Patrick Worms is a Cambridge-educated molecular geneticist, who represents CIFOR-ICRAF – the Centre for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry- to policy makers, donors and corporate partners in Europe and beyond.
Patrick’s interests sit at the nexus of land restoration and human security. His firm conviction, drawn from decades of pioneering research, is that marrying traditional and advanced land management knowledge is the most promising pathway to rural prosperity, a giant help to mitigate our impact on biodiversity and the atmosphere and, tantalizingly, peace in a warming world.
Patrick has been active at the science-policy interface since the late 1980s, with a start teaching biology in the Hindu Kush. As a young European official, he then pioneered a new way of using communications to deal with the environmental legacy of communism across the former Soviet Union, before leaving for the private sector. There, he engaged with the disastrous environmental legacy of China’s Great Leap forward through an effort which became the first large-scale private-sector investment in tree planting for watershed remediation in that country.
His career has been varied. Amongst the highlights were a role helping ESA, the European Space Agency, develop its Vision for Human Spaceflight, and helping its astronauts become better communicators (Yes, beers with astronauts. That was a boyhood dream come true.). He got drawn into the post-Soviet conundrum at the National Security Council of the Republic of Georgia, where he served from 2007 to 2009 – and helped the country defend itself against Russia’s 2008 invasion – we warned the world back then that, unless it took a firm stand with Mr.Putin, Ukraine would be next – it didn’t, and here we are. He was involved in one of the early attempts to launch VoiP telephony and worked on both pollution and rebranding. And for over two decades, he pushed the huge benefits of intercultural education through board-level positions at AFS International Inc., AFS’ European umbrella organisation EFIL, and AFS Hungary.
Patrick serves as President of IUAF, the International Union of Agroforestry. He also serves as the Vice-President of the European Agroforestry Federation; is a member of the Steering Committee of International Land Lives Peace, which works at the interface between land degration and conflicts; a Senior Fellow of the Global Evergreening Alliance; and a member of several advisory boards. He is the very happily married father of four children ranging from 5 to 30 years old and lives in Waterloo, Belgium.