Catherine Ross


Cathy is pursuing a Master's Degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (M.A.L.D.). Prior to studying at Fletcher, Cathy worked as Oxfam America's Amazon Program Officer based in Lima, Peru. There she supported initiatives of local indigenous peoples' organizations and NGOs for secure land tenure, organizational strengthening and community-based natural resource management. She also helped to bring together and coordinate community organizations, national and international NGOs and scientists to develop common strategies for achieving better environmental and social standards and more transparent management of the Camisea Natural Gas Project, a $1.6 billion hydrocarbon project which has impacts on vulnerable indigenous communities and areas of stunning biodiversity in Amazonian and coastal regions. Cathy is spending the summer of 2006 in Vietnam, working with a large international NGO toward assessing the emerging environmental civil society sector in that country. Local communities and the natural resources on which they depend are often vulnerable to weak democratic governance and incentive structures which may encourage decision-makers to seek short term gains at the expense of long-term sustainability. At the Fletcher School, Cathy is exploring the connections among natural resources, human rights, democratic governance and development. Her research interests include the role of civil society in the development of state-society relations, the dynamics of natural resource conflicts, and the economic and political incentives that frame environmental and social management practices. Her work will aim to provide better tools for analysis, strategy development and alliance building to a range of actors seeking to contribute to democratic governance that respects human rights and environmental sustainability.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
Tufts University - Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, MA
Current Position:
Senior Program Officer, Latin America
Open Society Foundation
International Conservation & Development

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