New Course Shows Strong Momentum in its Mission to Empower Women in Developing Countries to Change the Course of Their Lives

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Founded by International Conservation Leaders, Organization Helps Women in Environmentally-Sustainable Ways

After successful executive roles at Conservation International, Dr. Jamie Bechtel and Karl Morrison launched New Course (, an organization focused on empowering women in developing countries to change the course of their own lives, and the lives of those they care about, by actively contributing to the health and sustainability of their communities and natural resources. New Course today celebrates its one-year anniversary with important milestones in support for women in Africa, prestigious advisory board seats, relevant partnerships and the launch of a membership drive.

“Including women in the creation and execution of solutions in developing countries is necessary if basic human rights are to be secured for all people, if change is to be sustainable and if investments in these communities are to be optimized,” stated Dr. Bechtel. “Women have typically been excluded in conservation strategies and New Course has been working to change that.”

Tackling extreme poverty and natural resource degradation around the world is complex and the women in these troubled environments face some of the greatest day-to-day challenges especially when it comes to securing essential needs such as food, water, health and education. There is growing awareness at all levels of government and NGO (non-governmental organization) leadership around the world that investing in the empowerment of women and girls is one of the most efficient and effective uses of philanthropic resources.

New Course Gains Strong Momentum

In the year since its inception New Course has made strong progress.

● In Tanzania, New Course will provide 6,000 women and their families with water, 2,000 women and their families with clean and reliable energy sources, and hundreds of women with economic opportunities.

● Dr. Bechtel was invited to join influential conservationists Philippe Cousteau, Jane Goodall, Tom Lovejoy, E.O. Wilson and others on the Advisory Committee of the Alliance for Global Conservation (, a partnership of the major five conservation organizations (Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Wildlife Conservation Society and World Wildlife Fund).

● New Course was invited to be a member of the Gender Coordinating Committee of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (, a 60-million dollar initiative led by the UN Foundation. The committee is headed by Melanne Verveer, United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues.

● New Course was invited to partner with Ashoka Changemakers on their Sustainable Housing competition ( In addition to partnering, Dr. Bechtel is an expert commentator on the program.

● Dr. Bechtel has been invited to speak at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival ( The festival seeks to “gather some of the most interesting thinkers and leaders from around the US and abroad to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas.” This year the festival will be divided into four program tracks, one of which is “The Environment: Green Tech to Clean Tech.” Dr. Bechtel will lend her experience and expertise in this area to discuss the human impacts of climate change and what should be done regarding this issue.

● New Course has recently launched a major membership drive. More details can be found at

More New Course Co-Founders

Before founding New Course with her husband Karl Morrison, Dr. Bechtel worked for seven years at Conservation International (CI). During her tenure at CI, she worked in more than 20 countries, including such diverse areas as Ecuador, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Fiji, Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa and Papua New Guinea. Through her work, Dr. Bechtel has tackled many complex issues including mitigating destructive fishing practices, improving legal and policy frameworks, increasing enforcement efforts, developing market based solutions, improving community engagement and ensuring scalability of projects.

Dr. Bechtel has had the privilege of collaborating with world leaders, the CEOs of multi-national corporations and esteemed academic scholars. She is “one of the world’s top 60 dynamic and proven speakers” represented by the National Geographic Speakers Bureau, who share adventures from the field, report on a wide range of human-interest and conservation topics and share relevant leadership lessons and management insights. Dr. Bechtel has a Ph.D. from Boston University in biology and a law degree from Boston College.

Co-Founder Karl Morrison, who has worked in Africa for 15 years, has focused on developing ways to provide rural people with opportunities to improve their lives, the lives of their families and the lives of future generations. He has traveled to more than 15 countries in Africa and his experience, particularly in post-conflict areas, provides him with expertise and insights on conservation, sustainable development and gender issues. Prior to New Course, Morrison worked at Conservation International in a variety of roles including guiding the development and expansion of the organization’s Africa Program. At one point, Morrison moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo where he lived for two years while he initiated CI’s on -the-ground operations in the Congo.

Building on his vast field and leadership experience, as well as his work with groups such as World Resources Institute, where he worked on complex issues including sustainable forestry and poverty alleviation, Morrison founded a consulting company called Econserve. This company worked across West, Central and East Africa on projects that integrate economics, conservation and poverty reduction.

Morrison has a Master’s Degree in Development Economics from Dalhousie University and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Queen’s University.

About New Course

Founded in 2010, New Course is focused on empowering women in developing countries to change the course of their own lives, and the lives of those they care about, by actively contributing to the health and sustainability of their communities and natural resources. For more information on New Course, please go to:

For more information, media and bloggers only, please contact:
Gaby Adam / By the Sea Communications
mobile: +1-206-931-5942


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