IMFN Secretariat Welcomes New and Returning Staff

The IMFNS is pleased to announce that three of its staff positions have now been filled! After 14 months acting in the position, Peter Besseau is the new Executive Director of the Secretariat, bringing years of valuable experience to the job. Peter earned his B.A. Honours at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, and Masters Degree at the Institute for Soviet and East European Studies (Political Economy) from Carleton University in Ottawa. His academic research background and professional career have been exclusively in the area of international environmental and natural resource management issues. Peter has been associated with the model forest programme since 1994, having spent four years (1994 – 1998) as Assistant General Manager (Russia) for the McGregor Model Forest in Prince George, BC.

Since 1998, Peter has been engaged with the IMFNS in the capacities of Senior Programme Officer, Deputy Executive Director, and over the past year Acting Executive Director. Peter has been directly involved in all aspects of model forest development, in Canada, Asia, Latin America, and Russia, including notably over the last year, collaborative work in Latin America toward establishment of the Regional Model Forest Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, housed at UNDP in Santiago, Chile.

Richard Verbisky (Rich) is the new Senior Programme Officer, Latin America and the Caribbean. An ecologist by training, Rich has worked for NGO, private and public sectors, was a team leader at a highly regarded forestry consulting firm in British Columbia and speaks Spanish fluently. He has a keen interest in practices of sustainable forest management and the relationship between land use management and habitat conservation. Rich will be based in Ottawa but working very closely with the IMFN’s new Regional Model Forest Centre (RMFC), in Santiago, Chile. His work will mainly involve support to the RMFC as it becomes fully operational, helping to build a network of Canadian collaborators, and assisting RMFC in program delivery.

Christa Mooney is the new IMFNS Communications Officer. Christa comes to us from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Communications Bureau. She is an expert in print and e-communications who also has experience working in the forest industry and in community development. With a joint B.A. from Trent University in International Development and Anthropology, Christa has spent time living and working in Ecuador and Cuba. Christa also holds a journalism diploma and has been a reporter for a large daily newspaper. Moreover, she speaks French and Spanish. Her main tasks will be to update and create a variety of communications, outreach and advocacy products and practices for the Secretariat and the Network.

Congratulations to all!