Kelsey Leonard

Assistant Professor

Dr. Kelsey Leonard is a water scientist, legal scholar, policy expert, writer, and enrolled citizen of the Shinnecock Nation. Dr. Leonard is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, where her research focuses on Indigenous water justice and its climatic, territorial, and governance underpinnings. Dr. Leonard seeks to establish Indigenous traditions of water conservation as the foundation for international water policymaking.

Dr. Leonard has been instrumental in safeguarding the interests of Indigenous Nations for environmental planning and builds Indigenous science and knowledge into new solutions for water governance and sustainable oceans. In collaboration with a global team of water law scholars, Dr. Leonard has published in Lewis and Clark Law Review on Indigenous Water Justice and the defining international legal principle of self-determination under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Odeeth Lara-Morales

Lecturer, Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Dr. Lara-Morales is a Research Assistant at the University of Waterloo, an Associate Fellow at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), and a Project Officer with the United Nations Association in Canada. She holds a Ph.D. in the discipline of sustainable development and tourism and has taught management courses at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School (LAIBS) in Cambridge, UK.

Odeeth is a Nahua Indigenous descendant from Mexico and her research interests focus on environmental studies such as sustainability and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a local level and internationally through the implementation of sustainable community plans, civic engagement, and market-based approaches. Her research also examines enterprises and sustainable tourism to support sustainable development for ecological and cultural protection, gender equality, and poverty reduction in Indigenous communities.

Wayne D. Garnons-Williams

Lecturer, Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Wayne is the founding President of the International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Organization, Senior Lawyer, and Principal Director of the law firm Garwill Law Professional Corporation, and leads an international business entitled Indigenous Sovereign Trade Consultancy Ltd. specializing in Tribal Trade and Sustainable Economic Development.

He is the past Chair of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Appeal Tribunal and is currently on the board of directors of the International Law Association – Canada chapter, Council of the Great Lakes Region, Capacity Canada and Board Chair of the 60’s Scoop Healing Foundation.

He is also a Research Fellow specializing in International Comparative Indigenous law at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law. He was appointed by Order in Council as a member to the NAFTA Chapter 19 Trade Remedies roster and then appointed in 2020 as a CUSMA Advisory Committee Member on Private Commercial Disputes, Article 31.22.

He has recently written four chapters and is co-editor for a textbook published by Cambridge University Press on International Indigenous Trade & Environmental law and is teaching a course based on his textbook as part of the Bachelor of Indigenous Entrepreneurialism Program at the University of Waterloo, St. Paul’s College campus.

He is the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business 2019 Award winner for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations, the 2020 Queen’s University alumni award winner as well as the recipient of the 2020 Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) - International Legal Specialist in Peace, Justice and Governance Award. He is Plains Cree from Treaty 6, Moosomin First Nation.

Sami Iskandar

Manager, Marketing and Communication

Sami Iskandar is a graduate of Schulich school of business, and a master graduate of business, entrepreneurship, and technology from the faculty of Engineering at the university of Waterloo. Sami has long held the beliefs that it is one’s duty and privilege to serve and help others, and in so doing come to frame the best course of action forward.

John Abraham

Academic Dean, Continuing Lecturer and Manager of International Work Experience for the INDEV and MDP programs

John Abraham spent most of his childhood and youth living across four countries on three continents. It was here that his interdisciplinary academic journey began. He completed an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, followed by a Masters in Philosophy degree in Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Politics and International Relations from Royal Holloway, University of London. Subsequently, he undertook two postdoctoral fellowships: one on Community Based Conservation at St. Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and the second on Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo (WISIR), before serving as Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Social Entrepreneurship at Wilfrid Laurier University between 2016-19. Following the completion of that appointment, he joined the International Development Program at United College.

His current research takes an interdisciplinary focus, engaging with issues of religion, political economy, environment, social innovation, and decolonization. His recent and forthcoming journal publications have addressed issues of social innovation, the intellectual history of international development, and the global political economy. Two of his longer-term research projects include a book-length study of the political economy of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in India and a decolonial analysis of the life and work of the English activist and clergyman Charles Freer Andrews. He actively engages with the international development professional community and serves as a Board member of both the Mennonite Central Committee, Ontario and the Ontario Council for International Cooperation.

Teferi Mergo

Assistant Professor of Economics

I grew up in Ethiopia during a very turbulent time – surrounded by serious economic hardships and socio-political upheaval – which sparked my early interest in development economics, setting me on an improbable journey to pursuing higher education in Economics at Berkeley.

Julie Kate Seirlis

Continuing Lecturer International Development, Indigenous Studies, and Human Rights

Julia (Julie Kate) Seirlis holds a BA in English, French, Italian, Latin and Private Law from the University of Cape Town and an MSt and DPhil in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford. Her doctorate examined the relationships between race and space in the construction -- and alienation -- of Coloured ("mixed race") identities in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe.