Academic Course Calendar - Natural Resources and Sustainable Development - 2015 - 2016

Courses and Teachers
2015 - 2016 - Natural Resources and Sustainable Development
Course listings are continously updated with new information
Courses Teacher Credits # Weeks Dates
UPEACE Foundation Course
Mandatory
Jan Breitling
(Germany)
Manish Thapa
(Nepal)
Mihir Kanade
(India)
Ross Ryan
(Canada)
Sara Sharratt
(United States/Costa Rica)
Toh Swee-Hin (S. H. Toh)
(Australia/Canada)
3 credits
3 weeks
24 Aug-11 Sep 2015
8:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. At Council Room
Natural Resource Conflicts and Conservation
Mandatory
Jan Breitling
(Germany)
3 credits
3 weeks
16-23 Sep 2015
The United Nations System and UPMUNC (Part I)
Mandatory
Mayumi Yamada
(Japan)
Miriam Estrada-Castillo
(Ecuador)
2 credits
2 weeks (NOTE: including two double sessions: Thursday 17 September and Thursday 24 September)
16-25 Sep 2015
Environment, Conflicts, and Sustainability
Recommended
Jan Breitling
(Germany)
3 credits
3 weeks
29 Sep-16 Oct 2015
8:45 AM - 11:45 AM At Classroom #5
Water, Security and Peace
Recommended
Julie Ann Elkins Watson
(USA)
3 credits
3 weeks
21 Oct-10 Nov 2015
1:15 PM - 4:15 PM At Classroom #4
Sustainable Agriculture
Recommended
Olivia Sylvester
(Canada)
3 credits
3 weeks
21 Oct-10 Nov 2015
8:45 AM - 11:45 AM At Classroom #3
Forests, Forestry and Poverty
Recommended
Jan Breitling
(Germany)
3 credits
3 weeks
16 Nov-04 Dec 2015
1:15 PM - 4:15 PM At Other
Management of Coastal Resources
Recommended
Marco Quesada
(Costa Rica)
3 credits
3 weeks
16 Nov-04 Dec 2015
8:45 AM - 11:45 PM At Classroom #4
Disaster Risk Reduction
Recommended
Urbano Fra
(Spain)
3 credits
3 weeks
11-29 Jan 2016
8:45 AM - 11:45 AM At Classroom #2
Climate Change Governance
Recommended
Juan Hoffmaister
(Costa Rica / Bolivia)
3 credits
3 weeks
11-29 Jan 2016
8:45 AM - 11:45 AM At Classroom #4
Research Methods
Mandatory
Mayumi Yamada
(Japan)
Olivia Sylvester
(Canada)
3 credits
3 weeks
2-19 Feb 2016
8:45 AM - 11:45 AM At Council Room
Human Rights and Films
Optional
Kate Nash

3 credits
3 weeks
2-19 Feb 2016
1:15pm - 4:15pm At Council Room
Tools for Conflict Resolution and Transformation
Recommended
Manish Thapa
(Nepal)
3 credits
3 weeks The course will be taught for three-week during weekdays (15 sessions) between 23 of February to 11 of March 2015 (with a double session on February 26)
23 Feb-11 Mar 2016
8:45 AM - 11:45 AM At Council Room
The United Nations System and UPMUNC (Part II)
Mandatory
Ross Ryan
(Canada)
1 credits
3 days
16-18 Mar 2016
Food Security
Recommended
Olivia Sylvester
(Canada)
3 credits
3 weeks
28 Mar-15 Apr 2016
8:45 AM - 11:45 AM At Classroom #5
Natural Resource Management Field Course
Recommended
Jan Breitling
(Germany)
3 credits
3 weeks
20 Apr-10 May 2016
8:45 AM - 11:45 AM At Council Room
Human Vulnerability and Climate Change Adaptation
Recommended
Olivia Sylvester
(Canada)
3 credits
3 weeks
16 May-03 Jun 2016
1:15 PM - 4:15 PM At Classroom #3



