John M Bryden is a development economist and geographer currently directing the UHI Policy Web in Inverness and Emeritus Professor at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he co-Directed of The Arkleton Institute for Rural Development Research from its inception in 1995. He is Programme Director of The Arkleton Trust, and directed The Arkleton Trust (Research) Ltd from its inception in 1985 until it moved with him to the University of Aberdeen in 1995. His publications include Tourism and Development, with special reference to the Commonwealth Caribbean (Cambridge UP), Towards Sustainable Rural Communities (Guelph University) and four books and numerous chapters and articles on various rural development topics. Bryden is Chairman of the International Rural Network. Further information at: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/arkleton/staff/jb.shtml

Jose Maria Caballero is a Spanish policy and planning economist specialized in agriculture and rural development. Trained as an economist at the universities of Madrid, Essex and Cambridge, he worked ten years in academia in the UK and Peru (where he lived eight years) before joining the FAO in 1983. There he worked in policy analysis with the Agriculture Planning Division and in investment planning with the Investment Center Division, and directed the FAO training service on agricultural policy analysis. He has worked on many assignments in Africa, Asia and, especially, Latin America, and has published several books and many papers on Latin America agricultural and rural development issues. In March 2003 he joined the World Bank as lead agricultural economist, Latin American Region. He is currently based in Mexico City.

Chuck Fluharty Director of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), the only national policy institute in our country solely dedicated to assessing the rural impacts of public policies, Fluharty is also Research Professor and Associate Director for Rural Policy Programs in the Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri-Columbia and he holds an Adjunct Faculty appointment in the UMC Department of Rural Sociology. He is the 2002 recipient of the Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award from the Rural Sociological Society, the 2002 USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for Superior Service (jointly to RUPRI), the 2002 President’s Award from the National Association of Development Organizations, the 2001 Friend of Rural Counties Award from the National Association of Counties, the 1999 National Rural Development Partnership Recognition Award, the 1998 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Counties, and the 1998 Recognition Award from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health. Chuck was born and raised on a fifth generation family farm in the Appalachian foothills of eastern Ohio.

Jeannie Herbert Professor Jeannie Herbert has been the Chair of Indigenous Australian Studies at James Cook University since February 2001. She held the position of Head of the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at James Cook University in north Queensland, from June 1997 to Dec. 2002. Prior to this she was employed at the Associate Professor level, as Director of the Oorala Aboriginal Centre at the University of New England. Professor Herbert has a strong background in the fields of education and training. Since graduating as a primary teacher in 1962, she has taught across all levels of education - pre-school through to tertiary. In 1983, she made the transition into educational administration and management. Since the mid-80s, when she moved back to north Queensland the major focus of Professor Herbert’s work has been Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education. Since moving into the university sector, Professor Herbert has conducted various professional development and evaluation activities within schools across the P-12 range, including designing, conducting and reporting on cross-cultural audits of total school operations. She has also delivered a number of Keynote Addresses, dealing with Indigenous education issues, across all levels of education in rural, remote and urban locations, at various national and international conferences.

While her particular area of expertise is Indigenous education, across all sectors of education, the focus of her research, in recent years, has shifted to focus on Indigenous success in higher education and Indigenous notions of identity and place. Her PhD thesis focused on Indigenous Australian notions of success within the context of the Australian university.

David McSwan During his professional career Dr McSwan held positions as primary and secondary school teacher, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Head of Department and Director of the Institute of Advanced Education within James Cook University and Director of the Rural Education Research and Development Centre. He developed rural education as an undergraduate specialty for teachers and designed and taught the first Masters degree in Rural Studies offered nationally and internationally. As Director of RERDC since 1990, Dr McSwan established the Australian Rural Education Research Association, convened two national and two international conferences on rural education, (one of which led to the formation of the International Rural Network), established and administered the government funded North Queensland Rural Health Training Unit, conducted a wide range of consultancy tasks, and supervised numerous Masters and Doctoral candidates. His research interests include: the demographic and social response to economic change (decline) in rural and isolated areas; the role of education in the rural population transformation in Australia; comparative examination of schools, teachers and parents in rural and urban areas of Queensland; progression and retention rates of rural students; the demand for tertiary courses in provincial towns and rural areas of North Queensland; the effectiveness of pre-service professional experience in rural areas on trainee teachers; provision of services to tertiary distance education students; the effectiveness of online postgraduate program delivery in rural and remote areas; equitable resource allocation in rural areas; vocational and educational decision making by rural school leavers; and otitis media and its effect on learning to read and write among Aboriginal children.

