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Founder President & CEO

E-mail : harjjumend@gmail.com,


Dr. Hasrat Arjjumend is the Founder President & CEO of The Grassroots Institute (Canada). He is also associated (in honorary capacities) with Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), Montreal (Canada) as Senior Legal Research Fellow. He is Executive & Managing Editor of the Grassroots Journals (5 journals) published by The Grassroots Institute in partnership with different universities.

Educationally, he attained Mitacs Elevate Postdoctorate at Université de Montréal Faculté de Droit, Québec (Canada) in Agrarian/Environmental Law (laws of agri-biologicals in Canada, India, Ukraine and EU), PhD in International Biodiversity Governance, PG Diploma in Environmental Law, MPhil in Natural Resource Management (MRM), MSc in Environmental Science, MA in Public Administration, MBA and BSc Hons in Botany. Additionally, he received advanced practical training from the UK, Sweden, Thailand, Russia, India, Netherlands and the USA.

His first significant study was his MPhil dissertation work in 1998-99. He wrote a comprehensive critique of nature conservation policies worldwide. It led to denotification of a wildlife sanctuary in India for interests of farmers/people. It was first incidence in the conservation history of Indian subcontinent when a protected area was scrapped for undoing the displacement of local inhabitants. Furthermore, during the past two and half decades, he completed multiple landmark studies and significant fieldwork focused on Indigenous people and their issues in Asia, as well as comparative studies on a global basis, culminating in his PhD work, which encompassed the evaluation of the extent of space, recognition, participation and involvement for/of Indigenous people not only in international law making (Nagoya Protocol), but also in domestic ABS (access and benefit sharing) law making & implementation processes. As the biocultural rights of Indigenous people are key to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, the domestic ABS laws require reorientation to be sufficiently effective in translating the spirit of international ABS laws. As a result, benefit-sharing processes (as per 3rd objective of CBD) and biopiracy of traditional knowledge and bioresources of Indigenous people cannot be checked effectively. He discerned and amplified that adequate participation and involvement, which had been lacking across the processes, of Indigenous peoples and local communities during the crafting of both the Nagoya Protocol and its corresponding domestic ABS legislation. His work brought this serious issue to the fore and debates have started within and outside CBD forums. Such a success added to progressive discourses towards advocating and asserting for Indigenous rights, dignity and self-determination. Among his current research orientations is the work on “rangeland governance and pastoralism” involving legal, policy, and social-ecological dimensions. Additionally, he has been trying to discover the utility modern technologies by mobile pastoralists in managing their livestock across the changing environments and fragmented rangelands.

Along with the direct action with communities, he has carried out a significant quantum of training/teaching and writing/publishing. He has taught a variety of courses; to name but a few: Agriculture and Ecology, Organic Farming Systems, Governance of Land & Water Commons, Biodiversity Law, Pastureland Policies & Law, Development of Land Resources, Watershed Development in Arid Zones, Water Resources Management, Participatory Forest Management, Grasslands & Rangeland Management, Environmental Governance, Research Methods & Techniques, Natural Resource Management, and Urban Green Spaces. These courses constituted the milestones in the core ‘natural resource management’ syllabus. As an engaged scholar using interdisciplinary approaches, he seeks to provide experiential learning opportunities that not only encourage personal development of participants, but also the intercultural thinking that best informs global perspectives. To this end, being a trainer/teacher is the ultimate opportunity to inspire, empower, and provide transformative experiences for students. His teaching & training philosophy is grounded in his life experiences; he is a self-made person with diverse life experiences in the developing world that he integrates into classroom content. As a trainer/teacher, he emphasizes the mutual benefits of engaged scholarship and the development of an individual’s social, emotional, intellectual, and creative well-being. This includes taking risk, thinking outside-the-box, and providing a passionate and fulfilling learning experience. Additionally, as an educator and researcher, his career has been centered on being a change-agent, advocating for solutions. Through training/teaching, he considers that he is transferring to youths and students not only the knowledge, but also an energy that they may retain to transform their lives. Be it a science subject, policy topic or societal reality there is a lot to share by him with the students/participants. Using participatory learning methods, he considers training/teaching as a source of empowerment, transformation and leadership.

