Born on Banaba, Emeretta is proud of her Tuvalu and Kiribati heritage. Awarded a scholarship to study at Brigham Young University – Hawaii Campus, she studied degrees in both Communication and Theatre. Her theatrical experience rewarded her with the opportunity to further work with community affairs in Laie and Manoa – where she became involved with local focus groups. These opportunities filled Emeretta with the passion to use entertainment as the medium to touch lives and make a change.
In 1992, Emeretta moved to Melbourne, where she got married and had a son. Here Merethan Vision was born. A combination of both her name and her son’s, the company was established to mould a way for her son to learn about his culture and a purpose in life. Through Merethan Vision productions and events, Emeretta hopes to share with other parents and children, that which is important; to have an identity and find a purpose.
Bird Conservation Nepal, Nepal
Hum Gurung is Chief Executive Officer of Bird Conservation Nepal. He received his PhD investigating participatory governance in protected area management in the School of Environment, Griffith University, Australia. Dr Gurung is a member of IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), and Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEEP). He has been associated with the internationally renowned Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) of the National Trust for Nature Conservation, Nepal from 1986 to 1996 as Conservation Officer, and Conservation Education and Extension Officer. He worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as National Programme Manager of the Sustainable Community Development Programme, known as Nepal Capacity 21, from 1997–2004. His research interests include participatory action research and community-based approaches for environmental education, sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity and tourism management in protected areas. Hum has also provided consultancy services to a number of esteemed global environmental organisations including the United National Development Programme (UNDP); the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); World Wildlife Fund (WWF); and the Australian based Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC).
Tuvalu and Kiribati are threatened by environmental changes. These realities have provided an opportunity for Emeretta to become an identity in the Climate Change sector by speaking on known conditions facing her people, including displacement and loss of land. Her goal now is to liaise with leaders and activist for sustainable options for all the low lying regions. She is an advocate and presents for Oxfam, CANA, Youth Coalition Australia, Friends of Earth, Melbourne University, Federation Square – Gift of Light annual project and Footscray Community Art Centre.
National Climate Change Adaptation Facility, Queensland
Professor Jean Palutikof is Director of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility at Griffith University. She took up the role in October 2008, having previously managed the production of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report for Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), while based at the UK Met Office.
Prior to joining the Met Office she was a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences and Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK, where she worked from 1979 to 2004, and a lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Nairobi, Kenya, from 1974 to 1979.
Her research interests focus on climate change impacts and the application of climatic data to economic and planning issues. She specialises in the study of changes in extreme events and their impacts, especially windstorm. She was a lead author for Working Group II of the IPCC second and third assessment reports. She has authored more than 200 papers, articles and reports on the topic of climate change and climate variability. Her proudest moment to date was attending the ceremony in 2007 at which the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
wEEcED Congress dinner speaker
Griffith University, Queensland
Ian Lowe AO FTSE is emeritus professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University and President of the Australian Conservation Foundation. He directed Australia’s Commission for the Future in 1988 and chaired the advisory council that produced the first independent report on the state of the Australian environment in 1996. Among many advisory roles, he is a member of enHealth Council, the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council, the Queensland Climate Change Council and the Sustainable Energy Advisory Council.