Skellig Sessions 2015

November 6th, Paris.

Sustainability and Climate Change are two critical and defining issues of our time. The Skellig Foundation has set out to improve the public understanding of these topics and to help scholars propose novel approaches that address the expected impacts of future resource depletion and climate change.

In conjunction with our exhibition on climate change Et si on s’était trompé ? and the international conference taking place in Paris at the end of the year, CCI and the Skellig Foundation are organising “SKELLIG SESSIONS – 2015”  A SERIES OF TALKS AND DISCUSSIONS chaired by Lara Marlowe, The Irish Timescorrespondent in Paris. The links between politics, economics and climate change, the potentials of marine energy and the waste-energy-water nexus will be discussed by specialists such as Frédéric Dias (University College Dublin and ENS Cachan), Gavin Collins (School of Natural Sciences and The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, NUI Galway), Torgny Holmgren (Stockholm International Water Institute) and Frank McDonald (author and former Environment Editor, The Irish Times).

Read more about the session here >>

The full programme is available here >>


Lara Marlowe

Lara Marlowe is France correspondent for the Irish Times.  From 2009 until 2013, she covered Barack Obama’s first term as Washington correspondent. Marlowe was earlier based in Paris for The Irish Times from 1996 until 2009.  She made frequent reporting trips to the Middle East, in particular to cover the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. From 1989 until 1996, she covered the Arab world as TIME Magazine’s Beirut bureau chief. Marlowe holds degrees from UCLA, the Sorbonne and Oxford.  She has received three press awards. In 2006, the French government made her a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur for her contribution to Franco-Irish relations. Marlowe has published two books with Liberties Press, Dublin: “The Things I’ve Seen; Nine Lives of a Foreign Correspondent,” (2010) and “Painted With Words,” (2011).

Emeritus Professor John Sweeney

John Sweeney has been a member of the Geography Department at Maynooth University since 1978. He received his B.Sc. from the University of Glasgow in 1974 and also his PhD in the Meteorology and Climatology of Air Pollution from there in 1980. Over the intervening 35 yearsmJohn has taught courses climatology, biogeography, geomorphology and environmental resource management at Maynooth and a number of universities in North America and Africa. He has published over 100 scientific papers andauthored/ edited/co-authored 4 texts on various aspects of climatology and climate change in Ireland. He has served as President of the Irish Meteorological Society, the Geographical Society of Ireland and is currently the outgoing President of An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland. He has been Editor, Treasurer, Secretary of several national associations as well as being the Irish representative on a number of European academic bodies. He has been involved in a number of international research projects and has led a number of national funded funded research projects examining various aspects of climate change in Ireland. Professor Sweeney contributed to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He is also a regular contributor to print and broadcast media on matters related to climate change science and policy.

Mr. Torgny Holmgren

Mr. Torgny Holmgren is Executive Director of SIWI – Stockholm International Water Institute.  Former Ambassador at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Head of the Department for Development Policy. He is a board member of Water Aid (Sweden) and member of World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Water, the European Advisory Group of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Swedish Expert Group for Aid Studies.  He served as Sherpa in UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability (2010-2012). Mr. Holmgren is an economist from Stockholm School of Economics with experience from the Swedish ministries of Finance and Industry. He served at the World Bank in Washington DC 1995-2000, at the Board of Directors and in the Research Department where he managed and edited the book “Aid and Reform in Africa”.

Mr. Holmgren was vice chair of OECD Development Assistance Committee in 2001.  In 2001-2002 he was assigned to the Parliamentary Commission on a new Swedish Policy for Global Development.  He was Head Secretary of the international Expert Group on Development Issues (EGDI) 2002-2006, which produced state-of the art research reports on global development topics. He has worked at the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya and has country experience from Africa, Asia, East Europe and North America.

Dr Gavin Collins

Dr Gavin Collins is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Microbiology and a European Research Council Laureate at NUI Galway. He leads a research group in Galway and works on discovering new microbes involved in greenhouse gas cycling and antibiotic resistance in the environment, and on developing new technologies for water treatment and bioenergy production. He leads a six-university project funded by the UK government on sanitation in Zambian slums, and he is a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California Berkeley where he has research on the microbiology of oil reservoirs.

