Alonso Muñoz is Instructor in the Department of Environment and Development at the University for Peace, where he coordinates the Master of Arts (MA) degree in Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development (RMSED). He holds a BSc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Costa Rica and a Msc. in Business Administration. He has worked in the private sector as a consultant and as an entrepreneur, and has volunteered on various national and international projects regarding peace education, migration, environmental impact of systems and Social Enterprises. He is a novelist, a blogger, a peace advocate, an entrepreneur and passionate about social and environmental development.
Dr. Abdalla is a visiting professor of peace and conflict studies at the University for Peace and the Wesley Theological Seminary. He serves as the Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution at the Washington-based organization KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights in the Washington, D.C. area. From 2014 to 2017 he was the Senior Advisor on Policy Analysis and Research at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University. In 2013-2014, he was Vice President of SALAM Institute for Peace and Justice in Washington, D.C. From 2004-2013 he was Professor, Dean and Vice Rector at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica. Prior to that, he was a Senior Fellow with the Peace Operations Policy Program, School of Public Policy, at George Mason University, Virginia. He was also a Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Leesburg, Virginia.
Both his academic and professional careers are multi-disciplinary. He obtained a law degree in Egypt in 1977 where he practiced law as a prosecuting attorney from 1978 to 1986. From 1981-1986, he was a member of the public prosecutor team investigating the case of the assassination of President Sadat and numerous other terrorism cases. He then emigrated to the U.S. where he obtained a Master's degree in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. He has been teaching graduate classes in conflict analysis and resolution, and has conducted training, research and evaluation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding programs in several countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
He has been an active figure in promoting effective cross-cultural messages within the Islamic and Arabic-speaking communities in America through workshops, T.V. and radio presentations. He has also been actively involved in inter-faith dialogues in the United States. He pioneered the development of the first conflict resolution training manual for the Muslim communities in the United States titled (“…Say Peace”). He also founded Project LIGHT (Learning Islamic Guidance for Human Tolerance), a community peer-based anti-discrimination project funded by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). In 2011, he established with Egyptian UPEACE graduates a program for community prevention of sectarian violence in Egypt (Ahl el Hetta).
Dr. Abdalla teaches regularly (face-to-face and online) at Wesley Theological Seminary and the University for Peace.
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.
Dr. Monica Araya is the co-founder and Director of Costa Rica Limpia (costaricalimpia.org) to bring people closer to clean technologies that improve their everyday life. Her group pioneered www.movilidadelectrica.org – the first zero emissions electric mobility platforms in Latin America devoted to the education of consumers. She co-founded the Electric Mobility Association in Costa Rica and is the Board´s Vice President. She is a former negotiator in the UN climate talks and has been a reference on climate politics in Latin America. She founded the platform Nivela.org to support new voices on development and environment in Latin America. She writes frequently for international and local newspapers. She is a policy senior adviser at E3G in London and at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and is the member of several advisory boards. She studied economics at the National University, got a Masters in Economic Policy at CINPE. She also got a Masters and Ph.D. in environmental management from Yale University. Her TED talk about fossil-free Costa Rica that has over 1 million views and was translated into 30 languages. In December 2016, she joined the world´s largest all-female expedition to Antarctica.
More info: www.monicaaraya.org
Olivia Sylvester, Ph.D., researches sustainable agriculture, food security, climate change, and environmental justice a feminist political ecology perspective. For more than a decade, she has worked in Costa Rica with Indigenous people, women, small-scale farmers, and youth on these topics. Her research is driven by social justice goals and she uses alternative methodologies (e.g., Indigenous, feminist). She has taught in higher education for over a decade in Canada, the United States, and in Costa Rica. Olivia is also an adjunct faculty at Long Island University (USA) and a 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.