Dr. Gabriela Cuadrado-Quesada is currently working as a researcher at IHE-Delft, Institute for Water Education, the Netherlands. Gabriela completed her PhD at the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia in 2017. Her doctoral research focuses on groundwater governance looking in particular at the design and implementation of legal and policy frameworks in Australia and Costa Rica. Currently she is expanding her research to new jurisdictions such as the Netherlands and India. Gabriela has previously completed a Masters in Water and Coastal Management and Environmental and Infrastructure Planning at the University of Oldenburg (Germany) and at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). She also completed a Masters in Human Rights and Education for Peace at the National University in Costa Rica. She obtained her Law Degree at the University of Costa Rica. Gabriela also worked in the NGO sector in Costa Rica as an environmental lawyer for many years. Her current research interests spring from a dual interest in the socio-legal implications of water crisis on the one hand, and on the other hand, practices that mix elements of community organisation and government responses. She also has experience teaching topics such as water governance, water law, environmental law, international environmental law, water conflicts and management, and water and gender.
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.
Kifah Sasa is Sustainable Development Program Officer for the United Nations Development Programme in Costa Rica. Since 2009 he works as senior advisor for the Green Commodities Programme, advising governments and supply chain stakeholders on how to improve the environmental and social performance of commodity supply chains. Kifah has worked for social development and the environment for 17 years in different roles. From setting up and leading NGOs to support community organizations on a voluntary basis; to advising Central American Ministers of Social Integration, Housing and Health on the management of regional projects, as part of the Central American Integration System. For the past decade he has worked for the United Nations Development Programme, managing projects related to biodiversity conservation, marine protected areas, environmental economics; sustainable production of agricultural commodities and democratic dialogue. For the last 5 years he is responsible for UNDPs Sustainable Development portfolio in Costa Rica. He was trained in the United Kingdom (Middlesex, B.A, MA) and The Netherlands (ISS, Post Dip), Costa Rica.
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.
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.