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ECIDS 2022: Food Security & Sustainability

Here you will find keynote speakers, moderators, and panelists participating in ECIDS 2022. Each speaker has a photo, a short biography, and an organization that they wish to promote or support. 


Day 1 Keynote

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Gisèle Yasmeen (she/her/elle)

Senior Fellow, UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs 
Beneficiary organization: Farm Radio International

Gisèle has been a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Asian Research – part of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs - since fall 2014.  Her expertise is on food systems in Asia, on which she has published and consulted widely since the early 1990s with both Canadian and international clients. She is also affiliated with the Margaret A. Gilliam Institute for Global Food Security at McGill University and Adjunct Professor at the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University. Until recently, Gisèle was Executive Director of Food Secure Canada – a pan-Canadian bilingual organization with policy influence for nearly three years. She is a former senior federal government executive and has advised numerous Canadian and international clients and has served on numerous boards of directors. She provides regular media commentary in English and French and has studied Spanish, Thai, Urdu and Mandarin. Gisèle has a Ph.D. from UBC, a master’s from McGill and a BA Honours from the University of Ottawa. 

Food Box

Day 2 Keynote


Amgad Zaky (he/him)

Representing Parker Street Food & Furniture Bank

Amgad officially joined the team at Parker Street Food & Furniture Bank in May of 2021. After completing his studies at the University of Waterloo in 2017, Amgad moved to Atlantic Canada to settle down and came to Halifax earlier this year. He was quickly introduced to Parker Street through networking and good friends.
Amgad has brought his knowledge and extensive international non-profit experience in Egypt, Lebanon and DR Congo to the forefront at Parker Street. He has used all of this, including his non-profit experience in Canada, to breathe new life into how Parker Street reaches out to organizations and individuals for involvement in Halifax community outreach programs and financial support.
He sees working at Parker Street as a natural progression in his career. Parker Street is a place where the act of helping others without expecting anything in return is the norm. This is a trait that is very important to him.

Sydney University
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Rajin Khan (he/him)

Rajin is currently working as a Research Assistant for the Group ATN Consulting Inc. located at the Halifax Waterfront. Prior to joining Group ATN, he completed his Master of Arts in International Development Studies (IDS) from Dalhousie University. He specializes in policy review, case study analysis, proofreading, editing, transcription and data compilation. As a graduate student of the IDS department of Dalhousie University, Rajin served in different roles including Student Assistant, Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant. He assisted in the editing and proofreading of the final production of Associate Professor

Dr. Nissim

Mannathukkaren’s 2021 book ‘Communism, Subaltern Studies and Postcolonial Theory: The Left in South India’.

Rajin holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree in International Relations from Bangladesh University of Professionals. During his final year of studies, he worked as a Content Developer for Careerki, which was funded by the USAID to work for the alleviation of youth unemployment challenges of Bangladesh. His academic and professional experience of Bangladesh has helped him bring a different perspective to the roles he has served so far.

Rajin’s Master’s thesis analyzed the development policies of the Government of Bangladesh undertaken in the last twelve years. The analysis focused on the intended consequences of the policies. For Group ATN, Rajin has been involved a diverse range of projects including projects on immigration, First Nations Communities, economic impact of a proposed mine, strategic and

business planning for academic institutions and economic development strategy of towns and municipalities.


Ümran Açıkgöz is currently a visiting graduate (PhD candidate) in International Development Studies at Saint Mary’s University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a research assistant and PhD student in Sociology at Gaziantep University, in Gaziantep, Turkey. Ümran’s MA thesis was on “Prejudices and Social Distance in the Relations Between Locals and Syrians from Point of View of Teachers in Gaziantep”. Her study interests are discrimination, otherization, identity, migration, Syrian refugees.

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Stanley Egenti is a Ph.D. student of the International Development Studies Program at Saint Mary’s University, Canada. He is a first-class graduate of Master of Development Studies at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He was a recipient of the prestigious German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship for his master’s degree. He also holds a B.Sc. in Economics (with first-class honors) from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria.

His research interest is on food security, climate change, smallholder farmers, and agricultural development projects. His Ph.D. dissertation is aimed at understanding how climate adaptation can be facilitated to reduce the negative impact of climate change on the food security of smallholder farmers.

He started his international development career in Germany where he worked as a Research Intern at the United Nations University-FLORES. At the UN, he assisted with development research for food security in Africa. He was later awarded the GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation GmbH) Returning Expert funding which enabled him to return to Nigeria to contribute to food security and poverty alleviation at Africa Projects Development Centre where he worked as Manager for Economic Research and Resource Mobilization.

