The Sustainability Laboratory

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The Lab’s founder, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli

Prior to founding The Lab, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli worked as an international management consultant, pioneering applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years, he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations.

In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development. He is author of the widely acclaimed Five Core Sustainability Principles, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth to accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future.

Dr. Ben Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on research involving advanced structural systems, and issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.

You can learn more about Dr. Ben-Eli on his dedicated website.

Watch a short clip about Michael’s first encounter with R. Buckminster Fuller, and Fuller’s influence on Ben-Eli and on The Sustainability Laboratory.

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The Team

Michael Ben-Eli
Founder, The Sustainability Laboratory

Prior to founding The Lab, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli worked as an international management consultant, pioneering applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years, he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations. In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development. He is author of the widely acclaimed Five Core Sustainability Principles, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth to accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future. Dr. Ben Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on research involving advanced structural systems, and issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.

Tom McMackin
CFO, The Sustainability Laboratory

Tom McMackin is a founding partner of two successful technology companies that have served the financial services industry over the last 20 years. The most recent, Open Information Systems (OIS), where he was Chairman and CEO, processed more than $300 billion in fixed income assets for global institutions on a daily basis. OIS pioneered the introduction of web-based technology to the commercial sector of several major financial institutions in the US and Europe. OIS’s technology platform has been used in other areas including by AIDS researchers at Yale, who applied the technology to gather and analyze patient data in the Philippines and Africa. Mr. McMackin holds an undergraduate degree from Boston College and an MBA from Columbia University with a dual major in Operations Research and Finance.

Arielle Angel
Director of Operations, The Sustainability Laboratory

Arielle Angel is an artist, writer, entrepreneur and environmentalist. She began her professional life as an administrator at two New York art non-profits, but complementary passions for travel and the arts drew her away from New York and into a variety of community-based initiatives, including a yearlong artist residency at a cultural center and urban renewal project in South Carolina, and a stint as a field worker with an Israeli INGO in Nepal called Tevel b’Tzedek, where she organized programming for Nepali women’s groups during the day, and soaked up lectures on sustainable development at night. She strongly believes that we must act now to combat climate change and environmental collapse. To that end, she is thrilled to be working under Dr. Michael Ben-Eli on the many initiatives of The Sustainability Laboratory. Arielle holds a BS in Studio Art from NYU and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia University.

Lee Frankel-Goldwater
Director of Educational Technology, The Sustainability Laboratory

Lee Frankel-Goldwater is a professional environmental educator, writer, and social-good project developer, as well as a recent graduate of NYU’s Environmental Conservation Education Master’s program. Lee has also studied in Israel at the Center for Creative Ecology on Kibbutz Lotan, and at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Currently, he is leading development of the Global Action Classroom, an Earth Child Institute initiative focused on global youth environmental cooperation, and helping to create the Global Sustainability Fellows, a Sustainability Laboratory program seeking to design a new, innovative international sustainability graduate program. Lee can also be found developing mobile applications for encouraging social action, working on mixed media video design, leading peace and environmental education workshops, and doing his best to live a life in harmony with the Earth.

Shani Austriecher
Lab Intern, 2017

Shani is an entrepreneur of sustainability-related projects. She was the founder and director of the first food cooperative in the city of Beer Sheva, aiming to build a community of shared interest around matters of food justice. After completing her degree at Beer Sheva University in social science and education, Shani co-founded and managed Kayamuta, an organization which aims to provide practical tools for urban sustainability innovation with an emphasis on local community involvement. Shani was a fellow in The Heschel Center’s Sustainability Leaders Fellows Program, gathering a network of sustainability leaders from various fields to promote a sustainable future in Israel. She strongly believes in the power of community, and draws inspiration from nature and its wonders.

Riya Mehta
Summer Intern, 2017

Riya Mehta is an industrial designer who is currently an honors student at the Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Industrial Design with a focus in Nature, Culture, and Sustainability studies. Her work in product and systems design is driven by her belief that the integration of scientific research and design can result in revolutionary new ideas that will be a driving force in this time of environmental struggle. Her work focuses on social innovation, and how to excite people about issues that are often overlooked or cast aside. Riya also works as a teacher’s assistant for a Spatial Dynamics class that focuses on biomimetic designs, emphasizing the ways we can learn from the natural world and apply this learning to design challenges.

Amran Amarni
2016 Lab Intern and Director of the Visitor's Center at Project Wadi Attir

Amran Amarni received a BA in Environmental Science from the Institute for Democratic Education (IDE) at Simenar ha’Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv. During his studies there, he was chosen to represent the College at the Mofet Institute, a national inter-collegial center for the research and development of programs in teacher education and teaching in colleges. He received his MA in Environmental and Ecology Science at Tel Aviv University. He has also completed continuing education courses in Communications Network Management and Information Security Administration at the Technical College of Kfar Saba, as well as in Economics at Ben-Gurion University and at the College of Management in Rishon Letzion. Amran has worked as a coordinator of educational programs at The Council for a Beautiful Israel and at Appleseeds Academy in Tel Aviv. He has also volunteered in numerous projects related to youth leadership of diverse backgrounds, such as the JITLI Peacemakers International Teen Leadership Institute, the Ecological Greenhouse of Coexistence at Kibbutz Ein Shemer, and the Messengers of Peace Scouts. In all of these projects, he developed training programs, guided groups of students and lead mediation sessions between students of different cultures. More recently, he has worked as a biology teacher at the Dar Alqalam High School in Rahat. He lives with his wife in the village of Misr.

Mohammed Alnabari
Mayor of Hura, Founding Member and Co-Chairman of the Board of Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Mohammed Alnabari has been serving as the Mayor of Hura, one of the major Bedouin townships in Israel’s Negev desert, since 2004. Mohammed earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Ben-Gurion University, and brings with him extensive experience in the private sector, following a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry with a number of international pharmaceutical patents to his name. He represents a new brand of leadership in the Bedouin community and has been instrumental in developing close working relationships with various ministries of the Israeli government, private sector and civil society, introducing innovative new approaches for improving the lives of the Bedouin community in the Negev. Mohammed is a founding member and co-chairman of Project Wadi Attir, in partnership with Dr. Michael Ben-Eli. He also serves as the chairman and founding member of Desert Stars, a nonprofit organization established to nurture a new generation of leadership within Bedouin society. He is a founding member and chairman of Alsanbel Social Enterprise for the Employment of Women, in partnership with local NGO AJEEC-NISPED and Mr. Itzik Zivan. He is married and has 6 children.

Itzik Zivan
CEO, Project Wadi Attir

Itzik Zivan is a successful Israeli business leader, social entrepreneur, and impact investor who has been working with civil society organizations and Jewish and Bedouin leaders to advance projects in the Negev that strengthen its shared economic and social future. One of the owners of the British company Zivtex LTD, an international textile trading company, Itzik serves as CEO and a board member of Alsanabel, the catering enterprise of the women of Hura. Prior to that, he served as VP at Pex LTD, the leader of a Nachal group, and as CEO of the socks division of Delta Textiles. He is a graduate of the Technion Haifa in Computer Science. He is married with four children.

Yunes Nabari
Project Manager, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Yunes Nabari is a founding member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative and serves as Project Manager. A father of six, Yunes comes from a lineage of traditional herders spanning many generations and relocated to the village of Hura over 15 years ago. Yunes, an innate entrepreneur, completed an intensive course in organic agriculture through the Ministry of Agriculture and has a bachelor’s degree in Public Management from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is one of the Negev Fellows for Society and the Environment, a member of the Negev Leaders Forum, and a member of the Joe Alon Center’s Ramon Strategic Thinking Forum. Yunes is a public representative on the Hura local council, and is a social activist and volunteer in several social-economic initiatives in the Bedouin community.

Ghadir Hani
Executive Secretary and Managing Director of the Dairy, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Ghadir Hani is a founding member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative, and serves as the project’s lead administrator. She is in charge of communications with the project’s many partners and stakeholders, and has taken on the formidable task of handling the large amounts of government paperwork associated with a project of this complexity. Ghadir is also working with NISPED, where she serves as the Coordinator of Women’s Economic Empowerment Projects.

Lina Alatawna
Director of Operations, Project Wadi Attir

Lina Alatawna is a Chemical Engineer who holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Shamoon College of Engineering. Lina joined Project Wadi Attir in February 2016 as Director of Operations, examining the structure and working methods of the organization to make it more effective.

Ali Alhawashla
Director of Medicinal Plants, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Ali Alhawashla is regarded by the Bedouin community as a prominent expert on Negev medicinal plants and has devoted his life to studying their characteristics and usages. Ali also completed a training program in organic agriculture, and has been busy growing and preparing plants for transfer to the project site.

Eti Golan
Manager of the Medicinal Plants Initiative, Project Wadi Attir

Eti Golan is an accredited naturopath (ND) and clinical herbalist (HC.I), descended from a line of healers. She holds a BA in Behavioral Science from – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Eti specializes in natural healing with a focus on proper nutrition and the use of herbs. She has worked as an instructor and lecturer in health-promoting processes in various institutions, like “The Center for Neighborhood Sustainability”, and in private homes. She has also developed a line of natural products, services, cosmetics and treatments called Shirat Haasavim, which has prepared her to assist in doing the same at Project Wadi Attir.

Nahid Abu Shareb
Bookkeeper, Project Wadi Attir

Nahid joined the project as a bookkeeper in December 2015, responsible for keeping track of the project’s budget. She studied accounting at Etgar College in Beer Sheva in 2010, and received a certificate in Office Systems Management in 2012. She has done accounting for several food product companies, including a dairy, and she is excited to bring that experience to Project Wadi Attir. Nahid lives in Hura with her husband and five children.

Mariam Abu Rakayek
Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Mariam Abu Rakayek received a degree in Business Administration and Marketing in the UK and went on to successfully launch her own line of therapeutic skin care remedies, body care products, and supplements. She is one amongst a handful of Bedouin women entrepreneurs in the Negev, who are succeeding by virtue of their great courage and fortitude, despite an enormous number of cultural and economic obstacles.

