We are excited to showcase the amazing speakers who will be presenting at our conference


Dr David Suzuki

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki
Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO’s
Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012
Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr.
Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It’s a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990 he co-founded with Dr. Tara Cullis, The David Suzuki Foundation to “collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business,
to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.” His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, B.C.

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Dr. Jonathan Patz, Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

He is a professor and the John P. Holton Chair in Health and the Environment with appointments in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Population Health Sciences.

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Read Dr Patz’s The Rotarian Interview


Ian Riseley, Rotary International President 2017-18

He is a chartered accountant and principal of Ian Riseley and Co., a firm he established in 1976. Prior to starting his own firm, he worked in the audit and management consulting divisions of large accounting firms and corporations. His firm specializes in income tax and management advice for individuals and small businesses. He has a master’s degree in taxation law and graduate diplomas in accounting and income tax.

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Paul Netzel, Trustee Chair 2017-18

Paul A. Netzel is founder and chair of Netzel Grigsby Associates Inc., a leading management consulting firm specializing in work with nonprofit organizations and institutions throughout the western United States. He served as mayor of Culver City, California, and president of Culver City’s Board of Education.

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Douglas Justice,Associate Director of Horticulture and the Collections at UBC Botanical Garden

The Garden, which recently celebrated its one hundredth anniversary, is noted for its beautiful location on Point Grey, at the western edge of Vancouver, and especially for its world-renowned collections of documented wild-origin Asian and North American plants, including (but certainly not limited to) rhododendrons, maples and magnolias.

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Linda Low, Rotary Peace Fellow

Committed to building stronger communities and a more sustainable world, Linda is a Rotary Peace Fellow at the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Centre in Durham, North Carolina, where she is pursuing her Masters in International Development Policy.

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Derran Moss, Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the UN and Rotary Peace Fellow

In 2002, Derran was awarded an inaugural Rotary World Peace Fellowship to study in the USA for two years at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). On completing his Masters in political science, focusing on international security challenges, Derran returned to Brisbane to work with the Crime and Misconduct Commission, during which time he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study juvenile substance abuse in remote and indigenous communities in the USA and Canada, and also completed a Master of Laws focused on international and comparative law.

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Navin Ramunkutty, Professor, University of British Columbia

Navin Ramankutty is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change and Food Security at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.

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Kathleen Rogers, President, Earth Network

Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, has worked for more than 20 years as an environmental attorney and advocate, focusing on international and domestic environmental public policy and law. Kathleen has held senior positions with the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Law Institute, and two U.S. Olympic Organizing Committees.

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Maria Rodale, President and CEO, Rodale Industries

Maria Rodale is the CEO chairman of the board of Rodale Inc., a board member of the New York Restoration Project and a board member of the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Over the years, Maria has been recognized for her work by major organizations.

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Chris Cochran, Executive Director, ReFED

Chris Cochran is the executive director of ReFED, an effort of 40 businesses, non-profits, foundations, investors and policymakers committed to reducing food waste in the United States. Previously, Chris was the Senior Manager of Sustainability at Walmart where he developed a farm to consumer view of food waste while leading sustainability for Walmart’s global produce business.

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Dr Jamie Bechtel, Managing Partner at Kito Global

Jamie is a dynamic, innovative, and highly regarded impact expert with over 25
years of experience including work in over 40 countries.  She has a knack for
identifying and building non-traditional (unexpected) partnerships across sectors
including private, public and local stakeholders.

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Dr. Ira Helfand, Nuclear Expert

Ira Helfand, MD is co-President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, and he is co-Founder and Past President of Physicians for Social Responsibility, IPPNW’s US affiliate. In September of 2015 Dr. Helfand addressed a special session of the United Nations General Assembly, and in May of 2016 he led the session on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war at the United Nations Open Ended Working Group meeting in Geneva. Dr. Helfand was educated at Harvard College and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is a former chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine and President of the Medical Staff at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, and currently practices as an internist and urgent care physician at Family Care Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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PDG Jiro Kawatsuma, Hiroshima Survivor

PDG2710 2002-2003. He was born in Hiroshima, Japan, has been passionate about global peace since his nuclear tragedy. Chaired Rotary Global Peace Forum in Hiroshima in 2013.Since then, he serves “Green Legacy Hiroshima”, spreading Hiroshima’s atomic-bomb survivor trees worldwide. He was awarded with the Medal of Honor, Blue Ribbon in 1995.The nation also awarded him with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in 2003 for his outstanding work to the society.


ADG Hiroko Seki, Japan Co-ordinator Heiwa: Rotary Hiroshima Survivor Trees

ADG Hiroko Seki is a Grand Master of Tea Ceremony (Omote senke) for 25years. She lives in Tokyo. She was a Computer trainer and ran a PC schoolsfor kids and young generations. Hiroko is a Rotarian since 1997. She founded two Rotary Clubs, the first multinational Yoneyama Yuai Club & Yoneyama E-Club 2750 with 32members each from 8 countries, is the special representative for both clubs. They use Japanese as the common language.


PDG Steve K. Yoshida, US coordinator, Heiwa: Rotary Hiroshima Survivor Trees

Steve Yoshida retired from practicing commercial law in Homer, Alaska after 25 years. He now lives in Hilo, Hawaii. Steve graduated from UCLA with degrees in Mathematics and Physics and earned his law degree at the University of California at Davis. As Rotary District Governor in 1994-95 (Alaska, Yukon, Eastern Russia with 11 time zones), Steve helped to start 12 Russian clubs. Steve is the recipient of Rotary’s Service Above Self award. and served on numerous RI and Rotary Foundation committees. In Hawaii, Steve was the Chair of the Rotary Global Peace Forum, 25-27 January 2013.


Lee B. Dombroski, Curator Survivor Plant Distribution Center, Hilo, Hawaii

Ms. Dombroski is currently the Director of the Performing Arts Center at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. She has held various positions, from Costume Director and Wig Master to Production Manager and Associate Managing Director in professional and educational theatres on the US west coast and in Hawaii. Ms. Dombroski has exhibited hair sculptures in galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ms. Dombroski holds a BFA in Theatre from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a MFA in Design from California Institute of the Arts.

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Will Plowright, Rotary Peace Fellow

Will Plowright, District 5040 Rotary Peace Fellow is currently a Ph.D student at UBC. Will’s 8 years of experience in conflict and disaster zones across Asia, Africa, and the Americas frames his doctoral research on the use of child soldiers by non-state armed groups. This research has led him to make contact with armed groups in a dozen countries, including Syria, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Colombia and others. He also works with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) as a project manager, most recently in Central Africa and Afghanistan. ‘Seeing things from the other side is key not only to researching conflicts, but to ending them as well.” Will’s story appeared in the February 2016 edition of the Rotarian.


Beth Keck, Practitioner-in-Residence of China Studies, The John Hopkins University

Beth Keck has an extensive background in international business and corporate social responsibility. Currently, she is Practitioner-in-Residence of China Studies at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Previously Ms. Keck was a Senior Director at Walmart where she led Walmart’s $100 million Women’s Economic Empowerment commitment to train one million women on farms and in the workforce.  She also initiated the company’s sustainable agriculture initiative.  Before joining Walmart in 2004, Ms. Keck was based in China with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and The Boeing Company.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Ms. Keck has a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and bachelor of journalism degree from The University of Missouri School of Journalism.


Simon Donner, Associate Professor of Climatology, University of British Columbia

Simon Donner is an Associate Professor of Climatology in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia. He teaches and conducts interdisciplinary research at the interface of climate science, marine science, and public policy. His current areas of research include climate change and coral reefs; ocean warming and El Nino; climate change adaptation in small island developing states; public engagement on climate change. Simon is also the director of UBC’s NSERC-supported “Ocean Leaders” program and is affiliated with UBC’s Institute of Oceans and Fisheries, Liu Institute for Global Issues, and Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. His efforts at public engagement on climate change have been recognized with an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship, a Google Science Communication Fellowship and the UBC President’s Award for Public Education through the Media.

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Rebecca Crall, Rotary International

Rebecca Crall is the Area of Focus Manager for Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution.  She has been with Rotary International since 2006, working primarily with the strategic and programmatic development of the Rotary Peace Centers program.

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Salvador Rico

Salvador Rico, Past President of the Rotary Club of South Ukiah

Salvador has been a Rotarian for over 10 years. He joined because his sister died of polio in the 60’s in Mexico. Salvador was born in 1973 so didn’t get to meet his sister but saw the pain that polio causes through the eyes of his mother who suffered a lot for the loss of her oldest daughter. He promised her that he would do anything to prevent mothers from suffering the loss of their children to that and similar diseases.