As a change agent, he set in a few exceptional model accomplishments. During 2008-11, in the capacity of Project Director of EU-funded IEUPC Education Project, not only he conceptualized and designed the project, but he also created unique procedures, processes, systems, institutions and leaderships that resulted empowerment of urban poor families in 3 cities for educating girl children and female youths. The exemplary work received UNESCO recognition in 2011. Embedded in that EU project, the Young Citizens Leadership initiative was his exceptional endeavor. Later during 2013-16, he organized agro-pastoralist communities by using Pastureland Policies and Legal Provisions provided in Agrarian & Local Governance Laws in Rajasthan (West India). In the capacity of Dean/Sr. Manager at Foundation for Ecological Security, he nurtured 1017 community collectives (institutions) to liberate about 30,000 hectares of pasturelands (commons) from clutches of local powerful elites, and institutional ownership of pastoral communities had been ensured. Liberating lands by him from land grabbers was life threatening work. It brought meaningful change in governance patterns of natural resources impacting livelihoods of poor mass in India’s arid zone. In addition to these two most commendable works, he used to be People-Centred Advocacy Campaigner from 1996 till 2012, apart from a popular writer journalist in editorial columns for 10 years. His preferred array of interventions, especially from 2005 to 2016, revolved around building the Stewardship among youths. He enabled thousands of youths who honed their leading capabilities with distinct vision and high-energy convictions.

Professionally, he possesses 30 years’ experience of research, training, teaching, field action and organizational management, dealing with multidisciplinary areas of Environment, Natural Resources, Governance, Development, and Indigenous Rights. In the past he served, inter alia, as Senior Agroecology Specialist with Earth Alive Clean Technologies Inc. Canada,  Assistant Professor (Natural Resources & Environmental Management) at Ethiopian Civil Service University Addis Ababa, Dean/Sr. Manager at FES Prakriti Karyashala Rural College (Rajasthan Campus, India), Executive Director of Grassroots India Trust, Project Director of EU-supported IEUPC Project, Senior Program Officer at Society for Participatory Research in Asia, Research Officer at National Centre for Human Settlement & Environment, Biologist-I at Wildlife Institute of India (Govt. of India). For over 15 years, he contributed as Visiting/Guest Faculty to several institutions in India and Europe, apart from being a Consultant to leading NGOs. Having inherent capacities of evolving, building and developing the institutions, he acted as a leader of several people-centred initiatives & forums (e.g., Madhya Pradesh Chapter of FIAN International – Germany), and later devolved the systems after completion of institutionalization process.  Moreover, he was Mitacs Elevate Fellow 2017-20 in Canada, Visiting Fellow at Yaroslav Mudriy National Law University of Ukraine, Commonwealth Professional Fellow 2007 in England and Social-Impact Fellow 2008-10 in Mumbai, apart from being the recipient of the Award of Excellence for International Partnership 2021 from Valahia University of Targoviste Romania, CISDL Canada’s Legal Research Award 2019, UNESCO-Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation 2010 (Asia-Pacific), Chairman's Gold Medal 1997-98 in MRM Natural Resource Management, USA’s Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Scholarship 2007, and S.J. Jindal Trust Scholarship 1990-91. He has working exposure across half of India’s geography (13 states), and working/study exposure to East Africa, South Asia, South-East Asia, Scandinavia, West Europe, East Europe and Canada. In his credit are about 190 publications of varied types (see Publications List), some of them published in WoS/Scopus indexed international journals. He is sitting in Editorial Boards of the European journals: EU Agrarian Law, Journal of Legal Studies, and Environmental Economics & Sustainable Development.

