The short bios are presented in alphabetical order. This shall give speakers and fellow participants an idea about the professional backgrounds of the attendees of the forthcoming summer school.

Last update: 11.06.2018








Sewuese Gillian Ape

is an Electrical Electronic Engineer with a keen interest on energy production-related sustainability issues. She is studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Electrical Electronics specializing in renewable
energy systems at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria. Her professional background extends to resource management and her mix of technical, natural and social science skills are remarkable. In her research, Sewuese Gillian assesses the potential of renewable energies in Nigeria for sustainable renewable energy production. This takes into consideration land resource and climate impacts. Hence, her research hinges directly on SDGs 7, 13 and 15 and indirectly on SDGs 2 and 11 as she also assess the impact of land competition for bioenergy and food production on rural communities. It is her desire to contribute enormously to renewable energy production in Nigeria thus she develops her skills through such platforms as the Potsdam Summer School to acquire and exchange skills and expand collaborations and networks to make a broader outreach to people across the world.








Fazila Beknazarova

is from Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, the eastern part of Tajikistan. Made her bachelor degree at Khorog State University. Four years worked in one of the Aga Khan Development Network Agencies, Focus Humanitarian Assistance that addresses the increasing threat posed by natural disasters and climate change and works to ensure that poor people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life. In 2014 applied for the University of Tsukuba in Japan and made her Master degree in International Relations and Public Policy. After graduating from Tsukuba University she returned to Tajikistan and since 2016 has been working as Eco-DRR expert with DIPECHO project funded by the European Union and Caritas Switzerland in Tajikistan. As part of her professionalization, in 2016 she attended trainings on Innovation in Disaster Risk Reduction at Central European University in Budapest, WOCAT Workshop on Sustainable Land Management in Tajikistan and Ecosystem-based disaster Risk Reduction training at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.








Tomás Rafael Bolaño-Ortiz

Tomás graduated with a cum laude honour’s degree in Environmental and Sanitary Engineering at the University of Magdalena – Colombia in 2008. Later on he obtained his MSc degree in Environmental Technology at the University of Huelva – Spain in 2010. He has devoted his research in atmospheric sciences to the study of biogenic emissions and how they reduce the albedo of snow, i.e., snow darkening effect (SDE). Currently, he is a PhD student in Mendoza’s Regional Faculty of the National Technological University in Argentina, at the Group of Atmospheric and Environmental Studies, and his current research efforts focus on the assessment of how absorbing aerosols affect snow albedo reduction in the central Andes of Argentina and Chile.








Valentina Caccia

is a Marine Scientist specialized in Chemical Oceanography. She has several years of international working experience developing & coordinating marine projects in diverse areas of Ocean Science (marine pollution, climate change, aquaculture, marine protected areas and coral reef conservation strategies). She has worked for different sectors including academia, government, consulting companies and non-profits organization in several countries. She has done research onboard oceanographic cruises around the world focus on Climate Change (carbonate parameters). She has worked at the University of Miami & Florida International University conducting environmental studies to evaluate the pollution (metals, nutrients and water quality parameters) that affects coastal and marine ecosystems in South Florida. Actually, she’s working at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, teaching graduate courses (Marine Chemistry, Marine & Coastal Processes, and Effective Environmental Communication). She has developed marine initiatives to educate the public about the environment: Global Blue Wave: environmental campaign focused on reducing the plastic pollution produced by plastic bags. Climate Change Challenge: virtual campaign focused on education and increasing awareness of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification worldwide leading up to the COP 21








Chiao-Chi Chen

is currently an assistant research fellow at the Risk Society and Policy Research Center (RSPRC) at National Taiwan University, which conducts research on risk society, climate change, air quality, energy transition and other emerging risks. She is passionate about such topics as the Earth’s resources and global environmental change, and likes to learn more by delving into her research. Besides this, she enjoys travelling, arts and crafts, and painting in her spare time.She holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from National Taiwan University, as well as a Master’s of Environmental Management from the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies at Kyoto University, where she majored in Landscape Ecology and Planning.

