Jan Breitling is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environment and Development at University for Peace. He holds a BSc. in Tropical Forestry, from the Technological Institute of Costa Rica, and a MSc. in Environmental Sciences from WUR Wageningen University and Research Center, The Netherlands. His research interests include root causes of deforestation and Global Environmental Change, and Environmental Governance, specifically market based approaches addressing biodiversity conservation and Climate Change.
Marco Quesada is currently the country-program Director of Conservation International’s Costa Rica Program. He has an undergraduate (B.Sc., 1996) and a masters (M.Sc., 2001) degree in biology from Universidad de Costa Rica and a Ph.D. from the Department of Marine Affairs of the University of Rhode Island. While his M.Sc. thesis was done on the subject of marine zooplankton ecology, his Ph.D. dissertation was developed on the subject of community participation in fisheries management. Marco has participated in scholar exchanges in Portland State University (US) and the University of La Rochelle (Fra), and has been a professor at U. Peace, Universidad de Costa Rica and conducted research in Costa Rica and Alaska, U.S. He is a member of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Stakeholder Council, the Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group, acts as a national delegate to the InterAmerican Tropical Tuna Commission and is part of Costa Rica’s Commission against illegal fishing, as well as several other public and private advisory bodies.
Marjolein Baghuis is a driven sustainability professional with a diverse international background.
After an extensive career in both corporate and NGO leadership positions, in 2013, she became a sustainability consultant. She now consults companies, NGOs and various Dutch Ministries on sustainable business practices. She supports these organizations with strategic advice, reporting services and multi-stakeholder process management.
Next to her work as a consultant, Marjolein serves on various (supervisory) boards and teaches sustainability-related topics to different audiences, ranging from students at UPEACE and Nyenrode Business University to supervisory board members.
Melania grew up dreaming of exploring extreme environments. She studied Mechanical Engineering in University of Costa Rica and went on to do an internship at the Johnson Space Center of NASA
with astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz for a year. Then she obtained his Master's and Doctorate in Oceanography from the University of California at San Diego and as a researcher at
Cornell University and the University of Washington, concentrating on studying the sounds submarines of marine animals and the impact that have been affected by anthropogenic noise, a
type of sonic pollution caused by industrial activities.
She specializes in areas of the Arctic Ocean that are dramatically affected by climate change.
Participating in multiple field expeditions on research ships inspired interest in scientific knowledge for international decision making, a discipline called scientific diplomacy.
In 2018 she was chosen for the prestigious Nippon Grant in the Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea of the United Nations, Training in ocean governance and multilateral law. Melania is currently supporting the Costa Rican diplomatic delegations in international negotiation processes for the climate and the ocean.
At the beginning of 2019, Melania represented Costa Rica in the Homeward Bound expedition, a female leadership initiative for science that takes place in Antarctica, becoming the second Costa Rican woman to have done science in both polar regions. Homeward Bound is a program that aims to create a network of 1000 scientific women for 10 years and develop their leadership skills, with the aim to raise the voices of women to high-level positions where they can tackle global problems like climate change and sustainable development.
Olivia Sylvester, Ph.D., is the Head of the Environment, Development and Peace Department, and assistant professor at the University for Peace. She is also an adjunct professor for Long Island University and teaches in their Global Studies programme. In the last decade, Olivia’s research program has focused on food security, sustainable agriculture, climate change, environmental justice, and gender. Specifically, she works with Indigenous people, women, small-scale farmers, and youth on these topics. Her research is driven by social and environmental justice and she uses relevant methodologies (e.g., Indigenous, feminist) to achieve these goals. Olivia is also member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Society of Ethnobiology, and the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage Project. Being active within these networks allows her to work at the interface of policy and practice.