This summer, 40 environmental professionals from around the world once again converged in Berkeley to attend the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). This certificate program in sustainable environmental management links participants to state-of-the-art environmental and natural resource science and policy training.
Participant Liliya Smialkova, of Belarus and Italy, sums up the ELP this way: "They say that in order to make a change, one doesn't need to change the circumstances but to change his or her point of view. I feel that I have new eyes now."
Since 2001, the ELP has graduated 308 environmental leaders from more than sixty countries
Here, some of this year's participants share their experience:
"ELP allowed me to share experiences and knowledge with bright, passionate people from diverse disciplines, sectors and regions around the globe. At the end of each packed day I was exhausted from so much thinking, communicating, and collaborating, but exhilarated with all of the possibilities we were creating. It not only built my knowledge, but rejuvenated my energy to work toward environmental sustainability and helped me connect with a unique and talented group of friends and colleagues that I know will support each other well into the future. The program truly attracts and provides the best minds in the field of environment and development. Since I work on the nexus of agriculture and water, I found most exciting the potential of eco-agriculture and multi-stakeholder negotiation."
-- Monique Mikhail (USA/Nepal)
"As soon as I returned from Beahrs ELP I came with several ideas to put into practice within my organization. I’m now able to perform better in teamwork -- applying leadership and communication skills I gathered at ELP. As soon as arrived home I was able to mobilize and encourage my colleagues towards the preparation of our own institutional course."
-- Roberto Rivas (Nicaragua)
"The ELP has given me so many ideas, thoughts, concepts and most of all, inspiration to play my role in sustainable environmental management; for the rest of my life I will go on implementing them. "
-- Najam Ul Huda Khan (Pakistan)
"The ELP was an entry point for me and it is time to turn all the materials, resources, and networks I got from the course into practical activities. Thank you to all of the founders, funders and foundations."
-- Gusril Bahar (Indonesia)
"I was very impressed with the high quality of courses, and very qualified professors. As Madagascar is an island intensely involved in conservation concerns, I can definitely say that most of the knowledge I received will help me in my job for the conservation of the unique richness of my country, in balance with the development of rural areas that live with the forest resources."
-- Georges Rakotondrabe (Madagascar)
"Familiarity with different international cultures and values is my personal experience, while theories about the involvement of communities in sustainable resource management, causes of global economic crises, and the conflict resolutions were the sessions which I can apply in my professional work."
-- Kakar Faiz (Pakistan)
"The people I met at ELP are phenomenal, and the staff is just terrific. The participants were a bunch of accomplished professionals with energy and vitality, prepared to do what it takes to save the world from the imminent danger of climate change. The networking possibilities are the greatest take-home for me."
-- Frank McAvor (Ghana)
"Sharing this experience… showed me that my activities in water monitoring are needed, and I will keep on moving the program. Meeting Prof. Vincent Resh was like a jolt of power to us in the water biomonitoring movement in Indonesia.
-- Prigi Arisandi (Indonesia)
"The Beahrs ELP helped me to re-evaluate the relationships and realities present among and between the business-environment-people mix. Additionally, it helped me better place the importance of environmental health service delivery systems (health education and provision of health care) within a framework of long-term environmental sustainability and livelihood security in rural communities."
-- Torjia Sahr Karimu (Sierra Leone)
"ELP has been my best learning experience; I am applying it in my everyday work with extraordinary results. The gained knowledge and skills have already contributed to many ongoing projects and are helping to build new contacts and develop the existing ones. I am so glad to share it with my friends and colleagues too. They say that in order to make a change, one doesn't need to change the circumstances but to change his or her point of view. I feel that I have new eyes now."
-- Liliya Smialkova (Belarus/Italy)
"The workshops, the special sessions and the activities have opened my mind to a more global understanding of the situations, problems and opportunities we have to face at this special time in history. I will share as much of this information and experience as I can with my groups at work, in the communities, and with stakeholders and decision makers in my country."
-- Margarita Olarte (Colombia)
"The most significant thing is the worldwide networking. I have new friends from 25 countries around the world. It gives me valuable impact for the future not only for myself but also for my company and the community around me, in my city, and my country. Through our networking, I have a lot of access to important information and I can share that with the community and my stakeholders for their capacity building."
-- Ristina Aprillia (Indonesia)