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Last Updated Friday, October 9 2015

Engelman to Step Down as Worldwatch Institute President

Published February 27, 2014
Worldwatch Institute President Robert Engelman has announced his decision to step down as head of the pioneering environmental research organization. Engelman will become a Senior Fellow at Worldwatch and return to the environmental and population research and writing he has pursued for much of his career.

Engelman informed the leadership of the Institute's Board of Directors last fall of his intention to resign at an appropriate time in 2014.

"With several new projects beginning or in the wings this year at Worldwatch, including an especially exciting one that supports my own research, this is the right moment to make this transition," Engelman said. He will serve as President until March 15, 2014, at which time Board Chair Ed Groark will become Acting President of the Institute. The Board intends to begin a search for a permanent President at a later date.

As a Senior Fellow, Engelman will work to build partnerships with researchers in developing countries to assess scientific evidence on the links between family planning, population dynamics, and environmental sustainability.

Engelman is a veteran researcher, author, and former newspaper reporter who served as Worldwatch's Vice President for Programs from early 2007 to mid-2011, when he succeeded Christopher Flavin as President. Groark, who founded and led information technology service companies, is a long-time member of the Board. He took on the chairmanship in 2011 in an integrated leadership transition with Engelman at Worldwatch.

"Bob stepped up at a challenging time and distinguished himself as a leader, working closely and well with the Board in managing Worldwatch's development and program," Groark said. "We're delighted that he will continue to contribute to the Institute through his ongoing research."

Under Engelman's leadership, the Institute focused much of its work on the development of Sustainable Energy Roadmaps in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as its ongoing programs in food and agriculture, population and gender, and cultural transformation for sustainability. Forging a new partnership with Washington, D.C.-based Island Press, the Institute continued its signature book series State of the World, including the popular 2013 edition, subtitled Is Sustainability Still Possible? The 2014 edition, focused on Governing for Sustainability, will be released in late April. Worldwatch has also continued regular publication of Vital Signs, its long-running feature on environmental and related social trends posted online and compiled in annual books.

"It has been a unique privilege to lead this critically needed research institute, one of the organizations I've most admired since I first encountered its insightful work on sustainability in the early 1980s," Engelman said. "I look forward to supporting and contributing to the work of Ed Groark, the Institute's Board, and its talented staff while I pursue my own research and writing at Worldwatch."

Founded by Lester Brown 40 years ago this year, the Worldwatch Institute applies research, analysis, storytelling, and outreach to inform and inspire a shift to a sustainable global civilization that meets human needs. A survey sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania recently ranked the Institute as one of the world's top three environmental think tanks. 

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