Dr. Gwendolyn Smith has successfully designed and facilitated stakeholder engagement for climate change and REDD+, goldmining and the Minamata convention, forest conservation and governance. She also lends her expertise to Suriname’s Climate Change Expert Group. Her training experience focuses on developing and delivering hands-on training for local communities in e.g. consensus building, facilitation, negotiation, project planning and conflict resolution.
She has an academic background in both social and bio-chemical sciences. After completing her BSc. in Agriculture, Gwendolyn completed her Master of Science degree in Biotechnology from the University of Texas. This allows her to understand biological processes and use of natural compounds for income generation. Gwendolyn conducted her doctoral dissertation research at Nova Southeastern University on the participatory process for engaging the Trio indigenous peoples of South Suriname in future REDD+ efforts.
Apart from this, Gwendolyn has more than 15 years’ experience in designing and facilitating participatory processes. She has facilitated and mediated several processes with indigenous peoples of Suriname, Colombia, Ecuador, and Nepal, especially in their efforts to engage with private sector companies, NGOs and the government on natural resource-related topics. She published a book, and multiple articles on her experience as a practitioner.
Gwendolyn is a selected expert for the United Nations Roster of Experts on Governance and Inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendants and for the United Nations REDD+ Roster of Experts Latin America and Caribbean.