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Board of trustees

Geoffrey Hawtin
Board Chair
Private Consultant
United Kingdom/Canada
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Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin, a British/Canadian citizen, is the Senior Advisorand until August 2005 was the Executive Secretary of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international foundation that he helped create, to finance the conservation of the biodiversity of crops worldwide. From January 2008 to April 2009 he was Director General of CIAT. From 1991 until 2003 he was Director General of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI, now Bioversity International), a research center of the CGIAR headquartered in Rome, Italy. Dr. Hawtin obtained both his first degree and Ph.D. from Cambridge University, U.K., carrying out his doctoral thesis research at Makerere University, Uganda. He worked for the Ford Foundation and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as a plant breeder, based in Lebanon and Egypt, and was the first Leader of the Food Legume Improvement Programme of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria.

Dr. Hawtin has also served as Deputy Director General of  ICARDA and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Sciences Division of IDRC based in Ottawa, Canada. He has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific and technical publications. His other responsibilities include membership of the Board of Directors of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), in Costa Rica, and he chairs the International Advisory Committee of Gardens for Life, Eden Project, and Cornwall.


John Edward Hamer
Managing Partner, Data Collective
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Dr. Hamer is a Managing Partner at Data Collective since April 2018, a venture capital fund that backs entrepreneurs applying deep tech to transform industries. The new biotech-focused fund managed by Dr. Hamer will invest in agriculture and other Biocomputing technologies.

Dr. Hamer is Investment Director for Monsanto Growth Ventures, with offices in San Francisco, Boston, and St. Louis. Monsanto is a leading provider of seeds and technology to farmers worldwide and was recently listed in Forbes magazine as one the world’s top 10 most innovative companies. Monsanto Growth Ventures, through investment and partnership, seeks to foster the growth of an innovation supply chain that includes researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and emerging high-technology companies.

Dr. Hamer’s career spans more than three decades of research, senior management, and investment experience in the life sciences. Most recently, he spent nine years with Burrill & Company, a leading life sciences merchant bank with activities in venture capital, merchant banking, and media. Prior to joining Burrill & Co., Dr. Hamer was the CSO and later CEO of Paradigm Genetics/ICORIA, a leading genomics and
ag-biotechnology company that completed its IPO on NASDAQ in 2000 and was later acquired by Monsanto.

Dr. Hamer received his PhD in Microbiology from the University of California-Davis and was a visiting scientist in DuPont’s Central Research & Development Group. He later joined Purdue University and rose to the rank of full Professor. He was the recipient of several national awards in the United States, including the David & Lucille Packard Award, and the National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship. At Purdue, Dr. Hamer’s research focused on crop diseases, he pioneered molecular approaches to disease management and control, and worked with numerous international agencies in China, the Philippines, and South America.

Dr. Hamer is a passionate believer in the growth opportunity that is emerging in the agricultural value chain in food, health, energy, materials, and chemicals.


Nancy O. Andrews
Former President and CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF)
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Nancy Andrews is an American citizen that holds an Ms. in Urban Planning with a concentration in Real Estate Finance from Columbia University. Her career spans 30 years in finance and social investment.

Since 1998 to March 2018, Nancy O. Andrews was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF). LIIF is a $1 billion financial institution that invests in social enterprise development and poverty alleviation. LIIF has invested $1.8 billion of its own capital and leveraged $8.7 billion in private capital in poor communities across 31 states in the U.S. and generated $49 billion in benefits for families and societies. LIIF’s primary investors are banks and other regulated financial institutions.

She is a recognized expert in finance and social investing. Her most recent book, Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, has received over 2 million social media hits and is available at:

Previously, Ms. Andrews served as the Deputy Director of the Ford Foundation’s Office of Program Related Investments, where she assisted in the management of a $130 million social investment portfolio. She also designed and launched the foundation’s housing policy program, which focused on national housing and capital market issues.

During the Clinton administration, she consulted for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to restructure the $18 billion multi-family mortgage portfolio and for the Department of Treasury to establish the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Sara Menker 
Founder and CEO of
Gro Intelligence
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Sara Menker is the founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a data company dedicated to building products that change the way the world understands agriculture.

Prior to founding Gro, Sara was a Vice President in Morgan Stanley’s commodities group. She began her career in commodities risk management, where she covered all commodity markets, and subsequently moved to trading, where she managed an options trading portfolio.

Sara is a Trustee of the Mandela Institute For Development Studies (MINDS) and a Trustee of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Sara was named a Global Young Leader by the World Economic Forum and is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Institute.

Sara received a B.A. in Economics and African Studies at Mount Holyoke College and the London School of Economics and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.

f_jcrestrepoJuan Camilo Restrepo
Private Consultant
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Juan Camilo Restrepo, a Colombian citizen, is the ex Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia. A lawyer of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá, he has a Ph.D. in Administrative Law from the University of Paris and studies in Economic Law at the London School of Economics.

Between 1973 and 1975, he served as Representative of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation before the International Coffee Organization in London.

He served as Banking Superintendent between 1977 and 1978, was President of the National Values Commission between 1982 and 1986, and afterwards Commercial Manager of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation.

He later served as President of “Paz del Río” Steel Company. He was Minister of Mines and Energy of Colombia between 1991 and 1992, Senator of the Republic in 1994, and Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia between 1998 and 2000. On several occasions during this latter period, he was also responsible for presidential functions. He then served as Ambassador of Colombia in France.

Dr. Restrepo has also had a dynamic role in the academia, being university professor in Fiscal Law and Public Finance at the Universidad de los Andes, the Universidad Externado de Colombia, and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, in addition to being professor of Colombian Economics at the Universidad Sergio Arboleda.


Charles Rice
Kansas State University
Distinguished Professor
Soil Microbiology
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Dr. Charles W. Rice, American citizen, is a Kansas State University distinguished professor of soil microbiology. He has conducted long-term research on soil organic matter dynamics, nitrogen transformations, and microbial ecology.

Recently, his research has focused on soil and global climate change, including C and N emissions in agricultural and grassland ecosystems, and soil carbon sequestration and its potential benefits to the ecosystem.

Dr. Rice received his B.S. in Geography from Northern Illinois University. He then completed his Masters in Soil Science and Doctorate in Soil Microbiology from the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Rice has been active with the Soil Science Society of America, where he served as president in 2011. He currently serves on the National Academies Board on Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Air Quality Task Force.

Dr. Rice chairs the Division on The Role of Soils in Sustaining Society and the Environment of the International Union of Soil Sciences. He also is a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.



agnes_casiple-rola-biosketchAgnes Casiple Rola
Agricultural Economist.
University of the Philippines, Los Baños.
The Philippines
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Agnes Casiple Rola, Philippine, holds a PhD degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin- Madison; an undergraduate degree in Statistics and a Masters’ degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of the Philippines. Currently, she is professor of public policy and research methods at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). She is an alumna of the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) of the University of California-Berkeley.

Her long term research on the economics of pesticide use was instrumental in the pesticide policy change in the Philippines and paved the way for rapid adoption of Integrated Pest Management in rice. She was one of the Principal Investigators of a long running USAID funded Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management Collaborative Research Support Program (SANREM CRSP); major results of her engagement are contained in two books on “Winning the Water War” and “An Upland Community in Transition: Institutional Innovations for Sustainable Rural Development”. Her current research on water governance for development aims to influence national and watershed level policies for water security.

Dr. Rola has been member (2000-2003) and Vice Chair (2003-2006) of the Board of Trustees of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); and member of the Oversight Committee of the McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) from 2001-2006, among other international engagements. She was one of 18 Asian scholars that participated in the Asian Regional Consultation of the International Development Research Centre in Singapore, to develop IDRC’s Asian Research and Development Agenda for 2010-2015 and one of the Global Authors of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) in 2006-2007.

She is member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, Philippine Journal of Crop Science and is reviewer in several other journals. She is member of the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines. As dean at the UPLB from 2006-2012, she led in the institution of two graduate degree programs, the Master of Science in Development Management and Governance and the PhD program in Development Studies. She also instituted the Journal of Public Affairs and Development.

Cristián Samper 
President and Chief Executive Officer of
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
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Cristián Samper joined the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as President and Chief Executive Officer in August 2012. Prior to this appointment, he was Director of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). During his tenure, he served as Acting Secretary to the Smithsonian Institution (2007–2008). Before joining MNH as Director in 2003, Dr. Samper was deputy director and staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

From 1995–2001, he was founder and first director of the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute, Colombia’s national biodiversity research institute. For his contributions, he was awarded the National Medal of the Environment and the Order of San Carlos by the President of Colombia.

From 1999–2001, Dr. Samper was chair of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), where he helped develop a global strategy for plant conservation and launched the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. He also served as Vice Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, as a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and a member of the board of overseers at Harvard University.

Dr. Samper earned his master’s degree (1989) and doctorate degree (1992) in Biology from Harvard University, where he was awarded the Derek Bok Public Service Prize for excellence in teaching. Known for his work in the ecology of the Andean cloud forests, conservation biology, and environmental policy, Dr. Samper is currently on the board of the Carnegie Institution for Science, CIAT, and Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).


f_recheverriaRuben G. Echeverría
(ex officio)
Director General CIAT
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Dr. Ruben G. Echeverría, a citizen from Uruguay, has worked on agricultural and rural development issues for 30 years. He holds a B.Sc. degree in Agriculture from the University of Uruguay and a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Agriculture and Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota, USA.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, before studying in Minnesota, Dr. Echeverría worked for the Uruguayan Land Reform Institute, heading its extension service.

In the mid 1980s, as part of his Ph.D. thesis, he conducted field research in Mexico and Guatemala, based at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico.

He then worked on agricultural research policy issues and strengthening national research capacities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, based at the International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) in the Netherlands.

In 1992, he joined the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. where he worked in the preparation of several agricultural and rural development projects in Latin America.

From 2000 to 2004, he was Director of agriculture and rural development at the IDB from where he promoted the development of a regional rural development strategy for LAC; the creation of the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology [(Fontagro), an endowment that funds competitively regional research programs]; and the creation of the Inter-Agency Group for Rural Development in LAC.

From 2004 to early 2009, he was the Executive Director of the Science Council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), based at FAO in Rome. Since 2007 he is the President of the International Board of the Center for Rural Development in Latin America (RIMISP). Since April 2009 Dr. Echeverría is the Director General of CIAT in Colombia.

Juan Guillermo Zuluaga 
(ex officio)
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Colombia
Dolly Montoya Castaño

(ex officio)
President National University
of Colombia


Juan Lucas Restrepo
(ex officio)
Executive Director AGROSAVIA
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Juan Lucas Restrepo is a Colombian Civil Engineer with a M.Sc. degree on Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. Currently, he is the Executive Director of the Colombian Corporation of Agricultural Research (AGROSAVIA). He has managing experience at the public and private sector where he has dealt with diverse issues covering policy design, business development, strategy, planning and project design and implementation.

On the public side, he has served in various roles; he has been Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Advisor to the Colombian Government on Coffee Matters and one of the lead negotiators of the Colombia-US Trade Promotion Agreement, among other responsibilities.

On the private side, he has worked for TetraTech, Deputy Chief of Party for a large development program in Colombia has served as Syngenta‘s Business Development Manager for the Andean Countries and the Caribbean, and has done consulting in food marketing. He was the Chief Commercial Officer of the Colombian Coffe Growers Federation until November 2010.