Keynote Speakers

Prof. Sarath Kotagama

Professor of Environmental Science,
Department of Zoology,
University of Colombo,
Sri Lanka

Professor Kotagama is a member of the Environmental Council, Central Environmental Authority of Sri Lanka; Chairman, Biodiversity Experts Committee; and has received Presidential Award for contribution to environment activities in 2004 , he is recipient of distinguish service award for Conservation Education from Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) in 2003. The SCB, with a membership of over 6,000 science experts in 90 countries, is the premier professional society for those seeking to conserve biological diversity and represent the highest recognition that the Society bestows upon colleagues in the struggle to study, protect, sustain, and restore that diversity.Prof. Kotagama is the third Asian and the only Sri Lankan to receive the award. India’s Anil Agrawal and a Malaysian environmentalist were the earlier two winners of this award.

Prof. Kotagama is the third Asian and the only Sri Lankan to receive the award. India’s Anil Agrawal and a Malaysian environmentalist were the earlier two winners of this award.

Prof. Kotagama has many ‘firsts’ to his credit. He founded the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL), the ‘March for Conservation’, ‘The Young Zoologists Association’, ‘The Sri Lanka Environmental Foundation’, ‘The Mihikatha Foundation’, ‘The Mihikatha Institute’ and the semi-government ‘Wild Life Trust’. Being actively involved in research on Birds and Wildlife, he has authoured several publications mostly on birds and has made outstanding national contributions. Significant among these are the National Wildlife Policy for Sri Lanka (1990) and the National Wetland Conservation Policy for Sri Lanka (1997), Strategy for the Preparation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan for Sri Lanka (1997).

He has also been the Director of Wildlife (1989-1992) and still provides expert advice to the Wildlife Sector. He is current President of the Eco-tourism Society of Sri Lanka and the President of Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka.

Hum Gurung_Ph.D_ecotourismconferences
Dr. Hum Gurung

Network & Partner Development Manager,
BirdLife International (Asia),
Tanglin International Centre,

Hum Gurung has received a Doctor of Philosophy from Griffith University, Australia and is former Chief Executive Officer of Bird Conservation Nepal (BirdLife International in Nepal). He has established the Himalayan Sustainable Future Foundation. Dr Gurung is a member of IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEEP) and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). He has been associated with the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) of the National Trust for Nature Conservation, Nepal from 1986 to 1996 as Conservation Officer, and Conservation Education and Extension Officer. He worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as National Programme Manager of the Sustainable Community Development Programme, known as Nepal Capacity 21, from 1997–2004. His research interests include participatory action research and community-based approaches for environmental education, sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity, sustainable tourism management and ecosystem services. Hum has also provided consultancy services to UNDP; the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); World Wildlife Fund (WWF); and the Australia-based Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC). He has been invited by national and international organisations as keynote speaker on the issues of environmental education, sustainable tourism, sustainable development and protected area management.

Dr Hum Gurung had been selected as the winner of the 'Australian Alumni Award for Community Service' in the 2014 Austrade Nepal Australia Alumni Excellence Awards. This award recognises alumni who have made significant contributions towards the advancement of the community through selfless service. Throughout his academic and professional career, he has shown exemplary dedication to the field of environmental conservation in Nepal.

Dr.Mike Clarke
Dr. Mike Clarke
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds,
United Kingdom.

Mike has worked the RSPB for more than 25 years, and has led the RSPB as CEO since 2010. The RSPB has a growing membership of over 1.1 million members, with nature conservation programmes across the UK and, with international partners, in over 30 countries worldwide. Mike believes that the scale of the world's environmental challenge demands collective impact for common cause. He is a Global Council member of BirdLife International, the world's largest civil society partnership for nature conservation, spanning 120 countries. Appointed as a member of the Stakeholder Group of the REFIT Platform of the European Commission (in Dec 2015) where he represents the interests of environmental NGOs in Europe in relation to the European Union’s programme of work on better regulation. The Government appointed him to the Independent Forestry Panel in 2011. He has previously served on a Ministerial committee for the promotion of tourism in National Parks. He has over 30 years’ experience of a wide spectrum of land-use issues. Prior to the RSPB, he worked for the Nature Conservancy Council in Hampshire and the Chief Scientists Team, where he contributed to the Geological Conservation Review and the National Vegetation Classification, and carried out research with the Soil Survey of England and Wales. His PhD was on the ecology of New Forest. Mike is a Patron of the access and disability charity, Birding for All.

He enjoys travel with wildlife in mind and has journeyed extensively on Europe’s railway network, as well as visiting the Americas, Africa, the Indian sub-continent (where he has family history) and SE Asia.

Ms.Felicia Wee

Professor of Environmental Science,
Programme officer and Local Empowerment and Engagement Coordinator,
BirdLife International Asia,

Felicia Wee is currently the Programme Officer and Local Empowerment and Engagement coordinator for BirdLife International in Asia. She supports the BirdLife Asia Partnership promoting BirdLife’s unique local to global approach for the benefit of nature and people. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology from Murdoch University, Australia, Felicia has 14 years of experience in the zoological parks industry where she integrates conservation and education with mainstream tourism. Undertaking a Masters in Tri Sector Collaboration focusing on the effectiveness of multi sector partnerships, she believes that change can be created through local empowerment, strategic partnerships, strong conservation science and education and engagement programmes.