The symposium will bring together speakers representing multiple geographies and disciplines, from nonprofits and community organizations to academia, think tanks, and beyond.


Alesha Black

Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Alesha Black is the director the Global Food and Agriculture Program at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Black joined the Council from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she focused on the foundation’s strategic partnerships for agricultural development. She worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2007 to 2015, where she coordinated foundation partnerships with China, Brazil, and the United States, as well as UN agencies working to support smallholder farmers. Before that, she managed a portfolio of investments working to connect smallholder farmers to better market access opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. Black also co-led important activities to link nutrition and agriculture programs at the foundation and contributed to numerous strategic projects at the beginning of the Agricultural Development program, including the first Gender Impact Strategy, initial impact measurement framework, and early foundation advocacy activities to raise the profile of smallholder agriculture.


Olivier Dangles

French Research Institute for Sustainable Development

Olivier Dangles is a French researcher, director of investigations in ecology, agriculture and development at the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD). He is currently a visiting professor at Cornell University and co-director of a Joint International Laboratory on Biodiversity and Agriculture shared between France, Colombia and Ecuador. His research focuses on the effect of global changes on biodiversity, both in agricultural and natural ecosystems. He has been working for more than 12 years in the tropical Andes (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) and has published more than 140 articles and five books. He has been involved in various international panels including the IPCC, the conference of Parties for Climate and Biodiversity, the International Council for Science and the ERA-Net Latin America and Caribbean of the European Union.



Cornell University, Department of Information Science

Tapan is an associate professor in the department of Information Science at Cornell Tech. His research includes HCI and the design and evaluation of information technologies for education, governance and international development. Tapan’s students have started several tech companies based on his research and teaching. He holds a Sc.B. degree in Molecular Modeling with Honors from Brown University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Washington, where his dissertation won the William Chan Memorial award. Tapan has received the NSF CAREER award, a Sloan Fellowship and was named TR35 Humanitarian of the Year.


Allison Chatrychyan

Cornell University, Institute for Climate Smart Solutions

As the Director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, and a Sr. Research Associate in the Departments of Development Sociology and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Allison Chatrchyan’s work focuses at the interface between social, environmental and agricultural systems. She works to facilitate interdisciplinary research and Cooperative Extension teams that are developing resources and tools for climate change adaptation and mitigation.  Specifically, her research focuses on assessing stakeholder beliefs and actions, climate change adaptation policies and local climate action plans, and the effectiveness of climate change policies and governance mechanisms.


Monica Contestabile

Nature Sustainability

Monica joined the Nature family in 2011 as a Senior Editor at Nature Climate Change. She was the first social science editor at Nature Research. She has handled original research and review articles across the entire breadth of social sciences, and interdisciplinary articles integrating natural and social science disciplines in the context of climate and global environmental change. In 2015 she moved to Nature, where she served as Senior Strategy Editor developing the company’s editorial and publishing strategy about sustainability, before becoming Chief Editor of Nature Sustainability in 2016. Monica completed her doctoral studies in environmental and development economics at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy; she then held a visiting professor position at University Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico, and subsequently joined the sustainable consumption team at WWF-UK where she gained invaluable experience about the challenges of bridging the gap between research and policy domains.


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Jenny Goldstein

Cornell University, Department of Development Sociology

Jenny is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University, an Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Faculty Fellow, and a core faculty member of Cornell's Southeast Asian Studies Program. From 2016-17 she was an Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future postdoctoral associate at Cornell, based in the Science & Technology Studies department. She is interested in environmental conservation and development in the tropics, intersections of data infrastructure and land governance, global food and agriculture systems, the financialization of land, and the role of scientific knowledge in climate change politics.


Christine Leuenberger

Cornell University, Department of Science and Technology Studies

Dr. Christine Leuenberger's research is specialized in Science & Technology Studies, qualitative methods, sociology of medicine, classical and contemporary sociological theory, sociology of knowledge, interactional sociology, sociology of culture, transformation studies of Eastern Europe, Middle Eastern Studies, Peace Studies, and the sociology and history of the human and behavioral sciences. Her current research is on the social impact of borders and barriers in a global context and the history and sociology of cartography in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. She is also engaged in peace and educational initiatives in conflict regions in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.


Jessica Cagley

U.S. Agency for International Development

Jessica Henson Cagley is from the Bureau for Food Security of the U.S. Agency for International Development. She joined the Bureau for Food Security in 2011 and has served in multiple roles, currently serving as the acting division chief for the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Division. In this role, she manages the accountability and learning system for Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global huger and food security initiative. In 2016, she coordinated the development of the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy. Prior to her work in the Bureau for Food Security, Jessica wrote policy briefs for the Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group. Jessica holds a Master of Public Administration and certificate in International Development Policy and Management from the University of Washington. 

