Vivian Valencia

Dr. Vivian Valencia’s passion lies in revolutionizing our food systems. She is dedicated to finding solutions to address the urgent challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Through her research, Vivian focuses on identifying and analyzing remarkable success stories known as “lighthouses”—exceptional examples that offer groundbreaking alternatives to food and farming systems. By studying these extraordinary cases, Vivian seeks to understand the factors that have led to their success and develop strategies to amplify their positive impacts. By shining a light on these bright spots of innovation and progress, she aims to generate hopeful narratives for the future and motivate positive action towards creating resilient and sustainable food systems.

Vivian is currently the Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Action at Bishop’s University in Canada. She previously held the post of Assistant Professor at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. She earned a PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Columbia University and a master’s degree in Environmental Health from Johns Hopkins University.

Vivian’s research and professional career have been supported by the National Geographic Early Career Grant, PRIME Fellowship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Marie Curie Programme of the European Commission, Bill and Melinda Gates Millenium Scholarship among others.

She is active in the policy sphere, where she aims to close the gap between science and policy-making. She is a former member of the GDL’s Advisory Council; a BMW Responsible Leader; an alumna of several programmes of the Bosch Foundation; an alumna of the Managing Global Governance Training Programme of the German Development Institute (DIE); and an alumna of the “International Futures” programme of Training for International Diplomats of the German Federal Foreign Office.



2022, 2020-2021, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Special function



Global Governance, Civil Society, Conflict Resolution and Mediation




North America


North America

Further Engagements

Elected Advisory Council
Every year, two GDL members of the Advisory Council are elected online by members. All four elected members of the Advisory Council work on a pro bono basis.

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