional funding has been provided by grants from various foundations, course fees and some private donations.