March 31, 2010
March 16, 2010
Sierra James, originally from the Seattle area, received a master’s degree at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York. Her research interests there included international law, human rights, conflict resolution and education in emergencies and post-conflict reconstruction.
Passionate about oil painting, youth empowerment and conflict prevention, Sierra is the co-founder of a local non profit organization in Timor-Leste called Ba Futuru meaning “for the future”. Through this organization she worked to develop a Transformative Arts and Human Rights Education (TAHRE) program. This program uses artistic activities as a means to teach children about conflict resolution and human rights, while also providing training on child protection, conflict mitigation and human rights for community leaders, youth, teachers and those who work in child protection.
Between 2003 and 2004 Sierra was honored as a Julie Kidd Fellow for conflict prevention research, a SYLFF Fellow for study in Southeast Asia, and as a Women’s International Leadership Fellow, through which she participated in a year-long leadership training program.
Sierra’s background consists of undergraduate academic training focused on peace, diplomacy and security at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. In 1998 Sierra contributed to the confidence-building measures in South Asia project at the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington DC. After which she was a legal assistant at a Seattle-based internet company, eNIC Corporation.
From 2000 to 2002 Sierra was the Asia Pacific Coordinator for Earth Day Network. She liaised with NGO and government representatives from the over one thousand network members across the region. During her time with Earth Day Network, Sierra coordinated the Earth Car Free Day campaign partnering with the United Nations to work toward sustainable transportation initiatives helping to build projects in over two-hundred cities worldwide. In this capacity she assisted the United Nations in their first UN Car Free Day project that brought various mayors from Latin America to Bogotá, Colombia to learn from their successful Car Free Day program.
Sierra participated in the 2002 United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa (“Rio +10”). She coordinated events around issues relating to environmental education and the relationship between health and the environment. Sierra was also the keynote speaker at a large public forum in Seoul, South Korea where thousands of people and over forty organizations came together to mark Earth Day 2002.