My Annual Review 2015

This year was a bittersweet year for us. The health of my mother-in-law, Hannah, hasn’t improved and Leorah is dedicated to helping her be as peaceful and pleasant as possible. I admire Leorah’s strength and love for her mother. We all remember her dynamic and creative personality while facing the current reality of old age and realize that this is the cycle of life.

At the same time, we enjoy seeing our grandchildren bloom into little people with personalities and opinions (in their own right)! We enjoy playing with Arlo (son of Eyal and Beth), Adelaide (daughter of Aytan and Davina), and Geo (son of Shie and Leigh) and appreciate the smile and laughter of baby Nava, Geo’s sister. There is nothing more gratifying than having successful, and self-reliant, adult children with wonderful families of their own. Another gratifying event was that the Warriors won the championship after 30 years of waiting.

safta adisafta nava

Both the Beahrs ELP and the MDP while going through transitional phases continue to grow and prosper. Anita Ponce, the former anchor of the Beahrs ELP, decided to pursue new opportunities leaving it in the good hands of Mio Owens. Mio is also in charge of the Berkeley International & Executive Program, and this coming year, we will host a major executive training workshop on supply chain and innovation, which will be a first for Berkeley. Eunice Kim, who brought energy, elegance and wisdom to the MDP from its inception, also left to take on new challenges. We are really excited about her new family, congratulations Eunice and David! Fortunately, George continues to be the pillar of strength and innovation for our program and we were fortunate enough to hire Lauren Krupa as our career and admissions sage. Both programs are in good hands and deserve your support!

MDP Class of 2015

Research-wise, this year was very productive. I continued my work showing the more enlightened policies on both biofuels and biotech and towards an economy transitioning from one relying on non-renewable resources to a more sustainable one relying on renewable resources.

This coming year we are looking forward to another bioeconomy conference at Berkeley and the 20th anniversary of the ICABR at Ravello. I have new studies on the economics of water conservation and water and climate change. I coauthored a study surveying alternative perspectives to food and agriculture by non-economists. After many decades, I was able to publish the final chapter of my dissertation.

My newest initiative is to understand how new innovations create supply chains. I have always been fortunate to work with wonderful collaborators and students along with excellent support (thanks Angie, Scott, Hillary, and Ben!). This year I also started an exciting collaboration with Tom Reardon, who will also teach at the MDP.

ELP graduation

As usual, this year was one of travel. I was fortunate to visit my family in Israel and to have my sister, Dina, and her family visit us in Berkeley. My travels brought me to Slovakia, three times to Italy, to Germany and to Nepal. All rewarding experiences that showed me that while people may look and behave differently, we are all quite similar.

Happy 2016, a year of happiness and peace.

all grandchildren

Annual Review, 2010

2010 was a year mixed of good and bad. This year Leorah and I became empty nesters for real(several times in the past the kids have left, but boomeranged back). Shie and Leigh moved to Seattle where Shie is running the computer system of the high school and they are both teaching. Beth and Eyal returned from their Peace Corps service in Guyana and they are in Boston where Beth is attending Boston College Law School. Aytan and Davina are in New York where Aytan has become a recruiter of “quants” (mathematical analysts in financial institutions like Goldman Sachs) and Davina is pursuing a career in media production. Leorah is truly enjoying her retirement – she takes classes in creative writing, continues her art and crafts, and maintains her wonderful blog (http://leorahle.wordpress.com/). She also volunteers at Berkeley High School and Longfellow Middle School, spends a lot of time with her mom  and keeps in touch with old and new friends.

This year we got terrible news about my sister Shlomit, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. She has undergone an operation as well as radiation and chemotherapy. I have visited her twice this year and I admire how our family and their friends have provided a wonderful network of support. My sister Dina has really been a trooper and she juggles being a mother of triplets, a wife, a family driver, a devout sister, and professionally a consultant. We all wish Shlomit the best in the coming year and I really treasure her fighting spirit.

The highlight of this year was a wonderful trip to Norway. Our friends Iulie and Tom, and Hans Peter and Bitten were wonderful hosts and we had a great cruise to the fjords. I always thought that cruises are for old people, but I guess we’ve joined the club. We continue to go to Warriors games, they are entertaining underachievers. They teach us that losing can be fun and we treasure their occasional wins.

While the Warriors are losing, my real team, the Berkeley B-AREs, has had a great year. Our ARE department was voted as the best in the agricultural and resource economic field by the National Research Council’s study, which is an academic tournament that happens once every decade or so. Professionally, it was a good year. Our summer program, Environmental Leadership Program (Beahrs ELP), celebrated its 10th anniversary and was a big success. Furthermore, we learned that we received support from MacArthur to start the Master of Development Practice, which will be an MBA in sustainability. I hope that the UC bureaucracy will approve the program this year and we will have our first cohort in fall 2012. I hope that we will generate a new and very much needed type of leaders for development and the environment. I helped with other organizational efforts. This year our Bioeconomy Consortium (ICABR) had a great meeting in Ravello, Italy and next June we will have one in Rome in cooperation with the European Environmental Economic Association. We had a successful third Berkeley Bioeconomy Conference in June, and we plan to have the next one on the 25th and 26th of March of this coming year.

I continue to be excited about our biofuel research and the EBI and the development of a great agenda on the tradeoff between food and fuel, the political economy of energy and the role of OPEC, biofuel and indirect land use changes and I expect the program to grow and evolve. I really enjoy continuing research on payment for ecosystem services and helping to apply it in the real world. We made great strides documenting the value of biotechnology and I hope it will help to increase adoption and use of these technologies. We have had an exciting program on Avian Influenza and I look forward to present the state of knowledge in a book that I am editing. I am sometimes overwhelmed with editing – our Springer series, the Annual Review of Resource Economics, ARE Update, etc, but deep inside I guess I like it.

As you can see I have a busy professional life, but I contribute relatively little to it. I couldn’t have done all of this without Amor who retired this year. But, I am glad that Angie has stepped in beautifully. My graduate students, post docs, and collaborators have been essential to my success; I am really fortunate to have all of these colleagues that became friends and make me look good. I hope that 2011 will be a better year – full of health, happiness, and friendship.