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Michelle Breslauer

Michelle BreslauerDirector, Americas Program, Institute for Economics and Peace

Michelle Breslauer manages the strategic partnerships and programs of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a global think thank that uses data to understand and communicate the drivers of peace. 

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Daniel Tillias

Daniel Tillias, Leader & Co-Founder of the SAKALA Community Center

Daniel is a peace, human rights, and environmental leader in Haiti. Born in Cite Soleil, one of Haiti’s poorest and most stigmatized areas, Daniel excelled in school and could have used that ticket to live comfortably anywhere in the world. Instead, Daniel’s heart never left Cite Soleil and neither did he. In 2006, Daniel founded the SAKALA community center along with others who grew up in Cite Soleil. They began with peace-through-sports programs to give youths an alternative to gangs. Over the years, SAKALA has added educational, entrepreneurial, and agricultural programs (it is home to Haiti’s largest urban garden) all with the goal of helping the citizens of Cite Soleil live peaceful, productive lives.



Bridget Croke, Vice President External Relations, Closed Loop Partners

Bridget Croke leads external affairs including investor partnerships, industry partnerships, communications and special projects at the Closed Loop Partners.  Bridget has been working on sustainability, circular economy and turning waste into value for 20 years through organizations including Fair Food Project of Philadelphia, Recyclebank and Purpose before joining Closed Loop Partners.

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Bruce Karas – VP Environment & Sustainability, Coca-Cola N. America

Bruce Karas is the Vice President of Environment and Sustainability for Coca-Cola, North America. He has over 25 years of experience as an environmental, health and safety professional and has practised in a wide range of industrial operations in North America. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist in Comprehensive Practice, A Certified Safety Professional and a Registered Occupational Hygienist in Canada. He has served in various positions in national and local organizations in the Environment and Safety space and has presented on a wide range of topics including sustainability, water stewardship, sustainable packaging and ergonomics. He is currently on the board of keep America Beautiful and the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership.


Glenn Raynor,  Executive Director of the Jane Goodall Institute in the DRC

Glenn Raynor is the Executive Director of the Jane Goodall Institute in the  Democratic Republic of The Congo  and a Class IX Rotary Peace Fellow sponsored by the Victoria-Harbourside Rotary Club of District 5020 and hosted by the Tokyo-Musashino Rotary Club of District 2580 in Japan.

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Deborah Harford

Deborah Harford, Executive Director of ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team), Pacific Water Research Centre, Faculty of Environment, SFU

In addition to her role as Executive Director of ACT, Deborah is a Climate Solutions Fellow, SFU Centre for Dialogue and an Adjunct Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management, SFU.  Deborah  co-founded ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team) at SFU, which researches and develops climate change adaptation policy and resources, with a focus on low carbon resilience and ecosystem health. Deborah sits on the federal ECCC Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and is a Climate Solutions Fellow at SFU’s Centre for Dialogue.


Julia Roig, President of PartnersGlobal

Julia Roig, President of PartnersGlobal, provides technical and strategic leadership within the international network of 21 Partners’ Affiliate Centers.  She represents the organization within the foreign assistance community with a personal commitment to multi-lateralism and global cooperation.

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Atlanta McIlwraith Senior Manager, Community Engagement and Communication, Timberland

Atlanta McIlwraith is the senior manager of community engagement at Timberland. Prior to joining Timberland in May 2005, Atlanta’ started her professional life as a political organizer – first for an electoral campaign and then for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, a national consumer advocacy organization based in Washington D.C. She has worked as national public affairs manager for the Body Shop and served with Population Services International AIDS prevention programs in West Africa. Atlanta studied political science from Duke University and Business Administration from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of Northern Carolina.

Abiola AdimulaIabiola Adimula, Lecturer at the Centre for Peace at the University of Ilorin

Iabiola Adimula is a lecturer at the Centre for Peace at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. She is a Rotary Peace Fellow having graduated recently from the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok Thailand. Dr Adimula is a lawyer at the Biola Adimula & Co. Nigeria.