Stanley is passionate about improving the living conditions of poor people in the world and looks forward to utilizing his skills to take part in the change that development organizations are making in the world.

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Rachel Matheson (she/her)
Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN).

Rachel is the Social and Gender Program Lead for Postelsia, a consulting firm that seeks to drive transformative change across global seafood supply chains through equitable, inclusive, and sustainable improvement programs. She is responsible for integrating a gender equality and social inclusion lens across all Postelsia projects. Prior to joining Postelsia, Rachel worked as a research assistant at Dalhousie University on a project investigating the social-ecological and gender dimensions of agricultural biotechnology in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rachel graduated from Dalhousie University in 2019 with a Master of Arts in International Development Studies.

Harvesting Crop Field

Bio coming soon

Development after the Undergrad

Ümran Açikgöz (she/her)

Stanley Egenti (he/him)



Issac Berry (Moderator) (he/him)

Issac is a first year Master’s student at Saint Mary’s university working under the supervision of Dr. Gavin Fridell. His interests span morality, justice and ideology. His current work focuses on ideology and the translation of moral groundings into practical implementations; specifically on institutions that focus on the eradication of poverty.

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Dr Caitriona Dowd is an Assistant Professor in Security Studies at Dublin City University’s School of Law and Government. Her research focuses on the dynamics of political violence in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on the role of conflict in humanitarian crises; starvation and hunger in war; and the use of new and emerging methodologies for violence monitoring. Her work has been published in leading international peer-reviewed journals including Terrorism and Political Violence, African Affairs, Political Geography, The Journal of Modern African Studies and Peacebuilding. Caitriona is Programme Chair of Dublin City University’s MA in International Security and Conflict Studies and MA in International Relations, and leads graduate-level teaching in international security, peacebuilding, and quantitative methods for conflict analysis. In her former role as a peace and conflict specialist in the humanitarian sector, Caitriona worked in Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Mali, Ethiopia, Central African Republic and North-East Nigeria, among other locations.

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Dr. Al Zoubi is a development economist at SMU in International Development Studies.  Her research has focused broadly on issues of gender and rural development, including issues of women’s empowerment, and its role in development. Since the war broke out in Syria in 2011, her concern has been researching ways to improve the livelihoods and food security of affected households (IDPs and refugees), especially women-headed households. She examines the host country responses through its policies and politics that reshape refugee livelihoods. Dr. Al Zoubi worked as  Gender and Forced Migration, and Middle East Politics lecturer at the University of Oxford and a visiting scholar at Glasgow university. Dr. Al Zoubi is a member of the ‘’Science in exile’’ steering committee in addition to being a member of Global Young Academy (GYA) and co- leader of GYA – At Risk scholars and TWAS Young Affiliates Network (TYAN). Saja has been working in  academics and researching with UN and NGOs overseas foundations for around 15 years. She has conducted comprehensive studies in Syria and Lebanon with results being published and considered by various prestigious journals. Dr. Al Zoubi is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships from international and regional universities and foundations.


Fisseha Tefera (he/him)

Fisseha Fantahun Tefera is a PhD candidate in Peace and Development at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. He is currently working within the research project ‘Famines as Mass Atrocities: Reconsidering Violence, Memory and Justice in Relation to Hunger’. His research interests include politics of development, transitional justice, and memory politics in Africa through a critical, Africanist approach. He has a background in Development Studies (MSc) from Lund University and in Political Science and International Relations (BA) from Addis Ababa University.

Caitriona Dowd (she/her)

Saja Al Zoubi (she/her)

Food Security & Human Security
At Work on the Farm
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Karen McAllister (she/her)

Dr. McAllister is an assistant professor in International Development Studies at Saint Mary's University. She is an anthropologist who specializes in environment and development, agrarian change, land and resource rights, Chinese foreign investment and development policy, and ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia. In addition to working as an instructor and researcher at Saint Mary's and McGill Universities, she has worked across Asia as an applied social scientist with the International Rice Research Institute (Philippines), International Development Research Centre (Ottawa), and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)


Susan Whiting (she/her)

Dr. Susan Whiting is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan where she taught since 1988. She received her PhD in Nutrition from the University of Guelph, was post-doctoral fellow at UBC, and her first academic appointment was Mount Saint Vincent University. Her research has spanned several areas, including nutrition and bone health, dietary assessment, and food security at the local and global level.  She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Osteoporosis Canada and is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.  She is Associate/Deputy Editor on several international journals, and has served on international advisory boards related to bone health, dietary supplements, and setting nutrient requirements.


