The 2013 Andrew Sabin International Environmental Fellows, left to right; Jin Yin (China), Lia Nicholson (Antigua and Barbuda), Elizabeth Babalola (Nigeria), Renzo Mendoza Castro (Peru), Juer Song (China), Alemayehu Belay Zeleke (Ethiopia), Gladys Caballero (Colombia), Sonam Choden (Bhutan), Yufang Gao (China).
Elizabeth Babalola (Nigeria) looks ahead to building Nigeria’s next generation of passionate environmental professionals and volunteers. Combining her knowledge gained as a volunteer for the Nigerian National Youth Services Corp, her contacts within the environmental community and the model North American School curriculum for environmental education, Ms. Babalola’s plan is to establish “Green Clubs” – an extra-curricular environmental education program for secondary schools in her country.
Gladys Vivienne Caballero (Colombia) has almost 10 years of experience working with the United Nations. Upon graduation, she will focus on climate change adaptation and sustainable development in Latin America, especially in regard to water resources. Ms. Caballero plans to serve the Latin American and Caribbean regions, in the Colombian Government or in the regional United Nations system.
Sonam Choden (Bhutan) plans to return to Bhutan’s Department of Forests and Park Services where she will focus on wetlands management. These Himalayan wetlands are critical not only for Bhutan but also as sources of fresh water for the neighboring countries of India and Bangladesh. She looks forward to contributing her expertise in maintaining Bhutan’s pristine environment and strengthening the “Gross Domestic Happiness “of her people.
Yufang Gao (China) is dedicated to biodiversity conservation in the Tibetan Plateau, particularly in the Sanjiangyuan region. He has an offer of employment from Shanshui Conservation, a prominent Chinese conservation NGO. China’s “Open up the West” campaign has caused large scale environmental degradation in the once undisturbed region. As an undergraduate student at the Peking University, Mr. Gao investigated the impact of policy changes on the Tibetan people and their land. Mr. Gao hopes to contribute to policy making for the conservation for Sanjiangyuan’s unique ecosystem and culture.
Renzo Mendoza Castro (Peru) is focused on public-private partnerships to attain urban sustainability. Upon graduation, Mr. Castro will return to Peru and work for the City Government of Lima as an Urban Sustainability Consultant. He expects to address the urban governance challenges of this typical Latin American city, for example the urban squalor that often accompanies economic progress.
Lia Nicholson (Antigua & Barbuda) has non-profit experience in the Caribbean and would like to continue her family’s legacy of protecting the culture, history and ecology of the region. With a Masters in Environmental Management, Ms. Nicholson will seek employment as a Regional Liaison Officer at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Climate Change Center, transitioning to the prestigious CARICOM Secretariat. Ms. Nicholson will work toward closing the gap between “elite” policies and their implementation at the local level.
Juer Song (China) seeks sustainability for China’s urban development. With the world’s largest population, highest growth rate and enormous energy consumption, the country needs skilled environmental professionals to achieve its objectives. Ms. Song aims to be a researcher and a communicator at the Chinese chapter of an international environmental institution or think tank, focusing on customizing policy to China’s unique needs.
Jin Yin (China) is focused on developing community forestry and eco-tourism practices among the Miao ethnic group in South-western China. Ms. Yin hopes to be an advocate for the Miao people and their traditional forest management system.
Alemayehu Zeleke (Ethiopia) is dedicated to serving Ethiopia in the areas of agricultural development and food security. In the short term he wants to continue his research on natural resource management and agricultural policy. However, Mr. Zeleke recognizes weak governance as one of the impediments to agricultural development in the region, so he would eventually like to pursue a career in the public sector.