Dr. Dorceta Taylor, director of the Minority Environmental Leadership Development Program (MELDI) at the University of Michigan will deliver the keynote address. Panelists for the symposium include internationally recognized scholars who will present perspectives on the topics. According to Dr. Donald E. Stone, Interim CEO for OTS and Chair Emeritus of Botany at Duke University, "It is vital that we address the absence of human diversity in the environmental and biological sciences in order to ensure that we encourage the best and the brightest to become the next generation of professionals. This groundbreaking symposium will bring together experts from a variety of disciplines to present ideas, share success stories and document the most successful ways to identify, recruit and train underrepresented groups."
The Organization for Tropical Studies is a nonprofit consortium of more than 60 universities and research institutions from the United States, Costa Rica, Perú, México, South Africa and Australia. OTS was founded in 1963 with a mission to provide leadership in education, research and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. Historically, OTS has operated in Costa Rica where it maintains three biological field stations, facilitates research advancing the world's knowledge of tropical ecosystems and the impact of changes in tropical ecosystems on the global environment. OTS now offers numerous courses in Latin America and South Africa for graduate and undergraduate students.