Madhuparna Gupta (she/her)

Madhuparna Gupta is an Instructor at the Department of International Development Studies,
Saint Mary’s University, Canada. She received her Ph.D. in International Relations from
Jadavpur University, India, and served as Assistant Professor of Political Science for thirteen
years in Kolkata, India.

Madhuparna has authored, edited books and contributed research articles on contemporary issues in Political Science and International Relations in academic volumes and journals. Her areas of interest include: International Relations; Gender, Health and Development Studies; International Security; and Indian Foreign Policy. She has extensive research experience in Gender Studies and executed projects on ‘Gender and Political Leadership’, ‘Gender, Health and Sanitation’ and ‘Gender and Communalism’. She was invited to deliver the Keynote Speech on ‘Evaluating Human Security in the Twenty-first Century’ at the 4th International Academic Conference on Research in Social Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, December, 2021. Recently, she completed a research project titled ‘Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and Climate Change’ at the Department of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Nova Scotia.

Madhuparna has also served as the Instructor of German Language in Kolkata, India. She has translated books, songs and Government Documents from Bengali and English to German Language. She has translated ‘In Flanders Field’, the celebrated poem on the First World War by John McCrae, in Bengali and German languages. This project has received the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) Award in 2020 and has been nominated for Governor General’s Award.


Kathleen Kevany (she/her)

Kathleen Kevany is a social psychologist and specializes in individual and collective
well-being and social change. She is Canada’s leading authority on sustainable diets
and plant-rich living. As a certified Psychotherapist, she ran her own counseling
and consulting firm for 10 years called the Decentralization Intelligence Agency.
Kathleen has worked in many countries on facilitating vibrant communities and
collaborative relationships.  She is an Associate Professor with Dalhousie’s Faculty
of Agriculture. Dr. Kevany teaches and researches on well-being and sustainable
food systems, conscious consumption, and ways of living actively and playfully. 

Some fun facts about Kathleen: –
1. Over her career she has had 13 jobs
2. She has taught 12 different courses in university
3. She has published more than 40 articles and book chapters
4. Every year at DAL she has applied for research funding but has a success rate
of between 40%-45%. This may seem low but with many competitors, it is
common to have a 33% success rate. (She is open to any tips you might
provide her)
5. She is generally able to be happy 76% of the time but sometimes gives over
to too much self pity – and estimates this may be about 12% and experiences
a full range of other emotions in the other 12%-
6. She had written 7 books with the most recent coming out this fall called
The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Diets – with 55 chapters and
over 120 leading thinkers
She also is the editor of and co-author in Plant based diets for succulence
and sustainability with 14 chapters and also some of the world’s best in the
7. She has been interviewed for more than 20 interviews or news articles in the
past 7 years
8. And she is #7 in a family of 10 siblings

Food, Health, and Development

CHEP Good Foods

Zero Waste Kitchen

Yankun Li (she/they)

Yankun is a Master of Arts graduate from Saint Mary’s university. Yankun’s major research interests is in social justice issues caused in the process of urbanization and industrialization. Both Yankun’s honour’s thesis and master’s thesis discussed the unfair treatment faced by vulnerable communities, namely the urban poor, in the process of urbanization, using cases from different areas in China. Yankun is currently working alongside of Dr. Karen McAllister on the project about how the impact of Belt & Road Initiative on vulnerable communities in Southeast Asian countries has been reported differently by media in Western countries, China, and Southeast Asia.  


Tyler Braun (he/him)

Tyler Braun has been working in the development and humanitarian sector over the last eight years, including three years in Southeast Asia supporting land rights education as part of a larger food security and livelihoods initiative. Currently, Tyler works as Program Manager overseeing humanitarian and food security programming in Myanmar, Ethiopia, El Salvador, and Venezuela for Canadian Lutheran World Relief. Tyler holds a B.A. in Human Rights from Carleton University, and an M.A. from McGill University. His current position is at Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), which is one of Canada's oldest international humanitarian organizations. Established in 1946 to help people displaced by the Second World War, our operations have since expanded to include humanitarian and development projects across the world. Working with global partners, CLWR's mission is to challenge the causes and respond to the consequences of human suffering and poverty.


Kate Ervine (she/her)

Dr. Kate Ervine is an Associate Professor in the International Development Studies Program at Saint Mary's University, and a Faculty Associate with SMU's School of the Environment. Her research examines climate change mitigation, global environmental politics, the political economy of environmental policy frameworks, and climate justice. She is the author of Carbon, published with Polity Press in 2018.

