President Secretary Regional Representatives Fellowship Program Student Representatives
Vice President Treasurer Global Coalition Ethics Program Congress Organizers

President: Verna Miller (Pepeyla)

Pepeyla is a member of the Nlakapamux homelands within the Interior Salish Tribal area of British Columbia, Canada. She was raised by her traditional paternal grandparents and then attended Indian residential school near Lytton, BC. After raising her family and serving in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves, she attended the University of Victoria and received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Geography and Environmental Studies (2005). In 2013 she earned a Master of Education degree at Thompson Rivers University. Her project and Capstone paper was titled Indigenous ways of teaching and learning in context of culture: the Braided Theory.

Pepeyla has worked for her community as the Director of Tmixw Research – an Indigenous Research Group consisting of Ethnobiological interests, water rights, title and rights, cultural/sacred landscapes and archaeology. In 2004 she was appointed as Project Facilitator for the Nlakapamux Health and Healing Society to provide mental and spiritual counselling for victims of the residential schools and subsequent Settlement Agreement. In 2009, health issues deemed early retirement for a year followed by two temporary positions as Health Manager for three Bands until her final retirement in 2012.

She has been a member of various Boards of Directors for local Indigenous organizations and is now the Chair of the Nlakapamux Child and family Services Society. In 2006 she was selected to go to Thailand to be a member of the Ethics Committee for the International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE). She is the current President of the ISE.

Vice President: vacant


Back to top

Secretary: Robin Wild

robinRobin has been a member of the ISE since 2010, having attended the 13th Congress in Montpelier in 2012. After attending the Pre-Congress Workshop for Emerging Ethnobiologists in Bhutan in 2014 he became one of the two ISE Student Representative and subsequently organised the 5th Pre-Congress Workshop for Emerging Ethnobiologists in the Lake Bunyoni Region in South West Uganda. The workshop focused on the concept of three eyed seeing, participatory research and ethics from an emerging ethnobiologists perspective, and how to take this forward into academia. His background is in Community Based Conservation initiatives in Namibia, working with the Khwe, an Indigenous group, for both his BSc in Conservation Management and MSc in Environment and Development at the University of Edinburgh. His research examined the cross over with, and management of, traditional environmental knowledge and conservation practice, focusing on the use of TEK in western based conservation initiatives. He is interested in the applications of TEK for conservation benefit, however, while this can provide tangible values for conservation management, there are often unintended consequences for the communities whose knowledge is used. Robin is currently in search of PhD options to further this line of inquiry, and aims to use this to further an understanding and developing meaningful ethnobiology-conservation relationships.

Back to top

Treasurer: vacant

Back to top

Regional Representatives:

Africa: Zemede Asfaw

zemedeasfawZemede Asfaw is Professor of Ethnobotany at Department of Plant Biology & Biodiversity Management, Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia. Zemede is a pioneer in Ethiopian ethnobotany, having introduced the discipline to AAU and actively led its teaching and research. Born in 1949; got BSc (Biology, 1972); MSc (Botany, 1980) from AAU and PhD (Systematic Botany, Ethnobotany concentration, Uppsala University, 1989). Working for the AAU since 1978, full professor since 2015, his regular engagements are teaching, research, academic administration (worked as AAU Registrar, Faculty Dean) and services. He won UNU/INRA’s College of Research Associates (1998), AAU’s distinguished service award (2010); member, Biol. Soc. of Ethiopia (founder); Eth. Wildlife and Nat. Hist.; Environment.

Zemede has attended three ISE congresses held in Africa (Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Kampala); and was voted by the 15th ISE Congress to represent the African region as Board member as of August 2016.

