Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP
First Minister of Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland’s First Minister. Born in Irvine in 1970 and educated at Greenwood Academy, she studied law at the University of Glasgow where she graduated with LLB (Hons) and Diploma in Legal Practice.
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Before entering the Scottish Parliament as a regional MSP for Glasgow in 1999 she worked as a solicitor in the Drumchapel Law and Money Advice Centre in Glasgow.
She is currently MSP for Glasgow Southside having been, before boundary changes, MSP for Govan between 2007 and 2011.
In government she served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing between May 2007 and September 2012 and then Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities with responsibility for government strategy and the constitution until November 2014. Throughout this period she also served as Deputy First Minister of Scotland.
She became SNP Leader on November 14, 2014 and was sworn in as First Minister on November 20, 2014. She was formally nominated for a second term on May 17, 2016. She lives in Glasgow with her husband Peter Murrell.
Nicola Sturgeon is the first female First Minister and the first female leader of any of the devolved UK administrations.
Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, Republic of Ireland
Presentation title: Climate Justice: The way to accelerate ambition for a safe world
Mary Robinson is President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.
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She served as President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is Chair of The Elders and a member of the Club of Madrid and the recipient of numerous honours and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States Barack Obama. She sits on the advisory board of Sustainable Energy For All (SE4All) and is also a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. Between 2013 and 2016 Mary served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy in three roles; first for the Great Lakes region of Africa, then on Climate Change and most recently as his Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate.
A former President of the International Commission of Jurists and former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders she was President and founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative from 2002-2010 and served as Honorary President of Oxfam International from 2002-2012.
Mary Robinson serves as Patron of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business, is an Ambassador for The B Team, in addition to being a board member of several organisations including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the European Climate Foundation. She serves as Chancellor of the University of Dublin since 1998. Mary’s memoir, Everybody Matters was published in September 2012.
Professor of Contemporary Slavery, University of Nottingham, UK
Presentation title: The vicious cycle of slavery and environmental destruction
Kevin Bales, CMG, FRSA is Professor of Contemporary Slavery and Research Director of the Rights Lab, University of Nottingham. He co-founded the NGO Free the Slaves. His 1999 book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy has been published in twelve languages. Desmond Tutu called it “a well researched, scholarly and deeply disturbing expose of modern slavery.”
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The film based on Disposable People, which he co-wrote, won the Peabody Award and two Emmys. The Association of British Universities named his work one of “100 World-Changing Discoveries.” In 2007 he published Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves, (Grawemeyer Award). In 2009, with Ron Soodalter, he published The Slave Next Door: Modern Slavery in the United States. In 2016 his research institute was awarded the Queens Anniversary Prize, and he published Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World. Check out his TEDTalk.
Professor of Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Presentation title: Conceptual and strategic conflicts within climate justice
Patrick Bond’s work is presently focused on geopolitics, local and global political ecology, and South African, Zimbabwean, African and global uneven development. Since moving permanently to South Africa in 1990.
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He has written books about global governance, national public policy, urban problems and environmental stresses, especially climate change. In service to the new South African government from 1994-2002, Patrick authored/edited more than a dozen policy papers, including the Reconstruction and Development Programme and the RDP White Paper.
Patrick’s other academic appointments include serving from 2004 through April 2016 as Senior Professor and Director of the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Two sabbaticals were spent at the University of California/Berkeley (2010) and York University in Toronto (2003). From 1997-2004 he was based at the Wits School of Governance. He has held other visiting posts at a dozen universities and presented guest lectures at more than 100 others.
He is also regularly featured on South African television and radio news shows and writes columns for the main newspapers at least once a month. His dozen authored, co-authored and edited books are amongst the most cited on South Africa’s democratisation process, including Elite Transition (2000, 2005, 2014 edns), and his two books on Zimbabwe (1998, 2003) have a similar status. His Politics of Climate Justice (2012) was named amongst the three leading books in the genre by The Guardian.
Patrick earned his doctorate in economic geography under the supervision of David Harvey at Johns Hopkins University (1985-92), and has an undergraduate economics degree from Swarthmore College (Philadelphia, 1979-83), including a semester studying classical guitar at the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, 1982). He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and raised in the U.S. state of Alabama.
Kristie L Ebi
Professor of Global Health, University of Washington, USA
Presentation title: Health risks of a changing climate can increase climate injustice
Kristie L. Ebi is director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE), and Rohm and Haas Endowed Professor in Public Health Sciences at the University of Washington.
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She has been conducting research and practice on the health risks of climate variability and change for more than twenty years, including on extreme events, thermal stress, foodborne safety and security, and vectorborne diseases. She focuses on understanding sources of vulnerability, estimating current and future health risks of climate change, and designing adaptation policies and measures to reduce the risks of climate change in multi-stressor environments. She has supported multiple countries in Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific in assessing their vulnerability and implementing adaptation measures.
