Global Governance Institute


18: Jacqueline McGlade – Empathy, Science and Circles of Compassion

In this episode, we are joined by Jacqueline McGlade, Professor of Resilience and Sustainable Development at UCL.

Jacqueline McGlade is Professor of Resilience and Sustainable Development at University College London. She is also the Frank Jackson Foundation Professor of the Environment at Gresham College and Professor at Strathmore University Business School in Kenya. A marine biologist by training, Jacqueline was Chief Scientist and Director of the Science Division of the UN Environment Programme from 2003 to 2013 and before that, served as Executive Director of the European Environment Agency. However, today she is more likely to be found exploring ideas through working with local communities in Kenya than frequenting high-powered meetings at international organisations. Indeed, as you will hear, in a curious twist of fate, Jacqueline became a member of the Maasai tribe in 2016 through marriage to a Maasai chief and has relocated to live near the Maasai Mara Nature Reserve in Kenya.

Jaqueline McGlade
As we explore in our conversation, this life experience gives Jacqueline a unique perspective on the interface between culture, science and politics. Her career has been strongly informed by the complex interplay of data and communication and the ways in which science is filtered through the worldview of the beholder. An early love for languages also played a key role, revealing communication as a portal to mutual understanding across cultural realities. Ultimately, Jacqueline argues for more empathy in science and a willingness among her colleagues to communicate their knowledge in a way which meets people where they are. In honouring our shared humanity in the act of communication, Jacqueline suggests we invite a deeper sense of mutual responsibility and care to naturally arise.

Jacqueline tweets @JacquieMcGlade. You can learn more about Jacqueline’s work on her UCL webpage. To hear more from Jacqueline, watch her lecture series at Gresham College