Her current research projects focus on risk governance of climate change induced disasters, and local governance of energy transition in Taiwan. Both of these subjects involve climate change issues, risk management, land use planning and stakeholder engagement efforts.








Cansu Demir

is an Environmental Engineer, holding a master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Systems from the University of Edinburgh. She has a strong interest in natural capital approaches, renewable energy, and natural resource management with links to poverty and environment within the framework of Sustainable Development Goals. Currently, working at the joint UN Environment – UNDP Poverty and Environment Initiative as an international consultant, based in the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub. Prior to joining UNDP, she has involved in a wide range of research projects with a particular focus on energy efficiency governance, air pollution and water pollution. Some of her studies were published by academic journals. She is eager to learn from others and willing to contribute to the sustainable development debate through her research.








Bernard Fosu Frimpong

A Ghanaian who studied Forest Resource Technology and Environmental Science for Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees respectively from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Currently, I am studying for a PhD in Environmental Resource Management at the Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus. My work is entitled ‘Analysis of the effects of urbanisation on the climate of the Accra and Kumasi metropolises in Ghana’. I cannot wait to meet other participants in September.








Victor Garcia

I am a 42 years old Visiting Researcher at Potsdam University and Adjunct Researcher at National Science and Technology Council (CONICET, Argentina). Before, I acted as Adjunct Professor in Geology at Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE, Brazil) and National University of Río Negro (UNRN, Argentina). My research is multi-disciplinary, spanning in the fields of Structural Geology, Tectonic Geomorphology and Analogue and Numerical Modeling. During my PhD I developed an original numerical platform to simulate the interactions between growing folds and surface processes. After my PhD I have focused on the study and characterization of potential seismogenic sources in the Central Andes of Argentina by conducting: field studies of morphostructures involving quaternary deformation, balanced structural cross sections to obtain reliable uplift and shortening rates, dating of recently exhumed basement rocks (AHe), deformed quaternary deposits (OSL, AMS 14C) and surfaces (CRN), and paleo-seismological analysis of active faults along natural trenches. I integrate these datasets with regional observations for better estimate the potential seismic hazard related with these structures and to qualitatively reconstruct the evolution of the Andean landscape during the last 10 Ma with focus on the Quaternary.

I am particularly interested in model the landscape response to contractional tectonics and climatic variability in active subduction-related orogens (e.g. the Andes) at several spatial and temporal scales.








Gülden Atkin Gençoğlu

I hold BS and MSc in Biology with specialization in ecology and conservation biology. Beside my academic profession, I have significant experience of project development and management in the fields of nature conservation, protected areas management (e.g. wetlands, marine and coastal areas), climate change adaptation, organic agriculture, resource efficiency, capacity development and environmental education with national and local governmental bodies, NGOs, universities, private sector, local communities and international agencies.

I started my early career working at one of the leading national NGO on nature conservation in which I had a chance to gain experience and get specialized in nature conservation, protection of biological diversity and protected areas management with engagement of wide range of stakeholders. Recently, I worked at UNDP for seven years under Environment and Climate Change and Inclusive Sustainable Development portfolios which enabled me combining environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. I took a responsibility of being a development expert and I performed leading and technical roles in several initiatives during my work at UNDP.

My professional interests cover biological diversity and ecosystem services, social-ecological approach and recently natural history illustration. My ambition is to contribute to increasing awareness of the interdependence of ecosystems and people, valuation studies of ecosystem services by social-ecological approach and incorporating ecosystem services into policy and management. I continuously empower my professional background and enhance my knowledge and capacity through literature review, membership of international professional bodies and online certification programmes.

My motto is “nature is everywhere, just look to see, remember being a part of it and reconnect with it”. For further details








Bigya Gyawali

is from Nepal. She is working as a field project officer at IUCN Nepal where she is currently coordinating to implement ABS- GEF project at site level in Kaski, Nepal. She has been working in the sector of conservation since early 2013. She graduated as a masters in environmental science from Khwopa College, TU, Nepal.