Frédéric Dias

Frederic Dias graduated from Ecole Centrale de Paris, a French engineering school, in 1984. He received a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, in 1986. He started his career in the US before coming back to France to join CNRS in 1990. In 2000, he moved to Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan and has been a Professor of Applied Mathematics since. In 2009, he went to University College Dublin (UCD) on leave to work on wave energy converters in close collaboration with industry. He is now leading a team of 15 people at UCD. In 2012, he received an advanced grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to work on extreme wave events. In 2014, he received a proof of concept grant from the ERC to work on wave measurement. His stay at UCD has been extended until 2019. In 2014, Prof. Frédéric Dias has been awarded the Emilia Valori prize for applications of science by the French Academy of Sciences.  Prof. Frédéric Dias is co-chief editor of the European Journal of Mechanics B/Fluids and Secretary General of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM). Board appointments include: Scientific Council of the Fondation des Treilles, Technical Committee of Eurogia+, the EUREKA Cluster for low-carbone energy technologies.

Frank McDonald

Frank McDonald was born in Dublin in 1950 and educated at St Vincent’s CBS, Glasnevin, and University College Dublin, where he graduated in 1971 with a BA in history and politics. He started his journalistic career shortly afterwards as freelance New York correspondent for the Irish Press, subsequently becoming a sub-editor and reporter for the paper before joining The Irish Times in 1979, becoming its Environment Editor in 2000.  He is also author of several books including >The Destruction of Dublin< (1985), >Saving the City< (1989) and >The Construction of Dublin< (2000) and joint author with Peigín Doyle of >Ireland’s Earthen Houses< (1997), with James Nix of >Chaos at the Crossroads< (2005), which documented the environmental destruction of Ireland during the boom years, and with Kathy Sheridan of >The Builders< (2008), profiling the developers and others involved in the so-called Celtic Tiger’s casino culture. He has also reported on UN climate change conferences since 1995, including Copenhagen, Cancún, Durban and Warsaw. A regular contributor to radio and television programmes, he won several  Journalism and Media Awards. Conferred with an Honorary DPhil by Dublin Institute of Technology in 2006, he was made an honorary member of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland in 2010 and an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2011. He was also a Press Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, in 2008, and a founder member of the Academy of Urbanism of Great Britain and Ireland.

Sotiris Raptis

Sotiris joined T&E in July 2014 after 6 years in the European Parliament. He worked as a Policy Advisor on Transport, Climate Change and Environment for MEP Kriton Arsenis, some of his key files being CO2 emissions of the shipping sector, biofuels and indirect land-use change, as well as the revision of Water Framework directive and Environmental Impact Assessment directive. A qualified lawyer, Sotiris hails from northern Greece and speaks Greek and English. He studied at the University of Thessaloniki School of Law, the University of Athens School of Law as well as at the King’s College London Centre of European Law. Sotiris was awarded European Citizens’ Prize 2008 of the European Parliament as member of “G700” blog for promoting intergenerational justice. He is part of the aviation and shipping team at T&E and is responsible for the cleaner shipping campaign. He loves good food and reading and his passions include politics and hiking.

Nicolas Taconet

Nicolas Taconet is the Director of the programme “Youth Visions for the Future” at CliMates, a student think-and-do tank committed to finding solutions to climate change. CliMates aims at training the next generation of leaders on climate change, and therefore runs research and training projects on various issues, such as climate negotiations, agriculture, or water management.

Leslie Tourneville

Leslie Tourneville is a policy analyst specialised in sustainability foresight, impact analysis and corporate social responsibility. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs and Sustainability Policies at the University of SciencesPo, Paris. Member of YOUNGO, the youth constituency of the UNFCCC, and observer of the UNFCCC negotiations since october 2014, she is currently the Community and Skills Management Director of the international youth-led think-and-do tank CliMates.

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