International expert in sustainable development returns to his BC roots
Keith Culver has been named Director of the Okanagan Sustainability Institute (OSI), effective July 1, concurrent with an appointment to the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus.
Culver comes to UBC from the UniverSud Paris consortium of universities in France, where he held the Econoving International Chair in Generating Eco-Innovation. He developed master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral programs at UniverSud in sustainable development, leading a multi-university, interdisciplinary research program focused on environmentally high-performance cities and rural areas of the future.
“UBC’s Okanagan campus is a leader in sustainability initiatives and innovation. Keith’s knowledge and expertise will help us to build on an already strong foundation,” said Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus.
“The OSI is a wonderful opportunity to help focus the existing research and teaching excellence of UBC to benefit sustainability in the Okanagan, and to accelerate UBC’s generation of world-leading sustainability research,” said Culver. “UBC has the resources and reach of a global university. At the same time, the Okanagan campus can be nimble and responsive in interaction with communities and ecosystems up and down the Valley.”
Culver grew up in the Okanagan and is coming home after two decades of working in a variety of roles including research and development collaborations with major international firms in the energy, transport, and construction sectors.
“Something I’ve learned is there is no one right way to sustainability, and no single place to stand and push for sustainability. We need the active participation of all levels of government. In Canada, First Nations must be key partners in any effective change. Business also has a role, as do non-governmental organizations,” Culver said.
“I hope to bring home an awareness that while it is sometimes difficult for one sector or group to understand the language or priorities of another, we can build a sustainable society only if we work through these difficulties together, advancing with shared goals and commitments to action,” he added.