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COURSE DESCRIPTION

The UPEACE Foundation Course provides a critical and concise introduction to the broad field of “Peace Studies” for students in all UPEACE programs. It initially addresses key conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of the origins and development of peace studies as an interdisciplinary area within the fields of international relations and political economy, as well as a basic understanding of conflict analysis. Based on a critical analysis of policies, strategies, policies, institutions, organizations and movements, the course then examines a range of core issues, dimensions, perspectives and paradigms for understanding the root causes of conflicts and violence and constructive strategies to address them and build peace in contemporary global, international, regional, national and local contexts, including: conflict management, conflict resolution and conflict transformation; alternative discourse analysis; militarization and disarmament; human rights violations and promotion; gender inequalities, gender-based violence and gender mainstreaming; structural violence, human security, development and globalization; environmental sustainability; corporate social responsibility; cultural and religious identities; media’s role in conflict and peacebuilding; strategies of nonviolence; and peace education. This Foundations course will be essential in catalyzing the awareness, understanding and motivation of UPEACE students from diverse academic programmes to relate, ground or intersect their specific areas of academic and practitioner interest with core theoretical, conceptual and analytical ideas in peace studies.

Ever since its establishment in 1945, the United Nations has played a pivotal role in a great variety of affairs, large or small, international and national. As such the UN has played an incisive role in the lives of people around the world. Much of what the UN does is taken for granted and even goes unnoticed by the larger public, even as an oft quoted saying argues that ‘if the UN did not exist it would have to be invented’. At the same time, millions around the world look to the UN expecting it to address many of the enormous challenges faced by humankind. This complex dynamics is complemented by the fact that the UN is both reliant on what the member states want, while at the same time being much more than the sum of its members. This course provides a comprehensive and rigorous introduction into the UN system, including its origins and history, its organizational framework  and the  functioning of various organs, agencies, bodies and programmes.  Students will critically examine the most important areas of the UN mission including the key Charter pillars of international peace and security, economic and social progress and development and human rights as well as a growing list of priorities and initiatives (e.g., gender equality and  mainstreaming; eliminating gender-based violence; environmental protection; addressing climate change; post-2015 development agenda; Global Education First Initiative; action to counter terrorism; R2P, etc). In addition, the course offers a close look at some of the challenges the UN faces, and discusses various proposals for its reform. Students will also be encouraged to reflect on how UN priorities and initiatives can be constructively addressed in their respective fields and programmes of peace studies.

This course will take a close look at the linkages between the environment and peace and conflict. First we will introduce the theme of global environmental change and its impacts on human security, development and life in general. We will discuss the different root causes of these environmental and social or development crises as they come forward in the literature, focusing on overpopulation, industrial development, and free market capitalism and globalization. Part of this discussion will be an analysis of the responses to this crisis and what can, should and is being done to stop it.

A second theme we will discuss is the way sustainability is defined and measured, analyzing different aspects of the political characteristics of measuring, and of the complexities around coming up and using indicators to measure something as complex as sustainability. We will analyze the often proposed focus based on the faith on technological efficiency, and demonstrate that technology by itself won’t solve the sustainability problem with regards to the environmental and social dimensions.

A third main theme of this course is to look at the different linkages between environment and violent conflicts. We will discuss the literature on environmental security, going from older frameworks of scarcity induced conflicts to more complex notions of natural resource abundance, globalization, and historical, political, ecological and economic issues that influence peace and conflicts. The topic of environmental peacebuilding will be presented and critically analyzed. We will make use of specific case studies that give insights into the often contradictory roles of the environment and natural resources when analyzing peace and conflicts.

This course explores conflict, insecurity and collaboration in relation to scarcity, poor quality, and variability of freshwater resources. Students will examine disputes and conflict over access to fresh water resources and rivers, including dam construction.  

A special focus will be on how conflict over transboundary freshwater resources has fostered peace building through cooperative co-management. Throughout the course, mechanisms and instruments will be introduced to assist the resolution and prevention of water-related conflict and insecurity including: international law; institutional arrangements; governance and policy reform; and involvement of civil society organizations.

This course explores contemporary trends in sustainable agriculture and agroecology. The course begins by building a framework of the different ways in which sustainable agriculture is practiced. We relate these contemporary practices to the capitalist transformation of agriculture in the 20th century. We then ground our academic study of the transformation of agricultural practices in actual existing famers and agribusiness. We will visit a Dole banana plantation, the Corsicana organic pineapple plantation and two small organic farms all in the Caribbean plain of Costa Rica. The field trip gives an opportunity to view how course topics inform contemporary agricultural practices. In the second week of class we examine how trade, globalization and hybrid / GM technologies have accelerated the transformation of agriculture. We pay particular attention to the role of science in this transformation via case studies of organics, transgenics, and the IAASTD report. We end with a focus on population and its role in agricultural transformation, institutional projects to promote agro-ecology, and a move towards local food production and consumption.

