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Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy

Tuesday, August 4th - Opening Plenary

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Photo courtesy of Kristin Pintauro

Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy is a widely acclaimed international figure who has worked in the Amazon since 1965 and has been at the forefront of biodiversity conservation for most of the past 50 years.  In both political and conservation circles he is a giant!  Dr. Lovejoy has also been a strong supporter of the effort to bring the IUCN WCC to Hawaii and it is safe to say that without Dr. Lovejoy’s help our effort would not have been successful.

Over the past four decades, his accomplishments include helping to bring attention to tropical deforestation through his groundbreaking work on forest fragmentation in the Amazon. In 1980, Dr. Lovejoy coined the term “biological diversity” and made the first projection of global extinction rates in the Global 2000 Report to then President Jimmy Carter.  Dr. Lovejoy also originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps and was the co-founder of the public television series “Nature”. He has served both as the Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for the Environment for the Latin American and Caribbean region at the World Bank. He has also served as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental and External Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution, and as Executive Vice President of World Wildlife Fund-US.

Spanning the political spectrum, Dr. Lovejoy has served on advisory councils in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton administrations. In 2009, he was appointed Conservation Fellow by the National Geographic Society. From 2008 to 2013, he chaired the Scientific and Technical Panel for the Global Environment Facility, which provides funding related to the international environmental conventions (these are international frameworks & treaties not meetings).

Dr. Lovejoy served as the first Biodiversity Chair of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment founded in 1995, in tribute to U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III by his wife Teresa (now Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife).

Finally, Dr. Lovejoy is currently the elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University and also serves as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation.  And, as of December 2014, he became a member of the WCC NATIONAL HOST COMMITTEE / HAWAII 2016.

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