Mio Katayama Owens, Ph. D., is the director of the International and Executive Programs (IEP). Building on the outstanding success of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, IEP functions as a mechanism for effectively linking academic and professional entities, developing non-degree professional programs in Berkeley and overseas.
by Mio Katayama Owens
Dear ELP Alumni and Friends,
This year marks both the Beahrs ELP’s 15th anniversary and its first year as member of International and Executive Programs (IEP). I am excited to join the ELP at this important junction in its history. Now more than ever, we need to prioritize global education, to connect thinkers and movers, and to inspire innovations in the face of critical changes to our natural and social environments.
The College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley has always produced groundbreaking research, but 15 years ago, ELP’s co-director David Zilberman had a realization that “many practitioners in the environmental field could benefit from the extra knowledge and skills that Berkeley has.” To meet this need, the Beahrs ELP was conceptualized and founded by David, Dick Beahrs, Robin Marsh and many other contributors. Their efforts were instrumental in nurturing the ELP from a 3-day program with 9 participants to the comprehensive, 3-week program it is today. The potential for growth was boundless, and the College decided to do more. In 2013, IEP was established to give the College more channels to extend its research to scholars, practitioners, professionals and executives.
IEP upholds the mission of the College of Natural Resources of “[serving] society by generating and disseminating knowledge in the biological, physical, and social sciences in order to provide the tools both to protect the Earth's natural resources and ensure economic and ecological sustainability for future generations” through non-degree training programs. For example, we have organized programs on climate and energy policy and spatial data science, bringing practitioners around the globe to Berkeley and engage with our experts.
We also collaborate with government agencies and companies to design programs that cater to their specific needs. In 2013 and 2015, we brought representatives from the Department of Agriculture of the Philippines to Berkeley for two courses on the intersections between climate change, agriculture and livestock. With our colleagues at UC Davis, we organized field trips and workshops to bolster the livestock industry in the Philippines. This wonderful program was only possible because of Ruth Miclat-Sonaco, one of the ELP alumni who wanted to promote sustainable agriculture within her agency.
This fall, we are hosting buyers and managers from Costco Wholesale for a program on Organic Agriculture that is designed to support informed decision making regarding sustainable food. They are learning from our experts such as Claire Kremen and David Zilberman on issues such as diversified farming systems and drought. These programs allow us to translate CNR’s expertise into action to support the health of people, environments, and economies around the world.
The Beahrs ELP joined our family of programs this year. Through this union, we have increased ability to reach more professionals on the development of specific knowledge base and skills. Your advice will be invaluable to the development of new initiatives, and I am excited to hear from you about the types of programs that would allow you to acquire new skills and explore new topics. My hope is that IEP continues to expand and deepen its collaborations, to build on past successes and come up with creative ways to disseminate knowledge. I look forward to engaging with you as we celebrate this year, and many fruitful years to come.