Lakshmi Murthy A graduate of design founded a studio, Vikalpdesign, located at Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Vikalpdesign's niche area is communication for rural low literate and non literate communities. The work covers adolescent sexual and reproductive health, child health, maternal health and community health. Within this framework, Vikalpdesign:

  • Designs behaviour change communication strategies in the rural context
  • Develops, produces and sells communication products
  • Conducts workshops for rural communities (adolescents, young people, village community)
  • Conducts training of trainers for health teams

Lakshmi's work has been presented at local, national and international platforms; the more recent have been at "The Art of Comunicating for Health" at "Synergy", The Arts Design and Health World Symposium, Sydney, Australia, Feb 2003. Her work work was on display at the IRN Forum : Taking Charge: Rural Community Empowerment in Rural Development, Rural helath and Rural Education. Inverness, Scottish Highlands, UK, June 2003

Lakshmi has been a recipient of the Bernard Conyer's Fellowship, the MacArthur Foundation FLD Fellowship and the IRN honorary fellowship. She is visiting faculty in a various design schools across India. She is also the founder trustee of Aajevika Bureau, Udaipur an agency that works with migrant labour.

Dumisani Nyoni has considerable experience developing and coordinating global youth initiatives and networks in the areas of employment and sustainable development. He is 22 years old and was born and raised in Zimbabwe. Dumisani presently lives in Boston in the United States where he is pursuing an education in psychology. As coordinator of the YES Country Networks through the Youth Employment Summit Campaign, he cultivated local networks in over 70 countries to generate local initiatives promoting local youth enterprise. He later helped facilitate the first Youth Employment Summit in Alexandria, Egypt, and assisted in the development of the YES Agenda.

As an Earth Charter Youth Initiative Coordinator, he helped launch a new youth component to the Earth Charter Youth Initiative and developed online guides and materials to assist youth to make practical use of the Earth Charter. Dumisani presently works as a member of the Cultivation Unit of Pioneers of Change, a global network of social entrepreneurs and change agents. He has conducted numerous workshops and lectures relating to sustainable development and global issues at schools and conferences worldwide and has served on the boards and advisory groups of a number of organizations including the United Nations Environmental Program, Taking it Global, Global Youth ACTION Network, Envision Leadership, and the Synapse Center.

Dumisani speaks fluent English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Ndebele, Shona, and Zulu. His passion and journey in life is about finding ways in which people from all backgrounds, from all over the world, especially youth, can participate and be involved in eliminating poverty and creating safer, more just, sustainable communities.

Aileen Robertson is a Public Health Nutritionist at Suhrs University College in Copenhagen. Until September 2004, she worked with WHO for 12 years, where she was Regional Adviser for Nutrition and Food Security, advising 52 countries in the European Region on public health and national food and nutrition policy. Before working at WHO Aileen carried out her M.Sc. Degree and Ph.D. with Professor Philip James, former Director of the Rowett Research Institute in Scotland, and editor of standard text "Human Nutrition & Dietetics". Together with Philip James Aileen wrote the chapter "War in Former Yugoslavia: Coping with Nutritional Issues" published in "Essentials of Human Nutrition" by Mann & Truswell concerning her public health work in Bosnia during the war from 1992-95. She also wrote the chapters "Food is a political issue" published in 1st and 2nd editions of "Social Determinants of Health" by Professors Marmot & Wilkinson.