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Kariuki Kirigia (he/him)

Kariuki Kirigia is a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University. He pursued his PhD in
anthropology at McGill University within the Institutional Canopy of Conservation (I-CAN)
project led by Prof. John Galaty. Prior to his doctoral studies, Kariuki completed a master’s in
sustainability science and international development at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
His past research projects have focussed on land and water governance, agribusiness,
biodiversity conservation, community-driven ‘development’, and food security in Eastern Africa
and West Africa. Kariuki’s dissertation, an ethnographic study carried out among the Maasai of
Olderkesi in Southern Kenya, examined the politics and processes of subdividing the pastoral
commons whilst establishing a wildlife conservancy in the area. His postdoctoral research
examines how biodiversity conservation institutions, many of which are referred to as bottom-up,
community-based initiatives, exclude African indigenous knowledge and voices. At McGill
University, Kariuki has taught ‘Social Change in Modern Africa’ and ‘Swahili Language and
Culture’ courses.

Food Sustainability and the Environment

Canadian Lutheran World Relief

Feed Nova Scotia

Farmer Checking Plants

Evie Tastsoglou (she/her)

Evangelia Tastsoglou is Professor in the Department of  Sociology, cross-appointed to   International Development Studies at Saint Mary’s University. She has published extensively in national and international venues on issues of immigration, citizenship, diasporas, violence and international migration from a gender and intersectional perspective. She is currently the principal investigator of a 4-member Canadian team of the CIHR-funded project “Violence against women migrants and refugees: Analyzing causes and effective policy response”. This is part of an international project funded by the GENDER-NET Plus Co-fund. She is also the principal investigator of a SSHRC-funded project focusing on sexual and gender-based violence and precarity in forced migration in the Eastern Mediterranean. She is currently president of the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association, a past president of the Research Committee on Women and Gender of the International Sociological Association (2010-2014) and a member of the Research Council of the International Sociological Association (2014-2018). She is the recipient of the SMU President's Award for Excellence in Research for 2021.

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Marie Gagné (she/her)

Marie Gagné holds a Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Fonds de recherche du
Québec-Société et culture (FRQSC) in the Department of Political Science at Concordia
University. She earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, with a specialization in development studies. Her research interests include questions of land access, agricultural development, and food security. More broadly, her work seeks to understand how global economic and political pressures are mediated and experienced in often unexpected ways in rural Africa. She has published several policy reports, book
chapters, and peer-reviewed articles in journals such as the Canadian Journal of African Studies. She recently co-guest-edited a Forum on land deals in limbo in Africa in the African Studies Review. Over the years, Marie has won numerous awards, including the Fraser Taylor Prize and excellence scholarships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the International Development Research
Centre (IDRC). She currently is a fellow at the Program on Governance and Local
Development (GLD) at the University of Gothenburg. Keen to mobilize the potential 
of social sciences outside academia, Marie has accumulated extensive professional
experience as an independent expert researching rural development policies. Since September 2021, she is a Country Research and Engagement Consultant at the Land Portal, a leading organization that generates and disseminates land governance information. Marie also serves as an executive board member of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID).


Elisabeth Prügl (she/her)

Elisabeth Prügl is Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the
Gender Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development
Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. Her research and teaching focus on feminist
International Relations and gender politics in international governance.
Women’s labor and agriculture have been a focus of study throughout her career.
Currently, she is the responsible application of the DEMETER project on gender
and land commercialization in Cambodia and Ghana, results of which are
published in the Journal of Peasant Studies and in a forthcoming book with
Routledge entitled Agricultural Commercialization, Gender Equality and the Right
to Food.

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Leigh Brownhill 

Dr. Leigh Brownhill hails originally from Wampanoag territory of southeastern Massachusetts. She now resides in the territory of the Six Nations of Grand River in Southern Ontario. She teaches Sociology, Communications and Environmental Studies at Athabasca University. She has a long record of local and international community-engaged research and activism focused on histories and processes of transformational social change, with a focus on anti-colonial and decolonizing movements, peasant and industrial-world agro-ecology, ecological and energy sovereignty movements, and anti-racist eco-feminism. She is Associate Editor of the journal Capitalism Nature Socialism, author of Land Food Freedom: Struggles for the Gendered Commons in Kenya, 1870-2010 (2009), and co-editor of the 2016 Food Security, Gender and Resilience: Improving Smallholder and Subsistence Farming. Her 2004 graphic narrative, “Nakedness and Power,” about African women’s agency in global resistance to extractivism (co-authored with Terisa Turner and illustrated by Seth Tobocman), was selected for inclusion in the inaugural edition of Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics (2006).

Food and Gender Issues
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