Keynote speakers


Dr Azzam Alwash

Dr. Azzam Alwash was born in Kut, Iraq in 1958 and left to the United States in 1978 where he completed his graduate work with a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1988. He practiced in the environmental and geotechnical field for over 20 years.

He started Eden Again, a program to put the spotlight on the drying of the marshes of southern Iraq, under the auspices of the Free Iraq Foundation, where he is a member of the board of directors. After the removal of Saddam Hussien, he moved back to Iraq to work on the restoration of the marshes and founded Nature Iraq, an Iraqi NGO focusing on the preservation of the environment of Iraq and its cultural heritage. An effort that earned him the Takreem Award in 2011 and The Goldman Environmental Prize for the 2013 as well as being designated one of the 100 forward thinking leaders of the world by the Foreign Policy Group in 2013.

INTECOL Azzam Alwash photo WEB

Gillian Davies

Gillian Davies is a Senior Ecological Scientist at BSC Group, Inc., where her work focuses on the intersection of climate change and wetlands. She also holds the title of Visiting Scholar at the Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute and served as the 2016-2017 President of the international Society of Wetland Scientists. Prior to serving on the SWS Executive Board, Gillian chaired the scientific program committee for the 2015 SWS Annual Meeting themed Changing Climate. Changing Wetlands. As an outcome of the meeting, she collaborates with other wetland scientists and a climate scientist, developing an informal SWS Climate Initiative to communicate the significance of wetlands as our climate changes through papers, articles, symposia and webinars. Gillian and other members of the Initiative are developing a Declaration on the Rights of Wetlands as a wetland-specific response to the emerging Rights of Nature movement and the World Scientists’ Second Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice(Ripple et al 2017).

INTECOL Gillian Davies Photo

Nancy Grimm

NANCY B. GRIMM is an ecosystem ecologist and interdisciplinary sustainability scientist who studies interactions of climate change, human activities, resilience, and biogeochemical processes in urban and stream ecosystems. From 1997-2016 Grimm directed the Central Arizona–Phoenix LTER (CAP LTER), a pioneering interdisciplinary study of a complex metropolitan region whose conceptual models of social-ecological-technological systems expanded ecology. She now co-directs the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (URExSRN), working with cities to co-produce visions of resilient and sustainable futures, and the new NATURA network of international networks that focuses on nature-based solutions to urban resilience challenges in the Anthropocene. Grimm is a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Past President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS), and a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, ESA, SFS, and the American Geophysical Union.

INTECOL Nancy Grimm photo WEB

David Irwin

David is the creative and a founding director of Isthmus Group, a New Zealand based inter-disciplinary design studio. The isthmus design philosophy is inspired by Land People Culture.

Davis’s design work crosses the boundaries of art and design, landscape architecture, architecture and urban design. His design work spans some 30 years and has seen him lead project teams that have won national awards in; landscape architecture, architecture and urban design, resource management, planning and engineering. A number of projects have won international acclaim including New Plymouth Foreshore and Oriental bay and in 2016 major international design awards for a Taumanu bridge in the world architecture news, and Landscape of the year for Kopupaka reserve at the World Architecture Festival WAF.

INTECOL David Irwin

Dr Maria Tengö

Maria Tengö is a researcher in Sustainability Science, with extensive experience of inter- and transdisciplinary research applying a social-ecological systems and resilience perspective. She is based at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), Stockholm University, and leads the research stream on Biosphere Stewardship. Her work has focused on the role of indigenous and local knowledge, management practices and governance in complex social-ecological systems – based on empirical research in local communities in Tanzania, Madagascar, South Africa, India, and Sweden. Since 2011, Maria has been collaborating closely with SwedBio, a science-policy-practice interface based at the SRC, in an on-going dialogue process bringing together representatives from indigenous, local and scientific knowledge to develop theory, tools and approaches for weaving knowledge systems for sustainability. In particular the target has been the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the challenges of synthesizing knowledge across knowledge systems in ways that are equal, transparent, and useful for all actors involved.

INTECOL Maria Tengo photo WEB