Keynote speakers

Keynote speakers of this conference are Phillippe LeBillon, Libby Lunstrum and Kumi Naidoo.

Phillippe LeBillon

Philippe LeBillon

Philippe Le Billon is Professor at the University of British Columbia with the Department of Geography and the Liu Institute for Global Issues. He holds an MBA (Paris 1) and PhD (Oxford). Prior to joining UBC, he was a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Working on linkages between environment, development and security, he has published widely on natural resource governance and investigates socio-environmental relations and commodity networks linking spaces of exploitation, consumption and regulation. Such work engages with the spatiality, materiality and socio-natural construction of ‘resources’, their political economy and socio-environmental impacts, as well as associated conflicts and development challenges. He is the (co)author of 39 refereed papers and 23 book chapters. His two latest books are Oil (Polity Press, 2012 with Gavin Bridge) and Wars of Plunder: Conflicts, Profits and the Politics of Resources (Columbia UP, 2013).

Libby Lunstrum

Libby Lunstrum

Libby Lunstrum is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Resident Faculty of the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University.

My research focuses on the politics of conservation areas, especially national and transnational parks. I draw on political ecology and political geography to investigate the ecological politics of international borders and borderlands, environmental displacement, the militarization/securitization of protected areas, green violence more broadly, wildlife crime, relationships between parks and local/Aboriginal communities, and related questions of conservation governance and practice . My research has focused substantially on Southern Africa and has recently turned to North America. While these regions may seem distinct, they share similar histories of conservation-provoked displacement, including evictions that enabled the initial creation of protected areas, along with parallel practices of current park-related exclusion. They are also united by innovative activism on the part of (often displaced) communities that has the potential to reinvent the meaning of people-park relations and conservation

Kumi Naidoo


Kumi Naidoo has been Greenpeace’s International Executive Director since November 2009-2015. He currently lives and works out of EarthRise Trust in the Free State Province of South Africa.

Passionately involved in liberation struggles from a young age, he continues to speak truth to power across the range of social, economic and environmental justice campaigns around the globe. He is dedicated to engagement, dialogue and change and seeks a green and peaceful planet for all the world’s inhabitants.

Born in South Africa in 1965, Kumi Naidoo became involved in South Africa's liberation struggle at the age of 15 when he joined the Helping Hands Youth Organisation (an affiliate of the South African Youth Congress). He received his BA in Political Science, cum laude, from the University of Durban-Westville in 1985. After the Apartheid government imposed a State of Emergency the following year, Kumi was arrested numerous times, charged for violating provisions against mass mobilisation and civil disobedience. Police harassment eventually forced him to go underground before fleeing to the UK in 1987. Kumi spent his time in exile at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, where he holds a doctorate in political sociology.

After Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990, Kumi returned to South Africa to work on the legalisation of the African National Congress. He was founding executive director of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), whose mandate is to ensure that the traditions of civil society continue to serve the people of South Africa. In addition, he held several leadership positions on a wide range of education, development, and social justice initiatives, including the 1997 National Men’s March against Violence against Women and Children, the adult education NGO sector and as the official spokesperson for the 1994 Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). He is a former board member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, the Partnership for Transparency Fund, the Global Reporting Initiative and Earthrights International.

From 1998 to 2008, Kumi was the Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of Johannesburg-based Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, which is dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. He has also been the founding chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty since its inception in 2004. Kumi currently serves on the board of and Global Greengrants Fund.