Olgert Jaupaj

was graduated from faculty of Geology and Minning at Politechnic University of Tirana in geoinformatic as bachelor degree (2008) and a master degree in Engineering geology (2010). In 2012 he finished a specialization for the “Assessment & Management of Geological and Climate Related Risk CERG-C at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He has been running the Albanian Geological Survey since June 2011 and is a member of the Landslide Response Team. Since Febryary 2014 he is the head of geoinformation section in Albanian Geological Survey an he is currently involved in the projects “Landslide Inventory Map” and “Landslide Susceptibility Map of Albania ” as member of the above projects he work as geologist expert for the geological risk evaluation and their assessment by using the GIS technology.








Phan Thi Loan

I am Phan Thi Loan and I come from Vietnam the country has been facing with many challenges such as climate change, overpopulation, pollution, unreasonable management of land and other natural resources. By participating in this program I would like to learn the knowledge from neighboring countries as well as other developed countries to contribute to the improvement of the living standard and the environment quality of my area. I also have a lot of stories, projects and solutions to share as well as many questions have not been solved to consult experts at the Postdam summer school. After graduating from Hanoi National University of Education, Vietnam in 2014, I did my Master program in Taiwan with the research about climate change and gender equality in Vietnam. After getting my Master of Arts in Taiwan, I worked at the Centre for Research and Promotion of Education for Sustainable Development, Hanoi National University of Education as a project assistant. I was a member of Vietnam research team in the project of International Social Science Council (ISSC) collaborating with 8 other countries for transforming to sustainability in the time of climate change. My main task was to research contextual situations of the Mekong River Delta, define germ cells for transformative learning activities as well as design research’s tools. Currently, I am doing my PhD research at National Taiwan University with the research being relevant to climate change perception of grassroots from cultural and historical aspects. In the process of studying and working, I am always aware of equipping more multidisciplinary knowledge related to human and environment interactions. At the same time, I also want to build up and expand the network with scholars, professionals, and people with the same interests and yearning to solve the current problems of the „hot, flat and crowded“ world.“








Berit Mohr

My name is Berit Mohr and I am 25 years old. I was born in Hamburg but grew up within the Danish minority in Flensburg. Due to my early introduction to a multicultural environment, I have been wanting to explore the world and obtained my Bachelor of Science in Geology and Environmental Science in New Zealand. Being located on a tectonic plate, New Zealand provides various opportunities to see different environments varying from big sharp limestone cliffs to volcanoes. I have learnt to appreciate and wanting to take care of the environment so that the human society can benefit from it continuously and enjoy the natural wonders of the world. I am ambitious to learn more and study from all perspectives.
Since January 2018, I have started my Masters’ in Geographic Information Systems with Lund University in Sweden via distance. The possibility to study via distance has enabled me to complete an internship with the intergovernmental organisation Mekong River Commission, based in Laos, which is concerned about the sustainable use of the Mekong River, which is also referred to as the “Amazon of Southeast Asia”. Here, I have been actively involved in the development of a management strategy for prioritised environmental assets, in addition to a project-based action plan on the sustainable use of fisheries development and management. As well as working in Lao PDR, my life here has shown me the gaps of education that the communities are missing and I wish to spread the principles of the sustainable development goals, which are so important to ensure the livelihoods of ALL people in this world.








Ehsan Pashanejad

I studied Geography and spatial planning at the Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran. I am currently working in the Management and Planning Organization (MPO) of East-Azerbijan province in Iran as a spatial planner and collaboration with Apadana Development Planners (Beta in Persian) consulting engineers. I earned my bachelor in Geography and Urban Planning from the University of Tabriz. Working in the field of sustainability land management with multidisciplinary approach is one of my research passion. Part of my academic experiences during the last years relays on the relationship between ecosystem changes and human structures. In the pragmatic work experience I have been working on the territorial management and strategic spatial plans with central focus of regional spatial structure stimulates. Analyzing land cover changes and human settlement spatial structure patterns from planning point of view is another subject that interest me.

