SPEAKER PROFILES

Director, Environment and Development Division
United Nations for Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Accomplished expert on environment and sustainable development, Stefanos Fotiou provides strategic guidance for the planning and implementation of the UNESCAP work on Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Climate Change, and Sustainable Urban Development.

UNESCAP promotes inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific region, with priority accorded to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

As the Director of the Environment and Development Division, Stefanos coordinates UNESCAP’s overall approach towards supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Prior to this Stefanos worked for 10 years in UN Environment in various roles in the Economy Division and in the Asia-Pacific office. He has served as Head of the “Cities and Lifestyles” Unit, Senior Asia-Pacific Coordinator on Resource Efficiency and also Manager of the “Sustainable Tourism” programme.

Stefanos joined the UN system bringing with him 13 years of experience, including four years as Managing Director of a development consultancy; two years as head of the “Sustainable Development” section of the Greek Nature Conservation Centre; three years supporting the establishment of the EU Natura-2000 network and four years in academia as research associate.

Throughout his career, Stefanos has led in international forums, conceptualized and led the development of regional and national strategies on environment and sustainable development. His work has been widely published and referenced.

His experience will broaden your understanding on the essential skills needed to advance a greener, more sustainable planet – namely, environment and natural resource economics, policy implementation, strategic planning, change management and fund raising.

Broadcaster, Writer and Storyteller, Stories and Science, Denmark

For all that’s ever been said about climate change, you haven’t heard nearly enough about the psychological impact of living in an ecological crisis world.

The planetary health crisis, the intersection of the health of our planet and the health of people, is the core of the work of writer and broadcaster, Britt Wray.

Weighing on the impact of climate change, Britt evokes in you the why for our actions and policies to reflect an understanding of how our changing environments threaten our mental, social, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Britt is a 2019 TED Resident, a 2019 Logan Nonfiction Fellow, and a 2020 Mesa Refuge Writer in Residence. She is also a TED speaker on “How Climate Change affects your mental health”.

Researching on the intersection between the ecological crisis and mental health, Britt is the author of Generation Dread: Using Eco-Anxiety and Grief to Build A Better Planetary and Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics and Risks of De-Extinction.

She has produced documentaries for BBC Radio 4, CBC Radio 1, and WNYC and also a contributing host on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s National Science TV show The Nature of Things, and co-host of the BBC podcast Tomorrow’s World.

Her story will teach you why mental health is an integral part of any climate change survival strategy.

Climate Activist and Designer, New York

We should all be activists in the service of the things that matter deeply to us.

As a child of two nerdy anti-war environmentalists, Christian Fleming was a curious troublemaker who was taught that rules were meant to be broken when the cause was principled and just. He was also taught that care for the world is a golden rule.

Christian went to art school to become an illustrator and learnt that visual composition could be applied to, not just what you see, but everything you experience – design as an action with many potential outcomes.

He became an activist and the founder of two companies. The first, The Public Society, works with partners all over the world, ranging from companies, to NGOs, to activists and movements, large and small, to design systems, campaigns, experiences, and brands centered around climate action, social equity, and the environment.

The second, SuperCollider, partners with early-stage investment firms focused on funding world-positive innovation to help their young portfolio companies harness design and to teach them how to integrate design thinking into their own processes early so the products and companies they build are more durable, intentional, and impactful.

Describing himself as a nerdy anti-war environmentalist, passionate about using design as a tool to create equity in the world, Christian’s story will inspire the climate activist in you to advance a greener, more sustainable planet.

Founder, Seven Clean Seas, Singapore

The seas and oceans are the most important on Earth. Accidental environmentalist, Tom Peacock-Nazil quit the rat race to pursue his passion for plastic free seas.

Being his mixed-race Malaysian and British, and having traveled much of south East Asia. Tom was always upset with the level of plastic pollution in the region.

After one particularly eye-opening trip to the South Andaman Sea, Tom and his wife Pamela decided to start hosting educational, coastal clean ups in Singapore, with the hope of highlighting the issue of ocean plastic pollution to the masses.

