Key Note Speakers


Miguel A . Altieri is a Professor of Agroecology at UC Berkeley since 1981 in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. Dr. Altieri served as a Scientific Advisor to the Latin American Consortium on Agroecology and Development (CLADES) Chile an NGO network promoting agroecology as a strategy for small farm sustainable development in the region. He also served for 4 years as the General Coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme’s Sustainable Agriculture Networking and Extension Programme which aimed at capacity building on agroecology among NGOs and the scaling-up of successful local sustainable agricultural initiatives in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In addition he was the chairman of the NGO committee of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research whose mission was to make sure thar the research agenda of the 15 International Agricultural Research Centers benefited the poor farmers. He also was Director of the US-Brasil Consortium on Agroecology and Sustainable Rural Development (CASRD) an academic-research exchange program involving students and faculty of UC Berkeley, University of Nebraska, UNICAMP and Universidad Federal de Santa Catarina. Currently he is advisor to the FAO-GIAHS program ( Globally Ingenious Agricultural Heritage Systems) a program devoted at identifying and dynamically conserving traditional farming systems in the developing world. He also served for 6 years as the President of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology. He is the author of more than 230 publications, and numerous books, including Agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agricolture and Biodiversity. In this book Miguel Altieri extracts the key principles of sustainable agriculture and expounds on management systems that “really work.” Providing case studies of sustainable rural development in developing countries, he goes beyond a mere description of practices to include data that reveal the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of alternative projects


Pablo Tittonell is since March 2012 chair Professor of the group Farming Systems Ecology of Wageningen University, in The Netherlands, and holds external Professorships at the Ecole Doctorale Sibaghe (Systèmes Intégrés en Biologie, Agronomie, Géosciences, Hydrosciences, Environnement) of the University of Montpellier, France and at the National University of Lomas de Zamora, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is an agronomist by training and worked both in the private sector and in academic/research organisations. He was based at the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility (TSBF) Institute of CIAT in Nairobi, Kenya, and at the University of Zimbabwe, where he run research and educational programmes on soil fertility, conservation agriculture and agroecosystems modelling. He worked as a researcher at CIRAD (Centre de coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement) where he led a research team on Cropping Systems Design and Evaluation with activities in La Réunion, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Benin, Kenya and Zimbabwe. He is a board member of the African Conservation Tillage network.


Salvatore Ceccarelli has been associate professor of Genetic Resources and subsequently of Genetic Improvement at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Perugia until 1987 .In 1980 he started to work at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas ( ICARDA ) in Aleppo in Syria, where he remained until 2011.In 1995 he began to experiment in participatory breeding in countries such as Syria, Jordan , Algeria , Ethiopia , Eritrea , Yemen and Iran with the aim of reconciling the increase of agricultural production and biodiversity and the adaptation of crops to climate change.Recently he introduced the evolutionary genetic improvement with the aim of bringing the control of the seeds in the hands of farmers.Currently he is working, in Italy, on several projects of selection,like programs in evolutionary selection of barley and wheat in Piedmont, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Tuscany, Marche, Molise, Basilicata, Puglia and Sicily, or like a participatory program on the onion, started with the support of the Emilia Romagna. Two other programs on tomato and corn to wheat are being approved.


Gunnar Rundgren is a critical thinker and he has worked with most parts of the organic agriculture sector, from farming to policy, since 1977, starting on the pioneer organic farm, Torfolk. He is the founder and a senior consultant of Grolink AB, a consultancy company engaged in certification development, policy development, project development, marketing strategies and international training programmes — mainly targeting developing countries. He has been engaged as a consultant by NGOs, the government, private companies and intergovernmental organisations such as OECD, UNEP, UNCTAD, the World Bank and the FAO. Rundgren is the initiator of several organisations for organic agriculture in Sweden, including its main eco-label KRAV where he was the director for the first eight years. He served as the first President of the Accreditation Programme Board of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) 1992-1997. He was an IFOAM World Board member in 1998 and the IFOAM President during the period 2000-2005. In 2002 he was a founding board member of the ISEAL Alliance.He has published several books related to organic farming. In 2010, he published a book about the major social and environmental challenges of our world, Trädgården Jorden, (Garden Earth). He is also co-author of the book Jorden vi Äter, published in 2012.Rundgren was awarded an honorary doctorate in Science at the Uganda Martyrs University 2009. The same year, he was appointed a Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry.


Helmy Abouleish is deeply involved in the development of SEKEM, an initiative started 1977 in the Egyptian desert striving for sustainable development in the fields of economy, culture and social / political life.Under his stewardship of its commercial arm, the SEKEM Initiative received the “Right Livelihood Award 2003” for sustainable development, better known as “Alternative Nobel Prize”, and became a member of the Schwab Foundation for Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs.Currently, he is the Chief Executive Officer of SEKEM Holding that consists of five companies (ISIS For Food Industries, ATOS Pharma, NatureTex, Lotus and SEKEM for Land Reclamation), which cover the fields of Biodynamic agriculture cultivation, production of phyto-pharmaceuticals, Organic textiles and foodstuffs.From June 2005 until December 2006, he has been appointed as the Executive Director of the Industrial Modernization Centre (IMC), the biggest development fund in Egypt funded by the EU and the Egyptian Government, aiming at improving sustainable competitiveness of Egyptian enterprises.Helmy Abouleish was the Chairman of the Egyptian National Competitiveness Council (ENCC) from 2004 to February 2011and Chairman of the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB) from June 2004 to June 2006.