Deforestation is seen by many as one of the main global environmental challenges of our times, because of its significant impact on biodiversity and its important contribution to Global Warming. This course analyzes the way deforestation has been and is being explained by both mainstream and alternative narratives, critically engages with the way it is defined and measured, and discusses the various attempts in stopping or reducing it. Additionally, this course takes a look at the links between poverty and deforestation, some of the possible strategies to reduce poverty through forest-based activities, and analyzes and discusses the importance of forests for humans and the challenges faced by those who try to manage them sustainably.

This course will provide a brief introduction to the particularities of coastal and oceanic resources and ecologies. Second, we will investigate the unique attributes of the human economic, social, and cultural systems (i.e. fishing, fisherman and fishing cultures) that are most directly dependent upon them. Among the many topics within this section, the course will specifically focus on understanding artisanal fisheries, large-scale/industrial fishing, and aquaculture, as well as the differences and conflicts that exist between these methods of resource extraction. Third, a broad overview of the development of the current resource crises and conflicts will be presented and examined via case studies from throughout the globe. Fourth, the evolution of and trends in coastal and marine management over the last century will also be a central aspect of this course.  

Thus, we will explore the evolution from traditional top-down models to the implementation of stakeholder inclusion participation, and comanagment. We will also thoroughly review the role of marine parks, protected areas, and no-take reserves in the management and conservation of coastal resources. Finally, through practical exercises, guest lectures, and field visits, students will be able to explore the complex nexus of relations between humans and coastal/marine resources as it applies to Latin America and the case of Costa Rica.  

In sum, students in this course will gain insight into and knowledge of how we have moved from the naïve perspectives of Mare Liberum and the inexhaustibility of oceanic resources, which were predominant in the 19th century, to the increasingly complex layers of marine tenure systems, marine protected areas, and precautionary approaches that characterize contemporary 21st century marine and coastal resource management regimes.

The physical risk reduction capacity of ecosystems depends on their health and structure, and the intensity of the hazard event. Degraded ecosystems can still play a buffering role, although to a much lesser extent than fully functioning ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems reduce social-economic vulnerability by sustaining human livelihoods and providing essential goods such as food, fibre, medicines and construction materials. For example, in addition to providing coastal hazard protection, mangroves and seagrass beds support fishing and tourism activities and store high amounts of carbon.  Ecosystems can reduce physical exposure to common natural hazards, namely landslides, flooding, avalanches, storm surges, wildfires and drought, by serving as natural infrastructure, protective barriers or buffers. For example, in the European Alps, mountain forests have a long history of being managed for protection against avalanches and rockfall. Protection forests in Switzerland, have been valued at USD $1,000 per hectare per year along mountain roads and the state provides considerable financial incentives to manage forests for hazard protection.

This course analyzes the nature and evolution of systems of governance to address climate change at the international, national, and local levels, charting the changing history of climate policy from the issue's initial introduction into political discussion to its recent ascension to become the new "master concept" of environmental governance generally.  The roles of various stakeholders in the negotiation, including transnational institutions, nation states, nongovernmental organizations, private businesses, and municipal governments, will be examined, as will the efficacy of different mechanisms (state-led, market-based, hybrid, etc.) for enacting climate policy.  The potential impact of climate policy on particular environmental issues (e.g., hydroelectric and nuclear power) and social groups (e.g., women, minorities, indigenous peoples) will be discussed as well.  Case studies will examine specific instances of climate policy and negotiation, including recent UNFCCC conferences, Costa Rica's own payment for environmental services (PES) and "Peace with Nature" climate neutrality initiative, and the emerging debate over proposed REDD (Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation) mechanisms.

The central goal of this course is to provide the students with a basic variety of research tools, methods and approaches used in the social sciences.  The final goal of this course is to enable them to formulate research problems, select a research approach, develop and implement a research design, and review and criticize investigations executed by peers and colleagues in the wider research community.
This course offers students with foundational knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods, elements to discern how and when they should be used, and the benefits and drawbacks of each specific method. It will develop students’ theoretical knowledge and applied skills in conducting qualitative and participatory research with ample field examples from the social and natural sciences, addressing issues, challenges and emerging trends in a globalized world.

