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Eleanor Sterling

Eleanor Sterling has been appointed as the director of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). She will join UH Mānoa in this leadership role on January 3, 2022.

“It is our privilege to welcome Dr. Eleanor Sterling as director of HIMB,” said Brian Taylor, dean of SOEST. “Dr. Sterling is an internationally renowned scholar in biocultural diversity, conservation policy and resource management. Her recent studies have focused on culturally attuned indicators of human and environmental health and well-being on Pacific Islands, including Hawaiʻi. She brings to HIMB a wealth of experience in executive management, diversity leadership, community relations and funding development.”

HIMB is truly thrilled to be able to welcome Dr. Sterling as our new director,” added Judy Lemus, interim director of HIMB. “The mix of experience and skills that she brings will no doubt be transformative in advancing HIMB‘s research and education endeavors. I am personally looking forward to working and learning under her leadership.”

Sterling is currently the Jaffe Chief Conservation Scientist at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, where she has been a faculty member for more than 20 years and previously served as director.

Building on her interdisciplinary training and more than 30 years of field research and community collaboration experience in Oceania, Africa, Asia and Latin America, Sterling’s work focuses on conservation and natural resource management; food systems; the intersection between biodiversity, culture and languages; and the factors influencing ecological and social resilience.

Additionally, Sterling is an expert in strategic planning from a systems perspective and in implementation and evaluation of capacity development. She is currently deputy vice chair for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s World Commission on Protected Areas Core Capacity Development group where she co-leads working groups on Indigenous peoples, local communities and on capacity development evaluation.

“The search for a new director required the efforts of a diverse committee with a single unified goal: to identify and recruit the best possible candidate to lead HIMB into the future,” said David Karl, search advisory committee chair and UH Mānoa oceanography professor. “The appointment of Dr. Eleanor Sterling as our next director is another example of attracting a world-class scholar to the UH Mānoa ʻohana to help move our important missions forward.”

“I am honored to have been chosen as the next director of HIMB,” said Sterling. “I look forward to learning from and collaborating with the fantastic researchers, educators and staff at the institute and to working together with them and UH overall to explore what it means to do world-renowned science that embraces multiple ways of knowing and recognizes deep cultural contexts for this work.”

–By Marcie Grabowski

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