Given my intense research experience on diverse and interdisciplinary areas of geography and planning, I have developed a deep passion towards further exploring the filed with a special interest in investigating the relationship between natural and human systems under the umbrella of sustainability paradigm. It is my belief that, studying and being in Potsdam which is known as a city of scientific excellence and university town will be a great opportunity to develop international level skills in the best possible way. I would be fortunate to experience this program in Germany, which is a pioneer country in the implementing green policies and sustainable development. I enjoy with walking on the historical places, mountain climbing and watching documentaries.








Claudia Santos

is a PhD candidate in Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies at the University of Lisbon. Her main interests are in climate impacts on human migration, adaptation and conflict. She holds an MSc from the University College London in Forensic Archaeological Science and has previously worked in the investigation of airplane crashes. She has been engaged in disaster response with humanitarian organisations specialised in shelter.








Oliver Gerald Schrot

My name is Oliver, 25 years old, and I am an early-career sustainability scientist from Austria. I am enrolled as a PhD-student in Geography at the University of Innsbruck and I am a member of the working group Education and Communication for Sustainable Development.

More specific, I work as a research project associate on a transdisciplinary project with young people called Generation F3 – Fit for Future, which is about climate change adaptation in the Tyrolean Alps. In my dissertation project, entitled Can research on climate change adaptation contribute to sustainable transformation of society? – Taking the path from impact and adaptation policy assessment toward second-order science I introduce the principles of second-order science to evaluate my very own and contemporary research on climate change adaptation. Taking a self-evaluative perspective and scrutinizing the general role of traditional (first-order) science in society and its exchange with decision makers on sustainability issues is an inevitable reaction to the apparent lag of climate policy. This approach combines the concepts of societal transformation and responsible science.

Concerning my academic background, I am holding a double degree Master of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna BOKU. I was very lucky to write my master thesis about winter tourism and high-emission regional climate change in West Greenland and I am highly trained in interdisciplinary working.

Apart from academia, I love reading literature, enjoy sports and I am eager meeting committed people.

From the Potsdam Summer School 2018, I expect a vivid exchange of ideas and many opportunities to engage with all participants.








Meera Shah

is Project Administrator for the Malabo Montpellier Panel team. She is also an Associate for Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace, where she coordinated the annual Caux Dialogue on Land and Security from 2013 to 2017 and the North Rift Dialogue on Land and Security, in Baringo, Kenya. Meera completed a Masters in Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh in 2014. Prior to her postgraduate studies, Meera was the Corporate Relations Manager at Save the Rhino International, Office Manager at E3G – Third Generation Environmentalism (a climate policy think tank in London) and a Researcher and Team Administrator at AccountAbility. Between roles, Meera has completed several internships at think tanks and conservation organisations including Environmental Law Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, Chatham House and Global Call for Climate Action. She holds and a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Warwick. Meera grew up in Kenya.








Paula Siqueira

was born in Campo Grande/Brazil and has a bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul. She has worked with many water resources and sustainability projects related to the field such as road drainage design, hydraulic modeling of water distribution systems, rainwater reuse systems and solar panels’ layout design. In 2013, she went to Canada and studied at the University of Toronto as part of a sandwich scholarship program from the Brazilian government and worked in a solar panel company for a term. Nowadays, she is currently doing her master’s Degree in Environmental Technologies at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (Brazil) and her research focuses on applying the food-energy-water nexus concept to the Cerrado, which is the second largest Brazilian biome in extension. She is looking forward to meeting fellow participants of Potsdam Summer School 2018.








Prapassorn Siriwichai (Nonie)

Prapassorn Siriwichai is a PhD student at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, in the interdisciplinary program of Environment, Development and Sustainability. She is currently working on her thesis focusing deeply on how local communities’ mechanism can preserve the “Kung Bangkrachao” green area. This place is the unique peri-urban agricultural area in the vicinity of Bangkok metropolitan that is affected by the urban sprawl and environment related problems. As the area of her interest and having a background in psychology with the ability of apprehending people’s dynamics ,she is inspired to integrate the sustainable development knowledge with human behavior studies. Therefore, her study emphasizes on understanding the human-environment relationship factors influencing the sustainable development in inclusive societies.