Zemede has published extensively (112 from 1988 to date). The following sample papers show his research areas: Zemede Asfaw (2000). Barley in “Genes in the Field; Zemede Asfaw (2009). Wild food plants, Acta Horticulturae; Zemede Asfaw & Ayele Nigatu (1995). Homegardens, SINET: Ethiop. J. Sci.; Zemede Asfaw & Mesfin Tadesse (2001). Use of wild food plants, Econ. Bot.; Mulatu Geleta, Zemede Asfaw, Endashaw Bekele & Awegechew Teshome (2002). Edible oil crops, Hereditas; Mirutse Giday, Zemede Asfaw & Zerihun Woldu (2009). Medicinal plants, J. Ethnopharm; Hussien Adal, Zemede Asfaw, Zerihun Woldu, Sebsebe Demissew & Patrick van Damme (2015). Iconic traditional apiculture, J. Ethnobiol & Ethnomed.; Feleke Woldeyes, Zemede Asfaw, Sebsebe Demissew and Bernard Roussel (2016). Homegardens of Basketo, ERA.

Back to top

Central and South Americas and the Caribbean: Paola Mojica


Back to top

North Americas: David Hecht

davidhechtDavid Hecht is a research assistant with the Integrative Conservation (ICON) & Anthropology program at the University of Georgia (UGA) in the U.S. David’s research focuses on community-led strategies for avian conservation in the Himalayas, drawing on the diverse perspectives offered by environmental anthropology, avian ecology, ethno-ornithology, and critical geography. In 2014, David worked with the International Crane Foundation (ICF) and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) to develop multi-media, narrative story-telling maps on Black-necked crane migration and conservation education in Phobjikha, Bhutan. He recently received a Y.E. Conservation Trust grant from the National Geographic Fund to continue collaborative research with RSPN, investigating the socio-cultural dimensions of community-based White-bellied Heron conservation. In his career, David seeks to investigate ways to make research and conservation praxis more ethical, collaborative, participatory, and integrative.

Back to top

Asia: Chunlin Long


Back to top

Europe: Attila Paksi

attila-paksiAttila Paksi is currently a PhD Candidate at the Department of Development Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland. He has earned his Masters degree in Education in his home country, Hungary. While teaching for a number of years at a High-School in Budapest, he has also worked as a volunteer project coordinator at the Jane Goodall Institute Hungary focusing on environmental education and IT management. Attila has also lived and worked in the tropical Australia for several years, where he has learned about the various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes and the challenges the indigenous students are facing in formal education. After attending the 3rd ISE Emerging Ethnobiologist Workshop and the 14th ISE Congress in Bhutan, he has decided to start his PhD research focusing on indigenous knowledge, traditional ways of knowledge acquisition and formal education. Currently he is working with the Khwe San people in Namibia.

As the European representative for ISE, Attila’s main ambition is to widen and strengthen academic and indigenous networks and enhance formal and informal collaborations related to the field of Ethnobiology. Another key importance is to provide a platform to support communication among scholars and offer methodological support for emerging ethnobiologists through case studies and field stories.

Back to top

Oceania and Pacific Islands: Joe McCarter


Joe McCarter is a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the American Museum of Natural History. He, alongside the team at the CBC, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership, are working with communities in Western Province of the Solomon Islands to identify, monitor and act on a series of ‘biocultural’ indicators of success and well-being. This effort is supporting locally identified strengths, such as local knowledge, vernacular language and traditional agrobiodiversity, and is working with a range of partners in the Solomon Islands to provide expert advice and support to the communities. At local, regional and national scales, they are trying to focus the national conversation on success toward locally-appropriate measures of wellbeing that consider community strength and vitality, as well as linkages and feedbacks between the people, the land and the sea.

Joe has been working in the Pacific for nearly a decade, beginning in Vanuatu in 2008. He worked there alongside village leaders and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, examining transmission, change and maintenance of aspects of traditional ecological knowledge. He has a particular interest in how bodies of medicinal plant knowledge change over time, and how people are interacting with education systems and creating novel spaces for the transmission of local knowledge. In previous lives he has also worked as part of the New Zealand Aid Programme for Vanuatu and as a travelling botanist around New Zealand, and speaks Bislama and Solomon Islands Pijin.

Joe is a New Zealander, but has been living in the Solomon Islands for most of the last two years and is now based at the CBC in New York City. He travels regularly to the Solomons and Vanuatu, and hopes to be living back there soon in the near future. He attended ISE Congresses in 2008, 2010 and 2012, and looks forward to working further with the ISE over the next two years.

