USAID and CIFOR support international graduate program

Biodiversity conservation in tropical countries such as Indonesia requires protection of natural ecosystems, promotion of the sustainable management of forests, wetlands and other landscapes, and importantly, provision of opportunities for local people to contribute to solutions while enjoying sustainable livelihoods.

The creation and management of successful biodiversity policies and programs requires highly skilled forest managers, conservationists, policy analysts and economists who are skilled in measuring and evaluating environmental conditions and trends, and assessing the costs and benefits of sustainable outcomes. They also need communications, negotiation and management skills if they are to work effectively with a wide range of stakeholders such as policy makers in government, business people, members of civil society and local communities.

USAID and CIFOR support international graduate program

Recognizing these needs, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), headquartered in Bogor on the fringes of Jakarta, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), joined forces in 2015 to design the CIFOR-USAID Indonesia Forestry Fellowship Program. The aim of the program was to provide masters-degree education at U.S. universities in forestry, biodiversity, economics, natural resources governance and other scientific disciplines to a new generation of Indonesian environmental scientists, managers and leaders.

After a highly competitive selection process, the project sent students to four US universities known for their leadership in forestry and environmental education: Northern Arizona University, the University of Missouri, the University of Florida and Yale University. Between 2015 and 2019, 20 students graduated and returned to Indonesia. 

Here are their stories: