Gary Burniske, Managing Director
Mr. Burniske is a specialist in international relief and development, with a technical focus on sustainable agriculture, forestry and natural resource management. He is the Managing Director of the Center for Global Food Security within Discovery Park at Purdue University. Mr. Burniske is responsible for the day to day management of the Center and networks with Purdue’s faculty and scientists to take a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling global challenges affecting food security.
Mr. Burniske has 35 years of international experience covering nearly 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Former Soviet Union. He has held senior level technical and managerial positions with humanitarian organizations and international public institutions. Before joining Purdue, Mr. Burniske served as Country Director for Mercy Corps in Colombia and Tajikistan, and Country Director for the Institute for Sustainable Communities in Russia. He worked as Regional Technical Advisor in Agriculture and Natural Resources with CARE covering 25 countries in Asia and Latin America. Mr. Burniske headed the International Tropical Timber Organization’s conservation efforts globally, and was Principal Technical Advisor to the Nicaraguan Forest Service with a leading role in drafting national forest policies and legislation.
Mr. Burniske’s recent accomplishments include the design and management of Mercy Corp’s regional flagship program for Latin America utilizing alternative dispute resolution to resolve land conflicts on 2 million acres of Afro-descendent and indigenous communal land in the Darien Gap region of Colombia. In Tajikistan, he led the transformation of a small Tajik NGO, the National Association of Business Women into the largest microcredit provider in Tajikistan. Mr. Burniske also has a successful track record in raising funds from bilateral and multi-lateral donors as well as the private sector.
Mr. Burniske holds an MS in Forest Economics and a BS in Natural Resources Management, both from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He is fluent in Spanish, Russian, Thai and Arabic, and conversational in Portuguese. He joined the Purdue Center for Global Food Security in February, 2012.