International Leadership Stories

Switzer Fellow and Colorado State University Professor Maria Fernández-Giménez has received the Order of the Polar Star from the government of Mongolia, the highest civilian honor the country presents to foreign nationals. Fernández-Giménez was selected due to her long-standing commitment to researching Mongolia’s extensive rangelands and how natural and human communities are adapting to ecological and economic change.Read more >
Dipti Vaghela is passionate about micro hydro. Vaghela’s organization, the Hydropower Empowerment Network, takes a country-by-country approach to rural electrification, helping micro hydro and other technologies take root in places where electricity is expensive and hard – or even impossible – to come by. Her goal? To bring electricity in a sustainable and participatory way to places that need it.Read more >
Like rainwater harvesters and solar panels, biodigesters generate power by reinvesting natural resources back into their own ecosystems. Because of their potential to reduce both waste and operating costs, it seems like every family farm should have one on hand. Fellow Alexander Eaton's company, Sistema Biobolsa, is working to create a base of users that leads to a tipping point.Read more >
A new study of market-based forest conservation schemes in Chile provides rare insight into the effectiveness of this relatively new approach to preventing deforestation. The schemes, known as non-state, market-driven (NSMD) governance regimes reduced deforestation on participating properties by between 2 and 23 percent, conclude Switzer Fellow Robert Heilmayr and Eric Lambin.Read more >
Fellow Jennifer O’Leary recently received a prestigious Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation and is freshly back on California's Central Coast from management and conservation work she’s doing in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean partially supported by a Switzer Leadership Grant.Read more >
Brad Keitt (1997) has already been working to prevent extinctions caused by non-native species introduced to islands for decades. His non-profit, Island Conservation, prevents extinctions of native species by removing invasive species from islands. But the challenge of climate change has Keitt rethinking how his organization plans its projects and communicates about them.Read more >
When it comes to wildlife conservation a huge personality or bags of charisma tends to help your cause. But scientists are beginning to call for more attention to be paid to those that fail to make the list of nature’s big and beautiful.Read more >
Before routine childhood vaccinations large numbers of people used to contract diseases like TB and polio with often devastating consequences. Now vaccinations are standardized and have virtually eradicated many of the health problems that used to run rife through populations. However, there is one problem. Despite a concerted effort on the part of health workers and decent supply of vaccinations, power issues in emerging regions often means these vaccinations - which require refrigeration - get spoiled. This is where ColdTrace from Nexleaf Analytics offers a solution.Read more >
To conservationist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, getting coastal communities involved in plans to protect their waters is critical for protecting the planet's oceans. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she talks about her work in one Caribbean island and how it shows how such a strategy can get results.Read more >
One of the key values of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation is environmental stewardship. We seek to protect, improve, and sustain our natural environment for the well-being of people and the planet. Island Conservation, a Santa Cruz nonprofit with UC Santa Cruz roots, has saved 389 species from possible extinction on 52 islands around the world. 1997 Switzer Fellow Brad Keitt is the Director of Conservation. "It's incredibly rewarding," said Keitt. "I feel lucky to have a job where I am making a difference that is so immediate yet lasting."Read more >

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