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Nicole Bella


Dr. Nicole Bella is Demographer, and Senior Statistician and Policy Analyst. She has been working in the fields of demography, education and more broadly of monitoring, evaluation for more than twenty years. Since 2002, she has been the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report key statistician, chiefly responsible for the data management and quality control as well as of the development of the statistical annex tables of the Report.


Chad Shipmaker

Global Health Visions

Chad Shipmaker is a senior consultant at Global Health Visions. He has extensive expertise in food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture developed through a decade of experience working with the United Nations system, philanthropy and the private sector. Prior to joining Global Health Visions, Chad held multiple positions, including Deputy Director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation (HGBF), where he oversaw a portfolio of food security and agriculture grants and worked to advance the Foundations mission to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations in the United States and internationally. Previously, he was Senior Strategy Advisor and Policy Officer for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), where he supported the development of the 20014-2017 WFP Strategic Plan as well as the feasibility study, cost-benefit analysis and proposal for a regional emergency humanitarian food reserve under the G20 Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture. 


Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue

Cornell University, Department of Development Sociology

Chair of the Department of Development Sociology, Professor Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue's research agenda broadly addresses the interrelationships between population, social change, and sustainable development. Under this general theme, his current projects study the effects of contemporary demographic changes on global inequality, education, youth employment, health, food security and internal conflicts. His methodological work advances the use of decomposition methods to reconcile micro-and macro-traditions in quantitative sociological research and to understand the sources of social change.

David Kay

Cornell University, Community and Regional Development Institute

David Kay is a Senior Extension Associate with the Community & Regional Development Institute (CaRDI) in the Department of Development Sociology. David provides leadership for CaRDI programming in the areas of energy, land use and community development. His work on land use involves research, outreach, and training efforts that attempt to build community-based decision making capacity and to help weave local policy into a regionally coherent fabric. His research and outreach work is especially concerned with building informed decision making capacity in the context of community controversy. David serves on the boards of several city, town, county and New York State State not-for-profit or government organizations concerned with sustainability and municipal land use planning.


Sarah Zoubek

Duke University

Sarah currently serves as the associate director of Duke University's World Food Policy Centermanaging their programs and international portfolio of research, and designing innovative meetings that bring together researchers and policy makers. Sarah is an experienced research analyst, project manager, and strategy consultant whose work has concentrated on food production value chains and producer incentives for sustainable business practices. She is also director of the Duke Food Working Group, whose goal is to foster collaboration between departments on food-related research. Her previous work includes identifying potential levers to aid adoption of sustainable practices within the Iowa corn and Brazilian beef value chains, designing economic case studies featuring Midwestern producers who successfully employ soil health practices, and aiding the launch of a nationwide soil health campaign. Sarah earned a Master of Environmental Management degree at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2013. Prior to her graduate studies, Sarah worked at New York Sun Works (NYSW), a non-profit organization that teaches environmental science through the lens of sustainable food production. She also holds a BA in English from Yale University.


Thomas Breu

Center for Development and Environment

Professor Thomas Breu is the Director of the Center for Development and Environment at the University of Bern. His professional focus is on natural resource management, governance of socio-ecological systems, and spatial analysis and modeling processeses examining global processes. More broadly, he is interested in the conceptualizations of the science-policy interface and managing research programmes in sustainable development. Professor Breu has over fifteen years of experience working in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and Africa.


Bruce Lewenstein

Cornell University, Department of Communication & Department of Science and Technology Studies

Dr. Bruce V. Lewenstein is a widely-known authority on public communication of science and technology–how science and technology are reported to the public and how the public understands controversial scientific issues and "emerging technologies" such as biotechnology and nanotechnology. Trained as a historian of science, he often uses historical case studies in his research. He has also done extensive work evaluating "citizen science" outreach projects, in which citizens fully participate in the scientific process by gathering, entering, and sometimes analyzing scientific data. In recent years, he has helped connect the "public communication" field with the "learning sciences" field, especially around issues of public engagement in science. He works frequently with scientists learning more about public communication of science and technology.


Ammad Bahalim

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ammad Bahalim is a Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and supports the global policy and advocacy efforts of its agricultural development team. He has worked in agricultural policy, research and development across a variety of international institutions. His first exposure to agricultural development was through IARD 402/602 more than a decade ago and he hasn’t looked back since.


