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Keynote Speaker Biographies

 

Gro Harlem Brundtland:

Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland was born in Oslo, Norway, on 20 April 1939.

A medical doctor and Master of Public Health (MPH), Gro Harlem Brundtland spent 10 years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system. For more than 20 years she was in public office, 10 of them as Prime Minister. In the 1980s she gained international recognition, championing the principle of sustainable development as the chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission).

Beginning in 1965, Dr. Brundtland worked at the Ministry of Health on children's health issues including breastfeeding, cancer prevention and other diseases. She worked in the children's department of the National Hospital and Oslo City Hospital and became Director of Health Services for Oslo's schoolchildren.

During the 1970s she acquired international recognition in environmental circles and a political reputation at home. In 1981, at the age of 41, she was appointed Prime Minister for the first time. With two other periods as Prime Minister from 1986-1989 and 1990-1996, Dr Brundtland was Head of Government for more than 10 years.

 Throughout her political career, Dr Brundtland has developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. In 1983 the then United Nations Secretary-General invited her to establish and chair the World Commission on Environment and Development. The Commission, which is best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development, published its report Our Common Future in April 1987.  The Commission's recommendations led to the Earth Summit - the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Dr Brundtland was nominated as Director-General of the World Health Organization by the Executive Board of WHO in January 1998, and accepted the position in July of that year.

 

 

Thomas Friedman: 

Thomas L. Friedman won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, his third Pulitzer for The New York Times. He became the paper's foreign-affairs columnist in 1995. Previously, he served as chief economic correspondent in the Washington bureau and before that he was the chief White House correspondent. In 2005, Mr. Friedman was elected as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Mr. Friedman joined The Times in 1981 and was appointed Beirut bureau chief in 1982. In 1984 Mr. Friedman was transferred from Beirut to Jerusalem, where he served as Israel bureau chief until 1988. Mr. Friedman was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Lebanon) and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Israel).

Mr. Friedman's latest book, "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century," was released in April 2005 and won the inaugural Goldman Sachs/Financial Times Business Book of the Year award. In 2004, he was awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement and the honorary title, Order of the British Empire (OBE), by Queen Elizabeth II.

His book, "From Beirut to Jerusalem" (1989), won the National Book Award for non-fiction in 1989 and "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" (2000) won the 2000 Overseas Press Club award for best nonfiction book on foreign policy and has been published in 27 languages. Mr. Friedman also wrote "Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism" (2002) and the text accompanying Micha Bar-Am's book, "Israel: A Photobiography."

Born in Minneapolis on July 20, 1953, Mr. Friedman received a B.A. degree in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University in 1975. In 1978 he received a Master of Philosophy degree in Modern Middle East studies from Oxford. Mr. Friedman is married and has two daughters.

 

Sherri Goodman:

Sherri Goodman is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of CNA, a non-profit research organization that provides analyses and solutions for national security leaders and public sector organizations. Known as an innovative and multidisciplinary leader, Ms. Goodman has been recognized for her work creating and overseeing a landmark project in her role as Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board for projects on National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (2007), Powering America’s Defense: Energy & the Risks to National Security (2009), Powering America’s Economy: Energy Innovation at the Crossroads of National Security Challenges(2010), and Ensuring America’s Freedom of Movement: A National Security Imperative to Reduce US Oil Dependence (2011).

From 1993 to 2001, Ms. Goodman served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security). As the chief environmental, safety, and occupational health officer for the Department of Defense (DoD), she oversaw an annual budget of over $5 billion. She established the first environmental, safety and health performance metrics for the Department and, as the nation’s largest energy user, led its energy, environmental and natural resource conservation programs. Overseeing the President’s plan for revitalizing base closure communities, she ensured that 80% of base closure property became available for transfer and reuse. Ms. Goodman has twice received the DoD medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Gold Medal from the National Defense Industrial Association, and the EPA’s Climate Change Award.

Ms. Goodman served on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee for Committee Chairman Senator Sam Nunn. She has practiced law at the Goodwin Procter, serving as both a litigator and environmental attorney, and has worked at RAND and SAIC.

Ms. Goodman serves on the boards of the Atlantic Council of the U.S., including its Executive Committee, Blue Star Families, Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, Marshall Legacy Institute, National Academy of Sciences’ Energy and Environmental Systems Board, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Board of its Center for Preventive Action.

Ms. Goodman also serves on the Joint Ocean Commission Leadership Council, and the Responsibility to Protect Working Group co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

In 2010, Ms. Goodman served on the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel co-chaired by former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry.

Ms. Goodman has testified before numerous committees of the U.S. Congress, and conducted interviews with print, television, radio and online media. She has published widely in various print and on line media and in legal and scholarly journals. She has been an Adjunct Lecturer in International Affairs and Security at the Kennedy School of Government and was an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Center for Science and International Affairs.

