Jim Hansen, Academic Director
Jim Hansen received his BS in economics from Montana State University and his MA in geography from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. In addition, he has pursued further studies in the Département d'Etudes du Français Langue Etrangère at the Université de Toulouse le Mirail in Toulouse, France, and is currently an MA candidate in European languages and literature (French) at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Mr. Hansen has served as an energy analyst at the East-West Center in Honolulu, where he has done contract work with the United Nations Pacific Energy Development Program, the World Bank, UNESCO, and Pacific Island governments in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Tonga. More recently, he has been employed as an English as a Second Language (ESL) and French instructor at both the University of Hawai'i and Punahou School in Honolulu. Mr. Hansen has published in the fields of linguistics, cross-cultural communication, and energy economics. He was academic director of the SIT Cameroon program in spring 1994, the SIT Mali program in fall 2002, and SIT programs in Madagascar since fall 1994.
Mamy Rajaonah, Program Assistant
Mamy expertly handles logistics in all aspects of the program, including transport, communications, local staff, catering, and health and safety. He also provides valuable insight into Malagasy culture and advice and logistics for students’ Independent Study Projects. A native of Antananarivo, Mamy has played an essential role in SIT Madagascar programs in Antananarivo and Fort Dauphin since 1998.
Barry Ferguson, Academic Coordinator
Barry assists the program’s academic director in many aspects of the semester, including teaching both field and practical courses on lemur ecology, protected areas management, people and conservation, and research methods. Barry also spends time working with students to identify and refine their Independent Study Projects.
Barry has a broad academic background with a BSc in ecology (Durham UK) and an MSc in environment and international development (UEA, UK). He is currently conducting doctoral research on the political ecology of the Mandrare Valley, focusing on land claims, customary tenure, and livelihoods of people living within newly protected areas (UEA, UK). Barry has published on various aspects of conservation in Madagascar, and he is an editor of the journal Madagascar Conservation and Development. He considers himself an advocate for improving the linkages and communication between communities, scholars, and professionals in the conservation movement. A native of Ireland, Barry has been involved in a wide range of conservation, education, and rural fieldwork in southern Madagascar since 1999. He has supported the SIT Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management program in various capacities since 2001.
Luis Manera Raevoniaina “Naina,” Language Coordinator and Academic Assistant
Naina is responsible for organizing and teaching French and Malagasy languages and providing academic insight into Malagasy culture and traditions. A native of Fort Dauphin, Naina received his degree in geography from the University of Tuléar. His varied background includes working in community relations as a sports and culture specialist for Rio Tinto QMM; teaching history and geography at Lycée Sacre Coeur; and working as a language formation consultant.
Martine Razafimandimby, French Instructor
Martine is the program's most experienced language teacher, with over twenty-five years at the lycée and twelve years at the Alliance Française in Fort Dauphin. A native of Fort Dauphin, Martine holds an advanced degree in French language from the University of Antananarivo and is currently director of the Lycée Pole in Fort Dauphin.
Melvin Joelson Razafimandimby “Sosony,” Language Instructor
Sosony teaches French and Malagasy languages and aspects of Malagasy culture, especially song and dance. A native of Fort Dauphin, Sosony is a specialist in physical education through training at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Ecole Nationale de l’Education Physique in Antananarivo. He has represented Fort Dauphin as regional director for the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Culture. Currently, Sosony is regional director of tourism and handicrafts in Anosy. He also furnishes contacts for students’ Independent Study Projects and provides logistical support.
Dr. Gabrielle Bakolimalala Ramamonjiarisoa “Bakoly,” Lecturer
Bakoly teaches biodiversity, conservation, and the relationships between plants and animals in addition to leading the program’s field course on botanical inventories. A native of Antananarivo, she earned her doctorate in botany at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is an internationally renowned expert on plant systematics, agroforestry, and biodiversity. She has attended numerous conferences throughout the world and is currently working on classifying newly discovered plant species, particularly in Madagascar. She is Madagascar’s scientific authority for the International Convention for the Trade of Endangered Species, and works closely with Missouri Botanical Gardens and Kew Gardens. Bakoly teaches at the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Antananarivo, where she served as department chair for twelve years.