Dr. Ashby has a PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University, USA, a Diploma from the University of Cambridge, and B.A. Honors from the University of York, England. She is devoted to Latin America and is fluent in Spanish, having lived and worked for over thirty years in the region. Dr. Ashby is a development sociologist, currently Senior Advisor on Gender and Research at the CGIAR Consortium, Montpellier, France and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. She served as a member, Chair of the Program Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of the International Center for Mountain Development (ICIMOD) from 2007-2011. Previously she held appointments as Research and Policy Analysis coordinator for the Cambio Andino Program at the International Potato Center (CIP) and was Director of Research for Natural Resource Management and Director of the Rural Innovation Institute at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia. Widely recognized internationally for path-breaking work that established participatory action research as a scientific methodology relevant to agriculture, particularly in applied social science for participatory plant breeding, she is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and training manuals. As a practitioner of participatory action research, Dr. Ashby helped to found a successful, farmer-managed NGO in Colombia which continues to promote farmer-led research.
Kayte Meola, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C., where she conducts research on gender in agricultural development. Her current research projects focus on the gender implications of transitioning from traditional to industrial cassava production in northern Colombia, the gender and livelihood impacts of postharvest cassava processing innovations, and a global study on the role of social norms in agricultural innovation. She is also the gender focal point for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, where she works to mainstream gender into agricultural research and conducts capacity-strengthening activities. She earned her PhD from the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University, where she specialized in protected area management and gender in international development. As an AWARE Visiting Fellow with IP-CALS, she consults on gender in agricultural projects and hopes to link Cornell students with research opportunities within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Helga Recke obtained her Master's degree in horticulture at Hannover University and her PhD in soil science/plant nutrition at Giessen University, both in Germany. With the fertilizer company Kali & Salz AG/BASF, she carried out research and developed and refined fertilizer recommendations for farmers, based on specialized soil tests. In 1984 she joined Suedzucker AG, the largest European sugar producer, where she held several positions, finally as a senior advisor to the chief executive on agricultural policy for the GATT negotiations, representing Germany's interests in a group of policy experts of the European Committee of Sugar Producers in Brussels. Helga moved to Kenya in 1992. For more than 10 years, she coordinated EU-funded research support programs at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), concentrating on gender-responsive research approaches and income-generating technologies, particularly for rural women. She joined the CGIAR Gender & Diversity Program in 2004, working to secure funding and implement fellowship programs to fast-track the careers of African women agricultural scientists. A co-founder of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), a career development program for top African women scientists, she served most recently as its Science Coordinator and Senior Advisor. Now based in the US, Helga is committed to fostering stronger north-south partnerships and networks for Cornell University's agricultural programs and projects, particularly involving women scientists, and to achieving sustainable impact through gender-responsive approaches.