Shahde Abu Sbeit
Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Shahde Abu Sbeit is a graduate of the Tel Aviv-Yaffo Academic College and is certified in Education Management at the Kaye Academic College of Education. Shahde is a prominent Bedouin educator and former headmaster of the Mustakabal school – the school of the future – in the village of Abu Tiul. He recently retired after 35 years of educational leadership. Shahde, who has extensive background in raising sheep and goats, will oversee both the Educational Center and the Herding and Dairy Operation.

Naifa Alnabari
Director of Women's Programming, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Naifa Alnabari is a graduate of the David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem. After a 22-year career as a Hebrew teacher, Naifa joined as one of the first members of the Wadi Attir Project. For the last ten years, Naifa has served as head of the Council for the Advancement of Women in the Bedouin Sector and is active in community relations in the town of Hura. Naifa will coordinate the incorporation of women in the project’s various aspects.

Aatef Abu Ajaj
CFO, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Aatef Abu Ajaj serves as Director of Economic Empowerment Projects at the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED). He is responsible for developing the cooperative structure of Project Wadi Attir. Aatef has examined various options, approaches and modalities for organizing an effective collective and is interfacing with the consultants working on the economic feasibility. A prolific activist for the empowerment of the Bedouin of the Negev, Aatef was recently awarded a tuition grant from the project’s funds to enroll in the Executive Master in Public Policy program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is the first Bedouin from the Negev to have been accepted into this prestigious program, and he recently graduated with distinction.

Ibrahim Alatrash
Member of Herding Team, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Ibrahim Alatrash is a traditional Bedouin sheepherder with a rich family history of herding dating back hundreds of years. Ibrahim dwells in a tent encampment in the unrecognized tribal settlement Al-Atrash, south of Beer Sheva, and is a leader of the Sheep Growers Association of the Unrecognized Villages. Ibrahim is an associate member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative.

Dr. Stefan Leu
BGU Research Scientist, Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, Project Wadi Attir

Stefan Leu is a staff scientist at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Sede Boker, and the founder of Leu-Sella Environmental Development. He received his PhD in Biochemistry at The Institutes of Chemistry in Berne, Switzerland. His current research interests include global warming, afforestation and sustainable biosphere management; sustainable dryland management and medical plants; cell and molecular biology and biotechnology of microalgae for high value products and biofuels; sustainable biofuels production; and sustainability analyses of complex integrated agro-biological production systems, agroforestry and permaculture. With Leu Sella Envrionmental Development, he explores resource conserving agriculture, biodiversity assessment and soil improvement. He has published numerous papers, among them ‘Desert Agriculture of the Negev Bedouin: Potential for Socio-Economic Development and Ecological Rehabilitation’ (Management of Environmental Quality, 2009). At Project Wadi Attir, he works on the Soil Enhancement and Beekeeping Initiative.

Dr. Amit Gross
BGU Research Scientist, Bio-Gas and Wastewater, Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Amit Gross is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Hydrology and Microbiology at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR), Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. His research interests include treatment and efficient use of marginal water, remediation techniques, and the environmental risks associated with contaminated water resources and sludge. His current academic activities include the use of greywater and wastewater for irrigation; the development of waste management practices for efficient reuse and minimization of environmental pollution; efficient use of saline water for aquaculture purposes; and treatment of aquaculture effluent in recirculated aquaculture systems. He is on the editorial board of Conference Papers in Agriculure and the Urban Water Journal, and is an Associate Editor of the Universal Journal of Microbiology and Biochemistry. He received his Bachelors at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a major in Animal Sciences. He received his Masters and PhD at Auburn University, where he was part of the Agriculture Faculty.

Dr. Isaac Meir
BGU Research Scientist, Green Building, Project Wadi Attir

Isaac A. Meir holds B.Arch.T.Pl. and M.Sc. degrees from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He joined the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in 1986. He is an Associate Professor and has been Chair of the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP) Department, and the Department of Man in the Desert (MID) from 2005-2010. He has published over a hundred papers, reports, chapters in books and collective volumes, and lectures extensively in Israel and abroad, including at the AASA, London, the School of Architecture of the Oxford Brookes University, the School of Architecture of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and the International Hellenic University. He participates in the design of environmentally conscious and experimental projects, including private and public buildings and clusters in the Israeli deserts. He also acts as a consultant to various institutions, among them the Israeli Ministries of Construction and Housing, Energy and Water, Israeli Land Administration, and the Standards Institute of Israel, where he heads multidisciplinary teams focusing on green technologies and sustainable development. Awards include the Sheba Award for Desert Architecture (1988) and for Excelling Scientist (2006), the Dori Award for Technology (1992), and the Emilio Ambasz Award for Green Architecture (2011). Research interests include sustainable design in arid zones, Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ), the microclimate of open spaces, and proactive contingency planning. In February of 2014, he was voted by an experts’ panel as one of the 100 Israelis influential in the country’s environmental policy (infrastructures and construction sector) for his research, outreach and educational activities, and involvement in promoting green sustainable architecture.

Dr. Or Yogev
Founder and CEO of AugWind LTD, Solar and Wind Energy, Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Or Yogev is the founder and CEO of AugWind LTD. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). His thesis was awarded the Centennial Prize for Best Mechanical Engineering Thesis. After completing his PhD program, Dr. Yogev joined eSolar. At eSoalr, he gained vast experience in many aspects of solar thermal technology, serving initially as the Senior Research Scientist and finally as the Director of the Analysis Group. Dr Yogev has published four journal papers and has three patents under his name. He is currently working on applying the AugWind concept to the energy needs of Project Wadi Attir.

Sharon Heffer-Chaikin
Landscape Architect, Project Wadi Attir

Sharon Heffer-Chaikin is a landscape architect. She graduated from the Technion Institute in Haifa, Israel in 1994. She lives and works in the Negev. Her company deals with various public projects, including residential planning, educational projects and open space projects. Her work ranges from master planning to detailed planning, and includes vegetation programming. She is currently designing the landscaping for Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Shlomo Kimchie
Environmental Engineer, Composting, Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Shlomo Kimchie is a consultant to Project Wadi Attir mainly in the fields of compostation and anaerobic digestion technologies. He studied for his doctorate degree in Environmental Engineering at the Technion, Haifa where he is now a senior lecturer on wastewater and solid waste treatment technologies. In the last 15 years, Dr. Kimchie has taught at Braude College for Engineering, Carmiel, on biological waste treatment technologies. He is also the R&D Manager of the TAEQ (Towns Association for Environmental Quality) in the Regional Environmental Unit of Beit Netofa, where numerous projects on solid waste recycling, wastewater treatment and renewable energy applications are currently being conducted. Parallel to his academic duties, Dr. Kimchie runs a private office for environmental technology consulting. Among his customers are AIES (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies), the Ministry of Energy and Water, and many other municipalities, regional councils, engineering companies, agricultural farms and industrial plants.

Dani Columbus
Netafim, Drip Irrigation System, Project Wadi Attir

Dani Columbus has been a member of Kibbutz Hatzerim for many years, and has a wealth of experience in farm work and agricultural management. He holds a degree in agronomy from The Hebrew University in Rehovot, and worked many years at the irrigation company Netafim as a senior member of the engineering and design department, designing water supply and irrigation systems in Israel and abroad. As a member of the Wadi Attir Design Team, Dani designed the project’s water program and irrigation systems.

Shai Zauderer
Graphic Designer, Business Development Team, Project Wadi Attir

Shai Zauderer is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Shai has held managerial positions in graphic design firms and advertising agencies in both the USA and Israel. He also teaches courses in media and design strategies, most recently at Ben Gurion University. Over his career, Shai has accumulated practical experience in print, multimedia, video, packaging, branding, and internet disciplines.

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat
GSF Faculty, 2015

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat graduated as an agriculture engineer from the University of Costa Rica. She received an MBA in Business Administration with a focus in Agro-Marketing from the Technological Institute Costa Rica and a Ph.D. from the Universidad Latina in Economical and Entrepreneurial Sciences.Irene became part of the EARTH University team in 1992, where she worked as an Academic Program Administrator and then as the Director of Marketing for EARTH University’s Products Program. In 2000, she became a full-time faculty member in the University’s Entrepreneurial Projects Program, where she is now a director and lead coordinator. In 2001, she founded the Young Entrepreneurs Club, and shortly thereafter was selected to represent Costa Rica at the US Department of State’s Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Program. She is the recipient of the Best Investigation Prize at the VII International Entrepreneur Congress in El Salvador (2004), the Galpin Fellowship from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut (2010), and the highest prize from the Literati Network Awards for Excellence for her investigation on entrepreneurship (2011). Today, Professor Alvarado focuses her time researching environmental economics projects, sustainable value chains of agricultural products, and the promotion of entrepreneurship habits and disciplines to create a more just society.

Bernard Amadei
GSF Faculty, 2014 - 2015

Dr. Bernard Amadei is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Amadei holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering and served as Faculty Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities from 2009-2012. He is also the Founding President of Engineers Without Borders – USA, and the co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders International Network. Among other distinctions, Dr. Amadei is the 2007 co-recipient of the Heinz Award for the Environment; the recipient of the 2008 ENR Award of Excellence; an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering; and an elected Senior Knight-Ashoka Fellow. He holds three honorary doctoral degrees.

Tareq Abu Hamed

Tareq Abu Hamed holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ankara University in Turkey. He did his first post-doctorate research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where he worked in the Environmental Sciences and Energy Research Department. His second post-doctorate was at the University of Minnesota, in the Solar Energy Laboratory of the Mechanical Engineering Department. Tareq has published profusely in a wide variety of journals, and received several awards (Dan David Prize). He served as the Acting Chief Scientist, Vice Chief Scientist and The Director of Engineering Research at The Ministry of Science, Technology and Space in Israel. Tareq is currently the Academic Director and the head of the Renewable Energy Center at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and a researcher at the Dead Sea and the Arava Science Center.