Film is increasingly used to share knowledge about human rights principles, as well as to mobilise people to win human rights or to resist their abuse.  Human rights films are intended to create a sense of responsibility, and often to stimulate the viewer to take action.  This course introduces students to a sociological approach to human rights films.  Students will be introduced to different kinds of films oriented towards publicising human rights by drawing attention to and raising awareness of human rights violations.  Students will be invited to reflect on different types of films, to discuss the representations of suffering they portray, the social practices through which these representations circulate, and the actions they are intended to inform.  Above all throughout the course we will raise questions concerning the effectiveness of film for securing human rights, reflecting on how to formulate and research representations, distribution, reception, and political context.

Designed as an advanced workshop, this course provides a conceptual, theoretical and analytical understanding of, as well as practical skills in conflict analysis, negotiation, resolution and transformation essential in peacebuilding within and between states. Drawing on examples of complex conflicts involving nation-states, non-state groups, communities and citizens, students will examine various frameworks and tools for analyzing those conflicts, including the drivers, processes of escalation and conditions for de-escalation. The course will also provide basic knowledge, tools and skills in the vital strategy of negotiation in managing and resolving conflicts. It focuses on how the process of conducting diplomatic negotiations and other informal processes aimed at managing inter-state and intra-state conflicts have an impact on the outcomes of those conflicts, laying the foundations for outcomes ranging from stable peace to further escalation of violence. The workshop will also introduce students to various types and strategies of mediation as an important means of alternative conflict or dispute resolution. In the concluding sessions, students will examine the differences between conflict resolution and conflict transformation which focuses especially on addressing the root causes of conflicts, transforming and building long-term relationships with grassroots and community empowerment and fostering reconciliation.

The UPEACE Model United Nations Conference (UPMUNC) is a graduate-level simulation of the real United Nations Organization, its most important specialized agencies, and other associated organizations. UPMUNC provides a common platform for UPEACE students and participants from several other universities to discuss international affairs and to gain a greater understanding of the procedures of the United Nations. Participants become familiar with key global issues by becoming part of the international decision making process to resolve them, and in so doing, are given an opportunity to apply their skills in negotiations, public speaking, and diplomacy.

The objective of this course is to first explore the nature of our food systems and the paradox of why, despite the apparent scientific and technological developments in agriculture enabling production of a worldwide food surplus, food insecurity is increasing globally. Secondly, students will explore what needs to change in our food systems in order to reach a goal of sustainable food security.

To achieve these two objectives, students will be encouraged to explore food security from a household and community perspective in order to understand the environmental factors that contribute to food insecurity. This knowledge-building process will be done through group tasks in the classroom and in the field. Students will be expected to undertake practical work to assess the situation of households vulnerable to food insecurity, hopefully in two locations, one urban and one rural. The course emphasizes “learning by doing” and so there will be field trips to two locations to meet vulnerable households and to assess successful local research initiatives which are increasing household and community food security.

Group work in the class will address defining food security and what constitutes a healthy sustainable food system. In addition, there will be group work, for example, in exploring the causes of famines, the issue of food justice and a right to food, the problems of food aid, and the implications of commoditization of our food systems. To bring out opposing viewpoints on food issues, part of the group work will be organized as debates. The intention of the course is to emphasise experiential learning rather than focus on formal lectures although there will be an initial presentation by the instructor on a food security topic prior to each workshop session. Hopefully, students will have gained both practical skills and theoretical knowledge about hunger, famine and food security and will feel confident and empowered to address these issues directly or indirectly in their future work.

This class is an opportunity to explore in-depth how different land-uses and conservation approaches intermingle in one particular region: the South of Costa Rica.  The purpose of the field trip is to obtain critical direct experience and knowledge of important natural resources management issues in a developing country, given the real political, economic and ecological context of the same. This course enables students to assess the contextual factors that affect natural resource management. Over the course of the trip, we will visit and be exposed to projects and issues with various resources, different actors involved in the management and different institutional settings.

The course aims at understanding the impact of climate change on the global environment and on human activity.  Climate change increases risks to human livelihoods and as such may endanger the security of individuals and groups. This in turn could increase the propensity for conflict within and between states.
Components of the course will include a critical examination of the drivers of climate change, largely induced by human activity, and a review of international efforts to limit the magnitude of climate changes, including those concluded in Kyoto and Copenhagen. Consequences of climate change for human health, for economic activity, for resource use and resource availability will also be examined, as will be the options for adapting to climate change.
The examination of climate changes will be viewed within the broader context of the current demographic, economic and political global reality.   Introductory comments and discussions led by the instructor will be followed by seminars with broad student input.



