Dr. Ashok Khosla is Chairperson of the Development Alternatives Group, headquartered in New Delhi. The DA Group was among the first civil society organisations set up to address the issues of sustainable development as a whole. It also pioneered the concept of social enterprise, creating business-like approaches for eradicating poverty and conserving the natural resource base. Currently, he is also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Co-President of the Club of Rome, the world’s largest and most representative alliance of conservation agencies and interest groups and Co-Chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel, to investigate the status and trends of natural resource use in the global economy. Public Sector - In India, he has served on the National Security Advisory Board, the National Environment Board and the Science Advisory Council to the Cabinet and on the boards of many official, NGO and academic bodies.
Global Footprint - At the international level, Dr. Khosla has had several official assignments, such as Special Advisor to the Brundtland Commission (WCED), Chair of the ‘92 NGO Forum at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and has served on the Boards of several environment and conservation organizations, including Chair of the Centre for Our Common Future, the Club of Rome and Energy Globe, and member of IISD, Stockholm Environment Institute, ZERI, the Alliance for a New Humanity, EXPO 2000, Toyota Environmental Awards.
Dr Khosla is an Honorary Officer of The Order of the British Empire, a Senior Ashoka Fellow, Patron of LEAD-India and has received the United Nations Sasakawa Environment Prize, the Schwab Foundation Award for Outstanding Social Entrepreneur and the Stockholm Challenge Award. He has a PhD in Experimental Physics from Harvard University and a BA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University. Work for Environment - Globally, he helped to design and teach the first University Course on the Environment (as an Assistant to Professor Roger Revelle at Harvard University, 1965); to set up and head the first Governmental Agency for the Environment in a developing country (under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, 1972); to set up the original International Information System on Environment (Infoterra, with Maurice Strong at UNEP, 1976); and to establish the first Social Enterprise for Sustainable Development (Development Alternatives, 1982).
Dr. Norman Thomas Uphoff is professor emeritus of Government and International Agriculture at Cornell University, where he has been on the faculty since 1970. From 1990 to 2005 he served as Director of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD), and then 2010-2014 as Director of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. He is currently a core faculty member of CIPA, and senior advisor to SRI-Rice, the SRI International Network and Resources Center based at Cornell. He has been involved with the evaluation, explanation and dissemination of knowledge about the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for the past 15 years, working also with the extrapolation and extension of SRI ideas and methods to other crops, including wheat (SWI) and sugarcane (SSI). He and SRI were awarded the Olam Prize for Innovation for Food Security in March 2015.
Dr. Norman has served on USAIDs Research Advisory Committee and the South Asia Committee of the U.S. Social Science Research Council, and has been a consultant for the World Bank, USAID, the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, and other agencies. He received his M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1966, and his Ph.D. in political science, public administration, and development economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970.
Dr. Amir Kassam is the Moderator of the FAO-hosted Global Platform for Conservation Agriculture Community of Practice (CA-CoP). He is a Visiting Professor in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, UK, where he contributes to teaching a post-graduate course on ‘Rethinking Agricultural Development:
‘Implementing Solutions’, in 2005, he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List for services to tropical agriculture and to rural development. Kassam is Convener of the Land Husbandry Group of the Tropical Agriculture Association (TAA-UK); Member of the Board of the Asian Center of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification, Asia Institute of Technology, Thailand; Member of the Steering Committee of the Platform for Agro-biodiversity Research at Biodiversity International, Rome; and Associate Editor of the Irrigation Science journal, Springer.
Dr. Kassam’s research and development interests include: the promotion of sustainable agricultural production intensification and sustainable land management to address the challenges of food insecurity, poverty, ecosystem degradation, resource constraints, climate change and participatory training of farmers and extension staff in sustainable production intensification. Born in Zanzibar, Tanzania and he has received his B.Sc. (Hons) in Agriculture and Ph.D. in Agro-ecology from the University of Reading, and MSc in Irrigation from the University of California-Davis.
During his career, Dr. Kassam has worked with a number of national agricultural research and development institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, and with several CGIAR centers, UN agencies and NGOs as an advisor on sustainable agriculture intensification. Kassam is a former Chairman of: the Aga Khan Foundation (UK); FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Europe Foundation (FOCUS-Europe); and TAA-UK; He is a former Deputy Director General of WARDA (the Africa Rice Centre); and former Interim Executive Secretary of the CGIAR Science Council, FAO.