Gráinne Ryder

Manager, International Work Experience

Grainne RyderAs Manager, International Work Experience for the International Development (INDEV) and Master of Development Practice (MDP) programs, Gráinne works with our partner organization, the World University Service of Canada, and others, to develop high-quality field placements and prepare students for a challenging cross-cultural and professional experience in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Before joining INDEV and MDP, Gráinne spent over 20 years working with non-governmental environmental organizations in Canada, the United States, and developing countries. She initiated and directed a 10-year program of energy policy analysis, training and advocacy for Bangkok-based Foundation for Ecological Recovery and Toronto-based Probe International.

Aimed at strengthening participation of citizen groups and riverside communities in decision-making related to large-scale hydro development, Gráinne’s work has been funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Society Institute, Oxfam America, and World Wildlife Fund International among others.

As policy director of Probe International, Gráinne advocated for alternatives to large-scale energy projects that displace large numbers of communities and degrade riparian ecosystems. She prepared submissions to Canadian decision-makers as well as the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the World Bank, and the UN-funded World Commission on Dams. From 1990 to 1995, she was the program coordinator for the Bangkok-based group TERRA (Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance), which established the first regional network of citizens defending their right to decide the fate of their rivers.

Gráinne is a founding member of the global Save the Mekong Coalition and an adviser to the Mekong Energy and Ecology Network. She has led public reviews of environmental impact assessments for several Mekong hydropower projects. Most recently, she wrote a guide for Cambodian activists and media entitled Powering 21st Century Cambodia: A Primer for Rethinking Cambodia’s Energy Future (via the NGO Forum on Cambodia).

Gráinne has written for many publications, including Watershed: People’s Forum on Ecology Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam (1995-2008), the Nordic aid monitor Development Today, Bangkok Post (Thailand), Energy Pulse, and the National Post. She has edited two books, including Damming the Three Gorges: What Dam Builders Don’t Want You To Know (Earthscan, Canada 1993) and The Mekong Currency: Lives and Times of a River (International Books, Netherlands 1993).

Gráinne obtained her Master's in Environmental Studies from York University in 1996 and completed her Bachelor of Science in Water Resources Engineering at Guelph University in 1983. She was a CUSO water supply engineer in Thailand from 1983 to 1986.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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