Choosing an emerging environmental leader for GESA, by founder Gary Martin

The first stage of the Global Environments Summer Academy 2015 application period, from 15 October 2014 – 15 January 2015, seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. Expressions of interest flowed in from around the world, and we were pleased to receive far-flung applications from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Guatemala, Jamaica, Latvia, Mongolia, Sudan, Yemen, Zimbabwe and other nations that are typically underrepresented in international courses. We have a record number of candidates vying for a spot this year, over 500 from 93 countries, up 63% over last year. Now comes the hard part: choosing the finalists from this talented set of applicants.

The good news is that we have a stellar jury to help us with the tough choices we have to make. We are pleased that many GESA alumni have agreed to help select their future peers, and this gives international breadth to the jury. For the 2015 lineup, we have Daniel Abreu (Dominican Republic), Rishi Ram Bastakoti (Nepal), Chryl Corbin (United States), Manoj Misra (Bangladesh), and Eda Elif Tibet (Turkey). Their enthusiasm in taking on this task is an inspiration.

I take this as our collective responsibility to make GESA a dream academy for change-makers and I am honored to volunteer to achieve this mission.”  Chryl agreed to these sentiments, responding, “I would be honored to serve on the jury as GESA has a special place in my heart. (Rishi Ram Bastakoti, GESA 2012)

The other jury members are GESA coordinators and resource people: Gary Martin (USA), Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel (Switzerland), Emily Caruso (UK) and Susannah McCandless (USA).

Chooseing an environmental leader

Many have asked us how we go about making the decision of who attends the summer academy each year, and we would like to make the process as transparent as possible. The jury members choose their preferred candidates based on the leadership capacity communicated by their personal statements and CVs, ensuring that the resulting class has a good balance of men and women, mixture of nationalities (with no more than 2 people from the same country), regional spread, age range and multidisciplinarity. As we want to continue expanding our network globally, we also take into account if the candidate is from a country not previously represented in GESA.

Read about our summer and regional academies on our Global Environments Network website.