Chief Executive, Met Office, UK
It is my privilege to lead this successful and highly respected organisation, working at the forefront of weather and climate science, technology and operations. We constantly strive to harness the Met Office's world class capabilities for greater societal benefit.
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I gained my first experience of scientific research as a sixth form WISE Scholar at GEC before completing a degree in Natural Sciences at Newnham College Cambridge.
For the majority of my career I have delivered science and technology on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. Prior to joining the Met Office in December 2018, I was Acting Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and Head of the Cyber and Information Systems Division of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The division had many areas in common with our work at the Met Office including web and data science, space systems and weather, radar and other sensor systems. As CTO I oversaw Dstl’s entire £650m portfolio of research, and trebled our pipeline of innovation and new intellectual property, a strong interest of mine.
I began my career as an armour researcher, developing novel armour systems to protect military vehicles, then led several groups in Dstl’s Physical Sciences Department before taking over as the department manager in 2009. During this time I was appointed Fellow of the Institute of Physics and served as a member of their governing council. I have been a visiting professor in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton since 2012.
At Dstl, I was the executive sponsor of our Gender Equality Network and an active straight ally for our LGBT network. As a site incident manager for Porton Down I was also a trained County Silver Commander for major incident response. A lifelong lover of the natural environment I was trustee and honorary treasurer of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust until my move to Exeter.
Professor Sir Andrew Haines
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
Closing Session (video): Health futures in the era of climate change
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Head: Inclusive Societies, Department for International Development, UK
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President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, USA
Kerry Kennedy is the president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. For more than thirty years, Ms. Kennedy has devoted herself to the pursuit of equal justice, the promotion and protection of basic rights, and the preservation of the rule of law. She has worked on a range of issues, including children’s rights, child labour, disappearances, indigenous land rights, judicial independence, freedom of expression, ethnic violence, impunity, and the environment.
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She has concentrated specifically on women’s rights, exposing injustices and educating audiences about women’s issues, particularly honour killings, sexual slavery, domestic violence, workplace discrimination, sexual assault, abuse of prisoners, and more. She has led hundreds of human rights delegations. At a time of diminished idealism and growing cynicism about public service, her life and lectures are testaments to the commitment to the basic values of human rights.
Under Ms. Kennedy's leadership, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights partners with the bravest people on Earth to create lasting change. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights supports defenders in the field with advocacy, litigation, and training; brings human rights to students in the classroom with its innovative Speak Truth To Power curriculum; and engages the financial community about sustainable investing and the intersection between business and human rights.
She is the author of Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World, which features interviews with human rights activists including Marian Wright Edelman, the Dalai Lama, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and New York Times Best Seller Being Catholic Now. She appears regularly on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and PBS as well as on networks in countries around the world, and her commentaries and articles have been published in The Boston Globe, The Chicago Sun-Times, L’Unita, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, Marie Claire, The New York Times, El Pais, and the Yale Journal of International Law, among others.
Ms. Kennedy served as Chair of the Amnesty International USA Leadership Council for over a decade. Nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate, she serves on the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace, Human Rights First, Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC), HealthEVillages and Inter- Press Service (Rome, Italy). She is a patron of the Bloody Sunday Trust (Northern Ireland) and serves on the Editorial Board of Advisors of the Buffalo Human Rights Law Review. She is on the Advisory Committee for the association of American Indian Affairs; International Campaign for Tibet, the Global Youth Action Network, and several other organizations. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Albert Schweitzer Institute.
Ms. Kennedy received high honours from President Lech Walesa of Poland for aiding the Solidarity movement. She has received awards from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the American Jewish Congress of the Metropolitan Region, the Emerald Isle Immigration Society, and the New York City Council. She was named Woman of the Year 2001 by Save the Children, received the Crossing Borders Award from the Feminist press in 2003, Humanitarian of the Year Award from the South Asian Media Awards Foundation and the Prima Donna Award from Montalcino Vineyards. In 2008, she received the Eleanor Roosevelt Medal of Honor and the Thomas More Award from Boston College Law School. World Vision and International AIDS Trust gave her the 2009 Human Rights Award. She has also received awards from NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Teachers Association. In 2013 she received the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from the Unitarian Universalists.
Ms. Kennedy has served in numerous political campaigns, and she is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia bars. She is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School, and she holds honorary doctorates of law from Le Moyne College, University of San Francisco Law School, and University of New Caledonia, and honorary doctorates of Humane Letters from Bay Path College and the Albany College of Pharmacy.
Ms. Kennedy is the mother of three daughters, Cara, Mariah, and Michaela.
Benjamin K. Sovacool
Professor of Energy Policy, University of Sussex, UK
Presentation title: Decarbonisation and its discontents: A critical justice perspective on four low-carbon transitions
Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool is Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the School of Business, Management, and Economics, part of the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.
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There he serves as Director of the Sussex Energy Group and Director of the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand which involves the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester. Professor Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to energy policy, energy security, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation. More specifically, his research focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity to the consequences of climate change