Farhana Sultana

Syracuse University

Dr. Farhana Sultana is Associate Professor of Geography at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University, where she is also the Research Director for Environmental Collaboration and Conflicts at the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflicts and Collaboration (PARCC). Dr. Sultana is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary scholar of political ecology, water governance, post‐colonial development, social and environmental justice, climate change, and gendered dimensions of environmental change and developmental policies. Her research and scholar-activism draw from her experiences of having lived and worked on three continents as well as from her backgrounds in the natural sciences, social sciences and policy experience. Prior to joining Syracuse, she taught at King’s College London and worked at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Author of several dozen publications, her recent books are The Right to Water: Politics, Governance and Social Struggles and Eating, Drinking: Surviving. Dr. Sultana graduated Cum Laude from Princeton University and obtained her Masters and PhD from University of Minnesota, where she was a MacArthur Scholar.


Eeva Furman

Environment Policy Centre

Professor Eeva Furman has been researching and developing environmental and sustainable development governance for more than 20 years. Her areas of interests reach from protected operationalisation of ecosystem services to urban transport, from multiple dwelling to integration of migrants and from diets to human health. Participation, collaborative research, transdisciplinarity as well as experimentation and co-creation has been in her focus throughout the years. Eeva Furman is the director of the Environment Policy Centre, at the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, member of the working group drafting the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 and the chair of Finland’s Sustainable Development Expert Panel.


Suman Seth

Cornell University, Department of Science and Technology Studies

Suman Seth, Associate Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, works on the social, cultural, and intellectual history of science and medicine. His interests include the history of medicine, race, and colonialism, the physical sciences (particularly quantum theory), & gender and science. He is co-editor (with Prof. Patrick McCray) of the Journal Osiris and jointly leads (with Prof. Laura Stark) a working group on “History and Theory” as part of the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine.

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David Brown

Cornell University, Department of Development Sociology

Emeritus Professor in the Department of Development Sociology, David Brown's scholarship is motivated by an interest in explaining the determinants of spatial inequality in more developed nations. In particular, he examines how processes of uneven national development shape opportunity structures and life chances of people living in various types of areas. Space and locality are organizing principles in his work, and he views them as contingent social structures which effect social behavior, modifying overall social relationships. His work is focused in the U.S., the U.K., and in Central and Eastern Europe.


Sandy Davis

Bipartisan Policy Center

Edward “Sandy” Davis is a senior advisor with BPC’s Economic Policy Project. His principal focus is federal budget process and policy, with an emphasis on “evidence-based budgeting” as a means to more effectively target public funds and the budget decision-making process. Davis joined BPC after over three decades of experience working for Congress on federal budget issues. He served as the associate director for legislative affairs at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) from 2003 until July 2015 when he retired from the federal government. Davis was CBO’s principal liaison to Congress, with a focus on maintaining strong working relationships with the major budgetary committees of the Congress and the congressional leadership. Prior to his appointment as associate director, he was CBO’s senior budget process specialist, preparing CBO reports and testimonies on the federal budget process, including proposals to reform the process.


Jaron Porciello

Cornell University, International Programs - CALS

Jaron Porciello is the Associate Director for Research Data Engagement in International Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (IP-CALS). She is primary investigator and co-director of End Hunger Sustainably, a global consensus-building initiative that couples state-of-the-art modeling techniques with expert evidence to provide costs and effective solutions aimed at improving household food security, rural economic livelihoods, and environmental sustainability. She has worked with agricultural research communities, UN agencies, donors, and development actors across Sub-Saharan Africa for more than a decade to support the changing and complex sociotechnical environment of access and data sustainability, data sharing, and privacy. Jaron holds dual Masters Degrees in Information and Library Sciences and English literature from Indiana University. She used to write for The Onion.

Shantanu Mukherjee

United Nations

Shantanu presently heads the policy and analysis branch in the Sustainable Development Division within the UN's Department for Economic and Social Affairs. He is a micro-economist with interests in poverty, health and sustainability. A particular area of focus in his current work is enhancing the impact of science, technology and innovation in advancing sustainable development. Prior to this, he led the research and writing unit of UNDP’s Human Development Report through two report cycles, preceded by a stint as head of UNDP’s global MDG policy work. In that position, he worked with national planning, finance and sector ministries in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some of his most interesting experiences during this period were in Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Ghana, Togo and Yemen.  Shantanu began his career with the Indian Government in various areas of development policy planning and implementation; and finance. He earned a PhD in Economics from Princeton University in 2006, and also holds advanced degrees in Public Policy and Physics.


Trevor Butterworth

Sense about Science USA

Trevor has written for The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and the New Yorker.com. He was a science writer for Newsweek and wrote a weekly column—The Information Society—for the iPad newspaper, The Daily. He holds a BA (Hons) and M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin and attended Georgetown University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, from which he received an MS and the Sevellon Brown Award for outstanding knowledge of the history of the American press. He is a visiting fellow at Cornell University.