'He brings a wealth of international experience from his career at unesco'

September 21, 2007

Kent University's first visiting professor in tourism has brokered UN treaties on heritage and the environment.

Unesco director of ecological and earth sciences Natarajan Ishwaran will be coming to Kent University as its first visiting professor in tourism.

Dr Ishwaran has negotiated with governments to get them to comply with treaties such as the World Heritage Convention and co-operative agreements including the Programme on Man and the Biosphere.

Kent runs undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in tourism management through its Business School, which has a year-old specialist research department, the Centre for Tourism in Islands and Coastal Areas. In his inaugural lecture next month, Dr Ishwaran will discuss the impact of tourism on islands and coasts.

Centre director Mark Hampton said he was "thrilled" to have Dr Ishwaran as a visiting professor: "He brings a wealth of international experience from his career at Unesco."

He joined Unesco as a consultant in 1986, and went to Indonesia to became a programme co-ordinator for the organisation's activities in South-East Asia, Australia and Japan. He returned to the World Heritage Centre in France to work in its natural heritage section, where he led networking and training for protected area management, including endangered sites and was named division head for ecological sciences in 2004.

Dr Ishwaran gained undergraduate and masters degrees in zoology and animal ecology at Peradeniya University in his native Sri Lanka. He stayed on as an assistant lecturer and led a government elephant survey team. A Fulbright-Hays scholarship then sent him to Michigan State in the US to study for his doctorate in wildlife ecology and management, which he received in 1985 after writing his thesis on the ecology and conservation of the Asian elephant.

He has made official and personal visits to more than 50 countries and speaks Tamil, English, French, Sinhalese and some Hindi, Malayam and Bahasa Indonesia.

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