Paola Prado, Ph.D., is a Professor, Journalism and Digital Media, and Chair, Department of Media + Design + Communication at Roger Williams University. Her research on environmental news reporting in Latin America appeared in various journals and, most recently, in Media, Journalism and Disaster Communities. She is co-author of Environmental News in South America: Conflict, Crisis and Contestation and co-editor of Climate Change, Media & Culture: Critical Issues in Global Environmental Communication. 

 Dr. Prado holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Miami, a M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Cinema from Denison University.

Plenary 1

Advancing Sustainability Science and Innovation in Latin America

Time: Monday, June 26, 9:00 – 10:30 am


Dr Keron Niles is a Lecturer at the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies. His work focuses on problems that arise at the intersection of climate and energy policy. Dr Niles has been researching the link between industrial policy, international trade and climate change in the Caribbean since 2008. Within the last five years, his research has also focused on assessing cultural industries as a pathway to low carbon and circular economic growth.

He is also a published poet and has been a certified youth worker for the past 23 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government (with minors in History and International Relations) from The University of West Indies and a Master’s Degree in International Law from the University of Aberdeen. Finally, he holds a  PhD in Energy Management from the University of Otago in New Zealand.


Mirei Endara de Heras served as Minister of Environment (2014-2017) and as
Administrator of the Panama Environmental Authority (1994-1999), leading important institutional transformation in each term, most recently elevating the environment to a cabinet level position. Mirei is a Fellow of the inaugural class and was the first Executive Director of Fundación CALI (Central America Leadership Initiative), helping create the Central American program of AGLN (Aspen Global Leadership Network) in 2005. From 2000 to 2003 she established and directed the Nature Conservancy’s Panama Program. She is a board member of Fundación Smithsonian, a local not-for-profit created to support and divulge the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s work in Panama and Latin America, a position she has held since 2000, among other non-profit boards. Mirei was a director of the Fondo de Promoción Turística (2018-2022), a public-private destination management organization, and is a co-founder and president of Marea Verde, a nonprofit organization addressing marine and coastal trash. She holds an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and a master’s in environmental studies from Yale School of Environment. She is married to Miguel Heras and has 2 children, Miguel and Sofia.


Raisa Banfield is an Architect and Urban Environmental Specialist. She is currently the Director of Sustainable Development at the  Center for the Integration of Nature and Cities (CINC), and Executive President of Fundación Panamá Sostenible (PASOS). She co-founded and directed the Environmental Incidence Center-CIAM, which advocates for environmental protection and citizen participation.  In addition, Banfield teaches urban planning and environment workshops at the School of Architecture and Design of the Americas, ISTHMUS, City of Knowledge, Panamá. Banfield served as the Vice Mayor of Panama City from 2014-2019, where she was responsible for the City’s Master Development Plan and the coordination of municipal authorities on territorial management. Banfield has a degree in Architecture from Architect of the University of Panama and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Landscape Design.


Roger S. Pulwarty is the Senior Scientist at NOAA’s Physical Sciences Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Pulwartys’  research and over 120 publications focus on climate, water, disaster risk reduction, and resilience. He has also developed and lead landmark programs integrating science and services, including the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments, the U.S. National Integrated Drought Information System, and Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change in the Caribbean. Roger has served as a convening lead author for national and international assessments such as the UNDRR, the IPCC, the International Science Council, the U.S. National Climate Assessment and the National Academy of Sciences. He has provided testimonies before the US Congress, served on White House Task Forces on Water, Climate and Security and acts in an advisory capacity to the Organization of American States, UN Agencies, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and the Caribbean Economic Community, among others. Roger co-chairs the UN/WMO Climate Services Information System, and the White House Sub-committee on Resilience Science and Technology. His work on science and policy has been awarded internationally and nationally, including by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and most recently, with the 2022 U.S. Presidential Distinguished Rank Award. Roger is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, and is  Professor Adjunct to the University of Colorado and the University of the West Indies. He is the co-editor of “Hurricanes: Climate and Socio-economic Impacts” (Springer, reissued 2012), “Drought and Water Crises” (CRC Press 2017), and “Droughts: from Risk to Resilience” (UN Press, 2021).

Plenary 2

Transforming Our Research and Higher Education Systems to meet Sustainability and Climate Challenges

Time: Tuesday, June 27, 17:00 – 18:30


Jorge R. Arosemena Román obtained his B.A. in Philosophy and a M.A. in Sociology at St. Louis University, United States. He has occupied relevant public positions as: Viceminister of the Presidency of the Republic of Panama, General Manager of the Panamanian Institute of Tourism, Viceminister and Minister of Education, Secretary General and Academic Provost of the University of Panama. Between 1988 and 1994 worked for the Latin American Economic System in the field of international cooperation. Since 1997 has been the President of the City of Knowledge Foundation.


Ariel Rodriguez is the Academic Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Panama.


