Steering Committee


Alberto Martinelli (Chair)

Alberto Martinelli has a PhD in Sociology from the University of California in Berkeley. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Milan. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences from 1987 to 1999 and chaired the University Committee for International Scientific Cooperation. In 1998-2002, he was elected President of the International Sociological AssociationHe is President of the Evaluation Committee of the University of Padua; a member of the Scientific Committees of the Milan Expo 2015; EconomEtica (the Italian University network on Business Ethnics and Corporate Social Responsibility); the Lombardy Regional Observatories on Migration and on Social Exclusion; and Real Academia des Sciencias Morales y Politicas de Espana. He serves on the editorial board of several scientific journals and writes for Il corriere della sera and other newspapers and magazines. His recent publications include: Transatlantic Divide. Comparing American and European Society (Oxford University Press, 2008); Global Modernization. Rethinking the Project of Modernity (Sage, 2005); La democrazia globale (Universita Bocconi Editore, 2004/2009); and La sociedad italiana (CIS, 2005).


Nnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey is director of an ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and Coordinator of Oilwatch International. He chairs the Board of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, an organization he co-founded and led as executive director from 1993-2013. From 2008-2012 Bassey chaired of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental advocacy network with members in 74 countries. Bassey is a licensed architect and practices from Benin City, Nigeria. Bassey has authored books on the environment, architecture and poetry. His poetry collections include We Thought It Was Oil But It Was Blood (2002) and I will Not Dance to Your Beat (Kraft Books, 2011). Pambazuka Press published his book, To Cook a Continent – Destructive Extraction and Climate Crisis in Africa in 2012. He was named Time Magazine’s Hero of the Environment in 2009 and was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” In 2012 he received the Rafto Human Rights Award.


Prof Frans Berkhout

Frans Berkhout

Frans Berkhout is Professor of Environment, Society and Climate in the Department of Geography at King’s College London, and Interim Director of the Future Earth programme, based at the International Council for Science (ICSU) in Paris. Between 2004 and 2012, Prof Berkhout was director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at the VU University Amsterdam in The Netherlands, and from 2010 to 2013 director of the Amsterdam Global Change Institute. Professor Berkhout is a lead author in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (2014) and a member of the Research Evaluation Framework (REF) of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). He sits on the editorial boards of Research Policy, Global Environmental Change, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability and The Anthropocene Review. His early research was concerned with the economic, political and security aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle and radioactive waste management. His more recent work has been concerned with science, technology, policy and sustainability, with a focus on climate change. 


Bronwyn Hayward

Bronwyn Hayward is a New Zealander, trained in political science and geography. She is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Political Sciences, as well as Director of the Arts Scholars programme, University of Canterbury, Bronwyn is also a Visiting Fellow with UK ESRC funded RESOLVE Centre for environmental values, attitudes and lifestyle change and the Scottish Government/DEFRA funded Sustainable Lives Research Group (University of Surrey). She is co-investigator on Voices of the Future project, University of Oslo and has been a visiting fellow for Tyndall Centre for Climate Change and lead author for UNEP’s Visions for Change 2011. She is a current trustee of the London Foundation for Democracy and Sustainability and NZ Telecom Foundation. Bronwyn has served as a Ministerial appointment on the NZ Broadcasting Commission. Her research focus is children and youth in economic, social & environmental change. Her book Children, Citizenship and Democracy: Nurturing a democratic imagination in a changing world (Earthscan, London 2012) was selected as a feature book for Litcam; Frankfurt Book Fair 2012. In 2014 Dr Hayward was the inaugural joint recipient of the University of Canterbury, NZ Arts College Critic and Conscience of Society Research Award.



Rainier Ibana

Rainier Ibana teaches Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Social Philosophy and Philosophy of Education at Ateneo de Manila University.  He chairs COMEST’s Environmental Ethics Committee and served as Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Section of UNESCO’s South-south Philosophical Dialogue.  He is also President of the Asia-Pacific Philosophy Education Network for Democracy and Vice President of the Philosophy with Children and Youth Network for Asia-Pacific.


Katharine Jacobs

Katharine Jacobs is a faculty member at the University of Arizona (UA) in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science and is the Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS) located on the UA campus in Tucson.  CCASS supports climate change adaptation and assessment activities at regional, national and international scales, supported by University experts in a wide range of climate related fields. From 2010 – 2013, Jacobs served as an Assistant Director in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President. Jacobs was the director of the National Climate Assessment, leading a team of 300 authors and more than a thousand contributors who wrote the Third NCA report.  She also was the lead advisor on water science and policy, and climate adaptation within OSTP. Prior to her work in the White House, from 2006-2009 Jacobs was the Executive Director of the Arizona Water Institute, a consortium of the three state universities focused on water-related research, education and technology transfer in support of water supply sustainability. She has more than twenty years of experience as a water manager for the State of Arizona Department of Water Resources, including 14 years as director of the Tucson Active Management Area.  Her research interests include water policy, connecting science and decision-making, stakeholder engagement, use of climate information for water management applications, climate change adaptation and drought planning. Ms. Jacobs earned her M.L.A. in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley.  She has served on eight National Research Council panels and was Chair of the NRC Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change and a member of the panel on America’s Climate Choices.


