President Secretary Regional Representatives Fellowship Program Student Representatives
Vice President/President-elect 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/President-elect: John Richard Stepp

Rick Stepp is a professor at the University of Florida where he teaches in the Department of Anthropology and Tropical Conservation and Development program. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy and was in residence at the University of Hawai’i as the Wilder Professor of Botany. He has conducted biocultural conservation research over the last two decades throughout the tropics, especially in the Maya Forest and in the Greater Mekong Region of Southeast Asia. His research explores persistence, change and variation of traditional ecological knowledge and ethnobiology. Much of this work has focused on wild food plants and medicinal plants. His work has also focused on patterns and causes in the distribution of biological and cultural diversity (biocultural diversity) on both regional and global scales. He participates on a number of editorial boards for scientific journals in ethnobiology. He serves as the Ethnobiology series co-editor for Springer Nature. He has been involved with the ISE for many years and served as program chair for the  7th International Congress of Ethnobiology. He co-edited the volume Ethnobiology and Biocultural Diversity that emerged from this congress.

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Secretary: vacant


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Treasurer: Alain Cuerrier

Bio coming soon.

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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.

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Central and South Americas and the Caribbean: Paola Mojica

Bio coming soon.

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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.

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Asia: Chunlin Long

%e6%bb%87%e4%b8%9c%e5%8d%97200911416317963Chunlin Long is Professor of Ethnobotany and Botany at the Minzu University of China, Beijing, China. He has become a member of ISE since 1990. He was a full professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 1997-2009. He has moved to Minzu University of China, the largest University focusing on ethnic peoples’ issues, in Beijing as Professor II since 2010. He is now leading the largest ethnobiological research team in China, which contains 32 members.

Prof. Long received more than 40 grants from national and international funding agencies, with a sum of over 8 millions in USD. He has published 326 papers in ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, ethnoecology, medicinal plants, plant biotechnology and molecular biology, new species discovery, economic botany, natural product chemistry, and sustainable development in peer-reviewed journals. He is an editorial board member of some journals with international reputations such as Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnnomedicine, Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, and Archives of Pharmacal Research. Prof. Long has established international collaborative relationship with ethnobiologists worldwide. They have jointly published more than 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Prof. Long attended 9 ISE congresses held in Kunming (China, 1990), Lucknow (India, 1994), Whakatane (New Zealand, 1998), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia, 2002), Chiang Rai (Thailand, 2006), Cusco (Peru, 2008), Tofino (Canada, 2010), Bumthang (Bhutan, 2014), and Kampala (Uganda, 2016), respectively. He has been elected as the Vice President of the Chinese Association of Ethnobotany.

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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.

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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.

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Global Coalition Directors: vacant

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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.

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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.

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Student Representative: Jennie Harvey

Jennie is a University Instructor in Geography, and a PhD student at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent, UK. She holds a BSc in Biology from the University of York and an MSc in Ethnobotany from the University of Kent. Her current research investigates gender dimensions of livelihood strategies and agricultural biodiversity management in smallholder farmers on Mt Kilimanjaro. She works in collaboration with Kilimanjaro Environmental Development Association and Community Economic Development Empowerment, both grassroots charities based in Moshi Rural District, Tanzania.

Student Representative: Michel Rapinski

Michel Rapinski is currently a Ph.D. student at the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Montréal, Canada. He completed his undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Ottawa (2003) and earned his Master’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Montreal (2012).

Based out of the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale (IRBV) situated at the Montreal Botanical Garden, his research interests focus on human and plant relationships, pertaining particularly to health and food security in Quebec’s Inuit and First Nations communities. He works tightly in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team composed of indigenous community members and organisations, as well as researchers specialised in various disciplines, such as population health, pharmacology, phytochemistry, biology and botany, with a mandate to improve community and personal health in culturally adapted approaches.

Looking at the place and role of medicinal and dietary plants on local concepts of health and medicine, his research takes him out on the land and into the laboratory as well. On the land and in communities, he works with people to identify barriers and facilitators that affect access to the land, its resources and, inevitably, health. In the laboratory, he applies phytochemical and pharmacological techniques and methods to assess the health benefits of culturally relevant medicinal and dietary plants in relation to chronic health problems.

Michel is a member of the ISE since 2016, having attended the 4th Pre-Congress Workshop for Emerging Ethnobiologists on the shores of Lake Bunyoni and the 15th Congress in Kampala, Uganda.

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2018 Congress Organizer: Glenn Shepard

Bio coming soon.

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