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FACULTY

Jan Breitling is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environment and Development at University for Peace. He holds a BSc. in Tropical Forestry, from the Technological Institute of Costa Rica, and a MSc. in Environmental Sciences from WUR Wageningen University and Research Center, The Netherlands. His research interests include root causes of deforestation and Global Environmental Change, and Environmental Governance, specifically market based approaches addressing biodiversity conservation and Climate Change.

Juan P. Hoffmaister is a specialist on international governance and law, with expertise adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and development and cooperation policy. He is associated with Third World Network and the Stockholm Environment Institute, and serves as negotiator for the Group of 77 and China in multiple UN forums. Mr. Hoffmaister has completed extensive field work on implementation of adaptation and disaster risk reduction activities and has spoken to international audiences on the strengthens and drawbacks on community-based adaptation. He has served in research, assessment and policy advice to governments and multilateral organizations on climate change, particularly in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process, and is also knowledgeable of international governance processes on biodiversity (Convention on Biological Diversity), trade (World Trade Organization), and sustainable development (Commission on Sustainable Development). He has training in adaptation and resilience from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden (Msc) and ecology and environmental policy from College of the Atlantic, USA (BA).

Dr. Julie Watson is a PhD in geography with expertise in transboundary water conflict and cooperation.
Julie's goal is to figure out ways we can collaborate more effectively over shared water resources while addressing inequities in access to water for all its uses. She's especially interested in environmental justice, participatory processes, and the integration of qualitative, hard-to-measure values alongside the quantifiable in more holistic decision-making frameworks.
Julie is certified in mediation and transboundary water conflict transformation. She has produced a documentary film and measured its value as a facilitation tool, and she has created training modules and conducted workshops to build practitioner capacity for conflict management. Julie's passion is creating a resilient process and facilitating stronger partnerships to catalyze creative, strategic, and resilient water governance solutions for more peaceful, just water management.

 

Kate Nash is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy at Goldsmiths, and she is also a Fellow of the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. In 2010 she was Visiting Professor at the New School for Social Research, New York and Vincent Wright Professor at Sciences Po, Paris; and in 2008 she was involved in a funded knowledge exchange with the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. Kate has published widely on human rights, political sociology and social theory, including The Political Sociology of Human Rights Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015; The Cultural Politics of Human Rights: Comparing the US and UK Cambridge University Press 2009; ‘Between citizenship and human rights’ Sociology 43/6 2009: 1067-1083; and ‘Global citizenship as showbusiness: the cultural politics of Make Poverty History’ Media, Culture and Society 30/2 2008 167-181. You can see more details, and access some of Kate’s writings here: http://www.gold.ac.uk/sociology/staff/nash/

Head, Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies, Resident Professor and Academic Coordinator of International Peace Studies Programme and International Peace Studies with specialization in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies Programme
Dr. Manish Thapa is Head of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and Resident Professor of International Peace Studies Master Programme at the University for Peace. He is one of the founding members of Department of Conflict, Peace & Development Studies at Tribhuvan University Nepal (2007-2015). He is also currently Visiting Professor at the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw, Poland and Senior Research Fellow at Center for Europe – University of Warsaw- Poland. He received his Post Doctorate in International Relations from the University of Warsaw. He has served as Research Fellow in several universities and institutes in Europe and North America such as the University of Warsaw; Department of Peace & Conflict Research, Uppsala University; Brown University; McGill-Echenberg Human Rights Fellow & Jeanne Sauvé Scholar, McGill University; Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. His publications include 6 books and numerous journal articles and book chapters including "Foreign Policy in the Global South: Anti-Westernism, Rhetoric and Identity" (Co-editor), London: Routledge 2017 (Forthcoming - In Press); "From Bullet to Ballot – Peacemaking and Peacebuilding in Nepal: Lessons Learned and Unlearned" (Editor), London: Routledge 2017 (Proposal accepted); “Internal Conflicts & Peacebuilding Challenges" (Editor), New Delhi: K W Publishers 2016 and "India in the Contemporary World: Polity, Economy and International Relations" (Co-editor), London: Routledge 2014.