During her time at WHO Aileen edited and wrote 2 books: "Feeding & Nutrition of Infants and Young Children" together with Professor Kim Fleischer Michælsen at Institute of Human Nutrition, Copenhagen and Professor Lawrence Weaver in Glasgow; and "Food & Health in Europe: a new basis for action" which addresses issues such as local production for local consumption. She is a member of the Food & Health Council that was just established in Scotland in 2005. Aileen has published extensively regarding public health, including a paper with John Bryden on Rural Development and Food Policy in Europe, and was instrumental in the endorsement of the First Action Plan for Food and Nutrition Policy in Europe.

Dr. Mary Robertson Lacroix, M.E. Robertson and Associates, is recognized for her leadership, management and strategic co-ordination through her work with non-profit rural organizations and the public sector. Mary was a founder and the first Executive Director of the Ontario Rural Council, a provincial network of over 40 public, private and non-profit sector members that share a commitment to building prosperous rural communities and organizations through collaboration. Currently, she manages the Innovative Rural Communities (IRC) project, a unique province-wide study of the nature and scope of innovation in rural Ontario. The IRC project is a collaborative involving the University of Guelph, rural development specialists, rural organizations, federal and provincial governments and the private sector. Mary has designed and delivered courses in rural studies at both the University of Western Ontario and the University of Guelph. She holds a Masters of Science – Rural Extension Studies, and a Doctorate in Adult Education.

Rachel Tompkins is President of the Rural School and Community Trust (Rural Trust), the premier national nonprofit organization addressing the crucial relationship between good schools and thriving rural communities. Working in some of the poorest, most challenging rural places, the Rural Trust involves young people in learning linked to their communities, improves the quality of teaching and school leadership, advocates for appropriate state educational policies, and addresses the critical issue of funding for rural schools.

Previously, Tompkins served as Extension Professor for Community, Economic, and Workforce Development in the WVU Extension Service in Morgantown, WV. She assisted in the creation of West Virginia Community Collaborative, Inc., a unique non-profit, public-private partnership of organizations that leads efforts to build community capacity and promote sustainable development. She served as Adviser to West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton (1994-96), Associate Provost for Extension and Economic Development and Director of the Cooperative Extension Service at WVU (1984-94), Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund (1982-84), the premier national advocacy organization for children, and Executive Director of the Citizen’s Council for Ohio Schools (1976-82).

Tompkins holds degrees from West Virginia University in Biology, the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in Public Administration, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy. Tompkins currently serves on the Boards of What Kids Can Do, the Management Assistance Group and Regional Technology Strategies, Inc. She served on the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees in Little Rock, Arkansas from 1994 – 2000 and was chair of the Board in 1999. She was the founding chair of the WV Commission for National and Community Service in 1993 and continued to serve on the Commission for six years. She was Vice Chair of the Annenberg Rural Challenge from 1995-1999 and continues as an ex-officio member of the Board of the Rural School and Community Trust.

Craig Veitch is Professor of Rural Health in the School of Medicine at James Cook University and heads the Rural Health Research Unit. He also heads the Primary Health Care Research Evaluation and Development program funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, and is one of the Principals of the Queensland Cancer Fund-funded North Queensland Centre for Cancer Research. He is a Principal Investigator on a 5 year Research Program to reduce the economic, medical and social costs of road crashes in Northern Queensland which is jointly funded by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission and the Queensland Government.

He originally trained as a radiation therapist – working in the field for over 12 years, before embarking on an academic career in epidemiology and health services research. Craig has been involved in general practice and rural health research for 15 years and been an investigator on competitive research grants and consultancy contracts, totaling over $8M. His research includes medical workforce, community capacity building, rural health, rural road crashes, health care behaviour, after hours services, cancer, colorectal disease and occupational therapy.

He chairs an internal grants panel at James Cook University and also chairs the School of Medicine Research & Research Training Committee. He is a member of the James Cook University Research Committee, the University Research Executive, and also the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences Research Committee. He is on review panels for the National Health & Medical Research Council, Queensland Cancer Fund, and Vic Health, amongst others. He has published widely in national and international journals and is on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Rural and Remote Health and the Annals of Family Medicine. He has reviewed papers for a number of international journals including Medical Journal of Australia, Social Science and Medicine, the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health and the Australian Family Physician.



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