Karen Eckert holds a PhD in Zoology and a Certificate in Global Policy Studies from the University of Georgia in Athens. At Principia, she teaches courses in Sustainability, as well as policy-oriented courses in Biology and Natural Resources. Her interests are marine zoology, biodiversity conservation, sustainability science, and conservation law and policy. Having served for more than two decades as Executive Director of a regional activity network for the United Nations Environment Programme, which required close coordination with more than 40 governments, Dr. Eckert brings a wealth of international experience to her role as Principia's first Director of the Center for Sustainability Studies.
Dr. Eckert was inducted into the Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement by the United Nations in 1994, when she was characterized as “one of the most important figures in conservation and grassroots community empowerment" in the Wider Caribbean Region. In 1996, she was included in the first class of Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation, a prestigious three-year Fellowship that recognized her work in restoring depleted sea turtle populations and promoting sustainable coexistence between Caribbean people and their marine resources. She received the 2003 Chevron-Texaco Conservation Award for “providing the world with a unique model that shows how people and marine life are not only able to coexist, but to flourish.” More recently she was nominated for the Indianapolis Prize for her efforts “to inspire local and global communities and to celebrate, protect and preserve our natural world through conservation, education and research.”
Dr. Eckert has published more than 130 scientific and general interest articles, books, technical manuals, and policy documents. She is an advisor to several US government agencies, as well as to many foreign governments and intergovernmental bodies, and has traveled extensively throughout the Americas, the Caribbean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and, to a lesser extent, Southeast Asia.