The International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Natarajan Ishwaran
Lucía Astudillo Loor
Katya Gonzalez Ripoll
John M. Whiteley
Douglas Worts

Garden Conversation Sessions

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations - unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.


The Speakers

Natarajan Ishwaran
Natarajan Ishwaran has 30 years of experience in teaching, research, wildlife/protected areas planning and management, multi-lateral environmental and biodiversity treaties, and co-ordination and management of international co-operation in environment and development. He published more than 25 publications in refereed journals is co-author of 2 edited volumes on ecology, biodiversity conservation and protected area management themes.

Natarajan has been working in UNESCO since 1986, on programs and activities linked to ecological sciences and biodiversity conservation in co-operation with intergovernmental forums, national and international NGOs, funds and foundations, and private sector institutions. He has great work experience and achievements in negotiating significant technical and financial benefits, particularly for less developed countries, for biodiversity conservation, protected area management, ecological sciences research and capacity building.

Natarajan received his BSc (Zoology) and MSc (Ecology) from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; and his Ph.D. (Wildlife Biology and Management) from Michigan State University, USA.


Lucía Astudillo Loor
Lucía Astudillo Loor was born in Cuenca-Ecuador. She received her Doctorate in History from the University of Azuay. She is the Chairperson of ICOM Ecuador. As well, she is the Director of Museum of Metals. Her previous positions include Director of the Museum of Popular Arts and Crafts in Cuenca, and Regional Director at the National Cultural Heritage Institute. Her honorary positions include Chairperson ICOM LAC, 1989-1995; President, I UNESCO NGOs Meeting: of Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean, Quito 1992; ICOM Executive Council, 1998-2001; and Chairperson ICOM Ecuador, 2007-2008-2011.

Katya Gonzalez Ripoll
Katya Gonzalez Ripoll has 25 years of experience of innovation in the field of urban development in the private and social sectors. As an architect and urban planner, she has been responsible for more than 500,000 square meters in projects that range from private housing, commercial and public buildings, restoration, conservation, urbanism, urban renovation and social housing. With this vast experience she has worked in the public sector as Director of Heritage and as Vice Minister of Culture in Colombia developing and implementing the program “Vigias de Patrimonio” a volunteer program for the conservation, protection and recuperation of tangible and intangible heritage. The successful program has 6000 members throughout Colombia and has been replicated in countries through out Latin America (Panama, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela). As the Vice Minister of Culture for Colombia she was also chosen as a member of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in 2001.

John M. Whiteley
Professor Whiteley has been at the University of California since 1972. His most recent co-authored books from the MIT Press are Critical Masses: Citizens, Nuclear Weapons Production, and Environmental Destruction in the United States and Russia, and Water, Place and Equity.

Douglas Worts
Douglas Worts is a culture & sustainability specialist. As a recently established freelance consultant, Douglas is bringing greater awareness to the museum sector of the central role that culture plays in fostering a ‘culture of sustainability’.

From 1982 until September of 2007, Douglas worked as an interpretive planner for the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto Canada, where he developed exhibitions, prepared interpretive policies, created experimental public-engagement strategies, facilitated community consultation and carried out audience research projects. For the past 25 years, he has published and spoken extensively on a wide range of museological topics related to audience-based creativity, public engagement, and the development of cultural indicators of success for museums. From 1992 to 1997, he taught a graduate course in museum education at the University of Toronto. In 1997, Douglas was invited to join Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD), a cross-disciplinary, global network of mid-career professionals who all share a commitment to furthering the goal of personal/local/global sustainability. LEAD was started and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, starting in 1992, and currently has over 2000 Fellows from more than 70 countries around the world. Douglas’ research and writing over the past ten years has been focused on the cultural roots of our increasingly unsustainable society and the opportunities available to museums to develop their capacity as cultural facilitators of locally and globally sustainable societies. (www.douglasworts.org; www.worldviewsconsulting.org)