Paul Shrivastava named Executive Director of Future Earth

The International Council for Science (ICSU), on behalf of the Science & Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability, announced today the appointment of Paul Shrivastava as Executive Director of Future Earth.

Currently he is the David O’Brien Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, and the Director of the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Shrivastava has more than three decades of experience in management education, entrepreneurship, and working as a consultant to major multi-national corporations.

Shrivastava, a US citizen, was born in India and works in Canada and France. He will take up his post in early February 2015, based at the Montreal Global Hub of the Future Earth Secretariat. He will lead a globally distributed secretariat composed of five global hubs functioning as a single entity, located in Montreal, Paris, Tokyo, Stockholm and Boulder, Colorado. The global hubs will be complemented by a set of regional hubs for the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Prime Minister of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, will hold a press conference later today in Montreal (9:30 am EST) to announce Shrivastava’s appointment. Gordon McBean, President of the International Council for Science, and co-chair of the Science & Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability, will be present.

Shrivastava will work with Frans Berkhout, Interim Director of Future Earth, to ensure a smooth handover of functions from the Interim Secretariat based at ICSU in Paris to the new globally-distributed Executive Secretariat. Reporting to the Governing Council of Future Earth, the Executive Director will work closely with an Executive Team formed of the five Global Hub Directors, as well as the Chairs of the Science and Engagement Committees. Recruitment of the hub directors is currently underway.

Flavia Schlegel, co-chair of the Alliance and Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, said,

“We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Shrivastava, whose unique background and skillset at the intersection of academia, business and management makes him the perfect choice to achieve the step-change in ambition that Future Earth requires.”

“I am honoured by this appointment to lead the Future Earth Executive Secretariat. Future Earth is an organisation of thousands of volunteer scientists working in hundreds of locations around the world. The secretariat will strive to be the glue that holds the organisation together, by facilitating and coordinating its activities, communicating with stakeholders, enabling research, building capacity, and synthesising foresights. I look forward to joining the Future Earth team of professionals and highest calibre scientists to develop co-designed and stakeholder engaged sustainability sciences,”  Shrivastava said.

Shrivastava received his PhD in Strategic Planning and Policy from the University of Pittsburgh. He was tenured Associate Professor of Management at NYU Stern School of Business, Howard I. Scott Professor of Management at Bucknell University, and helped establish the International Research Chair in Art and Sustainable Enterprise at ICN Business School in Nancy, France. He was part of the management team that launched one of India’s largest computer companies, Hindustan Computers Ltd, and founded a non-profit organisation to mediate the crisis between Union Carbide Corporation and the Indian government during the Bhopal crisis in the 1980s. He has published 18 books and over 100 papers in academic and professional journals.

About the Alliance
The Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability is an informal international partnership which brings together members from research, funding and the international sectors that sponsor Future Earth. Currently the Alliance is acting as the Governing Council of Future Earth.

The core membership of the Alliance includes the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the IGFA/Belmont Forum, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the United Nations University (UNU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The Alliance is currently co-Chaired by UNESCO and the ICSU.

About Future Earth
Future Earth is a new 10-year global research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world. It will bring together three global environmental change programmes: the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) and DIVERSITAS, engage closely with the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and attract new research and stakeholder communities. Future Earth seeks to pioneer new approaches to international research bringing together many disciplines around a common research agenda. It will also provide an international platform for engagement to ensure that knowledge is generated in partnership with society and users of science.

About the Future Earth Executive Secretariat
The architecture of the Executive Secretariat is unique and currently encompasses five global hubs located in five different countries, connected through a dynamic, networked structure. The global hubs will be complemented by a set of regional hubs for the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The distributed model unites a diversity of perspectives, stakeholders and geographical locations. The Executive Secretariat is committed to inclusivity and to fostering the creativity and innovation required to address the challenges of global environmental change research. In this spirit it will provide coordination and enabling services to Future Earth communities of researchers, decision makers and practitioners. While distributed on 3 continents, the Secretariat will operate as a single entity under the direction of the Executive Director.


Lucie Robidoux, Co-ordinator, Future Earth Secretariat

E-Mail: Tel.: + 1 514 571 64 03

Lizzie Sayer Communications Coordinator, Future Earth Interim Secretariat

E-Mail: Tel.: +33 1 45 25 57 76