Peter Dean

Peter Dean holds a BFA in Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Boston University Program in Artisanry. He has been a furniture designer/craftsman for 28 years, designing and building one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces for the residential and corporate markets. His work is held in numerous private and museum collections. Mr. Dean has completed numerous residential architectural projects as well as several product design commissions. Prior to attending RISD, Peter was an environmental science major in college. After attending RISD, Peter did two years of graduate study in Psychology and Theology at the University of Notre Dame. For the last sixteen years, Peter has worked as a Senior Critic/Teacher in the Department of Furniture Design at the Rhode Island School of Design where he has taught the Sophomore Studio Curriculum, the Senior Degree Project/Thesis, and Sustainability: Green Materials and Green Behavior, exploring the designer’s responsibility to this important issue. Immersed in the Strategic Planning process for RISD over the past three years and working with a few colleagues, Peter has developed a curriculum on sustainability for the whole school. This is in the form of a concentration entitled, ‘Nature/Culture/Sustainability’ and was inaugurated in the fall of 2012. Peter has designed and will teach the core course for this concentration. Peter has also developed an R. Buckminster Fuller Biennial Design Science Symposium in collaboration with the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at RISD and The Synergetics Collaborative. Mr. Dean is also a board Member of The Marion Institute. This is a charitable organization devoted to making positive and lasting change in the world. Peter has been instrumental in developing the Sustainability Education Initiative as well as the Las Gaviotas Carbon Offset Initiative, which the UN has declared to be the model for third world rural development. So far, the team at Las Gaviotas has planted 20,000 acres of fully canopied poly-culture rainforest with another 10,000 acres to go. Peter has also worked with Las Gaviotas to market the technological innovations developed at Las Gaviotas to other third world rural areas that are contemplating development in a sustainable manner.

Mohamed Nofal
GSF Faculty, 2015

Mohamed Nofal has over 20 years of experience in the fields of Civil, Environmental and Geotechnical Engineering. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering as well as a Master’s degree in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He also received a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is currently pursuing an MBA from the University of Colorado. Mr. Nofal has worked for several A&E consulting firms on several high profile engineering projects. He is presently working with RES-Americas, an industry and world leader in renewable energy. His responsibilities include providing technical guidance and management to wind farm and solar plant projects, tower foundation design, project site grading, drainage issues, and hydrologic and hydraulic analyses. Mr. Nofal is also responsible for providing innovative solutions to complex field problems, with a focus on safety, innovation, constructability and cost-effectiveness. Mr. Nofal is interested in promoting economic development through environmental awareness and sustainable design in the areas of water resource management and energy efficiency. He lives in Broomfield, Colorado with his wife and children.

Jane Yeomans
Sustainability Prize Coordinator

Dr. Jane Yeomans is a Professor of Research at EARTH University. She obtained her M.Sc. in soil microbiology from the University of Guelph in Canada and her Ph.D. in soil microbiology and biochemistry from Iowa State University in the United States. She has been working at EARTH University since 1998. During this time she has taught courses in Physics, Integrated Waste Management, and Environment and Sustainable Food Systems, an interactive, online, video conferencing course with seven other universities on four continents. She also coordinates the senior thesis project course and proposal writing course. She has been the principal investigator for numerous projects including “Development of an Integrated Waste Management Plan for Ordinary Solid Waste in Rural Communities in Latin America” and “Sustainable Agricultural Practices in Citrus Production in Los Chiles, Costa Rica.”

Michael Ben-Eli
Founder, The Sustainability Laboratory

Prior to founding The Lab, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli worked as an international management consultant, pioneering applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years, he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations. In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development. He is author of the widely acclaimed Five Core Sustainability Principles, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth to accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future. Dr. Ben Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on research involving advanced structural systems, and issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.

Tom McMackin
CFO, The Sustainability Laboratory

Tom McMackin is a founding partner of two successful technology companies that have served the financial services industry over the last 20 years. The most recent, Open Information Systems (OIS), where he was Chairman and CEO, processed more than $300 billion in fixed income assets for global institutions on a daily basis. OIS pioneered the introduction of web-based technology to the commercial sector of several major financial institutions in the US and Europe. OIS’s technology platform has been used in other areas including by AIDS researchers at Yale, who applied the technology to gather and analyze patient data in the Philippines and Africa. Mr. McMackin holds an undergraduate degree from Boston College and an MBA from Columbia University with a dual major in Operations Research and Finance.

Arielle Angel
Director of Operations, The Sustainability Laboratory

Arielle Angel is an artist, writer, entrepreneur and environmentalist. She began her professional life as an administrator at two New York art non-profits, but complementary passions for travel and the arts drew her away from New York and into a variety of community-based initiatives, including a yearlong artist residency at a cultural center and urban renewal project in South Carolina, and a stint as a field worker with an Israeli INGO in Nepal called Tevel b’Tzedek, where she organized programming for Nepali women’s groups during the day, and soaked up lectures on sustainable development at night. She strongly believes that we must act now to combat climate change and environmental collapse. To that end, she is thrilled to be working under Dr. Michael Ben-Eli on the many initiatives of The Sustainability Laboratory. Arielle holds a BS in Studio Art from NYU and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia University.

Lee Frankel-Goldwater
Director of Educational Technology, The Sustainability Laboratory

Lee Frankel-Goldwater is a professional environmental educator, writer, and social-good project developer, as well as a recent graduate of NYU’s Environmental Conservation Education Master’s program. Lee has also studied in Israel at the Center for Creative Ecology on Kibbutz Lotan, and at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Currently, he is leading development of the Global Action Classroom, an Earth Child Institute initiative focused on global youth environmental cooperation, and helping to create the Global Sustainability Fellows, a Sustainability Laboratory program seeking to design a new, innovative international sustainability graduate program. Lee can also be found developing mobile applications for encouraging social action, working on mixed media video design, leading peace and environmental education workshops, and doing his best to live a life in harmony with the Earth.

Shani Austriecher
Lab Intern, 2017

Shani is an entrepreneur of sustainability-related projects. She was the founder and director of the first food cooperative in the city of Beer Sheva, aiming to build a community of shared interest around matters of food justice. After completing her degree at Beer Sheva University in social science and education, Shani co-founded and managed Kayamuta, an organization which aims to provide practical tools for urban sustainability innovation with an emphasis on local community involvement. Shani was a fellow in The Heschel Center’s Sustainability Leaders Fellows Program, gathering a network of sustainability leaders from various fields to promote a sustainable future in Israel. She strongly believes in the power of community, and draws inspiration from nature and its wonders.

Riya Mehta
Summer Intern, 2017

Riya Mehta is an industrial designer who is currently an honors student at the Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Industrial Design with a focus in Nature, Culture, and Sustainability studies. Her work in product and systems design is driven by her belief that the integration of scientific research and design can result in revolutionary new ideas that will be a driving force in this time of environmental struggle. Her work focuses on social innovation, and how to excite people about issues that are often overlooked or cast aside. Riya also works as a teacher’s assistant for a Spatial Dynamics class that focuses on biomimetic designs, emphasizing the ways we can learn from the natural world and apply this learning to design challenges.

Amran Amarni
2016 Lab Intern and Director of the Visitor's Center at Project Wadi Attir

Amran Amarni received a BA in Environmental Science from the Institute for Democratic Education (IDE) at Simenar ha’Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv. During his studies there, he was chosen to represent the College at the Mofet Institute, a national inter-collegial center for the research and development of programs in teacher education and teaching in colleges. He received his MA in Environmental and Ecology Science at Tel Aviv University. He has also completed continuing education courses in Communications Network Management and Information Security Administration at the Technical College of Kfar Saba, as well as in Economics at Ben-Gurion University and at the College of Management in Rishon Letzion. Amran has worked as a coordinator of educational programs at The Council for a Beautiful Israel and at Appleseeds Academy in Tel Aviv. He has also volunteered in numerous projects related to youth leadership of diverse backgrounds, such as the JITLI Peacemakers International Teen Leadership Institute, the Ecological Greenhouse of Coexistence at Kibbutz Ein Shemer, and the Messengers of Peace Scouts. In all of these projects, he developed training programs, guided groups of students and lead mediation sessions between students of different cultures. More recently, he has worked as a biology teacher at the Dar Alqalam High School in Rahat. He lives with his wife in the village of Misr.

Michael Ben-Eli
Founder, The Sustainability Laboratory

Prior to founding The Lab, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli worked as an international management consultant, pioneering applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years, he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations. In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development. He is author of the widely acclaimed Five Core Sustainability Principles, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth to accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future. Dr. Ben Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on research involving advanced structural systems, and issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.

Mohammed Alnabari
Mayor of Hura, Founding Member and Co-Chairman of the Board of Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Mohammed Alnabari has been serving as the Mayor of Hura, one of the major Bedouin townships in Israel’s Negev desert, since 2004. Mohammed earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Ben-Gurion University, and brings with him extensive experience in the private sector, following a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry with a number of international pharmaceutical patents to his name. He represents a new brand of leadership in the Bedouin community and has been instrumental in developing close working relationships with various ministries of the Israeli government, private sector and civil society, introducing innovative new approaches for improving the lives of the Bedouin community in the Negev. Mohammed is a founding member and co-chairman of Project Wadi Attir, in partnership with Dr. Michael Ben-Eli. He also serves as the chairman and founding member of Desert Stars, a nonprofit organization established to nurture a new generation of leadership within Bedouin society. He is a founding member and chairman of Alsanbel Social Enterprise for the Employment of Women, in partnership with local NGO AJEEC-NISPED and Mr. Itzik Zivan. He is married and has 6 children.

Itzik Zivan
CEO, Project Wadi Attir

Itzik Zivan is a successful Israeli business leader, social entrepreneur, and impact investor who has been working with civil society organizations and Jewish and Bedouin leaders to advance projects in the Negev that strengthen its shared economic and social future. One of the owners of the British company Zivtex LTD, an international textile trading company, Itzik serves as CEO and a board member of Alsanabel, the catering enterprise of the women of Hura. Prior to that, he served as VP at Pex LTD, the leader of a Nachal group, and as CEO of the socks division of Delta Textiles. He is a graduate of the Technion Haifa in Computer Science. He is married with four children.

