Who we are

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Executive Director:

Todd Nachowitz, PhD

Previously, Todd received a BA (1984) in South Asian Studies, minoring in Religious Studies, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), and an MA (1991) in Development Anthropology from Syracuse University (New York, USA) on indigenous resistance to large-scale development projects in India and Northern Québec. More recently (2015), Todd completed his PhD in the Department of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Waikato, entitled “Towards a framework of deep diversity: identity and invisibility in the Indian diaspora in New Zealand.” Drawing on the Indian diaspora in New Zealand as a case study, and utilising anthropological and demographic methodologies and policy assessment, his thesis views diversity and multicultural policy in both historical and contemporary contexts, and proposes a new framework for diversity governance.

Since 1980, Todd has spent over a decade living, studying and researching in South Asia, working in the fields of religious studies, anthropology, language teaching (Hindi and Urdu), cross-cultural education, demography, conservation and development. He has lived and worked in the United States, India, Pakistan and Nepal. Since December 1995, has lived and worked in New Zealand, first as Academic Director for a US-based undergraduate study-abroad programme in both indigenous studies and environmental conservation. More recently, Todd has been a part-time Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in the Studies in Religion programme at the University of Waikato, has been teaching Adult Education classes on religious diversity, and was the Centre Coordinator and a founding member of the Board of Trustees for the Religious Diversity Centre, based in Auckland (2016-2019). Todd is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO). His recent research publications have focused on the Indian Diaspora in New Zealand (2015, 2018 and 2019), and he is currently working on a New Zealand textbook for the teaching of Hindi and Urdu, and a book project detailing the history of multiculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Board of Trustees:

Our Board of Trustees has recently been established in January 2020. We are currently in the process of applying for status as a Charitable Trust.

Current members of the EarthDiverse Trust are:

Debashish Munshi, PhD

Debashish is a Professor of Management Communication in the Waikato Management School at the University of Waikato. His research work spans disciplinary boundaries as he seeks answers to difficult societal questions in fields ranging from the social sciences, management, organisational communication, science and technology, and future studies. His interdisciplinary work is anchored in postcolonial theory and aims for social justice. Public engagement on complex and contentious issues has been the focus of his most recent work. He was recently awarded a prestigious Marsden Grant by the Royal Society of New Zealand for a study on Sustainable Citizenship: Transforming Public Engagement. He is currently Co-Principal Investigator on a National Science Challenge project on Centering Culture in Public Engagement on Climate Change Adaptation, part of his work on Climate Futures, organised as part of a project funded by a Rockefeller Foundation grant. Debashish’s work with national and international colleagues has been instrumental in helping bring postcolonial perspectives to the discipline of Communication through numerous journal articles. His book (co-authored with Prof David McKie) on Reconfiguring Public Relations: Ecology, Equity, and Enterprise published by Routledge won the 2007 PRIDE Award for the Outstanding Book of the Year awarded by the PR Division of the US-based National Communication Association (NCA), the largest communication association in the world. He has also co-edited three other landmark books – Feminist Futures (Zed Books, 2016); The Handbook of Communication Ethics (Routledge), which won the Edited Book of the Year Award from the NCA’s Communication Ethics Division in 2011; and On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions (Routledge).

Gauri Nandedkar, PhD

pic and bio coming soon

Sylvie Rabinovitch-Bolstad

Sylvie is one of the founding members of the Waikato Interfaith Council, set up in 1994. Originally from a multicultural and multifaith community in Montreal, Canada, she emigrated to New Zealand with her husband in 1971 and both their children were born in and grew up in Hamilton. She is an artist, educator and community project facilitator and the Founder / Director of Artmakers Community Artists Trust, Hamilton.  As an artist, educator and storyteller, Sylvie believes that our aspirations for peace and coexistence are best expressed through creative processes – telling inspiring personal stories, studying ancient & modern texts, creating art, music & performances. Her professional life has been dedicated to community development through the arts, in particular working with young people and children. She believes that we must invest in the next generation by helping them to recognise the power of addressing the big questions of existence,  by accepting the richness of diversity, and learning to harmonise our differences for the common good.

page last updated 13 February 2020