Bonnie Keeler is an associate professor and Charles M. Denny Chair of environmental policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Keeler’s research evaluates the equity implications of environmental policies at state and regional levels, with a focus on water resources science and management. Keeler co-directs the Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the University of Minnesota and serves as a subcommittee member of the Environmental Protection Agencies Board of Scientific Counselors. Keeler also directs the Beyond the Academy Network – a coalition of academic leaders seeking to reform university structures to promote more action-oriented engaged scholarship on sustainability.


Camellia Kodia is a student from the Ivory Coast. She graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics and Public Policy. She decided to continue her studies at the same university by pursuing a Master’s degree in Geography with a specialization in Anthropocene. Later, she joined the Belmont Forum as an intern in order to develop her skills and build her professional experience. In addition, she is involved in non-profit organizations and wants to make Africa more aware of the challenges of climate change.


Ivonne Torres-Atencio is professor and head of the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Panama. She is the president of the Fundación Ciencia en Panamá, is a non-profit organization whose objectives include the dissemination and popularization of science and the provision of evidence-based public policy advice to decision-makers.

In addition to her role as an academic, she has training in science diplomacy, which has allowed her to establish collaborations in the region, working on these issues through the organization Diplocientífica, with which she has generated several articles published in journals in the area. Her leadership role in mentoring young women scientists has been recognized by the U.S. State Department to participate in the IVLP Hidden no More program in 2018 together with 48 other women in a global STEAM program. She is a member of several international scientific associations and networks with other universities.

The foundation supports activities that transversely generate the reduction of gender gaps, the promotion of science in youth and the inclusion and respect for human rights. They carry out constant outreach work with weekly columns in one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the country.


Karina García is an early researcher and professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering from the Technological University of Panama (UTP). Did her bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering from the UTP, and holds a master’s degree in Integrated Climate System Sciences from the University of Hamburg.  Her academic work has been focused on water security and climate resilience with experiences in regional climate and catastrophe models applications, and disaster risk assessment in coastal communities. Work that has been developed through collaborations within regional and transdisciplinary projects. She has also supported science dissemination and communication through her involvement in activities such as the Scientific Initiation Journey (JIC), the International Engineering, Science, and Technology Conference (IESTEC), both from the UTP. Currently, she acts as a local contact point for the SRI Congress 2023.


Professor Stephanie Burton is a Professor of Biochemistry, in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and a Faculty Fellow at Future Africa at the University of Pretoria (UP). She is the former Vice-Principal for Research and Postgraduate Education at UP (2011 to 2020).

Professor Burton is the President and a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa (RSSA), Vice-President of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), a Research Fellow for Universities South Africa (USAf), a member of the Governing Council of Future Earth and Co-Chair on the Board of the International Academy Partnership (IAP).

She holds an MSc in Organic Chemistry (1990) and a PhD in Biochemistry (1994) from Rhodes University. Her academic career started in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Rhodes University, and subsequently in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town.


Plenary 3

Health and Well-Being in an Era of Rapid Global Change

Time: Thursday, June 29, 9:00 – 10:30


Gabrielle Britton is a research scientist at the Institute for Scientific Research and Technology Services (INDICASAT AIP), a biomedical research institute in Panama. She is a neuroscientist and psychologist focused on studies of aging and aging-related health conditions. Following her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt in 1991, she went on to complete her PhD in Psychology and Neural Science at Indiana University, Bloomington (2000), before undertaking a faculty position at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania (2001-2006).

She returned to her home country of Panama in 2006 through a publicly funded repatriation grant, and established the first Neuroscience program in the country. Her current research consists of clinical studies that examine the clinical, cognitive, physiological, and social determinants of aging-related disorders, with a goal of improving early diagnosis of dementia. Her focus is on age-related cognitive impairment, including its progression to Alzheimer’s disease. She co-founded and heads the Panama Aging Research Initiative (PARI), an international multidisciplinary consortium to promote aging-related research in Panama.


Dr. Nicole Redvers, ND, MPH, is a member of the Deninu K’ue First Nation (Northwest Territories, Canada) and has worked with Indigenous patients, scholars, and communities around the globe her entire career. She is an Associate Professor, Western Research Chair, and Director of Indigenous Planetary Health at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. She has been actively involved at regional, national, and international levels promoting the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in both human and planetary health research and practice. Dr. Redvers is the author of the trade paperback book titled, ‘The Science of the Sacred: Bridging Global Indigenous Medicine Systems and Modern Scientific Principles’.


Omnia El Omrani is the first official Youth Envoy for the President of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) and Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs. She is a Climate Change and Health Junior Policy Fellow at Imperial College London and a medical doctor with more than seven years of experience in climate change facilitating over 74 hours of training sessions in 15 countries globally. She is a Commissioner at the Lancet-Chatham House Commission on Post-COVID Population Health, a Youth Sounding Board member of the European Union DG-INTPA, an associate at Women Leaders for Planetary Health, and a member of the New York Times Generation Climate Cohort, the Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety and UNICEF-Az Youth Leaders Programme. Omnia has attended the last four UN Climate Change Conferences in Katowice, Madrid, Glasgow, representing more than 1.3 million medical students worldwide in the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA), and in Egypt representing youth globally.