As the Founder President & CEO of The Grassroots Institute Canada, his record of leadership is outstanding. Since the inception in 2018, he has developed global capacity building program ‘Summer Field School on Mountain Ecosystems & Resources Management’ of which 2020-21 version was highly successful. About 66 universities and organizations from 21 countries partnered/ collaborated (and nearly 700 people from 70 countries took part). Likewise, 2023 edition is launched on the website www.grassrootsglobal.net/mer2023. This Summer Field School 2023 is led by 10 Lead Partner universities/organizations from Italy, Romania, Ukraine, India, Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia. To bridge the gaps between field practice/action and the knowledge generated in academic or research institutions, he is developing 'ggN - Grassroots Global Network' [www.grassrootsglobal.net], which would be massive networking platform on natural resources management, policy and practice. While imagining a global lectures bank, the Global Lectures | Local Impacts https://www.grassrootsinstitute.ca/gli is his new and unique initiative that allows “lecture pooling”, whereby multiple institutions can share the same virtual lecture simultaneously. This amplifies the reach of these valuable lectures to a wider audience across the world. To create space for leadership and skill development by the senior, mid-career and young scientists and professionals, he has successfully started the Grassroots Global Leadership Program https://www.grassrootsinstitute.ca/glp. Acting as publishing wing of TGI, the ‘Grassroots Journals' www.grassrootsjournals.org was initiated by him in 2018 and currently, in the capacity of Managing & Executive Editor, he is successfully operating 4 journals, namely ‘Grassroots Journal of Natural Resources’ [WoS indexed], ‘Agrobiodiversity & Agroecology’, ‘Journal of Environmental Law & Policy’ [HEIN indexed], and ‘Journal of Policy & Governance’ [HEIN indexed]. A new journal ‘Pastures & Pastoralism’ is under preparation to be launched in 2022. To have an intricate education portfolio of TGI, the website https://www.grassrootsinstitute.ca is created. It is envisaged to take shape of educational institute. A complete present and future map of TGI can be understood from the main website www.grassrootsinstitute.net. Finally, Dr. Arjjumend’s leadership is distinctly reflected in his networking and partnership building commitments and enthusiasms. Globally, he has developed a large network with academic, research, action and policy institutions, to include signed partnerships with nearly 73 universities, institutes, national parks, city councils, NGOs and networks. He is instrumental in creating a pool of over 360 experts, professors, scientists and professionals associated with and voluntarily contributing to TGI’s different initiatives.

His current areas of academic & action interests include Rangeland Ecosystems and Pastoral Livelihoods; Laws & Governance of Grazing Commons; Agroecology; Governance of Natural Resources; Resource Rights of Indigenous People; Agrarian Laws & Policies; Water Policies and Management.

Contact: harjjumend@gmail.com; hasrat.arjjumend@umontreal.ca; director@grassrootsinstitute.net
Webpage: http://grassrootsinstitute.net/hasrat_arjjumend.html

Areas of Research Interest    
Governance of Natural Resources; Biodiversity Law and Governance; CBD/Nagoya Protocol and National ABS Laws in Various Countries; Resource Rights of Indigenous People; Customary Law & Indigenous Rights; Rangelands and Common Property Resources; ICCAs; Agroecology; Agrarian Laws of Microbial Products; Wetlands Conservation; Rights of Indigenous People; Land Rights; Agrobiodiversity Conservation; Forest Stewardship and Parks-People Interface; Community Institutions & Local Governance; Natural Resource Management; Participatory Rural Development; Environmental Issues.
Expert Areas of Teaching   : Natural Resource Management; Sustainability; Environmental Governance; Governance of Land & Water Commons; Ecology & Ecosystem Science; Environment Law & Policy; Governance of Natural Resources; Ecologically Sustainable Agriculture; Watershed Development in Arid Zones; Participatory Forest Management; Grasslands and Rangelands; Rural Development; Wildlife and Eco-Tourism; Mountain Environment & Conservation; Ecology of Society; Sociology of Development; Rural Society in India; Rural Community Development; Tribal Community Development; Sustainable Development; Research Methodology; Development Reporting; Communication for Development; Tribal Self-Governance
Expert Areas of Training   : Commons Governance and Development; Sustainable Development; Natural Resources Conservation in Mountains; Common Property Resources: Rights & Claims; Securing Common Lands;  Natural Resource Management; LEISA Agriculture & Organic Farming Systems; Water Use Efficiency; Land-Based & Forest-Based Livelihoods; Access & Benefit Sharing (ABS) of Biological Resources; Participatory Irrigation Management; Participatory Forest Management; People-Centred Biodiversity Conservation; Tribal Self-Governance; Project Management; Process Writing & Documentation; Case Study Writing; Advocacy & Development Communication; Participatory Action Research
Expert Areas of Field Action & Practice   : Natural Resource Management; Forest & Biodiversity Conservation; Sustainable Agriculture; Governance and Accountability; Community Institutions; Education & Capacity Building; Participatory Rural Development; Land-Based & Forest-Based Livelihoods Development; Human Rights to Food & Water; Rights of Indigenous People; Advocacy & Development Communication; Local Self-Governance & PESA.