I am recently retired but far from tired. I served the United Nations in various capacities for 22 years – most recently as the Regional Representative for Europe for the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, as well as the coordinator for the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, a network of more than 900 cities that are committed to the cause of advancing human development within the urban context. I also worked for 12 years as the head of communications at the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and six years as the European regional communications adviser for the UN Development Program (UNDP), based in Geneva.
In late 2018 I updated and expanded my signature publication, The Intrepid Traveler, the ultimate guide to responsible, ecological, and personal-growth travel and tourism, which was published in its 3rd edition in November 2018. This book explores the kind of travel that benefits both the visitor and the visited, and is based on 40 years of experience exploring more than 130 countries in every region on Earth. I am now working on a publication to be called the No Mammal Manifesto – diet for a new and more sustainable world. In this easy-to-read treatise on our dietary decisions, I explore how eliminating mammals from our menus can dramatically improve our personal health while restoring the ecological balance of the environment.
Before joining the UN, I worked for many years as an entrepreneur, and as an environmental journalist. As the editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles-based Earth News I covered the landmark 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and most of the subsequent global summits of the 1990s. My book, The Earth Summit, a Planetary Reckoning documented the conference through the perspectives of youth, business, government and civil society. A related book geared towards implementing Agenda 21 was published by the UN Environment Programme and is called Taking Action: an environmental guide for you and your community.
Most biographies finish with a list of academic letters and acronyms. Mine does as well, but to jump straight there would be to miss much of what made me who I am today. I dropped out of high school with a grade eight education and took a circuitous route through several short albeit successful careers as a sous-chef, a gold prospector and finally an emergency medical technician working as a medic in the ambulance service. I was then able to challenge the high school exams, and receive an equivalency diploma. Rather than go straight to college, however, I slung a backpack over my shoulders and set off to explore the world. Heading east until I ended up back in the west five years later, I was able to explore 50 countries on a shoestring budget of less than $100 dollars a month. That experience provided the fodder for the first edition of The Intrepid Traveler.
Now to the requisite list of letters and acronyms: I received my BA in International Affairs from Northern Arizona University, my MA in Communication and Technology from the University of Alberta, and my MBA from the TRIUM program at New York University, the London School of Economics and the HEC Paris School of Management.