Bemmy Maharramov is a Ph.D. student at UC Irvine’s School of Social Ecology, Department of Planning, Policy and Design. Her research is action oriented, focused on the integration of ecosystem services in urban and regional settings to benefit natural and human well-being. She also has a Master of Environmental Science and Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University, Bloomington, School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Bemmy is also interested in sustainable food systems in urban environments as a means of improving local food security and ecosystem function, having over 10 years of experience in the environment and development arena. She recently worked at Conservation International as Manager of the Food Security Initiative as well as with USAID, The Ocean Foundation, and the newly published Solutions from the Land (SFL) Pathways Report entitled, “Developing a New Vision for United States Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation.” In addition to the recent release, this CUSA researcher and aspiring graduate student had time to divulge some of her deeper drives and motives with the center.
Q. How did you hear about the center? What brought you in contact with CUSA?
A. Before coming to UCI, I was really interested in the School of Social Ecology. When I was talking to people about possibly going here, someone recommended I check out the CUSA website because it seemed like it might be a good match for my interests. And it was!
Q. How do you think you (personally) and your research’s area of focus align with CUSA’s overall mission?
A. I am interested in creating connections between traditional and non-traditional ecosystems across the landscape to provide benefits to urban and regional areas, such as improved food, water, climate, and health security. This is very relevant and complementary to CUSA’s mission to study and develop solutions to human and environmental security challenges.
Q. Have you chosen a research project to pursue at CUSA? If so, can you describe it? If not, what current research topics/projects at CUSA interest you most?
A. More of the world is becoming increasingly urbanized, with increasing demands for food, fuel and fiber, along with threats from climate change, loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity. The Environmental and Security Research Group can play an important role in trying to better understand synergies between people and natural ecosystems in urban areas and surrounding regional areas for improved human well-being, resilience to climate change, and healthier natural ecosystems. This line of research is very complementary to the environmental security, climate change and peace building work of CUSA as it provides a stabilizing framework for avoiding conflict in areas with high human populations and natural resources, as well as a goal post for war torn areas emerging from conflict.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish while at CUSA?
A. I plan to contribute to the successful growth of CUSA in achieving their mission in several ways, by working collaboratively with colleagues and partners to engage in action-oriented research on the integration of natural ecosystems in urban and regional areas to benefit human and environmental security. This will add to CUSA’s body of work and inform policy makers, partners and academic institutions. I also look forward to providing technical and program management expertise, such as through the Human Security Awards and through the relaunch of CUSA’s Vision document, which outline their strategic business plan going forward, in honor of their ten year Anniversary.
To learn more about Maharramov’s involvement with the Solutions from the Land Pathways Report, please click here.