The International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability will feature plenary session addresses by some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversation Sessions

Main speakers will make formal 30 minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60 minute Garden Conversation sessions at the same time as the parallel sessions. The setting is a circle of chairs outdoors. These sessions are entirely unstructured-a chance to meet the plenary speaker and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

  • Julian Agyeman

    Julian Agyeman is Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, Boston-Medford. His areas of expertise and current research interests are in three broad areas: the nexus between the concepts of environmental justice and sustainability and the possibility of a 'just sustainability'; the extent, complexity and pervasiveness of 'rural racism' in Britain, its linkages to wider discourses of belonging, 'becoming', continuity and change in racialised spaces and ultimately to discourses of nationhood; the role of education in its broadest sense in delivering more just and sustainable futures.

    He was co-founder of Britain's Black Environment Network , and is co-founder and co-editor of the international journal 'Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability'.

    Julian's books include 'Local Environmental Policies and Strategies' (Longman 1994) and ‘Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World' (MIT Press 2003), 'Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice' (NYU Press 2005) and 'The New Countryside? Ethnicity, Nation and Exclusion in Contemporary Rural Britain (The Policy Press 2006). He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of the Arts, a member of the U.S. National Academies’ Board on the Transportation of Nuclear Waste and is on the Editorial Boards of Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, The Journal of Environmental Education, and the Australian Journal of Environmental Education.

  • Steve Gough

    Steve Gough (PhD; MEd; PGCAE; PGCE; B.Sc(Econ); FRGS) is Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Education and the Environment at the University of Bath. His special area of interest is the role of learning in the management (whether successful or otherwise) of the relationship between society and nature.

    He has conducted research funded by a wide variety of organisations including the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the MacArthur Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, The UK Department for International Development (DFiD) and the UK National Health Service. He is a member of the Communication and Education Advisory Group of the International Conservation Union (IUCN) and serves on the international editorial boards of Environmental Education Research and the Journal of Education for Sustainable Development.

    Steve’s publications include many papers and three books. He is currently working on two further books which will appear in 2007 – on sustainable development in higher education, and on learning, sustainability and security in liberal societies. He has led geographical expeditions in Borneo and Papua New Guinea and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

  • Kushil Gunasekera

    As a young boy growing up in the small coastal village of Seenigama in South West Sri Lanka, Kushil Gunasekera felt extremely lucky and privileged that he had the access to a good education through a reputable school (Ananda College) in Colombo whilst many friends weren't so fortunate. He vowed to himself that one day he would devote his time, energy and money towards assisting the people of his region so that they too could live meaningfully and purposefully with equal opportunities to excel in life.

    And he did. On 3rd March 1999, Kushil Gunasekera realised his life-long dream and established the Foundation of Goodness. Now a registered Sri Lankan non-governmental organisation (NGO) and a highly reputable force in the region, the Foundation has been active in the community of Seenigama and more than 25 surrounding villages for over the last seven years.

    During his college years, Kushil struggled academically and was more interested in playing cricket. However, the quality of compassion that developed within the heart of this young man was more than a life of academia could ever teach. Whilst Kushil did not attend university, he was the Secretary of the first ever under-19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka as well as the Secretary of the governing body for cricket in Sri Lanka during 2000 and 2001, and the Chairman of the two organising committees at the Sri Lanka Cricket Board. More recently, he has inspired many throughout the globe via the development of a rural community model designed for other regions and disadvantaged communities to follow.

    Kushil Gunasekera has committed himself to humanitarian service and community development for at least the past 15 years. He is presently engaged in managing four charities - the Foundation of Goodness, the Muralidaran, Vaas and Gunasekera Foundation (MVGF), and a scholarship fund for 500 children of diseased soldiers - all of which are committed to enriching the quality of life.

    As a member of Rotary International for over 12 years, Kushil received the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) award from Jaycees International for voluntary humanitarian service in 1993, the Best Club, President's and Community Service Director awards from Rotary International District 3220 in 1990 and 1991 and the Rotary Centennial Service Award for Professional Excellence in 2005.

    Since the tragic Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, Kushil has surfed a 'Golden Wave’ that has taken him to many corners of the world, including a visit to Buckingham Palace to discuss tsunami relief issues. Most recently, Kushil visited the Pentagon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and USAID, through the International Visitors Leadership Programme sponsored by the US Government.

    To this day, Kushil has retained his strong ties to the world of cricket and remains the manager of famous Sri Lankan bowler and the highest wicket taker in both forms of the game in the history of cricket, Mr Muttiah Muralidaran.

  • Lawrence Surendra

    Lawrence Surendra graduated as a Chemical Engineer from Madras University, studied Economic History at the University of Lund, worked in the area of Science and Technology Policy at the Research Policy Institute University of Lund, Sweden and specialised in Environmental and Development Economics at the Sorbonne University, Paris. He has worked with UN-ESCAP, the United Nations University and UNESCO, Bangkok. As a scholar-activist in India he is engaged in public policy issues relating to environment and democratic governance, eco-regeneration, renewable energy, plant bio-diversity and sustainable agriculture. . He has been a scholar-in-residence at the Dag Hammarksjold Foundation, Uppsala, working on Plant Genetic Resources and Knowledge Politics, is Co-Director of the Project on Knowledge Systems and Plant Genetic Resources, of the Centre for Plants, People and Ecosystems (CPPE), Madras of which he is a Founding Trustee. His research work includes areas relating to plant biodiversity and local knowledge and on the politics of knowledge systems and on which he has written and taught both within the region and globally. He has been closely involved in teaching, curriculum development and research relating to Sustainability issues in the Asian region. He is well published, written extensively on issues relating to the economy, education, science, technology and development in India and has been a regular contributor to one of India’s leading Fortnightly, ‘The Frontline’, (published by the prestigious Hindu Newspaper group of Madras) on topics such as the Asian Environment, multilateral institutions and international development.

    He is a Trustee of the Citizens, Civic and Consumer Action Group, (CAG) Madras, a Senior Advisor to the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Sweden and a member of the International Advisory Panel of Experts for UNESCO’s Bangkok Regional Office for Asia and Pacific, with reference to the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) 2005-2014. He currently holds the Planning Commission Professorial Chair, at the Department of Economics of the University of Mysore. He and his wife, Pushpa live outside Mysore on an organic horticultural farm, incorporating ecological principles and design in the maintenance of the farm and natural resource use.