Enrique Leff

Enrique Leff, Senior Researcher/Professor in political ecology and environmental sociology, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Dr Enrique Leff is considered a pioneering environmentalist and one of the main authors of the theory and practice of environmentalism; PhD in Development Economics, Paris-Sorbonne (1975) and former Coordinator of the UNEP’S Environmental Training Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (1986-2008). He lectured at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) full-time from 1973-1986 before becoming coordinator of the Environmental Training Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (1986-2008) and coordinator of the Mexico City office of the Regional Office of Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Environment Programme (2007-2008), after which he returned as senior researcher/professor in political ecology and environmental sociology, to the Institute of Social Research, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Dr Leff has worked since 1975 in the fields of environmental philosophy and epistemology; political ecology, ecological economics and environmental sociology.  He is the author of over 150 books and articles published in Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, USA, England, Italy, Germany, Holland, and other countries in Latin America. Ecología y Capital (Ecology and Capital), Saber Ambiental (Environmental Knowledge) and Racionalidad Ambiental (Environmental Rationality) are among his more influential books. Forthcoming is his most recent book, La Apuesta por la Vida: Imaginarios Sociales e Imaginación Sociológica en los Territorios Ambientales del Sur.


Li Hanlin

Li Hanlin is currently the General Director at the National Institute of Social Development, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). He obtained his PhD in Sociology from Bielefeld University in Germany in 1984 and became a Professor in Sociology in 1988 at the Institute of Sociology, CASS, where he served as Deputy Director General (2003-2006). He was actively involved in the organization of the First and Second Asia Pacific Regional Conference of Sociology (1993, 1996) as a Member of its Steering Committee, and also in the organization of the Asia Pacific Sociological Association where he eventually served as a Member of its Executive Committee (1997-2002). He is the author and co-author of several books and numerous articles dealing with changes in the Chinese work unit society, the Danwei phenomena, the basic structure of the Chinese society, attitudes to modernization and reform policy, theory of knowledge transfer, Chinese urban development, the sociology of science, Chinese harmony society, etc.


Shahra Razavi

Shahra Razavi

Shahra Razavi was Research Co-ordinator at UNRISD from 1993 to 2013. She left UNRISD to join UN Women as Chief, Research and Data, at the end of June 2013.Shahra specializes in the gender dimensions of social development, with a particular focus on livelihoods and social policies. She began her collaboration with UNRISD in February 1993, when she joined the Institute to work on a new research initiative to explore the gender dimensions of economic policy. She led the Institute’s subsequent research projects on gender, including Gender, Poverty and Well-Being; Agrarian Change, Gender and Land Rights; Globalization, Export-Oriented Employment for Women and Social Policy; and work on Gender Justice, Development and Rights which was carried out as part of the Institute’s contribution to the Beijing Plus 5 Review Process (2000). She coordinated the preparation of the UNRISD flagship report, Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World (2005). Her most recent research projects have been on The Political and Social Economy of Care, and Religion, Politics and Gender Equality. Prior to joining UNRISD, Shahra was working on her D.Phil. Thesis at St.Antony’s College (Oxford University). Her thesis explored the gender dimensions of agricultural commercialization in southeastern Iran, where she carried out field research in 1988. She obtained her D.Phil. in December 1992.



Carolina Vera

Carolina Vera is the Director of the Centre for Atmosphere and Ocean Research (CIMA-UMI/IFAEC), jointly sponsored by the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina National Council of Sciences (CONICET) and CNRS (France). Dr Vera has long research experience on understanding and predicting climate variability and change in South America. She also participates in integrated projects focused on developing climate information for decision making at different socio-economic sectors (e.g. water resources, agriculture). She has authored several peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and book chapters.She is currently member of Future Earth Science Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Inter-American Institute for Global Change (IAI). She has also served in other committees like the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) Joint Scientific Committee. She was Lead Author of the IPCC Special Report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” (SREX).



Hebe Vessuri

Hebe Vessuri, anthropologist, emeritus researcher from the Center of Science Studies at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research. Currently research collaborator at the Director’s Office, Research Center of Environmental Geography (CIGA), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She has contributed to the emergence and consolidation of the field of social studies of science and technology in Latin America, setting up initiatives of advanced research and training programs in several countries. Her research focus is in science in world peripheries, the current internationalization of the social sciences, and the interface between higher education, scientific research and, other forms of knowledge.


TBC: UNESCO – Assistant Director-General, Social and Human Sciences



Andrew Kaniki

Andrew Kaniki

Executive Director of Knowledge Management and Strategy of the National Research Foundation, South Africa

Joao Morais

João Morais

Senior Research Advisor (Social Sciences, Environment & Climate), Research Cooperation Unit, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Sweden