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Indian foresters visit Syracuse for classes at Maxwell, SUNY-ESF

April 07, 2011

Jill Leonhardt
(315) 443-5492

Thirty two high-level administrators from the Indian Forest Service (IFS) are visiting Syracuse in April as part of a four-week educational program that combines forestry and public policy skills.

forestersThe visitors are executive leaders within the Indian Forestry Service (IFS) with approximately 28 years of service who are serving at the rank of chief conservator of forests or additional principal chief conservator of forests. They come to the United States through an arrangement between the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB), and the Maxwell School. While on campus, they will study policy in the Executive Training Program at Maxwell and forestry at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

The training program focuses on developing senior IFS officers’ understanding of the changing scene for environmental policymaking and implementation internationally and domestically, with a focus on developing leadership and management skills to help them implement these changes.

Maxwell and ESF worked with groups from the IFS last year, and will do so again in May and July, says David Newman, chair of SUNY-ESF’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Management.

This week, the visitors will attend classroom lectures at the two universities. At SUNY-ESF, the classes will include topics such as global forest policy and management, U.S. forest fire policy, sustainable forest management and commercial forestry, and impacts of land use on water quality. Classes at Maxwell will cover policy analysis, defining policy issues for India and the United States, and conflict and collaboration.

According to Maxwell’s international program manager Dan Nelson, “This program provides a great opportunity for ESF and Maxwell to work together, combining resources to help officials who are responsible for managing very complex environmental policy challenges. We appreciate the chance to work closely with the Indian Forest Service as they address these challenges in their country.”

“The program gives the officers an opportunity to get out of their country to see how another part of the world operates,” Newman says. “The idea is to give them some perspective on how things are done in the United States.”

After a week of classes in Syracuse, the group will travel to the Adirondacks over the weekend and visit SUNY-ESF’s Ranger School in Wanakena, N.Y. to study land-use policy. Then they will travel to the Catskills to see a managed forest and review the working arrangement of the New York City watershed before moving on to Washington, D.C. for meetings with their counterparts in the U.S. Forest Service.

Approximately 60 IFS officers participate in each one-month program. The first week in India focuses on organizational leadership and managing change at IIMB. The group then splits up, with 30 officers traveling to Syracuse and 30 officers traveling to Canada, where they study with the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. The final week takes place in India and is used for reflecting on the experience and developing plans for the future of the IFS.

The IFS is one of the three All India Services constituted under the provisions of India’s constitution. Its members are selected through a rigorous process conducted by the Union Public Services Commission.

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