Clover Hogan is a 23-year-old climate activist and the founding Executive Director of Force of Nature – the youth non-profit turning climate anxiety into action. She has worked alongside the world’s leading authorities on sustainability, consulted within the boardrooms of Fortune 50 companies, and counselled heads of state. Clover has taken the stage with global change-makers such as Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva, and interviewed the 14th Dalai Lama. Her TED talk, ‘What to do when climate change feels unstoppable‘, has been viewed 2 million times. At 22 she was recognised on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and has featured in outlets including The Guardian, the BBC, the New York Times, the FT, and Vogue. At 19, she founded Force of Nature. The now 12-person team has led global research on climate anxiety, and delivered programmes to young people in 50+ countries to help them take action. They work with businesses, policy-makers and educators to place young people at the heart of decisions affecting their future. Clover is also host of the Force of Nature podcast. Season 2, We need to talk about eco-anxiety, explores the intersection of youth mental health and the climate crisis: from food, to fashion, and the role of media in driving climate doomism.


Andrea Peve is Minister of Health of the Province of Neuquén in Argentina, where she has implemented several policies focused on primary health care promotion. Among them, the development of the Provincial Health Plan 2019-2023 and the Provincial Health Plan 2023-2030, the beginning of the construction of the Norpatagónico Hospital and the creation of the Intercultural Health Center. She served as technical coordinator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project in Neuquén and as Provincial Health Director of the Ministry of Health.


Dra. Vivian Tatiana Camacho Hinojosa is the Director of Ancestral Traditional Medicine within the Vice Ministry of Ancestral Traditional Medicine of the Ministry of Health of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. She is also a High-Level Commissioner for “Alma Ata 40 years” in the Americas Region for the Pan American Health Organization. With extensive experience in the health sector, Dr. Camacho has worked as the Coordinator of Health for the Bolivian Peoples, represented the Andean Region in the Latin American Coordination within the World Movement for Peoples’ Health. Vivian is a Quechua Midwife and Promoter of Respectful Birth and Ancestral Midwifery. As an Indigenous communicator and member of the Red del Abya Yala de Comunicación Indígena, Dr. Camacho is committed to promoting ancestral knowledge of Indigenous peoples as a Specialist Surgeon in Interculturality and Health.

Plenary 4

Reaching Planetary Solidarity

Time: Friday, June 30, 15:00 – 16:30


Ana María Cetto has a Master in Biophysics from Harvard, and Master and Ph.D. in Physics from UNAM. She does research on the foundations of quantum mechanics at the Institute of Physics and teaches at the Faculty of Sciences, UNAM. She has published 25 books and 275 research articles and has been inter alia Director of the Faculty of Sciences, the Museum of Light and the Mexican Journal of Physics. She is co-founder of the Third World Organization for Women in Science (OWSD), and served as consultant to UNESCO for the World Conference on Science, member of the Governing Board of the United Nations University, and Secretary General of the International Council for Science. She is the founding President of LATINDEX, past President of the Mexican Physical Society (SMF), head of the project Luces sobre la Ciudad, science adviser to the Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs (MFA), holder of the UNESCO Chair on Diplomacy and Heritage of Science at UNAM, and Chair of the UNESCO Global Open Science Steering Committee. She has received, among others, the awards for the Development of Physics and for Scientific Research from the SMF, and in 2003 was named Woman of the Year in Mexico. A chair at the University of Guadalajara and an optics museum at the Centro de Investigaciones en Óptica, A.C. are named after her. As a member of the Executive Committee of the Pugwash Conferences she participated in the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize and as Deputy Director General of the IAEA she participated in the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.


Trained as a physician and epidemiologist, Dr. Monica Sharma worked for the United Nations from 1988 to 2010. As director of Leadership and Capacity Development at the United Nations and in other large-scale programs UNDP and UNICEF, she designed and directed programs for whole systems transformation and leadership development world-wide. Currently, as an international practitioner and expert on leadership development for equitable and sustainable change, she works with universities, management institutions, business, governments, United Nations, non-governmental organizations, business, media, and other organizations.

She created a unique response model for complex issues based on extensive application –the conscious full-spectrum response model- and generated equitable and sustainable results on several Sustainable Development Goals, worldwide. Monica Sharma is the author of the award-winning book “Radical Transformational Leadership: Strategic Action for Change Agents”.


Dr. Jessica Hernandez (Binnizá & Maya Ch’orti’) is a transnational Indigenous scholar, scientist, and community advocate based in the Pacific Northwest. She has an interdisciplinary academic background ranging from marine sciences to environmental physics. She advocates for climate, energy, and environmental justice through her scientific and community work and strongly believes that Indigenous sciences can heal our Indigenous lands.

She is the author of the award winning book, ​Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science and is currently  in the process of writing her second book, Growing Papaya Trees: Nurturing Indigenous Roots of Climate Displacement & Justice.  Hernandez has been named by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful & influential women of Central America.