Parting advice at CIFOR 8th Roundtable on Forests

Parting advice at CIFOR 8th Roundtable on Forests

I will be moving to Indonesia in August to undertake a yearlong fellowship, and so today I thought it would be a good idea to attend the Center for International Forestry Research’s 8th Roundtable on Forests today in order to introduce myself to my new neighbors on Java.

Imagine my surprise when, after an afternoon of refreshingly candid presentations, outgoing Executive Director Frances Seymour closed the session by announcing this would be her last turn at the microphone as the head of CIFOR and she wanted to offer advice to the audience.

Her advice was to encourage all the young women in the audience to aspire to leadership positions in the forestry world, joining the likes of Wangari Maathai and Elinor Ostrom, bringing perspectives to the table that “our male colleagues do not.” I was caught off guard by the departure from the normal rhetoric used within the forestry circle — as someone who has been working on forestry issues for many years, I think it was the first time that someone so clearly and eloquently flagged the role of women as valuable in a sector traditionally dominated by men. And it was nice to receive advice that I am potentially in a position to act upon, following similar steps in my upcoming journey to Indonesia that someone as admirable as Frances Seymour took twenty years earlier.

Thank you for the inspiration. Message received.

Many thanks to CIFOR for creating space for discussion on forestry issues within the Rio +20 events. While many of my Yale colleagues are running around helping their delegations, I am happy to contribute to the vibrant discussion that civil society is having on the sidelines.