Marike de Peña is Director and co-founder of Banelino, a banana cooperative comprising nearly 400 small farmers in the Northwestern Dominican Republic, since 2000. She also is Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Producer Organizations (CLAC) and has served on its board since 2006. Marike was born in Holland, but has lived and worked in the Dominican Republic for 25 years. Among other positions, she worked for the Dominican Land Reform Institute, where she supported small farmer groups in developing sustainable agricultural practices. She continued her focus on supporting small farmers by co-founding the Banelino cooperative in 1996. The cooperative works to defend the interests of farmers in the market and promotes strong farmer alliances and organization. Marike is also coordinator of a network of banana farmers, and president of the Dominican national platform for small Fairtrade farmers. A strong advocate for the power of Fairtrade, Marike believes that it provides the social, economic and environmental conditions necessary for farmers to take control of their own lives and produce real and long-lasting development.


Nadia El-Hage Scialabba is the Senior Officer for Environment and Sustainable Development of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). She organized the first FAO Conference on Environment and Agriculture in 1991, which resulted in the inclusion of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development into the Earth Summit agenda and follow-up process (i.e. Chapter 14 of Agenda 21). Throughout her career, Ms. El-Hage Scialabba has worked at the interface between environmental, social and economic challenges of food systems and advised member countries on the integration of environmental considerations into agricultural policy and planning. Recent outcomes include the development of Rio+20 Greening the Economy with Agriculture (GEA), the 2013 FAO Guidelines for the Sustainability Assessments of Food and Agriculture systems (SAFA) and currently, the Full-Cost Accounting methodology for food and beverages.


During his early years as agricultural engineer, Claude Aubert worked at the Society for the study of the Economical and Social Development (SEDES), as researcher for agricultural development in West Africa and Tunisia. During this years his conviction for Organic Agriculture is strengthening.After, he became general secretary of Nature & Progrès and editor of the journal of the same association. He grows half hectare in organic way and he deliver twice a week to some some store interested in organic food, his products.His first book was published in 1972, “Organic farming, how and why to practice”, followed by a second book about gardening, “The organic garden”, which sold 100,000 copies. He is both organic agricultural advisor and international speaker. Member of the Board of IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), he participated in the drafting of the first specifications of this organization, the basis of European regulations. He founded in 1979 with several friends, the association “Living Earth”, and launched the magazine “The Four Seasons of gardening,” which he provides leadership until 2004 (the journal now has 30,000 subscribers). Together with Karin Mundt, co-founder and director of Living Earth, they decided to create an ecological center (home and garden) for public awareness to a more environmentally and health behavior.


David Gould is North American representative and Program Facilitator for IFOAM – Organics International. He coordinates the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN) and has been primarily responsible for coordination of SOAAN and its development of Organic 3.0. From a background in life sciences and alternative education models, David has over 20 years of experience on all continents and at all stages of the value chain both within and outside the organic sector. He is an expert in sustainable systems, regulatory frameworks, and stakeholder engagement. He lives in Portland, Oregon USA.


Ian has a long association with the fair trade movement, dating back to 1985 when he joined the trading operation of Oxfam Great Britain as Head of Marketing. As part of a brief to extend fairly traded products beyond handcrafts and into food products, Ian researched the fledgling Max Havelaar Initiative and developed the proposal for launch of a Fairtrade Mark in the UK, which was achieved in 1992.

Ian joined the Fairtrade Foundation in 1997 as Head of Commercial Relations and developed many of the relationships with retailers and licensees that underpin today’s thriving Fairtrade market. From 2001 he worked as Deputy Director responsible for strategic planning, international co-operation and innovation in a close partnership with CEO Harriet Lamb. Among many successful projects, Ian was responsible for bringing Fairtrade bananas and flowers to the UK and played a key role in the development of the international Fairtrade symbol.

Ian provided support to the FLO Board from 2004 on governance issues and was responsible for the 2006 constitution that brought Producer Networks into the formal ownership structure. He was elected to the board as a representative of Labelling Initiatives in 2006 and was asked to work as full-time executive Vice-Chair in 2008, a position he held until the end of his term of office in June 2012. Ian was a key member of the strategic planning team during that time and led work on many aspects of its implementation, including the design of the current governance model in which Producer Networks are co-owners of the system with National Fairtrade Organisations. Responsibilities of the Vice-Chair also included external relations and alliances and Ian has worked to promote co-operation with the organic movement, serving six years as a member of the Soil Association’s Standards Board.

Since 2012 Ian has established a successful portfolio of non-executive and consultancy assignments. He chairs two not-for-profit organisations – one of the UK’s network of Citizens Advice organisations and a long-established body that promotes inter-cultural co-operation – and also serves on the board of the body that accredits social enterprises in Britain. In his consultancy work, Ian has reviewed governance for a major educational institution and provided a series of training seminars for UK government departments on promoting changes in consumer/citizen behaviour. Most recently he has designed a framework for large public sector employers to make better use of flexible working as a way of tackling poverty among women and families and reducing the under-representation of women at higher staff levels. He is also retained by the Fairtrade Producer Networks as their Strategic Advisor and is now working with Fairtrade International on developing the global strategic framework for 2016-2020.

Prior to his engagement with Fairtrade, Ian worked in a wide variety of commercial organisations including Shell Oil where he trained in finance and procurement and also for one of England’s oldest engineering businesses (founded 1760) where he managed sales and marketing functions before becoming General Manager of a division making precision components for the automotive and telecommunications sector.

Ian was invited to be a founding member of the UK’s Institute of Fundraising in 1988 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2010.