Yunes Nabari
Project Manager, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Yunes Nabari is a founding member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative and serves as Project Manager. A father of six, Yunes comes from a lineage of traditional herders spanning many generations and relocated to the village of Hura over 15 years ago. Yunes, an innate entrepreneur, completed an intensive course in organic agriculture through the Ministry of Agriculture and has a bachelor’s degree in Public Management from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is one of the Negev Fellows for Society and the Environment, a member of the Negev Leaders Forum, and a member of the Joe Alon Center’s Ramon Strategic Thinking Forum. Yunes is a public representative on the Hura local council, and is a social activist and volunteer in several social-economic initiatives in the Bedouin community.

Ghadir Hani
Executive Secretary and Managing Director of the Dairy, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Ghadir Hani is a founding member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative, and serves as the project’s lead administrator. She is in charge of communications with the project’s many partners and stakeholders, and has taken on the formidable task of handling the large amounts of government paperwork associated with a project of this complexity. Ghadir is also working with NISPED, where she serves as the Coordinator of Women’s Economic Empowerment Projects.

Arielle Angel
Director of Operations, The Sustainability Laboratory

Arielle Angel is an artist, writer, entrepreneur and environmentalist. She began her professional life as an administrator at two New York art non-profits, but complementary passions for travel and the arts drew her away from New York and into a variety of community-based initiatives, including a yearlong artist residency at a cultural center and urban renewal project in South Carolina, and a stint as a field worker with an Israeli INGO in Nepal called Tevel b’Tzedek, where she organized programming for Nepali women’s groups during the day, and soaked up lectures on sustainable development at night. She strongly believes that we must act now to combat climate change and environmental collapse. To that end, she is thrilled to be working under Dr. Michael Ben-Eli on the many initiatives of The Sustainability Laboratory. Arielle holds a BS in Studio Art from NYU and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia University.

Lina Alatawna
Director of Operations, Project Wadi Attir

Lina Alatawna is a Chemical Engineer who holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Shamoon College of Engineering. Lina joined Project Wadi Attir in February 2016 as Director of Operations, examining the structure and working methods of the organization to make it more effective.

Ali Alhawashla
Director of Medicinal Plants, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Ali Alhawashla is regarded by the Bedouin community as a prominent expert on Negev medicinal plants and has devoted his life to studying their characteristics and usages. Ali also completed a training program in organic agriculture, and has been busy growing and preparing plants for transfer to the project site.

Eti Golan
Manager of the Medicinal Plants Initiative, Project Wadi Attir

Eti Golan is an accredited naturopath (ND) and clinical herbalist (HC.I), descended from a line of healers. She holds a BA in Behavioral Science from – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Eti specializes in natural healing with a focus on proper nutrition and the use of herbs. She has worked as an instructor and lecturer in health-promoting processes in various institutions, like “The Center for Neighborhood Sustainability”, and in private homes. She has also developed a line of natural products, services, cosmetics and treatments called Shirat Haasavim, which has prepared her to assist in doing the same at Project Wadi Attir.

Amran Amarni
Director of the Visitor, Training and Education Center, Project Wadi Attir

Amran Amarni received a BA in Environmental Science from the Institute for Democratic Education (IDE) at Simenar ha’Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv. During his studies there, he was chosen to represent the College at the Mofet Institute, a national inter-collegial center for the research and development of programs in teacher education and teaching in colleges. He received his MA in Environmental and Ecology Science at Tel Aviv University. He has also completed continuing education courses in Communications Network Management and Information Security Administration at the Technical College of Kfar Saba, as well as in Economics at Ben-Gurion University and at the College of Management in Rishon Letzion. Amran has worked as a coordinator of educational programs at The Council for a Beautiful Israel and at Appleseeds Academy in Tel Aviv. He has also volunteered in numerous projects related to youth leadership of diverse backgrounds, such as the JITLI Peacemakers International Teen Leadership Institute, the Ecological Greenhouse of Coexistence at Kibbutz Ein Shemer, and the Messengers of Peace Scouts. In all of these projects, he developed training programs, guided groups of students and lead mediation sessions between students of different cultures. More recently, he has worked as a biology teacher at the Dar Alqalam High School in Rahat. He lives with his wife in the village of Misr.

Sabach Jabar Alatawnah (Um Atia)
Dairy Operations, Project Wadi Attir

Um Atia, a mother of three from Hura, has been working at the dairy since its inception. She has professional training in cheese production, and has been making dairy products at home for much of her life. Um Atia is a hardworking and conscientious member of the team, and you can always taste the heart and soul she invests in all of her cheeses. She is thrilled to be working with the project, which she sees as a second home.

Nahid Abu Shareb
Bookkeeper, Project Wadi Attir

Nahid joined the project as a bookkeeper in December 2015, responsible for keeping track of the project’s budget. She studied accounting at Etgar College in Beer Sheva in 2010, and received a certificate in Office Systems Management in 2012. She has done accounting for several food product companies, including a dairy, and she is excited to bring that experience to Project Wadi Attir. Nahid lives in Hura with her husband and five children.

Mohammed Alnabari
Site Maintenance, Project Wadi Attir

Mohammed Alnabari is responsible for the maintenance of the entire site, especially the agricultural areas, including the planting limans and the irrigation system. He is also responsible for all the carpentry, metalwork and facility maintenance. Mohammed has been involved with the project since its early days. He sees it not only as a workplace, but as an integral part of his life. In the past, Mohammed worked as in maintenance for the Meytar Municipal Council and as an independent contractor in carpentry.

Mariam Abu Rakayek
Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Mariam Abu Rakayek received a degree in Business Administration and Marketing in the UK and went on to successfully launch her own line of therapeutic skin care remedies, body care products, and supplements. She is one amongst a handful of Bedouin women entrepreneurs in the Negev, who are succeeding by virtue of their great courage and fortitude, despite an enormous number of cultural and economic obstacles.

Shahde Abu Sbeit
Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Shahde Abu Sbeit is a graduate of the Tel Aviv-Yaffo Academic College and is certified in Education Management at the Kaye Academic College of Education. Shahde is a prominent Bedouin educator and former headmaster of the Mustakabal school – the school of the future – in the village of Abu Tiul. He recently retired after 35 years of educational leadership. Shahde, who has extensive background in raising sheep and goats, will oversee both the Educational Center and the Herding and Dairy Operation.

Naifa Alnabari
Director of Women's Programming, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Naifa Alnabari is a graduate of the David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem. After a 22-year career as a Hebrew teacher, Naifa joined as one of the first members of the Wadi Attir Project. For the last ten years, Naifa has served as head of the Council for the Advancement of Women in the Bedouin Sector and is active in community relations in the town of Hura. Naifa will coordinate the incorporation of women in the project’s various aspects.

Aatef Abu Ajaj
CFO, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Aatef Abu Ajaj serves as Director of Economic Empowerment Projects at the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED). He is responsible for developing the cooperative structure of Project Wadi Attir. Aatef has examined various options, approaches and modalities for organizing an effective collective and is interfacing with the consultants working on the economic feasibility. A prolific activist for the empowerment of the Bedouin of the Negev, Aatef was recently awarded a tuition grant from the project’s funds to enroll in the Executive Master in Public Policy program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is the first Bedouin from the Negev to have been accepted into this prestigious program, and he recently graduated with distinction.

Ibrahim Alatrash
Member of Herding Team, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Ibrahim Alatrash is a traditional Bedouin sheepherder with a rich family history of herding dating back hundreds of years. Ibrahim dwells in a tent encampment in the unrecognized tribal settlement Al-Atrash, south of Beer Sheva, and is a leader of the Sheep Growers Association of the Unrecognized Villages. Ibrahim is an associate member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative.

Dr. Stefan Leu
BGU Research Scientist, Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, Project Wadi Attir

Stefan Leu is a staff scientist at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Sede Boker, and the founder of Leu-Sella Environmental Development. He received his PhD in Biochemistry at The Institutes of Chemistry in Berne, Switzerland. His current research interests include global warming, afforestation and sustainable biosphere management; sustainable dryland management and medical plants; cell and molecular biology and biotechnology of microalgae for high value products and biofuels; sustainable biofuels production; and sustainability analyses of complex integrated agro-biological production systems, agroforestry and permaculture. With Leu Sella Envrionmental Development, he explores resource conserving agriculture, biodiversity assessment and soil improvement. He has published numerous papers, among them ‘Desert Agriculture of the Negev Bedouin: Potential for Socio-Economic Development and Ecological Rehabilitation’ (Management of Environmental Quality, 2009). At Project Wadi Attir, he works on the Soil Enhancement and Beekeeping Initiative.

Dr. Amit Gross
BGU Research Scientist, Bio-Gas and Wastewater, Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Amit Gross is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Hydrology and Microbiology at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR), Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. His research interests include treatment and efficient use of marginal water, remediation techniques, and the environmental risks associated with contaminated water resources and sludge. His current academic activities include the use of greywater and wastewater for irrigation; the development of waste management practices for efficient reuse and minimization of environmental pollution; efficient use of saline water for aquaculture purposes; and treatment of aquaculture effluent in recirculated aquaculture systems. He is on the editorial board of Conference Papers in Agriculure and the Urban Water Journal, and is an Associate Editor of the Universal Journal of Microbiology and Biochemistry. He received his Bachelors at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a major in Animal Sciences. He received his Masters and PhD at Auburn University, where he was part of the Agriculture Faculty.

