MDP Director Wilsey in Panama to support and develop UMN projects

MDP Director Dave Wilsey spent several days this October in Panama on a GPS Alliance International Travel Grant to support the internationalization of the University on all campuses through research, teaching, and outreach. Dr. Wilsey met with several organizations about prospects for UMN's Master of Development Practice (MDP) field experience projects and Global Policy Area capstones, including the UNDP, Peace Corps, Floating Doctors, and Give & Surf. 

In January, he will be co-teaching a Global Seminar in Panama: Biodiversity, Ecotourism, and Sustainable Development in Panama. In addition to supporting longer-term relationship building in the region, the course provides an opportunity to exercise his background in business and post-graduate training in conservation biology. 

David Wilsey’s research and practice focus on development of integrated natural resource conservation and livelihood programs, generally focusing on forest- and farm- based livelihood systems. A particular interest is the role of non-timber forest products in food and livelihood systems, and in the development of market-based interventions to support livelihood and lifestyle goals.
Wilsey joined the Masters in Development Practice (MDP) program in 2013 as the program coordinator and a lecturer. Prior to joining the program, he spent five years as an associate Extension professor & educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences. His Extension work focused on three themes: natural resource based livelihood systems, non-timber forest products, and cross cultural program development. Although Wilsey was was situated within the forestry program area, his work regularly crossed boundaries and he established productive collaborations with the small farms team, community vitality and economics, family resource management, and the American Indian leadership team, of which he was an active member. Though his interests are broad ranging, over the course of his career Wilsey primarily worked with forest – based and forest – oriented groups in the Americas: in Minnesota, several states in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. Wilsey says the opportunity to expand this portfolio to include other themes and regions is one of the great privileges of working with the MDP program.

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