Kristen Walker Painemilla (USA)

Kirsten Walker

CEESP Co-Chair for the CEESP/CEL Specialist Group on Indigenous Peoples, Customary & Environmental Laws & Human Rights (SPICEH)

Kristen Walker Painemilla is Vice President at Conservation International and of CI’s Social Policy and Practice Department (SPP). This department draws on the accomplishments and talents of the previous Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Program and performs a broad set of responsibilities, including rights-based approaches to conservation, partnerships, social responsibility, gender, engagement with development organizations and other critical social components of conservation.

Over the past two years, Ms. Painemilla had led efforts on behalf of CI to form the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights (CIHR), a consortium of international conservation NGOs that seek to improve the practice of conservation by promoting integration of human rights in conservation policy and practice. She published the book Indigenous Peoples and Conservation: From Rights to Resource Management in October 2010, drawing on 15 years of experience working with indigenous peoples and conservation.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Painemilla was the Senior Director of Program Strategy in the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) at CI from 1999 through 2003, and was integral in its development, spearheading the strategic direction of the Center’s activities and development of new programs. Ms. Painemilla led several initiatives within CABS such as Defying Nature’s End, CABS Bushmeat Initiative and scientific communications.

Ms. Painemilla holds her degree in Latin American Studies and Anthropology from George Washington University. She was a Cotlow Scholar in 1996, a U.S. Fulbright Scholar 1997-1998 and is a Senior Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program. Ms. Painemilla serves on several boards including the Equator Initiative and the Chol-Chol Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose principal aim is to provide integral education for the women of indigenous rural communities with limited resources. She resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband Fabian, a Mapuche Indian from Chile and her 2 children.