Dr. Isaac Meir
BGU Research Scientist, Green Building, Project Wadi Attir

Isaac A. Meir holds B.Arch.T.Pl. and M.Sc. degrees from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He joined the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in 1986. He is an Associate Professor and has been Chair of the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP) Department, and the Department of Man in the Desert (MID) from 2005-2010. He has published over a hundred papers, reports, chapters in books and collective volumes, and lectures extensively in Israel and abroad, including at the AASA, London, the School of Architecture of the Oxford Brookes University, the School of Architecture of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and the International Hellenic University. He participates in the design of environmentally conscious and experimental projects, including private and public buildings and clusters in the Israeli deserts. He also acts as a consultant to various institutions, among them the Israeli Ministries of Construction and Housing, Energy and Water, Israeli Land Administration, and the Standards Institute of Israel, where he heads multidisciplinary teams focusing on green technologies and sustainable development. Awards include the Sheba Award for Desert Architecture (1988) and for Excelling Scientist (2006), the Dori Award for Technology (1992), and the Emilio Ambasz Award for Green Architecture (2011). Research interests include sustainable design in arid zones, Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ), the microclimate of open spaces, and proactive contingency planning. In February of 2014, he was voted by an experts’ panel as one of the 100 Israelis influential in the country’s environmental policy (infrastructures and construction sector) for his research, outreach and educational activities, and involvement in promoting green sustainable architecture.

Dr. Or Yogev
Founder and CEO of AugWind LTD, Solar and Wind Energy, Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Or Yogev is the founder and CEO of AugWind LTD. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). His thesis was awarded the Centennial Prize for Best Mechanical Engineering Thesis. After completing his PhD program, Dr. Yogev joined eSolar. At eSoalr, he gained vast experience in many aspects of solar thermal technology, serving initially as the Senior Research Scientist and finally as the Director of the Analysis Group. Dr Yogev has published four journal papers and has three patents under his name. He is currently working on applying the AugWind concept to the energy needs of Project Wadi Attir.

Sharon Heffer-Chaikin
Landscape Architect, Project Wadi Attir

Sharon Heffer-Chaikin is a landscape architect. She graduated from the Technion Institute in Haifa, Israel in 1994. She lives and works in the Negev. Her company deals with various public projects, including residential planning, educational projects and open space projects. Her work ranges from master planning to detailed planning, and includes vegetation programming. She is currently designing the landscaping for Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Shlomo Kimchie
Environmental Engineer, Composting, Project Wadi Attir

Dr. Shlomo Kimchie is a consultant to Project Wadi Attir mainly in the fields of compostation and anaerobic digestion technologies. He studied for his doctorate degree in Environmental Engineering at the Technion, Haifa where he is now a senior lecturer on wastewater and solid waste treatment technologies. In the last 15 years, Dr. Kimchie has taught at Braude College for Engineering, Carmiel, on biological waste treatment technologies. He is also the R&D Manager of the TAEQ (Towns Association for Environmental Quality) in the Regional Environmental Unit of Beit Netofa, where numerous projects on solid waste recycling, wastewater treatment and renewable energy applications are currently being conducted. Parallel to his academic duties, Dr. Kimchie runs a private office for environmental technology consulting. Among his customers are AIES (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies), the Ministry of Energy and Water, and many other municipalities, regional councils, engineering companies, agricultural farms and industrial plants.

Dani Columbus
Netafim, Drip Irrigation System, Project Wadi Attir

Dani Columbus has been a member of Kibbutz Hatzerim for many years, and has a wealth of experience in farm work and agricultural management. He holds a degree in agronomy from The Hebrew University in Rehovot, and worked many years at the irrigation company Netafim as a senior member of the engineering and design department, designing water supply and irrigation systems in Israel and abroad. As a member of the Wadi Attir Design Team, Dani designed the project’s water program and irrigation systems.

Shai Zauderer
Graphic Designer, Business Development Team, Project Wadi Attir

Shai Zauderer is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Shai has held managerial positions in graphic design firms and advertising agencies in both the USA and Israel. He also teaches courses in media and design strategies, most recently at Ben Gurion University. Over his career, Shai has accumulated practical experience in print, multimedia, video, packaging, branding, and internet disciplines.

Menachem Ofir
Green Building Team, Project Wadi Attir

Menachem Ofir studied practical architectural engineering and has been active professionally for over 25 years. He joined the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP) Department, and the Department of Man in the Desert (MID) in 1999 and has been coordinating the technical and statutory processes of projects planned and designed by DAUP.

Michal Barak
Green Building Team, Project Wadi Attir

Michal Barak studied practical architectural engineering (Beer Sheva College of Technology) and has been a member of the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP) Department, and the Department of Man in the Desert (MID) since 1987. She has contributed to all design pilot and experimental projects of the Unit since then.

Michael Ben-Eli
Founder, The Sustainability Laboratory

Dr. Michael Ben-Eli is founder of The Sustainability Laboratory, the organization that is spearheading development of the GSF Program. As an international management consultant, Michael pioneered applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years, he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations. In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development. He is author of the widely acclaimed five core sustainability principles, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future. Dr. Ben Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on research involving advanced structural systems, and issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat
GSF Faculty, 2015

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat graduated as an agriculture engineer from the University of Costa Rica. She received an MBA in Business Administration with a focus in Agro-Marketing from the Technological Institute Costa Rica and a Ph.D. from the Universidad Latina in Economical and Entrepreneurial Sciences.Irene became part of the EARTH University team in 1992, where she worked as an Academic Program Administrator and then as the Director of Marketing for EARTH University’s Products Program. In 2000, she became a full-time faculty member in the University’s Entrepreneurial Projects Program, where she is now a director and lead coordinator. In 2001, she founded the Young Entrepreneurs Club, and shortly thereafter was selected to represent Costa Rica at the US Department of State’s Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Program. She is the recipient of the Best Investigation Prize at the VII International Entrepreneur Congress in El Salvador (2004), the Galpin Fellowship from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut (2010), and the highest prize from the Literati Network Awards for Excellence for her investigation on entrepreneurship (2011). Today, Professor Alvarado focuses her time researching environmental economics projects, sustainable value chains of agricultural products, and the promotion of entrepreneurship habits and disciplines to create a more just society.

Bernard Amadei
GSF Faculty, 2014 - 2015

Dr. Bernard Amadei is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Amadei holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering and served as Faculty Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities from 2009-2012. He is also the Founding President of Engineers Without Borders – USA, and the co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders International Network. Among other distinctions, Dr. Amadei is the 2007 co-recipient of the Heinz Award for the Environment; the recipient of the 2008 ENR Award of Excellence; an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering; and an elected Senior Knight-Ashoka Fellow. He holds three honorary doctoral degrees.

Tareq Abu Hamed

Tareq Abu Hamed holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ankara University in Turkey. He did his first post-doctorate research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where he worked in the Environmental Sciences and Energy Research Department. His second post-doctorate was at the University of Minnesota, in the Solar Energy Laboratory of the Mechanical Engineering Department. Tareq has published profusely in a wide variety of journals, and received several awards (Dan David Prize). He served as the Acting Chief Scientist, Vice Chief Scientist and The Director of Engineering Research at The Ministry of Science, Technology and Space in Israel. Tareq is currently the Academic Director and the head of the Renewable Energy Center at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and a researcher at the Dead Sea and the Arava Science Center.

Peter Dean

Peter Dean holds a BFA in Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Boston University Program in Artisanry. He has been a furniture designer/craftsman for 28 years, designing and building one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces for the residential and corporate markets. His work is held in numerous private and museum collections. Mr. Dean has completed numerous residential architectural projects as well as several product design commissions. Prior to attending RISD, Peter was an environmental science major in college. After attending RISD, Peter did two years of graduate study in Psychology and Theology at the University of Notre Dame. For the last sixteen years, Peter has worked as a Senior Critic/Teacher in the Department of Furniture Design at the Rhode Island School of Design where he has taught the Sophomore Studio Curriculum, the Senior Degree Project/Thesis, and Sustainability: Green Materials and Green Behavior, exploring the designer’s responsibility to this important issue. Immersed in the Strategic Planning process for RISD over the past three years and working with a few colleagues, Peter has developed a curriculum on sustainability for the whole school. This is in the form of a concentration entitled, ‘Nature/Culture/Sustainability’ and was inaugurated in the fall of 2012. Peter has designed and will teach the core course for this concentration. Peter has also developed an R. Buckminster Fuller Biennial Design Science Symposium in collaboration with the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at RISD and The Synergetics Collaborative. Mr. Dean is also a board Member of The Marion Institute. This is a charitable organization devoted to making positive and lasting change in the world. Peter has been instrumental in developing the Sustainability Education Initiative as well as the Las Gaviotas Carbon Offset Initiative, which the UN has declared to be the model for third world rural development. So far, the team at Las Gaviotas has planted 20,000 acres of fully canopied poly-culture rainforest with another 10,000 acres to go. Peter has also worked with Las Gaviotas to market the technological innovations developed at Las Gaviotas to other third world rural areas that are contemplating development in a sustainable manner.

Mohamed Nofal
GSF Faculty, 2015

Mohamed Nofal has over 20 years of experience in the fields of Civil, Environmental and Geotechnical Engineering. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering as well as a Master’s degree in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He also received a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is currently pursuing an MBA from the University of Colorado. Mr. Nofal has worked for several A&E consulting firms on several high profile engineering projects. He is presently working with RES-Americas, an industry and world leader in renewable energy. His responsibilities include providing technical guidance and management to wind farm and solar plant projects, tower foundation design, project site grading, drainage issues, and hydrologic and hydraulic analyses. Mr. Nofal is also responsible for providing innovative solutions to complex field problems, with a focus on safety, innovation, constructability and cost-effectiveness. Mr. Nofal is interested in promoting economic development through environmental awareness and sustainable design in the areas of water resource management and energy efficiency. He lives in Broomfield, Colorado with his wife and children.

Dr. Markus Schwaninger
GSF Faculty, 2014

Dr. Markus Schwaninger is Professor of Management at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. His research is focused on the management of complex dynamic systems. His methodological emphasis is on Organization Cybernetics and System Dynamics. Research projects to date have been related to organization intelligence, model-based management, the design, transformation and learning of organizations, and to systemic issues of sustainability. Schwaninger is also a director of the World Organization of Systems and Cybernetics.

Dr. B. K. Singh
GSF Faculty, 2014

Dr. B. K. Singh is Professor of Soil Science at EARTH University. He obtained his M.Sc. in agro-chemistry from PFU, Moscow, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Soil and Water Science at The University of Florida, Gainesville. He has been working for EARTH University in Costa Rica since 1990. During this period, he has held different positions: Professor of Soil Science, EARTH University, 1990 – Present; Associate Professor in the Soil and Water Science Department at The University of Florida, 2005 – Present; and Project Coordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Project (SANREM), 1994-1999. He was principal investigator of the US Department of Energy (DOE)-funded EARTH University Foundation Biofuel Project, a multinational project on structure- based drug design for Chaga’s Disease, as well as the Lemelson Foundation-supported Hub and Spoke model to promote invention, innovation and entrepreneurship at academic institutions and rural communities. Professor Singh has been providing training and conducting international workshops in soil and plant nutrition for the past 20 years. He has developed, registered, and established an entrepreneurial base for over 20 products to improve soil and plant health, water treatment, and public sanitation. Dr. Singh is co-founder of Green Roots Consultants, a consulting firm dedicated to providing local solutions to global challenges in agriculture production, natural resource management, and human capacity enhancement. He has advised over 50 research theses in soil fertility, plant nutrition, and environmental health.

Dr. Ana Laura Dengo
GSF Assistant Faculty, 2014

Dr. Ana Laura Dengo, nutritionist, obtained her B.S. from the University of Costa Rica (UCR), and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. Ana Laura received the Pan-American Nutrition, Food Science and Technology Award (Young scientist category, USA region) in 2010 for her dissertation work focusing on obesity and arterial stiffness. She worked from 2010-2013 with the INCAP Comprehensive Center for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases as the project coordinator for a community-based intervention to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Dengo has been linked with UCR since 2010 in various projects. She was associated with the School of Nutrition and the Central American Population Center, and continues to collaborate with the National Center for Science and Food Technology (CITA), the National Institute for Health Research (INISA), and the Department of Exercise Science at UCR. Dr. Dengo started working at EARTH University in April 2013 as a research assistant for a joint project between EARTH and the American University of Beirut titled “Feasibility study for a Global Master’s Program in Health and Sustainable Development.”

Lee Frankel-Goldwater
GSF Assistant Faculty, 2014 - 2015

Lee Frankel-Goldwater is a professional environmental educator, writer, and social-good project developer, as well as a recent graduate of NYU’s Environmental Conservation Education Master’s program. Lee has also studied in Israel at the Center for Creative Ecology on Kibbutz Lotan, and at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Currently, he is leading development of the Global Action Classroom, an Earth Child Institute initiative focused on global youth environmental cooperation, and helping to create the Global Sustainability Fellows, a Sustainability Laboratory program seeking to design a new, innovative international sustainability graduate program. Lee can also be found developing mobile applications for encouraging social action, working on mixed media video design, leading peace and environmental education workshops, and doing his best to live a life in harmony with the Earth.

Jholenny Córdoba
GSF Assistant Faculty, 2014 - 2015

Jholenny Córdoba Chaves completed her undergraduate studies in Economics and Social Planning at the National University of Costa Rica, and her M.Sc. in Social Development at Universidad Libre de Costa Rica. For the last six years, Jholenny has coordinated the academic program at EARTH University’s La Flor campus. She has ample experience working with rural, marginalized, and border communities in association with various institutions that focus on training, environmental protection, and youth development, including the National Learning Institute (INA), the Ministry of the Environment, World Vision, and Fondo de Canje de Deuda Costa Rica-Canada.

Antony Castro
GSF Assistant Faculty, 2015

Antony Castro graduated from EARTH University in 2014 with a degree in Agronomic Sciences. During his studies, he traveled to the Peruvian Amazon for an internship at the Villa Carmen Biological Research Station, where he worked on the establishment of a rustic entomopathogenic laboratory and a root health diagnostic for local banana plantations. There, he also learned a technique for the production of soldier flies, whose wastes can be used for nutrient-rich compost or converted into animal feed. As a senior at EARTH University, Antony won a contest sponsored by the Development International Bank for his work with soldier fly production, which he brought to EARTH’s organic farm He now continues refining this technique in a post-graduate project at the University. As a graduating senior, Antony also won The Sustainability Prize from The Sustainability Laboratory for his graduation project: a portfolio of interventions for retrofitting his family home for sustainability. Part of this project involved the growth and sale of hydroponic lettuce from his family home, an enterprise he plans to expand with the investment of the prize money. Antony, a native Costa Rican from the area, will be preparing the groundwork with the Martina Bustos community before the arrival of GSF fellows in Costa Rica.

Michael Ben-Eli
Founder, The Sustainability Laboratory

Prior to founding The Lab, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli worked as an international management consultant, pioneering applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years, he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations. In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development. He is author of the widely acclaimed five core sustainability principles, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth to accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future. Dr. Ben Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on research involving advanced structural systems, and issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat
Sustainability Prize Coordinator

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat graduated as an agriculture engineer from the University of Costa Rica. She received an MBA in Business Administration with a focus in Agro-Marketing from the Technological Institute Costa Rica and a Ph.D. from the Universidad Latina in Economical and Entrepreneurial Sciences.Irene became part of the EARTH University team in 1992, where she worked as an Academic Program Administrator and then as the Director of Marketing for EARTH University’s Products Program. In 2000, she became a full-time faculty member in the University’s Entrepreneurial Projects Program, where she is now a director and lead coordinator. In 2001, she founded the Young Entrepreneurs Club, and shortly thereafter was selected to represent Costa Rica at the US Department of State’s Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Program. She is the recipient of the Best Investigation Prize at the VII International Entrepreneur Congress in El Salvador (2004), the Galpin Fellowship from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut (2010), and the highest prize from the Literati Network Awards for Excellence for her investigation on entrepreneurship (2011). Today, Professor Alvarado focuses her time researching environmental economics projects, sustainable value chains of agricultural products, and the promotion of entrepreneurship habits and disciplines to create a more just society.

Jane Yeomans
Sustainability Prize Coordinator

Dr. Jane Yeomans is a Professor of Research at EARTH University. She obtained her M.Sc. in soil microbiology from the University of Guelph in Canada and her Ph.D. in soil microbiology and biochemistry from Iowa State University in the United States. She has been working at EARTH University since 1998. During this time she has taught courses in Physics, Integrated Waste Management, and Environment and Sustainable Food Systems, an interactive, online, video conferencing course with seven other universities on four continents. She also coordinates the senior thesis project course and proposal writing course. She has been the principal investigator for numerous projects including “Development of an Integrated Waste Management Plan for Ordinary Solid Waste in Rural Communities in Latin America” and “Sustainable Agricultural Practices in Citrus Production in Los Chiles, Costa Rica.”

Ben Bosker
Lab Intern, 2009

Ben Bokser, a New York City native, is The Sustainability Laboratory’s first summer intern. He is a 2009 graduate of Yale University with a degree in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. Much of his college work related to issues of poverty reduction and the environment from the wide perspective provided by his interdisciplinary major. His thesis researched ethical restaurant certification in Israel. Following the fall 2008 semester spent volunteering and studying in Nepal, Ben has also developed an interest in sustainable agriculture, the focus of The Sustainability Laboratory’s Project Wadi Attir. Ben will be developing this interest in a hands-on way in fall 2009 in an apprenticeship program in an ecological farm in Israel.

Tashi Dorji
Lab Intern, 2010

Tashi Dorji, a native of Bhutan, graduated with a Masters degree in International Affairs in December 2009 from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan as a protocol officer before coming to Columbia University with a scholarship from Elysium Foundation in Switzerland. Inspired by the philosophy of Gross National Happiness, initiated by His Majesty the fourth king of Bhutan, where happiness of people is made the guiding goal for development in his country, and also by the work of Dr. Michael Ben Eli and The Sustainability Laboratory, Tashi decided to intern for The Lab, upon his return to Bhutan. He will be working on how the five domains of the sustainability framework can be implemented in the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan where sustainability of its environment and culture is given a high priority. UPDATE: Tashi is now a National Council Member representing Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag in Bhutan. He continues to work with Dr. Ben-Eli on the development of an Alpine Center for Sustainability in Bhutan.

Lee Frankel-Goldwater
Director of Education Technology, The Sustainability Laboratory

Lee Frankel-Goldwater is a professional environmental educator, writer, and social-good project developer, as well as a recent graduate of NYU’s Environmental Conservation Education Master’s program. Lee has also studied in Israel at the Center for Creative Ecology on Kibbutz Lotan, and at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Currently, he is leading development of the Global Action Classroom, an Earth Child Institute initiative focused on global youth environmental cooperation, and helping to create the Global Sustainability Fellows, a Sustainability Laboratory program seeking to design a new, innovative international sustainability graduate program. Lee can also be found developing mobile applications for encouraging social action, working on mixed media video design, leading peace and environmental education workshops, and doing his best to live a life in harmony with the Earth.

Yones Nabari
Project Manager, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir

Yones Nabari is a founding member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative and serves as Project Manager. He comes from a lineage of traditional herders spanning many generations and relocated to the village of Hura over 15 years ago. Yones, an innate entrepreneur, completed an intensive course in organic agriculture through the Ministry of Agriculture and is completing his degree in Public Management at the University of Ben Gurion of the Negev.

Grace Kaya
Lab Intern, 2011

As a multi-sensory improvisational artist, with over 16 years of performing andteaching experience, Grace Kaya is the founder of blesSINGS & abunDANCE; a multi-disciplinary company which focuses on creating authentic, unique and soulful art, workshops and performances for students of all ages. After spending some time at the German eco-village Sieben Linden, she was inspired to expand her interest in the sustainability movement. Recognizing the undeniable connection between one’s inner world and outer world, Grace Kaya offers modes of teaching greater awareness, responsibility and commitment to living well with the earth using innovative, engaging, and creative facilitation styles. She recently completed the Gaia Eco-Design Training of Trainers program at Findhorn, Scotland’s renowned eco-village and education center, and wrote an essay that related her experience there to the Lab’s Five Core Principles of Sustainability. Working with The Sustainability Laboratory, she will develop a dance expression of the Five Core Principles for young children.

