Keynote Speakers

Dr Geoffrey Henebry is a landscape ecologist using geospatial time-series to characterize, model, and understand diverse ecological and biogeophysical phenomena. A recurrent theme in his research is the use of remote sensing to study ecological patterns and processes, including quantitative analysis and modeling of land surface phenology and land cover land use change. Dr Henebry is a member of NASA's Land Cover Land Use Change Science Team, and Principal Investigator on the NASA project “How Environmental Change in Central Asian Highlands Impacts High Elevation Communities.” Dr Henebry has studied land dynamics in the grasslands, croplands, drylands, wetlands, and urbanizing areas of North and South America, Eastern Europe, European Russia, and Central Asia. He is Co-Director of the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence, and a Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Management at South Dakota State University.

Professor Yakov Kuzyakov has worked in various Soil and Environmental Science departments of universities and research institutes worldwide: in Germany, USA, UK, Russia and China. Professor Kuzyakov’s expertise covers soil ecology, biogeochemistry, rhizosphere processes, C and N cycling, soil degradation, land use and agroecology. He is a Highly Cited Researcher (Thomson Reuters) who has led research projects in countries such as Germany, China, Korea, Tanzania, Indonesia, Russia and Chile. Professor Kuzyakov has been and is an active member of several editorial boards, for top-ranked journals including ​​Land Degradation and Development, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, European Journal of Soil Biology, and Scientific Reports; and was awarded in 2015 the John Waid Award for Best Review Paper in ​​Soil Biology and Biochemistry, in 2016 the European Geosciences Union Outstanding Editor Award, etc. He has more than 20 Highly Cited and 4 Hot Papers. Professor Kuzyakov is Head of the Center of Modeling and Projecting Sustainable Ecosystems at RUDN University, Moscow, and has collaborated closely with various top universities and research institutes in China.

Dr Nicole Robinson is a researcher and educator in the Plant Nutrition and Ecophysiology research group at The University of Queensland, Australia. She studies natural, agricultural and silvicultural systems and how plants, microbes and soil interact. She studies nitrogen use efficiency in crops for variety improvement for production and reduction of off-site environmental impacts, organic nutrients for plant nutrition, soil microbial communities and the effects of land use change on biogeochemical cycles. A current research focus is on next-generation fertilisers that repurpose organic wastes and capitalise on biotechnology advances to tailor nutrient release for crops for a circular nutrient economy without waste and pollution.

​​Dr Kenneth Young is a geographer who specializes in the ecology of the tropical Andes and who has over a decade of field experience in countries such as Peru, Costa Rica and Ecuador. A Professor at the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr Young’s current research links biogeography to environmental conservation at local to landscape to global scales, with emphases on developing countries, tropical ecosystems, Latin America, biodiversity, climate change and landscape change. Most recently he has been splitting his geographic focus between high Andean landscapes and the tropical forests and floodplains of the western Amazon. Dr Young’s on-going projects include the impacts of glacial retreat on community livelihoods in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, and biodiversity, conservation and management in the montane forests of the eastern Andes in Peru.

Dr Fusuo Zhang is Professor of Plant Nutrition and Dean of the College of Resources and Environmental Sciences at China Agricultural University, Beijing. He is also an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and holds positions with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, and the city of Beijing. Dr Zhang’s work has focused on fundamental and applied research of ecological regulation and the integrated management of nutrient resources at the rhizosphere of plants. His research has realized high-yield and high-efficiency crop production systems for important Chinese crops, while reducing environmental pollution from agriculture. Dr Zhang has published numerous articles in international scientific journals such as Science, Nature and PNAS, and has received numerous awards including the National Science Prize of the State Council of China and the IFA International Crop Award.


Pei Shengji is a research professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, founder of Chinese ethnobotany, fellow of Linnean Society, member of IUCN-WCPA-CSVPA; former-President of International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE, 1998-2002); Division chief of Mountain Natural Resource, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development(1990-1998); Director of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences (1978-1986). Despite his retirement in 2003, Professor Pei is still active in BioCultural Diversity research, traditional botanical knowledge studies, and biocultural diversity conservation in China and Southeast Asia.


Guest of Honor

Mr. S. Ramadorai has been in public service since February 2011 having recently completed a 5 year term in the area of Skill Development. During his tenure as the Chairman of National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) his approach was to standardize the skilling effort, ensure quality and commonality of outcomes by leveraging technology and create an inclusive environment to co-operate, collaborate & co-exist. He strongly believes that empowering youth with the right skills can define the future of the country. Mr. Ramadorai is currently the Chairman of the Advisory Board at Tata STRIVE, which is the Tata Group’s CSR skill development initiative that aims to address the pressing national need of skilling youth for employment, entrepreneurship and community enterprise.

In addition to the above positions, he continues to be Chairman of AirAsia (India), Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Tata Technologies Limited. In March 2016, he retired as the Chairman of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE Limited) after having served for a period of 6 years on the board. He continues to be an Independent Director on the Boards of Hindustan Unilever Limited, Asian Paints Limited and Piramal Enterprises Limited.

Mr. Ramadorai took over as the CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in 1996 when the company’s revenues were at $ 155 million and since then led the company through some of its most exciting phases, including its going public in 2004. In October 2009, he retired as CEO, leaving a $ 6 billion global IT services company to his successor. He was then appointed as the Vice Chairman and held office until he retired in October 2014, after an association of over 4 decades with the company.

Given his keen passion to work for the social sector and community initiatives, he also serves as the Chairman on the Council of Management at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) and the Chairman of the Governing Board at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). He is also the President of the Society for Rehabilitation of Crippled Children (SRCC) – which is building a super speciality children’s hospital in Mumbai.

In recognition of Ramadorai’s commitment and dedication to the IT industry he was awarded the Padma Bhushan (India's third highest civilian honour) in January 2006. In April 2009, he was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the Indo-British economic relations. In 2016, he was also awarded The Economic Times - Lifetime Achievement Award for his glorious contribution to Tata Consultancy Services.

His academic credentials include a Bachelors degree in Physics from Delhi University (India), a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Telecommunications from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (India) and a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of California – UCLA (USA). In 1993, Ramadorai attended the Sloan School of Management’s highly acclaimed Senior Executive Development Program.
Ramadorai is a well recognized global leader and technocrat who has participated in the Indian IT journey from a mere idea in 1960’s to a mature industry today. Ramadorai captured this exciting journey in a wonderfully personalized book titled 'The TCS Story...and beyond' which was published in 2011 and remained on top of the charts for several months.
Among his many interests, Ramadorai is also passionate about photography and Indian classical music.


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