M.Sc. in Marine Biology, Universidad de Costa Rica.  Ph.D. candidate, Marine Affairs Department, University of Rhode Island. Coordinator, Southern Central America Marine Program, Conservation International. Member of the Costa Rican Ocean Commission, in representation of Conservation International and of the Costa Rican Marine resources sub-commission, within the Presidential “Peace with Nature” Initiative. Appointed to Costa Rica’s technical working group for the South Pacific, for the assessment of the viability of establishing a new marine protected area in Costa Rica’s south Pacific. As a member of Costa Rica’s EEZ Commission, active participation in the elaboration of Costa Rica’s National Marine Strategy. Professor, Introduction to Fisheries Management (B-0681), School of Biology, University of Costa Rica.

Mayumi Yamada (Ph.D.).
Resident Professor and Head of Doctoral Programme

Dr. Mayumi Yamada is Resident Professor and Head of the Doctoral Programme of the UN Mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica. Prior to joining UPEACE, she worked as the Recovery, Reintegration & Peace Building Officer of United Nations Mission in South Sudan. During the December Crisis 2013 in South Sudan, she remained as a life-saving staff, directly managing one of the biggest Protection of Civilians sites by supporting humanitarian assistance. Before joining UNMISS, she worked with UNDP Offices in Kazakhstan (Semipalatinsk: ex-nuclear testing sites), Maldives, Lao PDR and Solomon Islands, and the UN Centre for Regional Development (Disaster Management Planning Unit). She holds a Ph.D. Degree in Sustainable Development from Imperial College London, UK. She is originally from Kobe (Japan), who survived from the Great Hanshin- Awaji Earthquake in 1995.

Dr. Mihir Kanade (India) is the Academic Coordinator of UPEACE, the Head of its Department of International Law, and the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre. He holds an LL.B. from Nagpur University (India) and a Master degree and Doctorate from UPEACE. He is also an adjunct faculty at Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio (Spain), Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal), and Long Island University (United States). His principal area of academic research and study is International Law, Human Rights and Globalization, covering several themes within that interface including trade and investment, sustainable development, forced migration, indigenous peoples’ rights, public health, amongst others. He has extensive experience in training staff of inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as professionals, in the field of human rights. He acts as an advisor to several human rights organizations and corporations on issues related to international law and human rights. He serves on the International Advisory Board of the International Bar Association on the topic of Business and Human Rights. He also leads a project of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on promoting the Right to Development. Prior to his pursuit in academia, Mihir practiced for several years as a lawyer at the Bombay High Court and at the Supreme Court of India.
Dr. Miriam Estrada-Castillo (Ecuador) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Law. Prior to joining UPEACE, Dr. Estrada-Castillo worked as the Senior legal and political officer in the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED). Prior to that position, she has worked with the UN system in various capacities, including as the International Prosecutor General, UN Peacekeeping Mission for East-Timor (DPKO), Expert and Vice-Chairperson of the Monitoring Committee of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Chief of Field of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Latin America Regional Adviser on Gender, Human Rights and Culture of Peace for UNESCO. She has also worked as the President of the Ecuadorian Supreme Court of Juvenile Justice and as the Minister of Social Affairs in Ecuador. In her academic life, she worked recently as the Director of Master Degree Courses on Gender and the Law and Children in Armed Conflict, Lund University, Sweden. She is a Visiting Professor of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) and has also taught courses as a Visiting Professor at the Australian National University. She is the author of the Ecuadorian Law on Violence against Women and of the first Legislation for Minors and Family in the country.
An ethnobiologist who researches food harvesting in Costa Rica. For the past decade her research program has focused on access to food in Costa Rican national parks. Specifically her emphasis has been on Indigenous rights to access and harvest cultural food. Olivia is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Society of Ethnobiology, the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage Project, and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. Being active within these networks allows her to work at the interface of policy and practice regarding food harvesting and access.

Instructor, Liason, Media, Peace and Conflict Studies Specialization and Editor, Peace and Conflict Monitor and Peace and Conflict Review Ross Ryan holds degrees in political science and literature from McMaster University, Canada and the M.A. degree in environmental security from the University for Peace, Costa Rica. He is chief editor of the Peace and Conflict Monitor and managing editor of the Peace and Conflict Review, as well as instructor in the department of peace studies and liaison officer of the media, peace and conflict studies specialization. He is currently working on a research project entitled “Information Technology, Civic Engagement, and the Cyber-Ethnography of Peace Movements”.

