Frances is the JW McConnell Chair in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo, where she led Social Innovation Generation, a 10-year initiative to build capacity for social innovation in Canada. She is an adviser to corporations, governments, and civil society networks in the areas of social innovation, sustainable development, strategic change, visionary leadership and inter-organizational collaboration. Her books include Getting to Maybe, on social innovation and institutional entrepreneurship in complex adaptive systems, and Experiments in Consilience, on inter-organizational and interdisciplinary collaboration in the management of ecological and conservation problems. Frances chairs the Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and has served on numerous advisory boards including the Resilience Alliance Board of Science and the South African Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies. She is the recipient of several awards including the Ulysses S. Seal award for Innovation in Conservation from IUCN and the Corporate Knights Award for leadership in linking business and sustainable development. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from McGill University.
Hippolyt is founder and Executive Director of the Institute of Peace and Development, which works at the intersection of governance, peacebuilding, and sustainable development, including efforts to build local capacities for inclusive natural resource management and resilient livelihoods. Based in Tamale, Ghana, he has worked in more than 30 countries in Africa, with experience in program planning, management and training in the areas of civic engagement, conflict analysis, conflict transformation, human rights, public policy design and evaluation. He worked for 25 years with Catholic Relief Services, culminating in his role as Coordinator of the Africa Justice and Peace Working Group, with particular focus on Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan and South Sudan. He led the design of multi-tier interventions that mobilized church and civil society actors to successfully advocate for the peaceful referendum and independence of South Sudan in 2011. Hippolyt earned a Ph.D. in international conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern University and an M.A. in Social and Public Policy from Duquesne University, and he works in both English and French.
Ruth is Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, Coordinator of the CGIAR program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi), and co-leader of IFPRI’s research theme on Strengthening Institutions and Governance. A past President of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) and steering committee member of the Global Water Partnership, she currently serves on the Coalition Council of the International Land Coalition. Ruth’s research addresses policies for water and natural resource management, gender analysis, local organizations, property rights and collective action, comparative analysis of irrigation system performance, relations between farmers and government agencies, impact of agricultural research on poverty, and sustainable livelihoods. She co-developed the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, the first comprehensive and standardized measure of women’s empowerment and inclusion in the agricultural sector, which has been applied by dozens of agencies in 35 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. A development sociologist with a Ph.D. from Cornell University, she has conducted field work in India, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Jagdeesh has been the Chief Executive of the Foundation for Ecological Security, headquartered in Anand, India, since its establishment in 2001. An engaged practitioner, his entire professional life has been centered around furthering judicious management of natural resources, especially common land and water, with community institutions playing a central role. Recognized as an international leader in advancing conservation and restoration of the commons for rural livelihoods, Jagdeesh is the recipient of the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2015) and was named a Rainer Arnold Conservation Fellow (2017). He is particularly interested in the application of ‘systems thinking’ at the interface of ecology, society and economy to address the interrelated issues of poverty and environmental degradation. A graduate in Agricultural Sciences, Jagdeesh completed his post-graduate training in Rural Management at the Institute of Rural Management, India, followed by a post-graduate degree in Forestry for Rural Development from the International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences, Netherlands.
Blake is Executive Director of Collaborating for Resilience, and member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, where he provides guidance on the design of GEF strategy in the areas of international waters, environmental security and resilience. He is the immediate past Director General of WorldFish, which works to strengthen food and nutrition security for millions of small-scale producers, processors, traders and poor consumers in South and Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. An environmental sociologist with a Ph.D. from Cornell University, Blake’s research addresses social equity, ethics, resource conflict and the role of multi-stakeholder dialogue in environmental governance. Early in his career he worked with social entrepreneurs in Guatemala and the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and subsequently held posts with the World Resources Institute and the World Bank. Blake has been based for 13 years cumulatively in Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia, in addition to leading program implementation in China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia. His working languages are English, French and Spanish; he has also worked professionally in spoken Khmer and Arabic.