Liane profilewebNationality: German and American

Country of residence: United States of America

Current Position:  Associate Director, Heinrich Böll Foundation North America

What prompted your early interest in the environment?

I grew up in politically conservative Southern Germany, home of German car maker Daimler Benz. In the early 1980s, the company wanted to build a race track for testing its cars in our rural neck of the wood. Local farmers were put under pressure to sell their land and some community forests were razed in preparation for the track even before the final legal decision was made. Local farmers, most of them older conservative voters, and young environmentalists, “green hippies”, worked together to defeat the proposal and proved that concern for the environment can cut across political lines, age or income class.


Country of Residence: USA

Current Position: Co-founder and Communications Director 

What prompted your early interest in the environment?

I grew up in an urban environment, just blocks away from the subway in Boston, but spent my summers in the rural state of New Hampshire, hiking, canoeing and falling in love with the outdoors. That love of nature stuck with me and helps drive my work today.


Country of Residence:

Current Position:Director, University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership

What prompted your early interest in the environment?

 I grew up in South Africa surrounded by extraordinary natural beauty, but also constantly reminded of the impact of intensive development – for energy, for urbanisation and for tourism and the like. It was all too clear how easily development could destroy the natural world. But for me it’s not just about the environment. There is an inextricable link between protecting and enhancing nature and the wellbeing of people. The apartheid era in which I grew up meant that issues of social justice and human wellbeing could never be far from sight and I think this led me to appreciate the importance of truly sustainable development.

ahmedwebNationality:  Algerian

Country of residence: Canada

Current Position:  Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity

What prompted your early interest in the environment?  In 1985 I became Assistant Director of Social, Cultural and Scientific issues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Algeria, in charge of issues related to the United Nations General Assembly, ECOSOC, UNESCO, IAEA, WHO, UNICEF, UNEP, environmental conventions and UNFPA.  The following year I became Counselor to the Permanent Mission of Algeria to the United Nations in New York, in charge of the economic and environmental issues of the General Assembly and its relevant associated organizations and organs. After this, my involvement in environmental issues kept growing and evolving to where I am at today.