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Title:Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship
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EditPhoto Credit:© Charlie Shoemaker
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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Overview

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For questions, please contact:
Deborah Halla
Manager, Fellows
dhalla@conservation.org
(703) 341-2754

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​​​At Conservation International we believe that investing in talent is fundamental to our mission and key to providing sustainable solutions. In that spirit, the Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship program hosts conservation fellows — academics, scientists, public and private sector leaders, independent scholars and policy analysts — who work to create dynamic and unconventional approaches to address existing barriers to sustainability and contribute to a shift in how nature is valued. These fellowships provide unparalleled opportunities for intensive focus and achievement at the intersection of climate, conservation, business and technology.

The program engages recognized leaders — Distinguished and Senior Fellows — and emerging talent — Technical Fellows — to provide fresh thinking and extensive leadership to CI's work around the world. By strategically combining the skills and knowledge of both groups, the Lui-Walton Fellows are able to expand the breadth of their skills, gain valuable experience in their fields, and find innovative solutions together with CI p​rogram staff and local partners.

The Lui-Walton fellowship is distinguished by four ​​key areas of opportunity: travel, access to resources, professional development and direct participation in CI programs.

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Current Distinguished Fellows

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Edit Title:Christiana Figueres
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Climate & Leadership Diversity
Christiana Figueres is a world authority on global climate change and was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-2016. During her tenure at the UNFCCC, she brought together governments, corporations, fnancial institutions, communities of faith, technology providers, NGOs and activists to jointly deliver the historic Paris Climate Agreement, in which 195 sovereign nations agreed on a collaborative path forward to limit future global warming to below 2C. The agreement entered into force in less than a year, breaking the record of the U.N. In addition to her role as a Distinguished Fellow at CI, Figueres is Vice-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, a ClimateWorks Board Member, World Bank Climate Leader and Missions2020 Convener.

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Edit Title:Ólafur Grímsson
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Oceans & Climate
Ólafur Grímsson served as President of Iceland from 1996 to 2016, during which time he made renewable energy and climate change key areas of focus. In 2013, he announced the formation of the Arctic Circle, a non-proft organization designed to enable dialogue among political and business leaders, environmental experts, scientists, indigenous representatives and other international stakeholders to address issues facing the Arctic as a result of climate change and melting sea ice. Grímsson currently serves as the Chairman of the Arctic Circle.

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Edit Title:Anote Tong
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Oceans & Climate
Anote Tong served as President of Kiribati from 2003 to 2016 and is known for his efforts to raise global awareness around climate change and its threats to Pacifc Island nations. Tong has led several initiatives to combat climate change and protect marine areas, including working with CI on the creation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) — the longest and deepest UNESCO World Heritage List site; the largest marine protected area in the world; and the home of some of the biggest remaining tuna stocks in the world. At the U.S. Department of State’s Our Ocean Conference in 2014, Tong announced the closure of PIPA to all commercial fshing, a historic move by a developing country.

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Current Fellows

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Edit Title:Robert Baigrie
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Strategic Partnership with Finance and Corporate Sector
Robert Baigrie is based in Singapore and is focused on engaging with the corporate and finance sectors in promotion of innovative, landscape-scale solutions to distinct problems caused by human pressure on landscapes. His initial work is specific to the Asia Pacific region, particularly Indonesia, and it involves efforts to partner directly with companies to promote sustainable finance mechanisms and critical practices such as responsible sourcing and sustainable production. Robert brings 16 years of experience as a leader in the alternative investment sector, and he most recently served as Citibank‘s Head of Capital Consulting Services in Asia Pacific.

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Edit Title:Mauricio Castrejón
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Sustainable Fisheries, The Americas
Mauricio Castrejón specializes in the social-ecological assessment of small-scale fisheries in marine protected areas, with a particular focus on the impact of diverse human and climatic drivers in the co-management of small-scale shellfisheries in Latin America. Based in the Galápagos, Castrejón is collaborating with CI’s Center for Oceans and the Americas Field Division marine community in the development and implementation of a “coastal fisheries recovery model.” Mauricio was formerly with World Wildlife Fund and the Charles Darwin Foundation.

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Edit Title:Murali Kanakasabai
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Climate Finance, Global
Murali Kanakasabai is a pioneer in structuring environmental markets globally and designing innovative environmental financial products. Based in Arlington, Virginia, Murali leads up global efforts to scale up financial flows to nature-based climate solutions and better integrate nature as an asset class within mainstream financial markets and impact seeking investors.

