Himalay Unnati Mission Secretariat
Advisor: Ecosystem Services & Environment
Ajay Rastogi is based in Majkhali village of Uttarakhand Himalaya in India.
Over a career span of 30 years, Ajay has worked as a grassroots worker, manager in a Regional Intergovernmental Organisation covering 8 countries of the Hindukush Himalaya; Lead auditor for fair-trade projects in South Asia; led a project of the United Nations with Government of India encompassing 5 states. His expertise lies inter alia at the interface of environment and development as well as business and ethics.
His search for appropriate tools and approaches in how to bring about real change in the behaviour of the ‘privileged’ led him to design a residential programme called ‘pathways to sustainable development’. The 3 main pillars of this experiential and contemplative learning are: dignity of physical work; interdependence and interconnectedness. The programme is hosted by
the agrarian community and partly taught by the village women leaders. The programme is the recipient of International Mountain Prize 2020.
To promote the approach beyond the confines of the village, he helped create the Foundation for Contemplation of Nature 7 years ago. The Foundation has been able to hold side events in several global conferences and offices of world leaders bringing them closer to experience of Contemplation of (inner and outer) Nature. The concept has been well received and the work was published in Chile, ‘Contemplacion de la Naturelza’ for Spanish speakers and it is available on Amazon.
Academically, Ajay has master’s degrees in Applied Ethics as well as in Environmental Sciences and a baccalaureate in Agriculture and Agroforestry. He has travelled to over 25 countries in relation to his work. He is recipient of several awards and honours such as South Asian Youth Leader (1991); Erasmus Mundus European Union Fellow (2007) and Nehru Fulbright Environmental Leadership Fellow (2010). His work has taken him to over 25 countries; he is respectful of all cultures, dignity, and equity and follows a life deeply connected to earth elements.