Lisa Lee Benjamin
Lab Intern, 2012

As Principal of EvoCatalyst, an environmental design and consulting firm based in San Francisco, Lisa Lee Benjamin is profoundly dedicated to altering the way we live and transforming passion into action. Lisa has led and consulted on a range of projects from California to Kenya. Her clients range from city dwellers and local ranchers to NGOs and companies like Whole Foods. With each project, she endeavors to combine art, ecology, and agriculture in ways that can be easily implemented and that seamlessly integrate humans, their structures and their environment. At The Lab, Lisa will be developing curriculum for young students based on Michael Ben-Eli’s Sustainability Principles.

Ellen Goettsch
Lab Intern, 2013

Ellen Goettsch is a graduate of Iowa State with a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering. During her time at Iowa State, Ellen designed and built a grain grinder, and upon completion, she went to Mali, Africa to monitor the implementation of the tool. Ellen is currently pursuing her Masters in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. At UC Boulder, Ellen is a part of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, and has spent the last year working on an energy behavioral change communication plan. During her internship, she will be developing a framework for a long-term evaluation plan for Project Wadi Attir in conjunction with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.

Yam Aisner
Lab Intern, 2014

Yam Aisner graduated with high honors from Tel-Hai College in Israel in the Film and Television Department. He now works as a permaculture design teacher. After attending and documenting the Global Sustainability Fellows Program, and visiting and photographing Project Wadi Attir, Yam began integrating permaculture and system dynamics methodologies while working for Punta Mona, a world class education center focused on permaculture and herbal studies. There, he is developing a number of sustainability initiatives, inspired by The Lab’s unique approach. As a permaculture designer and filmmaker, Yam’s dream is to contribute to the evolution of a better society through education, research, documentation, development and implementation of sustainability concepts.

Antony Castro Rivera
Lab Intern, 2015

Antony Castro graduated from EARTH University in 2014 with a degree in Agronomic Sciences. During his studies, he traveled to the Peruvian Amazon for an internship at the Villa Carmen Biological Research Station, where he worked on the establishment of a rustic entomopathogenic laboratory and a root health diagnostic for local banana plantations. There, he also learned a technique for the production of soldier flies, whose wastes can be used for nutrient-rich compost or converted into animal feed. As a senior at EARTH University, Antony won a contest sponsored by the Development International Bank for his work with soldier fly production, which he brought to EARTH’s organic farm He now continues refining this technique in a post-graduate project at the University. As a graduating senior, Antony also won The Sustainability Prize from The Sustainability Laboratory for his graduation project: a portfolio of interventions for retrofitting his family home for sustainability. Part of this project involved the growth and sale of hydroponic lettuce from his family home, an enterprise he plans to expand with the investment of the prize money. Antony, a native Costa Rican from the area, and former Sustainability Prizewinner, will be preparing the groundwork with the Martina Bustos community before the arrival of GSF fellows in Costa Rica.

Meet the Advisory Board

Bruce Schearer

S. Bruce Schearer, a civic leader, former non-profit executive and expert in international development and philanthropy, has led efforts to build partnerships between government, civil society and private sector groups to address poverty, development and environmental challenges in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As President of The Synergos Institute, he co-founded the Global Philanthropists Circle, establishing it to become what Business Week described as a new model of giving that links some of the world’s wealthiest families. He has advised the United Nations Development Program, Millennium Promise, the Magis system of Jesuit educational organizations in Latin America and other groups on strategy, programs and institutional development. He has worked with Joseph Jaworski and Otto Scharmer on large-scale change processes and with Deepak Chopra and the Alliance for a New Humanity on linking inner personal change to outer change in the world. Mr. Schearer is the author of books, policy papers and articles. He is an honors graduate of Lafayette College and earned his PhD in biochemistry from Columbia University, where he was also an International Fellow at the School of International and Public Affairs. He serves as a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gabriela Sperl

Gabriela Sperl, Ph.D, producer, author, historian, is member of the Hochschulrat at the Munich Film School and serves on the advisory Board of the Munich Research center for Ethics, at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, headed by Prof. Julian Nida-Rümelin. Gabriela believes that compelling and entertaining films about history, social and political issues can make a huge impact on people. Good stories well told, can open eyes and hearts and ultimately make a difference – they can create awareness, help us see the world differently, and make it a better place. Gabriela studied History, Political Science and Languages (BA and MA) and obtained her doctorate under Professor Thomas Nipperdey, a renowned German historian. She was lecturer and assistant professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich at the age of 25. In 1982, she gave up her university career and started to work freelance for production companies and TV stations, as a dramatic advisor and script consultant. She was one of the teachers of the Berliner Drehbuchwerkstatt (School for Screenwriting), gave lectures at the Berlin Film School DFFB, and has been teaching at the Munich Drehbuchwerkstatt for many years. Throughout her teaching career, her aim has been to encourage young talented people to develop their own ideas and write stories that come straight from the heart and thereby influence audiences and markets. In 1998, Gabriela was appointed Head of the Drama, Fiction and Documentary Department at the Bayerischer Rundfunk/ARD, where she worked until 2002. During that time she was responsible for many award-winning theatrical and TV productions, most of which centered on socio-political issues. In January 2003, Gabriela Sperl left the Bayerischer Rund-funk/ARD in order to concentrate her energies on writing and producing. Together with teamWorx she produced, among other films, the award-winning historical event film “Stauffenberg” (director: Jo Baier) which inspired Tom Cruise to create “Valkyrie.” In 2007 she produced and wrote the ARD event “Die Flucht” (director: Kai Wessel). This film, starring Maria Furtwängler, about the flight of millions from East Prussia at the end of WW II had 14 million viewers in Germany and Austria and was the most successful fiction production of the ARD in the last 20 years. Her productions have brought her numerous awards, including several Grimme Awards; the Goldene Kamera; the Bambi; the CIVIS Medienpreis; the Deutscher Fernsehpreis; the Baden-Badener Fernsehpreis;, the Karl-Buchrucker-Preis; the 3-Sat Zuschauerpreis; the Shanghai Festival Award; the DIVA Award; the Nymphe d’Or at the International TV Festival in Monte Carlo; and the Deutscher Filmpreis. Her Latest films address harsh global, social and human issues, and reflect the last decades of German and European history, addressing controversial and often highly emotional issues.

Mohammed Alnabari

Dr. Mohammed Alnabari has been serving as the Mayor of Hura, one of the major Bedouin townships in Israel’s Negev desert, since 2004. Mohammed earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Ben-Gurion University, and brings with him extensive experience in the private sector, following a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry with a number of international pharmaceutical patents to his name. He represents a new brand of leadership in the Bedouin community and has been instrumental in developing close working relationships with various ministries of the Israeli government, private sector and civil society, introducing innovative new approaches for improving the lives of the Bedouin community in the Negev. Mohammed is a founding member and co-chairman of Project Wadi Attir, in partnership with Dr. Michael Ben-Eli. He also serves as the chairman and founding member of Desert Stars, a nonprofit organization established to nurture a new generation of leadership within Bedouin society. He is a founding member and chairman of Alsanbel Social Enterprise for the Employment of Women, in partnership with local NGO AJEEC-NISPED and Mr. Itzik Zivan. He is married and has 6 children.

Richard Zimmerman

Richard Zimmerman is a Senior Vice President, Relationship Manager for HSBC Private Bank in New York. He works with wealthy families in the U.S. and internationally. Richard has also held senior positions in Private Wealth Management at Bessemer Trust, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan. Richard has a passionate interest in how we can utilize wealth in more conscious, sustainable and transformative ways in the world today. He has served in strategic roles for a number of organizations in the area of transformational finance, impact grant making, AIDS and child advocacy. He is a Board Director of The Capital Institute, whose mission is to explore and effect economic transition to a more just, resilient and sustainable way of living through the transformation of finance. He is on the Core Development Team for The Sustainability Laboratories and its Global Sustainability Fellows Program. He has served as a Board Advisor to Start Fund, an impact grant fund that co-funds social business initiatives globally. He is a published author of What Can I Do to Make a Difference (Penguin Books USA), a guide to issues of sustainability and individual actions to make positive change. Richard is a Columbia University M.S in Sustainability Management candidate, a Sustainable Investment Professional Certification (SIPC) program candidate, and a graduate from University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature. Richard also has a background in personal development, meditation and Yoga. He is a Consciousness Coach and is certified by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). He lives in New York City with his two teenage children.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh served as the President of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology from July 1, 2010 to July 31st, 2015. During his time as President of Masdar Institute he supported the Institute’s mandate of transforming the United Arab Emirates into a leading source of sustainable and advanced technologies, educating the human capital. Developed with the support and collaboration of MIT, the Masdar Institute is a not-for-profit, private, postgraduate research and education institute dedicated to clean energy, water, environmental and sustainable technologies.

Widely recognized for his innovative role in building global institutions and developing new models of teaching   and   research   through international   initiatives   in   education,   science   and   technology,   Dr. Moavenzadeh has a long and distinguished career at MIT. He has served as the director of the Technology and Development Program, and the Center for Technology Policy and Industrial Development.

Dr. Moavenzadeh received his master’s degree from Cornell University and his PhD from Purdue University. During his career, Moavenzadeh has conducted and supervised major research activities. He has served as a private consultant to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and various United Nations agencies including United Nations Center for Human Settlement and UNIDO. His research interests are in the areas of: “Role of Science and Technology in Socio-Economic Development.” He is the author and co-author of several books.

