Dr. Shanti Gamper-Rabindran is a faculty member of the Master in International Development program at GSPIA. Shanti’s decade-long work in strengthening the socioeconomic and international dimensions of sustainability in GSPIA and at Pitt is deeply appreciated. Her work has contributed to Pitt’s Sustainability Plan, including Teaching and Learning, Research, Global Outreach and Partnership, and Community Engagement. The international development community faces the challenge: how can we best address the worsening social inequalities and impairment in the natural environment, while improving the quality of life of billions who live in poverty? Shanti’s research, teaching and outreach address these fundamental questions. In her research, Shanti studies a wide range of issues, e.g., shale extraction in emerging economies without adequate protections for local communities (China, Argentina and South Africa); the provision water to reduce infant mortality rates in Brazil; the intersection of trade and the environment including the North American Free Trade Agreement. In her teaching, these issues find their way to courses on the socioeconomic, health, environmental, and legal aspects of sustainability in developing countries, attracting students across different disciplines.
Shanti is also a very active member within her professional community. She has organized three international conferences at Pitt and brought together national and international scholars and practitioners to discuss economic, energy and environmental problems, culminating in the edited book The Shale Dilemma: A Global Perspective in Fracking and Shale Development (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). Shanti has mentored many alumni from low-income backgrounds, including several who are the first in their families to attend college. Their voices are critical in the sustainability debates. Thanks to her collaborative work in creating internship opportunities, our students pursue valuable experiences working on renewable energy in Uganda and working to combine health delivery and sustainability in Indonesia. Many of our graduates with their work in government as well as nonprofit agencies, and/or through social ventures, continue to shape sustainable economic development in the U.S. and in developing countries. Shanti has been instrumental in updating our curriculum on sustainable development in the MID program and in exploring the offering of a 4:1 BA/MA program. Both programs strive to train the next generation of sustainability professionals on cutting edge issues.
To that end, the MSCI’s Certificate in Sustainability has been a model of bringing multidisciplinary students to work together on issues of sustainability, which we hope to continue to excel with Shanti’s teaching and research commitments. Shanti’s work and collaboration on sustainability has impacted and impressed many within the university.
Dr. Shanti Gamper-Rabindran is a 2020 Pitt Sustainability Award Winner (Faculty).