Back to top

Global Coalition Directors: vacant

Back to top

Darrell Posey Fellowship Program Chair: Mary Stockdale

Mary Stockdale is an adjunct professor in the Department of Community, Culture and Global Studies at University of British Columbia, Okanagan branch (UBCO), where she teaches courses and engages in research related to community resilience, sustainability and natural resource management. Internationally, she has spent the past 20 years working in Southeast Asia (mainly Indonesia and the Philippines) on community-based forest management, particularly on issues related to non-timber forest products (NTFP) management. Most of her work in the past 10 years has been done in collaboration with the NTFP-Exchange Programme for South and Southeast Asia, a regional network of community organizations (mostly indigenous), local NGOS, and others, with a mission of promoting sustainable forest management and sustainable livelihoods for forest-dwelling communities. She is also an activist in her own community, working on resilience and sustainability initiatives. While based at the University of Oxford, Mary was a friend of Darrell Posey’s, and is pleased to carry on his legacy by acting as Co-Chair of the Darrell Posey Fellowship Selection Committee.

Darrell Posey Fellowship Program Co-Chair: Miguel Alexiades

Miguel Alexiades (France, Colombia) is Senior Lecturer in Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobotany at the School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent (UK), and Co-director of People and Plants International, where he directs the Cultural Landscapes and Resource Rights Program ( For the past twenty-five years he has worked extensively on issues relating to indigenous health, livelihoods and land and resource rights, primarily  among the Amazonian Ese Eja in Peru and Bolivia.  In recent years he has also been supporting local initiatives for intercultural eduction in Mexico.  In 2004 he was awarded the Darrell Posey Field Fellowship (2004-2006) to support his work on cultural landscapes and resource rights among the Ese Eja, and he has  served in the Darrell Posey Fellowship Selection Committee since then.

Back to top

ISE Ethics Committee Chair: Kelly Bannister

kellyKelly Bannister is Co-Director of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the Center for Global Studies, at the University of Victoria (Victoria, B.C., Canada). She has B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Microbiology/Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Ethnobotany/Medicinal plant chemistry. Her post-doctoral research was in applied ethics, focusing on ethical and legal issues in research involving biodiversity and Indigenous cultural knowledge. Kelly has extensive experience in ethics policy analysis and development and is involved in collaborative research and education on biocultural diversity with a number of non-profit, Indigenous and community organizations. Her work has explored governance mechanisms (e.g., codes of ethics, ethical guidelines, research agreements, community research protocols) to address power relations and facilitate equitable research practices. She has been involved in developing new institutional frameworks (principles, policies, practices) and practical tools that support collaborative and equitable research between universities, government, rural communities and Indigenous peoples. Her current work in applied ethics explores cross-cultural values, intercultural communication, conflict resolution and embodied peace-making within human-ecosystem relationships.

ISE Ethics Committee Co-Chair: Gleb Raygorodetsky

Born and raised in a coastal village in Kamchatka, Russia, Gleb is a conservation biologist with expertise in resource co-management and traditional knowledge systems. His work has taken him from the Brazilian Amazon to the Canadian Beaufort Sea, to the Russian Altai Mountains. He has lived and worked with the Evèn reindeer herders, the Aleut fur seal hunters, the Caboclos pirarucu fishermen, and the Gwich’in caribou hunters. For his Ph.D. (Columbia University, 2006), he looked at the resilience of social-ecological systems after the collapse of the Soviet-Union in the Russian Far East, by researching furbearer use and conservation in Kamchatka. Between 2006-2010 he led the development of a new global grant-making strategy for the Christensen Foundation on biocultural issues and since then has continued to work in the field of biocultural diversity with a focus on participatory conservation, climate change adaptation and communication. He currently consults and collaborates with multilateral organizations such as the UNDP, UNESCO and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He has written and contributed to books, scientific and popular articles on indigenous issues and conservation in both English and Russian.

Back to top

Student Representative: Jennie Harvey

Student Representative: Michel Rapinski


Back to top

2016 ISE Congress Organizer: Christine Kabuye

Back to top