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat graduated as an agriculture engineer from the University of Costa Rica. She received an MBA in Business Administration with a focus in Agro-Marketing from the Technological Institute Costa Rica and a Ph.D. from the Universidad Latina in Economical and Entrepreneurial Sciences. Irene became part of the EARTH University team in 1992, where she worked as an Academic Program Administrator and then as the Director of Marketing for EARTH University’s Products Program. In 2000, she became a full-time faculty member in the University’s Entrepreneurial Projects Program, where she is now a director and lead coordinator. In 2001, she founded the Young Entrepreneurs Club, and shortly thereafter was selected to represent Costa Rica at the US Department of State’s Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Program. She is the recipient of the Best Investigation Prize at the VII International Entrepreneur Congress in El Salvador (2004), the Galpin Fellowship from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut (2010), and the highest prize from the Literati Network Awards for Excellence for her investigation on entrepreneurship (2011). Today, Professor Alvarado focuses her time researching environmental economics projects, sustainable value chains of agricultural products, and the promotion of entrepreneurship habits and disciplines to create a more just society.

Matthias Bittner

Matthias Bittner is an experienced strategic consultant and financial advisor. He was instrumental in gestation and implementation of several fundamental &strategic; moves, IPOs as well as financing and M&A transactions with leading automotive, chemical and industrial companies like VW, Daimler Trucks, Wacker, Continental as well as the 2009 Opel discussion in Germany. He has been a Senior Advisor to Morgan Stanley, a Partner at McKinsey & Comp. and a Vice President at Bain & Co. He is currently a Board Member of several automotive suppliers. Matthias Bittner holds an Economics degree (Diplom-Volkswirt) from the Mainz University and a French Baccalaureat Mathematiques.

Dr. Bernard Amadei

Dr. Bernard Amadei is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Amadei holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering and served as Faculty Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities from 2009-2012. He is also the Founding President of Engineers Without Borders – USA, and the co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders International Network. Among other distinctions, Dr. Amadei is the 2007 co-recipient of the Heinz Award for the Environment; the recipient of the 2008 ENR Award of Excellence; an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering; and an elected Senior Knight-Ashoka Fellow. He holds three honorary doctoral degrees.

Dr. Ashok Khosla

After post-graduate degrees in experimental physics from Cambridge and Harvard Universities, Dr. Ashok Khosla became Director of the Indian Government’s first Environment Office in 1972 and then Director of Infoterra at UNEP in 1976. Since 1983 he has been Chairman of Development Alternatives, a social enterprise that promotes commercially viable and environmentally friendly technologies. Dr Khosla is also Co-Chair of the UN’s International Resource Panel and of the China Council for International Environment and Development. He was President of IUCN (2008 to 2012) and Club of Rome (2005 to 2012) and is a recipient of the OBE, the UN Sasakawa Environment Prize, the Zayed Environment Prize, the WWF Duke of Edinburgh Medal, and the Schwab Foundation Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award.

Ray Anderson

Ray C. Anderson (July 28, 1934 – August 8, 2011) was founder and chairman of Interface Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and commercial fabrics. He was “known in environmental circles for his advanced and progressive stance on industrial ecology and sustainability.” Anderson died on August 8, 2011 after a 20-month battle with cancer.

Ray was a friend of the Sustainability Laboratory and served on the Lab’s Advisory Board. He was featured on Michael Ben-Eli’s TVE’s video, CEOs on Sustainability. We hope you will take a moment to read the obituary of this truly great leader, written by Paul Hawken.

Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson has over thirty years experience in economic development. He spent twenty-six years at the World Bank, starting as an energy economist and financial analyst and working through increasing levels of responsibility. He was, for his last eight years, Vice President for Sustainable Development and, for five years, he was also Chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Prior to joining the World Bank, he was an economist with the British Government and he spent five years in Bangladesh working with the United Nations and a non-government organization. Since leaving the World Bank Ian Johnson has been an advisor to the government of Chile, a member of the Swedish Commission on Climate Change, senior advisor to GLOBE and chair of its Ecosystems Services Panel, as well as consultant to a number of international organizations.  From 2010-2014, Ian Johnson served the Club of Rome as Secretary General.

Ian Johnson is married with two children.  He is an economist who has studied economics at the universities of Wales, Sussex and Harvard and business studies at Harvard.

Dr. Mariana Bozesan

Dr. Mariana Bozesan has earned an outstanding track record as an Integral Investor by de-risking early stage investments in high-tech and clean-tech using the Theta Model based on integral theory by Ken Wilber. The intl. member in the Club of Rome is also a philanthropist, a G8/G20 Advisory Board Member for the international Social Impact Investment Task Force, and a strategic advisor on integral finance and sustainability to various funds, governmental organizations, social businesses, and NGOs. Moreover, she is a prominent keynote speaker and an inspiring lecturer on the future of investing, business, finance, and economics at prestigious organizations including Stanford University, Oxford University, TEDx, and RIO+20. The trained computer scientist is also a successful serial entrepreneur, a widely published scientific writer, and the author of several books. Mariana is Founder of AQAL Capital, an integral investment consulting company and Founder of AQAL Investing (UN PRI signatory), a Family Office. As the leading authority on integral investing, the most advanced paradigm in integral sustainability, she provides the means and metrics to implement the parity between people, planet, profit, with purpose and passion. Her de-risking model integrates financial, ecological, social, cultural, behavioral, and human consciousness factors with beauty and joy. Dr. Bozesan is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance.

Meet the Board of Directors

Dr. Michael Ben-Eli

Prior to founding The Lab, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli worked as an international management consultant, pioneering applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years, he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations.

In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development. He is author of the widely acclaimed Five Core Sustainability Principles, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth to accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future.

Dr. Ben Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on research involving advanced structural systems, and issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.

Michael Gukovsky

Michael Gukovsky is a distinguished development economist with thirty years of extensive worldwide experience in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America. His experience includes development and management of projects, financing for sustainable development, public-private partnerships, the environment, community-based initiatives, conflict resolution and peace-building.

During his professional career, Michael has been involved with pre-feasibility and feasibility studies of large infrastructure projects, including some in partnership with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, the Global Infrastructure Foundation of Japan, and the Japanese Institute of Global Environmental Strategies.

Over the years, his work focused on issues related to trade, water resources, energy, transportation, inland navigation, and river basin development including hydroelectric power development. Michael served as manager of UNDP Operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, and later as Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the UNDP. He was UNDP’s lead negotiator in establishing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and co-managed it with the World Bank and UNEP in the initial operational phase. He subsequently served as the UNDP Executive Coordinator of the GEF.

From 1992-93, Michael served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Chief of Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL). His responsibilities included facilitating conflict resolution, and implementation of the social, economic, land transfer and electoral supervision of the Chapultepec Peace Accords. He was an active participant at the Rio Earth Summit and subsequently led the UNDP delegations to the first Conferences of the Parties for the Biodiversity and Climate Change conventions in the Bahamas (1994), and Berlin (1995), respectively. He was also an active participant in the preparations and the deliberations of the Johannesburg Earth Summit in 2002.

Michael holds a B.S. degree from Colorado State, and an M.S. from Yale University, and has done post-graduate work at the University of California in Berkeley. He is a member of South North Initiatives where he has served as President and is currently a member of the Board of Directors. He serves on the Board of Directors of AMEGA, and is a founding member of Sustainable Development Advisors (SDA), a firm providing consulting services in public/private partnerships, climate change, renewable energy and transportation. He has been involved with The Sustainability Laboratory since its early inception.

Manuela Roosevelt

Manuela Roosevelt has been a book publisher since the late 80s, running companies in Switzerland, the UK and now in the States. Throughout her publishing career, she has overseen the publication of over 300 illustrated non-fiction titles in the subjects of science, history, spirituality, biography, current affairs, art history, and gift titles. She has also authored eight books, which have been published in several languages. In 2013, Manuela co-founded Springwood Media, a producer of leading-edge interactive digital academic learning environments for undergraduate and graduate courses. Manuela is the Chair of the Board for the Eleanor Roosevelt Partnership at Val-Kill, spearheading landscape preservation programs as well as Eleanor Roosevelt’s legacy outreach. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, and on the Advisory Board of Sanghata Global, an Ashoka-awarded program for social impact investment in areas of need. Born in Bern and brought up in Lugano, Switzerland, Manuela obtained her B. A. in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University. She has dual Swiss and Spanish citizenship, and speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, and French fluently. She has lived in six countries, and has traveled extensively, including crossing the Sahara desert on camel with a Touareg tribe and studying the Dogon culture of Southern Mali. She currently resides in Hyde Park, New York, with her husband and two daughters.

Peter Dean

Peter Dean holds a BFA in Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Boston University Program in Artisanry. He has been a furniture designer/craftsman for 28 years, designing and building one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces for the residential and corporate markets. His work is held in numerous private and museum collections. Mr. Dean has completed numerous residential architectural projects as well as several product design commissions. Prior to attending RISD, Peter was an environmental science major in college. After attending RISD, Peter did two years of graduate study in Psychology and Theology at the University of Notre Dame. For the last sixteen years, Peter has worked as a Senior Critic/Teacher in the Department of Furniture Design at the Rhode Island School of Design where he has taught the Sophomore Studio Curriculum, the Senior Degree Project/Thesis, and Sustainability: Green Materials and Green Behavior, exploring the designer’s responsibility to this important issue. Immersed in the Strategic Planning process for RISD over the past three years and working with a few colleagues, Peter has developed a curriculum on sustainability for the whole school. This is in the form of a concentration entitled, ‘Nature/Culture/Sustainability’ and was inaugurated in the fall of 2012. Peter has designed and will teach the core course for this concentration. Peter has also developed an R. Buckminster Fuller Biennial Design Science Symposium in collaboration with the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at RISD and The Synergetics Collaborative. Mr. Dean is also a board Member of The Marion Institute. This is a charitable organization devoted to making positive and lasting change in the world. Peter has been instrumental in developing the Sustainability Education Initiative as well as the Las Gaviotas Carbon Offset Initiative, which the UN has declared to be the model for third world rural development. So far, the team at Las Gaviotas has planted 20,000 acres of fully canopied poly-culture rainforest with another 10,000 acres to go. Peter has also worked with Las Gaviotas to market the technological innovations developed at Las Gaviotas to other third world rural areas that are contemplating development in a sustainable manner.