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Edit Title:Danielle King
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Sustainable Landscapes, Global
Danielle King is based in Arlington, Virginia, and leads up Conservation International’s efforts to create and implement an innovative, flexible and integrated sustainable landscape approach to holistically manage natural capital and productive systems while improving human well-being in key geographies for maximum impact. Danielle works across divisions and field programs to understand CI’s work and how to bring these projects to scale. Her work will inform sustainable landscapes and seascapes across CI.

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Edit Title:Lian Pin Koh, Ph.D.
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Research & Innovation, Asia-Pacific
Lian Pin Koh, a distinguished Professor of Applied Ecology & Conservation at the University of Adelaide in Australia, is a pioneer in the use of low-cost drone technology for environmental applications. The focus of his fellowship is fostering and coalescing meaningful engagement among the environmental NGO sector and key academic institutions to advance conservation science, as well as introducing cutting-edge technologies into the conservation arena.

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Edit Title:Cyril Kormos
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Primary Forests, Global
Cyril Kormos, a Vice-President for Policy at the WILD Foundation and Chair of the IUCN-WCPA World Heritage Network, is renowned for his work on primary forest conservation and wilderness law and policy. Kormos’ fellowship is focused on demonstrating the value of primary tropical forest conservation by providing research, access to the most current data, and identifcation of policy options that emphasize the essential role of primary tropical forests and the unique benefts they provide in global climate mitigation.

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Edit Title:Rachel Neugarten
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Priority Setting, Global
Rachel Neugarten’s fellowship is dedicated to developing, testing and disseminating methods for mapping important areas for biodiversity and ecosystem services to help ensure countries, development banks and conservation organizations are investing scarce conservation resources in the places where they can have the greatest impact. She is specifcally focused on providing and discerning data that informs critical issues such as biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and freshwater and food security, through remote sensing, ecosystem service modeling and spatial analyses.

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Edit Title:Edgardo Ochoa
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Marine Pollution & Dive Safety, Global
Edgardo Ochoa, a PADI Master scuba dive trainer and Dive Safety Officer, is a passionate ocean advocate. He brings 20+ years of training to help raise awareness and increase people’s knowledge so they will protect and preserve the oceans. He is a leader in ghost net removal and has teamed with PADI to create a global program that will train other divers to safely remove this damaging ocean pollution.

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Edit Title:Keith Roberts
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Wildlife Trafficking, Africa
Keith Roberts is a leader in working broadly within the international community to drive legislative and on-the-ground efforts to end the illegal wildlife trade. Roberts spent the last three decades as a Game Warden, Protected Area Manager and advisor to governments and NGOs on anti-poaching, community development and protected area management efforts. Based out of Kenya, Roberts’ fellowship focus is on strategic engagement with partners at all levels to engender a deeper understanding of the role poverty plays a key contributor to poaching as well as how best to mitigate its impacts.

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Edit Title:Carlos Manuel Rodriguez
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Senior Fellow
Gaborone Declaration, Africa

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez is a former Minister of Environment and Energy for the Republic of Costa Rica, and a pioneer in the development of payment for ecosystem services. In his role as a Lui-Walton Innovator Fellow, he is advancing a highly focused international policy strategy that clearly defnes the importance of biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management and climate change mitigation in promoting human well-being. As a skilled policy leader and negotiator, the focus of his fellowship will be in raising awareness as well as the importance of this strategy among leading global decision makers.

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Edit Title:Marcel Viergever
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Sustainable Landscapes & Agriculture, The Americas-Brazil
Marcel Viergever’s fellowship is centered on creating a sustainable agricultural strategy that incorporates conservation in productive landscapes, and identifying the actions and partners to make it operational throughout Amazonia and other regions in Brazil. In particular, he is focusing on the development of projects related to sustainable soy and palm oil. With more than three decades of experience, Marcel brings a wealth of experience in institutional analysis, participatory approaches, indigenous land management, as well as local development and sustainable livelihood approaches.

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Visionaries

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      “The environmental issues the world faces require a special class of leaders:
      Innovative thinkers who can apply their unique aptitudes, experiences and passions to help change the world and carve a new path to sustainability. I am pleased to establish the Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship Program at Conservation International, alongside Melani and Rob Walton, to embolden Conservation International’s efforts to provide the sustainability solutions our global community seeks.”

      — Yvonne Lui

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        “With the world population projected to reach 9 billion in the next forty years, doubling our demand for food, water and energy, we must nurture ingenuity, initiative and talent to ensure these vital natural resources and the services they provide are protected. Melani and I are delighted to join Yvonne in welcoming the first class of Lui-Walton Innovator Fellows to CI. This group's skills and ideas will have a lasting impact on our ability to solve the conservation challenges of today and tomorrow.”

        — Rob Walton

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