Ross Convenes Experts to Discuss Educating Children on Sustainability

Panel Renowned scholars, experts, and educational practitioners are gathered at Ross Upper School August 18–22 for Ross Institute’s Summer Academy conference, “Human Species Impact and Our Planet: Educating Children for Action.” Speakers will discuss human evolution and critically examine Earth’s sustainability crisis as both an early childhood–grade 12 education issue and a youth rights issue.

“We recognize that human actions are having a profound impact on the health and future of our planet,” said Jennifer Chidsey, chief education officer at Ross Institute. “Our goal coming out of this conference is to ensure educational materials are focused on understanding the complexities of the issues, and to prepare our children to develop creative solutions in response.”


Speakers at the 2014 Ross Institute Summer Academy conference include:

Kieran P. McNulty, PhD, a professor of anthropology at University of Minnesota whose principal professional interests are in the evolution of apes and humans. He conceived of and directs the REACHE project, a collaborative research network that coordinates field expeditions at all of the early Miocene fossil ape sites in East Africa.

Ralph Abraham, PhD, a Ross School Founding Mentor, founder of the Visual Math Institute at UC Santa Cruz, and expert on chaos theory and its applications.

Yves Coppens, PhD, a field anthropologist and professor of paleoanthropology at the Collège de France. He is the author or co-author of more than 1,000 scientific papers and books.

William Irwin Thompson, PhD, a Ross School Founding Mentorand designer of the evolution of consciousness curriculum for the School. An author and poet, Thompson also founded the Lindisfarne Association.

Hideaki Koizumi, PhD, a fellow of Hitachi Ltd. and the director of the Research and Development Division “Brain-Science and Society” at the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society of the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

Pierre Léna, PhD, a pioneer in the field of infrared astronomy. He is currently president of Fondation La main à la pâte.

David Wilgenbus, PhD, leader of the “resource production” department at La main à la pâte. He coordinates large-scale educational programs dealing with sustainable development issues.

Gonzalo Sánchez-Terán, a published expert on African geopolitics and humanitarian assistance lecturer for the International Diploma on Humanitarian Assistance at Fordham University in New York, and for the Humanitarian Cooperation Masters at Comillas University in Madrid.

David Liittschwager, a National Geographic contributing photographer and author of multiple books depicting biodiversity.


The Ross Institute Summer Academy is an annual weeklong conference held in August in East Hampton, NY. Each year, Ross School leadership and faculty members come together to engage in professional development and an exchange of ideas and practices with colleagues and experts; with the goal of improving the Ross School curriculum, education and experience for students.

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