LAHORE: Zarish Yaqoob, a dedicated Pakistani Christian environmentalist hailing from Lahore, has achieved a remarkable milestone by successfully completing the intensive Executive International course on Sustainable Environmental Management. Zarish’s accomplishment comes as she wrapped up the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (Beahrs ELP) in 2023, hosted at the renowned University of California, Berkeley in the United States.
Zarish Yaqoob’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. As a passionate advocate for environmental causes and a social and peace activist, she has long been committed to making a difference in her homeland, Pakistan. Currently serving as a senior project officer at WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature Pakistan), Zarish’s dedication to sustainable resource management led her to this prestigious international program.
Zarish’s selection into the 2023 cohort of the Beahrs ELP was the result of a highly competitive vetting process. She joined the 22nd class, which comprised 28 experts and professionals specializing in natural resource management, environment, climate change, and development, representing diverse regions across the globe, from Asia and Africa to North and South America, and Europe.
The Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program at UC Berkeley is internationally recognized for its rigorous and transformative curriculum. Through exposure to innovative approaches and real-world case studies, participants like Zarish develop the skills necessary to address complex and dynamic environmental challenges.
Established in 2000, the program boasts a faculty of award-winning Berkeley professors from various disciplines, including the Rausser College of Natural Resources, Haas School of Business, School of Environmental Design, as well as the departments of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, and Agricultural and Resource Economics. Additionally, the program features experts in areas such as green finance, systems leadership, communications, project management, conflict resolution, and consensus building.
Upon completing the Beahrs ELP, participants gain lifelong membership in an alumni network comprising 757 members from over 114 countries, fostering ongoing collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
Zarish Yaqoob has not only been an active participant in the program but has also played a pivotal role in her team’s success. Her team achieved the highest score in the final presentation of their project, a testament to her dedication and leadership.
Beyond her personal accomplishments, Zarish’s journey has brought pride to her homeland, representing the youth of Pakistan on the global stage. Her experiences in the Beahrs ELP have broadened her horizons and equipped her with the knowledge and skills needed to effect positive change in sustainable environmental management at local, national, regional, and global levels.
As part of the program, participants had the opportunity to embark on two field visits, including one to the iconic San Francisco Bridge and another to the Point Reyes National Seashore, a significant nature preserve.
The official closing program and certification ceremony were attended by participants, professors, and staff of UC Berkeley’s Rausser College of Natural Resources, along with invited guests.
Looking ahead, Zarish Yaqoob is excited about her role as an alumna of the Beahrs ELP. She envisions actively sharing the knowledge she has gained with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, ministries and agencies, community-based organizations, youth, policymakers, women, environmental and natural resource management experts, students, and more upon her return to Pakistan.
To commemorate her journey, Zarish has authored a blog titled “Pakistani Christian Environmentalist Overcoming the Challenges of Funding to attend Beahrs ELP 2023,” expected to be published soon on the University of California, Berkeley’s website.
Zarish extends her heartfelt gratitude to her family, generous donors, and the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program 2023 team, including the Dean and staff of the Rausser College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley, as well as WWF Pakistan, for their unwavering moral support in enabling her participation in this prestigious program.