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Prabha Sankaranarayan, President and CEO of Mediators Beyond Borders

Mediators Beyond Borders is an international non-governmental organization whose mission is to build local skills for peace and promote mediation worldwide.
A conflict transformation practitioner who has mediated, facilitated and trained in Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA, her public and private sector work includes conflict analysis for public/private partnerships, consultation & assessment for industrial development zones, design and implementation of trainings for multinational corporations; inter faith dialogues as well as facilitation of multi-stakeholder mediations.
Prabha is actively involved in regional, national and international civic activities focused on civil liberties, sexual violence prevention, conflict mitigation & mediation and the recovery & rehabilitation of trauma survivors. She is an Adjunct Professor at Washington and Jefferson College. She trains and delivers presentations (nationally and internationally) on the impact of family and community violence, the intersection of trauma and peacebuilding, restorative justice, conflict resolution, mediation and transitional justice.


Gregg Walker, Professor of Communication and an adjunct professor in the environmental sciences, forestry, geosciences, and public policy programs at Oregon State University.

Gregg is a professor of Communication and an adjunct professor in the environmental sciences, forestry, geosciences, and public policy programs at Oregon State University.  On campus, Gregg teaches courses in conflict management, negotiation, mediation, international negotiation, environmental conflict resolution, science communication, and argumentation.  Off campus, Gregg conducts training programs on conflict management, designs collaborative public participation processes, facilitates collaborative learning community workshops about natural resource and environmental policy issues, and researches community-level collaboration efforts. Gregg is an advisor to the National Collaboration Cadre of the USDA-Forest Service and on the roster of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. He co-leads Mediators Beyond Borders international team and the United Nations climate change meetings.


Steve Goldsmith

Steve Goldsmith began his career as an activist in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960’s, was a community and labor organizer in the steel communities of South Chicago and Gary, Indiana for 10 years during the 70’s and a full time activist in movements for social change. In the last two decades, he has worked with an organization that provides effective mediation programs for keeping inner city kids on a success track and is recognized locally and nationally as a leader in the area of youth mediation in the inner city.   Though retired as Executive Director of Centinela Youth Services, Steve continues to work as a consultant trainer in the field of conflict resolution and mediation. He has developed and implanted training for hundreds of community mediators. Recently Steve was Chair of Mediators Beyond Borders International 4th Congress in Los Angeles and Chair and Director of the 6th Congress held Istanbul, Turkey. Since 2013, An active Rotarian since 2004, Steve has led a highly successful MBB effort to develop partnership work with Rotary International on a Club, District and RI leadership level.


Heidi Kuhn

The California spirit is deeply rooted in Heidi Kuhn, as her pioneer family from the 1850’s taught her respect for the land and its people. The stewardship of the Earth is violated when landmines are planted, and the land is held hostage for future generations. Inspired by the peace movement on her campus at U.C. Berkeley during the 1970’s, she majored in Political Economics and set forth her footsteps for peace. Bridging borders from Alaska, Heidi was a CNN producer/reporter on the melting of the ‘ice curtain’ between US/Soviet Relations. In the midst of her career in journalism, while raising three children, Heidi was diagnosed with cancer. In 1997, she realized that ‘Cancer was a landmine, and landmines were a cancer to the Earth,’ and made a prophetic toast that the world may go from ‘MINES TO VINES’–replacing the scourge of landmines with bountiful vineyards and orchards worldwide. From the basement of her family home, she reached out to Napa Valley vintners to support her vision, which grew to the United Nations, World Bank, and international governments and leaders. For the past two decades, with support from her family, Heidi has truly planted the Roots of Peace on Earth.
Heidi was been awarded the Gubernatorial Appointment to the California Council of the Humanities – 1996; the Cal Berkeley Alumni Award for Excellence and Achievement – 2002; the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame Award – 2003; theWorld Association of Non-Governmental Organization (WANGO) Award for Peace & Security – 2005; the United Nations World Environment Day “Walk the Talk” Award – 2005; The Rotary International “Service Above Self” Award – 2005; The Skoll Award on Social Entrepreneurship – 2006; The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award/National Jefferson Award for Public Service – 2007; The Spirit of Marin Award – 2013. She has also was invited in 2016 to be an speaker at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Bogota, Colombia.


Douglas Neasloss

As the elected Chief Councillor and Resource Stewardship Director of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, Douglas is intimately connected to the people and place in which we work. Douglas has extensive knowledge of the history of the area and traditional culture of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais people, in addition to over a decade of experience working as a bear guide and cultural interpreter in this area. Key Links: