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Dr. Steven Sanderson

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About Dr. Steven Sanderson

Steven E. Sanderson, PhD
President & Chief Executive Officer
Wildlife Conservation Society
Bronx, NY

Steven Sanderson is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. Prior to his appointment in 2001, he was Dean of Emory College, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, at Emory University in Atlanta. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University (1978). He has studied the politics of rural poverty, biodiversity conservation and environmental change, and is a specialist in Latin America.

In the mid-1980s, Dr. Sanderson served as Ford Foundation Program Officer in Brazil, where he designed and implemented the Foundation’s Amazon program. As a member of the faculty of the University of Florida from 1979 to 1997, he directed the Tropical Conservation and Development Program and chaired the Department of Political Science.

For the past fifteen years, he has been deeply involved with the organization of scientific cooperation on the environment, through the Social Science Research Council, the International Geosphere-Biosphere program, the National Academy of Sciences Oversight Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and the Scientific Board of the international Resilience Alliance. Now, as a conservation practitioner and head of a major wildlife conservation organization, he engages that international cooperation through strategic collaborations on behalf of biodiversity conservation and rural poverty alleviation.

A former Fulbright Scholar in Mexico, Dr. Sanderson has also held fellowships and grants from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations, NASA, and the Ford, MacArthur, Rockefeller, Tinker and Heinz Foundations.

Among Sanderson’s scholarly publications are nine books and monographs about Latin American politics and the environment, including Agrarian Populism and the Mexican State (California 1981), The Transformation of Mexican Agriculture (Princeton 1986), and The Politics of Trade In Latin American Development (Stanford 1992). He has also written about the politics of conserving wild exploited species and is co-editor of Parks in Peril: Working with Politics and People to Save Neotropical Biodiversity (Island Press, 1998). His most recent publication is “The Future of Conservation,” Foreign Affairs (September 2002).


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