Distinguished Professor, Academic Affairs Dean and Coordinator, Gender and Peace Building Programme
Professor Sara Sharratt received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Southern Illinois University. She is Professor Emerita of Psychology Sonoma State University, California. Additionally, she specializes in Gender Studies especially on the prosecution of sexual violence in International Courts. She was part of the official Costa Rican delegation to Rome where the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court was adopted. Dr. Sharratt taught the first graduate courses in Gender Studies in Costa Rica and was also the main consultant in the development of a Master’s Program in Gender Studies.  She has directed programs on gender and violence and sustainable development for the Government of Costa Rica and has written numerous articles. Her two books deal with women in the former Yugoslavia: “Assault on the Soul: Women in the Former Yugoslavia; and” “Gender, Shame and Sexual Violence: The Prosecution of Sexual Violence in International Courts.” She is currently focusing on women and access to transitional justice. Dr. Sharratt has been a visiting scholar at U Peace for the last 10 years.

Distinguished Professor, Head, Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies and Coordinator, International Peace Studies Programme
Dr. Toh Swee-Hin (S. H. Toh) is Distinguished Professor and a long-term consultant to the Office of the Rector at the University for Peace, where he teaches in peace education, gender and peace building, and international peace studies. He holds a MEd. and a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Canada. He served as Director of the Centre for International Education & Development (University of Alberta) and the Multi-Faith Centre (Griffith University). Born in Malaysia, Dr. Toh has been extensively involved in education, research and action for a culture of peace, non-violence, human rights, gender equality, local/global justice, intercultural understanding, sustainability and interfaith dialogue in global South and North contexts. His international networks or consultancies include UNESCO, the International Institute on Peace Education, World Council for Curriculum & Instruction, UNESCO-affiliated Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding, Peace Education Commission- International Peace Research Association, the Parliament of the World’s Religions and Religions for Peace. In 2000, he was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.

Urbano Fra Paleo, B.A. Hons. Geography (Santiago de Compostela), Ph.D. Geography (Santiago de Compostela, 1996), also holds a Diploma in Environmental Engineering from the EOI Business School and is a certified Geomatics Specialist (GIS/LIS).

Urbano Fra is Professor in Human Geography at the University of Extremadura in Spain, currently on leave at the Land Laboratory (LaboraTe) of the University of Santiago de Compostela since 2007. He is Visiting Professor at the University for Peace (UPEACE), Costa Rica. He worked at the US Geological Survey in Denver (1995) and Hawai’i (1999), and was Research Associate at The Environment Institute of the University of Denver (1996). In 2005 he was Fellow of the American Geographical Society Library of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
 
Dr. Fra has performed fieldwork in the United States, Mexico and Morocco, and taught at the University of Köln, Germany (2003), University of Marburg, Germany, (2002), University of Iceland, Iceland (2001) and Fachhochschule Neubrandenburg, Germany (1997). His research interests lie in risk governance, particularly the development of criteria and methods to perform collaborative evaluation. His research is also focused on the analysis of strategies of mitigation and adaptation to risk from natural hazards.
 
His most recent works include the editing of the books Building safer communities. Governance, spatial planning, and responses to natural hazards (IOS Press, 2009), and Riesgos naturales en Galicia El encuentro entre naturaleza y sociedad (University of Santiago de Compostela Press, 2010), a review of the interaction between natural hazards and societal processes in northwestern Spain. He currently is editing the book Risk governance: The articulation of hazard, politics and ecology for Springer. Urbano Fra has been involved in the European Virtual Seminar on sustainable development through a European-wide university partnership. He is a member of the group that is developing the evaluation tool AISHE 2.0, contributing with criteria and methods for the evaluation of sustainability in higher education.
 
He currently is member of the Spanish Scientific Committee of International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), of the Scientific Committee of the Integrated Risk Governance (IRG) Project, of the Disaster Risk Reduction Thematic Group, Commission on Ecosystem Management, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), project associate of the Project Urbanization and Global Environmental Change (UGEC), and is Senior Research Fellow of the IHDP Earth System Governance.
 
In 2009 Urbano Fra received the Innovation Award from the University of Santiago de Compostela, and the same year was honored with the Sustainable Actions in Social Entrepreneurship Award from the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Jaime Vera Foundation for distinguished contributions in introducing young students to science research.
 
He serves on the editorial board of the Chinese Geographical Science Journal.
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