Thomas Taha Rassam Culhane (a.k.a "T.H.") was born near the Museum of Science and Industry on the south side of Chicago to an Iraqi-Lebanese mother and an Irish-American father and developed his love of
engineering by almost religiously attending the museum's forward-thinking science exhibits.When his Newsweek journalist father, John Culhane, moved the family to New York, Culhane was chosen by
Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus president Irvin Feld to be the youngest graduate of their Clown College at the age of 13 and he joined the "Greatest Show on Earth" the following summer. In the circus, during the Cold War, Culhane toured with Russian and Chinese acrobats, with Elephants, Chimpanzees and other wonderful animals and people from every country and culture, who all got along.These experiences
instilled in Culhane a belief that all God's creatures, Great and Small, could cooperate peacefully and harmoniously toward the creation of joyful productions, and that science, art and industry could be the drivers of positive social transformation.After graduating with honors from Harvard in Biological Anthropology, this conviction was confirmed during a year spent on a Rockefeller Fellowship in
the primary rainforests of Borneo where Culhane worked with Harvard Professor Mark Leighton
studying orangutans and gibbons and then lived with Missionaries and Melayu and Dyak tribespeople. In the jungle Culhane found that most organisms in environments with large biodiversity and cultural diversity quotients adopted "evolutionarily stable strategies" that led to long term sustainability.This experience led
Culhane into "the urban jungles" of inner-city education in the ghettoes of Los Angeles where for nearly a
decade he applied his insights to working with multi-cultural "at-risk" youth and gang kids and
discovered that a focus on common urban environmental challenges and their technological solutions created a context for cooperation, improving young people's education and their peace making skills. (He and his wife, Dr. Sybille Culhane, who taught negotiation and conflict resolution at the Sadat Academy for Management Sciences, apply those insights to connecting Egyptian youth with Israeli Jordanian and Palestinian youth in workshops in cooperation with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Al Najah University.)
Culhane Bio 7: (May 22 2016)
Dr. Thomas Henry "Taha" Rassam Culhane is a faculty member of the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida, Tampa and the co-founding director of the not-for-profit educational corporation "Solar CITIES" which helps community stakeholders solve urban ecology and development issues surrounding waste-water, solid waste, food security and decentralized clean energy production. As a National Geographic Emerging Explorer since 2009 Culhane introduced his own designs for low cost biodigesters to community leaders in many African countries, including building with former Nigerian president Obasanjo at his home and community, as well as working in schools and communities in or next to wildlife reserves in Kenya, Tanazania, Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland to help stop deforestation, soil erosion, wildfires and indoor air pollution. He has gone around the world teaching others to innovate, design and construct their own home scale biodigester and vertical aeroponic systems out of low-cost local materials as part of his "food-waste-to-fuel-and-fertilizer" initiative. For the past four years Culhane has been a Visiting Faculty Researcher and full professor at Mercy College New York, teaching courses in Environmental Sustainability and Justice, Environmental Psychology and Urban Ecology and leading students on "service learning" and "voluntourism" trips to share environmental technologies in impoverished parts of the Middle East and the Caribbean. Culhane has been a Google Science Fair Judge for 6 years and has worked with the US Office of Naval Research and UCLA on STEM science education projects with at risk-youth. In 2010 Culhane and the Palestinian Wildlife Society introduced small scale biogas technology to stakeholders in the West Bank and Gaza through funding from the US Embassy, US AID and private foundations, and he has been working with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Alumni Network, Engineers without Borders Palestine, Al Najah University, and the Eco-village Network Global Campus, and the HomeBiogas company in Palestine and Israel on a yearly basis since 2006, working to help ensure "peace through prosperity and permaculture" . Culhane got his Ph.D. from UCLA in Urban Planning, living with and working on solar energy and waste management projects with the trash recycling communities of Cairo Egypt, and his Master's in Regional and International Development working on urban agroforestry issues in Guatemala. His undergraduate work at Harvard included a year in the primary rainforests of Borneo, working on community ecology issues with hunter-gatherer tribes. His mission is to empower communities to regain ecological self-sufficiency and economic security through regenerative systems integration, believing that we have all the puzzle pieces to make thriving societies, and just need to come together and put them together.
Culhane Bio 8: 250 Word Bio for Nat Geo Symposium Program 2016
2 paragraph bio for USF Cuba conference:
Two paragraph Bio:
"Dr. Thomas Henry Culhane is a faculty member of the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida, Tampa and the co-founding director of the not-for-profit educational corporation "Solar CITIES" which helps community stakeholders solve urban ecology and development issues surrounding waste-water, solid waste, food security and decentralized clean energy production. As a National Geographic Emerging Explorer since 2009 Culhane introduced his own designs for low cost biodigesters to community leaders in Brazil and many Latin American, Middle Eastern and African countries. His research involves closing the loop between food waste and food production, creating local resilient systems for poverty alleviation and wildlife preservation.