Speaker Bios

Sailesh Rao

Sailesh Rao is the Executive Director of the non-profit, Climate Healers. An electrical engineer by training with a Ph.D. from Stanford University, Sailesh’s technology career includes service with AT&T Bell Labs and Intel. Moved to action to address the global climate challenge, Sailesh founded Climate Healers (www.climatehealers.org) in 2007. The goal of Climate Healers is to reforest one-sixth of the ice-free land area of the earth and heal its climate as opposed to maintain the climate precariously in an advanced state of disrepair. Among its projects, Climate Healers partners with NGOs and academia to help low-income communities reduce their wood use for cooking and help restore the Earth’s ecosystems while high-income communities in the world transition to a socioeconomic system based on mindful compassion, not mindless consumption, as an organizing value. Sailesh was selected as a Karmaveer Puraskaar Noble Laureate, an award presented by iCONGO (Indian Confederation of NGOs) whose primary mission is to encourage citizen action for social justice. Sailesh is the author of the 2011 book, “Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies,” and its 2016 sequel, “Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis.”

John Liu

John D. Liu, as an international television producer and cameraman with CBS News, RAI and ZDF covered geo-political events including the rise of China from poverty and isolation and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In the middle of the 1990’s John founded the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP) to help educate the public about environmental and ecological issues first in China and then worldwide. John has filmed, written, produced, directed and presented many films that have been seen worldwide on many ecosystems.

Following his initial work documenting China’s Loess Plateau Mr. Liu received visiting research fellowships to continue researching from a number of organizations. From 2003 – 2006 Mr. Liu was a visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of the West of England (UWE), in 2006 he was named the Rothamsted International Fellow for the Communication of Science at the Rothamsted Research Institute of the UK, From 2008 to 2012 Mr. Liu pursued graduate studies at Reading University, In 2009 Mr. Liu was an Assistant Research Professor at George Mason University, from 2010 – 2013 he was a Senior Research Fellow with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and in 2013-2014, Mr. Liu was a visiting fellow at the Critical Zone Hydrology Group, Vrije University Amsterdam.

Mr Liu currently is Director of the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP), Ecosystem Ambassador for the COMMONLAND FOUNDATION and a visiting research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (NIOO/KNAW).

John’s published works are mostly available at: https://knaw.academia.edu/JohnDLiu

Mohamed Aboufirass

Dr. Mohamed Aboufirass holds a Ph.D. from the University of California (1982) and a degree in agricultural engineering from the “Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II” (1976). Since his graduation, Dr. Aboufirass has held several positions dealing with groundwater resource management. He first served for 4 years as a hydrogeologist in the Hydraulic Department, in charge of groundwater modelling, and then as the head of the Division of Hydrogeology. In between these two positions, he prepared his Ph.D. at the University of California with a specialty in Hydrology. He then joined the UC faculty where he taught hydrology for engineers and conducted research in the area of water resource management. Presently, he is a full time consultant in water resources planning and management. Dr. Aboufirass serves also as a vice president of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), responsible for the MENA Region.

Camil Chaari

Camil Chaari is a 16-year old junior at Rabat American School, who is the founder of the E-recycling program in Rabat, Morocco.  His organization offers individuals, schools, companies and public institutions a recycling solution for electronic waste, such as computers, printers, mobile phones, ink cartridges, and batteries through the use of certified recyclers.  His program aims to reduce carbon emissions, advocate for the recycling of electronic waste, and to educate youth regarding the importance of recycling and the negative impact that electronic waste has on the environment.

E-recycling was founded in 2015 through a partnership with two local companies engaged in recycling and the refurbishment of electronic products.  Though a partnership with Revialis, a local French ISO 14001 certified company, ink cartridges are recycled into new products carrying messages such as “in my previous life I used to be a printer cartridge.”  In partnership with Al-Jisr, a local NGO, local youth technicians are trained in the refurbishment of equipment such as mobile phones and computers.  After completing their training, technicians are qualified to join the work force.  Refurbished products are donated to local schools or recycled by the mining company Managem.

Participating institutions currently include 7 schools in Rabat and Khenitra, 8 businesses, 20 embassies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

E-recycling has been recognized by the Nicolas Hulot Organization and received the COP21 label from the French Ministry of Ecology. Camil has been featured in national and international media, recognized as a UNESCO green citizen and appointed as an Ambassador for the Consciousness Summit at this year’s COP22.

Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir

Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir has been dedicated to the field of international development since 1993 when he joined the Peace Corps in Morocco. In 2000, he co-founded the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) and currently leads its operations. Yossef and the HAF team of community facilitators and agricultural specialists have built among the first successful organic value-chain in Morocco that includes planting more than 2 million fruit trees, forming cooperatives, implementing experiential training programs, establishing processing facilities, and selling certified products in the United States.

Dr. Ben-Meir was a faculty member at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (2009-10). In 2003, he was a research fellow at the American Institute of Maghrib Studies, and earlier an Associate Peace Corps Director (1998-99), managing the agriculture and environment sector. He writes on the subject of promoting human development in the Middle East and North Africa, where his articles are widely published.

Dr. Ben-Meir holds a PhD in sociology from the University of New Mexico (2009) where he also taught, an MA in international development from Clark University (1997), and a BA in economics from New York University (1991).

TED Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCtfpY12FQs

José Esteban del Corral Sánchez

José is a professional with more than 18 years of experience in the automobile and metal industries.  For the past 6 years he has worked in the solar power industry, running 11 power plants and serving as a board member of companies in Spain and South Africa. Currently he is Project Director of the Noor 3 solar power plant in Morocco. He has a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and an Executive Master’s degree from ESADE Business School and Georgetown University.

Moulay Hassan Aladlouni

After completing undergraduate studies in Marrakesh, Moulay Hassan received his MBA in Marketing from Zicklin School of Business (Baruch College, CUNY) in 1998. Following experience in the banking, IT, automotive and hospitality industries, both in the U.S. and Morocco, he served as a volunteer at Amal Center (Amal Women’s Training Center and Moroccan Restaurant) and joined its staff in 2013. Moulay Hassan currently serves as General Manager of the association’s two branches, Amal Gueliz and Amal Targa. He participated in the U.S. State Department’s Professional Fellows Program in 2015.