He is now championing the responsible plastic usage movement full-time at Seven Clean Seas, an ocean clean-up organization, with the goals of removing plastic pollution in the marine environment, preventing plastic from entering the natural environment and educating people about responsible plastic consumption.

Seven Clean Seas has developed a high volume, low-cost River Plastic Recovery System, employing rural waste management teams in Indonesia, and developing an innovative recycling technology.

Seven Clean Seas is also the world’s first Ocean Plastic Offsetting solution, helping responsible corporations to reduce, then offset their necessary plastic consumption, and to achieve plastic neutrality by removing plastic from the marine environment.

The ocean drives global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Tom’s work shows that careful management of our ocean is key to a sustainable future. His story will open your heart to why saving our ocean must remain a priority.

Founder and CEO, abillionVeg, Singapore

One man’s quest to grow the population of vegetarians and vegans to 1 billion, transformed into a team of sustainability warriors building an ecosystem to inspire and connect people and businesses around the world.

Being a life-long vegetarian and recent vegan, Vikas Garg makes it his mission to help vegetarians and vegans, present and future.

His bold idea to help a billion people live more sustainably, started out of his apartment in Singapore, with furry friends and a fridge full of kale.

After 15 years in finance and government, Vikas founded abillionVeg a discovery and review platform to build a movement of consumers who want to drive businesses to offer more sustainable, plant-based options.

abillionVeg is a revolutionary social media platform with a purpose. The app not only helps people find plant-based food but also makes a real difference in the availability of the plant-based food.  It advocates for restaurants and hotels to become more plant-based.

A dedicated sponsor of education and conservation initiatives around the world, Vikas received the Credit Suisse’s Global Citizenship Award, and is a Young Leader of the Milken Institute, and a Charter Member of The IndUS Entrepreneurs. 

His story will teach you on the power of mindful food choices, and building products that are good for people as well as good for the environment.

Founder & CEO, Green Is The New Black

How can you start on a greener foot and why does it matter? Stephanie Dickson is a strong believer of taking little green steps to reduce the impact on the planet.  

A leading voice on sustainability in Asia, Stephanie is a marketer and avid connector of conscious individuals and brands. She founded “Green Is The New Black”, Asia’s first conscious Festival and media platform, that uses stories and curated experiences to advocate social and behavioural changes, leading to little green steps with big impact. Her mission is to make conscious living mainstream and accessible.

Stephanie also founded WEDGE Asia, a conscious community, promoting good vibes for good people to make good choices. Through sharing ideas and collaborations, this community champions sustainability in life, business, society and the environment.

She is the host of the Live Wide-Awake podcast, which brings conversations to life at the intersections of consciousness and climate change, sustainability and spirituality.

She regularly conducts talks and workshops on sustainable living, rethinking and driving sustainability at work, inspiring ideas on actionable green steps for meaningful change and eco-anxiety.

Whether it is dressing sustainably, shopping consciously or taking small steps to live a greener life, Stephanie encourages you to take action to create a better life.

You will be inspired by her story; how she brings people together to connect, gain knowledge and lead a more sustainable life.

Director for Education and Skills
Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris

The environmental, economic, financial and social dimensions are critical to the creation of low-emission, climate-resilient, development pathways. This is a key focus of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) work in support of climate action.

Andreas Schleicher has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders around the world to improve quality and equity in education.

He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the “Theodor Heuss” prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement”.  

In his current role at the OECD, he initiated and oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international instruments that have created a global platform for policy-makers, researchers and educators across nations and cultures, to innovate and transform educational policies and practices.

The former U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, said that Schleicher “understands the global issues and challenges as well as or better than anyone I’ve met, and he tells me the truth” (The Atlantic, July 11). The former UK Secretary of State, Michael Gove, called Schleicher “the most important man in English education” – even though he is German and lives in France.

Previously the Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA), Andreas’ expertise is in Physics, Mathematics and Statistics. He holds an honorary Professorship at the University of Heidelberg.

His experience will educate you on essential skills to advance a greener, more sustainable planet, namely, creativity and critical thinking, and global competency abilities.

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