Meet the Board of Directors
Dr. Michael Ben-EliPrior 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 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.