Rebecca Farnum is an environmental peacebuilding researcher and educator. She works at the intersections of environmental activism, conflict resolution, and capacity-building with a particular passion for justice and equity, leveraging academia for public service and policy impact. Her work has included contributing to United Nations and International Law Commission policy on environmental peacebuilding; engaging underrepresented students in university learning through Widening Participation initiatives; and a stint with Michelle Obama’s Correspondence Team at The White House.
Becca is currently based at Syracuse University London, where she teaches environmental justice and global citizenship. Her portfolio includes leading a study abroad course to Copenhagen, Flåm, Stockholm, and Inari exploring sustainability in Europe and organising the campus’ internship programme for student engagement in Britain.
Her recent PhD in Geography from King’s College London partnered with three activist groups in the Middle East and North Africa to explore discourses of environmental conflict, cooperation, and diplomacy. In Aït Baamrane, Dar Si Hmad uses innovative fog harvesting technology to provide potable water for Amazigh communities and host an Ethnographic Field School in an underrepresented region of Morocco. The Media Association for Peace uses journalism to support conflict transformation in Lebanon; their Media, Peace & Environment project was the first to consider what ‘environmental peace journalism’ might look like. In the Gulf, the Kuwait Dive Team used the environmental destruction of the Iraqi Invasion to encourage community volunteerism for marine conservation.
Becca has also completed an LLM in International Law focused on environmental and human rights law at the University of Edinburgh and holds an MSc in Water Security and International Development from the University of East Anglia. She graduated in May 2012 from Michigan State University with first degrees in anthropology, interdisciplinary humanities, international development, and international relations. Her honors thesis project explored “Food and Water as the Middle East and North Africa’s ‘Coal and Steel’: Regional Economic Integration and Peace Prospects.”
In the United Kingdom, Becca works with Holt Hall Environmental & Outdoor Learning Centre to teach environmental education residential programmes for students, building capacity and demand for sustainable economies, and The Brilliant Club to tutor high-achieving pupils from low-participation schools, raising aspirations for university study. She also helps run the London Water Research Group; co-convenes a Working Group on the Hydro Cycle examining societal knowledge of hydrological science and anthropogenic impacts on water; and serves as the Founding Secretary of the AMENDS Global Fellows of the American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford.