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Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership Conservation Leadership Alumni Network Issue 6, April 2018

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Conservation Leadership Alumni Network newsletter. Since the last newsletter we’ve had many successes, the most notable is that there is to be no cost extension to the original donor grant from the MAVA foundation, allowing the course to continue for at least another five years. This means we can really focus on delivering the very best course to the very best future conservation leaders. If this wasn’t enough we received our best-ever feedback from the 2016-17 cohort and we’ve doubled the number of applicants to the course, we’re excited to demonstrate the quality and necessity of the course with these positive results.

University of Cambridge


The professional mentoring system is now embedded into the formal course programme. This sees students paired with senior leaders from the Cambridge conservation community. Students have a number of face-to-face meetings with their mentor during the year, which gives them the chance to get personalised advice and support. Finally, this course is now recognised as including the most internationally diverse cohort of students of any Cambridge degree. This is clear from our global alumni map online, do check it out and update your profile, more can be found on alumni focussed spread on pages 4-5 of this newsletter. I look forward to seeing you all in August at our alumni event, Dr Chris Sandbrook, Director of the Masters in Conservation Leadership

Save the date As most of you will know we plan to host our first alumni event in August – September this year. The primary focus of this is to celebrate the excellent success of this course, however we’re also using this as an opportunity to strengthen inter-cohort connections and upgrade our network. In order to make the most of having you all gathered back in Cambridge we have recently appointed an Alumni and Communications Coordinator, Shelley Bolderson, who is looking for ways to facilitate the network and continue to support you in your life after Cambridge. If you have ideas of what you’d like to see from us then please get in touch with Shelley at:

Spotlight on Dr Elia Apostolopoulou

University of Cambridge

Dr Elia Apostolopoulou joined the course team as Lecturer in Environment, Economy and Innovation.

Dr Elia Apostolopoulou

Dr Apostolopoulou’s main research interest is the investigation of nature-society relationship in capitalism with a particular emphasis on the political ecology of nature conservation and urban political ecology. Her current research is mainly guided by radical geographical research on the neoliberalisation of nature and neoliberal conservation, on the historical-geographic conception of neoliberalism, on uneven development and the capitalist production of nature and space, as well as by Marxist political economy and especially the Marxian theory of value and rent.

Dr Apostolopoulou brings with her a newly refreshed module on Innovation for Conservation Leadership which includes: • •

Taught sessions on innovation theory, led by Dr Apostolopoulou, coupled with practical case studies of conservation innovation led by practitioners. A group consultancy project with conservation organisation to address a particular innovation challenge they face.

With innovation being increasingly recognised as the way to get real results, we hope that this module will give students the skills they need to tackle future challenges creatively and collaboratively.


“I am excited to bring my knowledge and expertise to this course to strengthen students understanding of the complexities and opportunities presented by innovation.”

Issue 6, April 2018


Alumni at a global glance Mike Rands - Colombia

“The masters at Cambridge helped me to consolidate concepts and tools to start a conservation project from zero and to make it grow with networks and alliances, communications, and local people. Furthermore, it helped me to see how conservation is understood globally, and the different interests and needs within developed and developing countries.”

The first purpose in my mind since I returned home in January 2018 is to offer young professionals from my region the opportunity to learn some of the practical tools and global understanding of nature conservation projects that I now have. This could encourage young professionals to create their own conservation projects and to lead them. This is fundamental in Colombian society, where jobs are scarce and nature is daily threatened by a brutal and unsustainable development. I am therefore currently meeting two of the main universities in my city, one public and one private. Their interest in this course is clear and I have already started to design it. Hopefully, I will be able to offer it to last year students and professionals once everything is set.

Shriti Barot - Ghana

“Joining the course was a master stroke in my career. Not only did the course deepen my understanding of the complex issues conservationists are faced with, but also provided me with the right skill sets, motivation and broad network I require to succeed. I am now stand readier, better equipped and poised to confront my cfuture. I am grateful to the Joe Bloggs scholarship for making this possible.”


Before I joined the Conservation Leadership course, my conservation work only focused on amphibians and reptiles. The months following the completion of the course have been very reflective, processing all the varying dimensions of conservation I was exposed to during the course, in order to better decide on my conservation future. Subsequently, I have collaborated with other colleagues to form and register a conservation NGO that is more inclusive, and use holistic approaches to tackle conservation and development in Ghana and West Africa (see

We’d like to populate our global alumni map with stories. Please visit the map to update your profile:

Issue 6, April 2018

Elizabeth Allen – Sudan From November 2017, I have been working at the Sudanese Environment Conservation Society on a project on marine protected areas. The project includes working with local communities, governmental bodies and tourism companies. I am also working on developing and implementing an environmental culture centre that is established by a group of environmentalists for the remembrance of the late XXXX, my father. Through these activities I have had a great chance to apply the skills and knowledge I gained from the course particularly from conservation communication and management modules. Currently, I am working on a personal initiative that aims to bridge the gap “My time at on the Conservation Leadership Course gave me the between science and policy/ focus I needed to develop a practice in Sudan. I first started strategy for working at the thinking on this when I was in interface of policy and practice in Cambridge and we were asked Sudan. I now hope to work with to analyse the relationship academia, government and between science and practitioners to bring my new practice in conservation. initiative to reality”

Toby Smith - India At the beginning of this year, I set up a conservation enterprise I’m calling Technology for Wildlife (TfW), through which I hope to help individuals and organisations working for wildlife and environmental conservation understand, access and deploy modern technology. I intend to work in four verticals; I’m starting out with spatial intelligence and robotic systems, but plan to build capacity in the domains of artificial intelligence and augmented/virtual reality in the days to come. I’m also applying for funding that will allow TfW itself to be more sustainable. All in all, it’s been an exciting time so far; whenever I’m uncertain about the future, I can rely on my MPhil cohort for support and positive criticism. I can’t imagine having access to a better group of experts, who I can also count as my friends.

“While I’ve always been interested in both conservation and technology, it was the MPhil in Conservation Leadership that allowed me to identify how the two could be tied together. The fact that conservationists can and should collaborate with professionals from other fields is something that I may have been vaguely aware was important before the course, but its importance was really driven home during my time on the programme.”


Online courses and resources As part of our ever-expanding portfolio, we are integrating the very best online courses to give you access to the latest research and information. All of the resources can be found on our new resources page:

Resources include: Innovation for Conservation Leadership online seminar: this condensed seminar aims to provide future conservation leaders with skills to manage, innovate and be entrepreneurial. Introduction to social media: in an age of digital noise, this webinar gives you the tips you need to climb above it on social media platforms to effectively communicate your message. TESSA Version 2.0: a revised version of the interactive Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) was launched online at the end of 2017. If there are courses not offered here that you feel would be useful, please get in touch.

Tell us what you think We’re in the process of reviewing our alumni infrastructure and communications. In order to give you exactly what you need we’d love to hear what you think. Please visit the former students tab on our website and complete the short SurveyMonkey questionnaire by the 30th June: conservation/formerstudents

CLAN April SBolderson  

Conservation Leadership Alumni Network newsletter, April 2018

CLAN April SBolderson  

Conservation Leadership Alumni Network newsletter, April 2018