Naseem Sultani

pioneer biological conservationist and naturalist in Afghanistan, is a dedicated and self-motivated individual who has been working around the protected area management, environmental conservation, natural resource management, and climate change for 7 years. His great passion is to putting sustainable efforts on conserving biology and improving human resilience to climate change impacts and to protect them from climate-induced disaster risks. He assists his clients who are passionate about environment, climate change, rangeland, biodiversity, and forest management.

Before beginning his graduate school in the United States, Naseem served as Conservation Officer with WCS where he assisted the Afghan Government in establishing Band-e-Amir, the first national park of Afghanistan.

In addition to having served in all aspects of protected area management, he has been in legislative committee who amended the rangeland law of Afghanistan. He has joined climate change adaptation projects financed by Global Environment Facility and UNDP and implemented by MAIL.








Giang Tran

is from Vietnam and holds a master’s degree in Physics from the University of Warwick and a doctorate in Ocean and Earth sciences from the University of Southampton, UK. She is working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Geomar – Helmholtz centre for ocean research Kiel, Germany. Her current research is on assessing and comparing the impacts and uncertainties of different climate engineering measures. Many climate engineering methods have frequently been discussed as potential solutions to reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration or to reduce the harmful impacts of climate change. However, comparisons between these methods are difficult and often neglect the uncertainties introduced by imperfect models or our lack of understanding of the Earth system. Her work aims to provide a more comprehensive assessment by taking into account the different sources of uncertainty in Earth system modelling.

She is interested in better understanding the many aspects of the complex Earth system and the impact of climate change or climate engineering on lives and the environment in the next decades. Beyond her academic interests, she is eager to learn more from the perspective of people working in private sectors, government agencies or NGOs in the subject of climate change.








Neetu Tyagi

is an Indian Participant. She received B.Tech degree in Computer Science & Engineering from Rajasthan Technical University (RTU), India and M.Tech degree in ALCCS from Institution of Electronics & Telecommunication Engineers (IETE), India. She has post-graduate diploma in specialization certificate in the assessment and management of geological related risk, CERG-C 2017 from University of Geneva. Currently, she is working as a Research Associate in State Climate Change Centre, Forest Department, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India and engaged in Climate modeling and knowledge portal of SCCC. The main purpose of knowledge portal for dynamic platform for resilience building by providing robust scientific evidence those departments can use to incorporate climate impacts and vulnerabilities in key policies and interventions. She has 4 years experienced in Defence Terrain Research Laboratory (DTRL), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as Junior Research Fellow (JRF) and Senior Research Fellow (SRF) post. During her tenure, she involved in many activities such as field visit, training, workshop, software development and instrumental/sensors data analysis (i.e. directly received from the landslide site to DTRL server room).








Gisleine Cunha Zeri

is a fellow researcher at the Center for Earth System Science (CCST) working on the Nitrogen Human Environment Network (Nnet) project, and a PhD candidate in Earth System Science at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), in Brazil. She is interested in socioeconomic and political impacts of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agriculture and their implications on sustainable development, public policy, and food security in Latin American countries. Before joining the CCST, Gisleine worked in a number of organizations. Among them are National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN, Brazil), the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (Germany), and the Center for Weather Forecast and Climate Studies (CPTEC, Brazil). Other research interests are adaptation for climate change, risk communication, disaster risk reduction, and scientific communication.








Shuping Zhang

I am Shuping. I am from China. Currently, I am a PhD student based in the remote sensing section of GFZ (German Research Centre for Geosciences). I am in the final stage of my PhD. The topic of my PhD is about the spatial and temporal variation of the surface water storage in NE Brazil. My study aimed to find the most effective methods to derive the precise surface water storage on spatial and temporal scale, study the water consumption pattern, fill the data gap and support the efficient water management, and provide input for hydrological modelling in the region. For this, I have used a large amount of remote sensing image acquired by satellite sensors like Landsat, TerraSAR-X and Tandem-X. For my study, I have used time series analysis, spatial analysis, machine learning etc. I am interested in studies on the implement and expand my methods, skills and knowledge to better serve the water management and relevant social and scientific activities in hydrologically vulnerable places.