A graduate of Amherst College, Ms. Goodman has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a masters in public policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Ms. Goodman is married to John B. Goodman. They have three children: Natalie, Robert and Matthew.

 

Lisa Jackson:

Since being named President Obama’s cabinet member in charge of environmental protection, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has been named one Newsweek’s “Most Important People in 2010,” featured on Time Magazine’s 2010 and 2011 lists of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”, listed in Essence Magazine’s “40 Women Who Have Influenced the World,” and profiled in O Magazine for her work to protect our nation’s air, water and land from pollution that threatens human health.

Raised a proud resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, Administrator Jackson is a summa cum laude graduate of Tulane University and earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University. In 2011, she received an honorary doctorate degree from Florida A&M University. She has also received an honorary law degree from Pace Law School.

She started with the EPA as a staff-level scientist in 1987 and spent the majority of her career working in EPA’s Region 2 office in New York. In 2002, Jackson joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and was appointed Commissioner of the agency in 2006.

Administrator Jackson has pledged to focus on seven priorities for EPA’s future: taking action on climate change; improving air quality; cleaning up our communities; protecting America’s waters; assuring the safety of chemicals; expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice; and building stronger state and tribal partnerships.

As a scientist herself, Jackson has vowed that EPA’s efforts will follow the best science, using it as “the backbone for EPA programs.” She has also ensured that EPA adheres to the rule of law and acts with unparalleled transparency. She has outlined principles to modernize our nation’s 30-year old chemical management laws, called for unprecedented innovation in drinking water protection efforts and announced tough standards to clean the air we breathe.

In December of 2009, Administrator Jackson announced an endangerment finding on greenhouse gases, setting the stage for EPA action on climate change. To date, EPA has taken a number of common sense strategic steps, including clean air standards designed to reduce emissions from large facilities without burdening small businesses, and a clean cars program – crafted in collaboration with the Department of Transportation and the auto industry – that will make American vehicles more fuel-efficient than ever before.

 

Amory Lovins:  Physicist Amory B. Lovins is cofounder, Chairman, and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org), an independent nonprofit think-and-do tank that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.  An advisor to major firms and governments in over 50 countries for the past four decades, he is author of 31 books and over 450 papers, and recipient of the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, 11 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood, National Design, and World Technology Awards.  Educated at Harvard and Oxford, and a dropout from both, he is a former Oxford don, an honorary U.S. architect, a Swedish engineering academician, a member of the National Petroleum Council, and a Professor of Pracice at the Naval Postgraduate School.  He has taught at nine other universities, most recently Stanford University's School of Engineering.  In 2009, Time named him one of the world's 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers.  His latest books include Natural Capitalism (1999), Small Is Profitable (2002), Winning the Oil Endgame (2004), The Essential Amory Lovins (2011), and Reinventing Fire (2011).


 

Kathleen Merrigan: Kathleen A. Merrigan is the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Working alongside Secretary Tom Vilsack, Merrigan oversees the day-to-day operation of USDA's many programs and spearheads the $149 billion USDA budget process. She serves on the President's Management Council, working with other Cabinet Deputies to improve accountability and performance across the federal government.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan has managed the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food effort to highlight the critical connection between farmers and consumers and support local and regional food systems that increase economic opportunity in Rural America.

In November 2009, she made history as the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Recognizing the history and scope of her work, Time magazine named Dr. Merrigan among the "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2010.

Before becoming Deputy Secretary, Merrigan served for eight years as Assistant Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment graduate program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Under an appointment by President Bill Clinton, Merrigan was Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service from 1999 to 2001. She served for six years as a senior staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, working for Senator Patrick Leahy (VT).

Merrigan has also been engaged in agricultural policy in positions at the FAO, the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Massachusetts State Senate.

 

 

Rajiv Shah: Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as the 16th Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and leads the efforts of more than 8,000 professionals in 80 missions around the world.

Since being sworn in on Dec. 31, 2009, Administrator Shah managed the U.S. Government's response to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, co-chaired the State Department's first-ever review of American diplomacy and development operations, and now spearheads President Obama's landmark Feed the Future food security initiative. He is also leading “USAID Forward,” an extensive set of reforms to USAID's business model around seven key areas, including procurement, science & technology, and monitoring & evaluation.

Before becoming USAID's Administrator, Dr. Shah served as Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and as Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At USDA, he launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a new scientific institute that significantly elevates the status and funding of agricultural research.
 
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Shah served for seven years with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where his positions included Director of Agricultural Development in the Global Development Program, and Director of Strategic Opportunities.

 

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