Letter written to Professors re PhD Programme

Dear Dr. XXX,
My name is Kendi Borona, and I am from Kenya.  I am writing to inquire about the possibility of doing a Ph.D. in the Department of Forest Resource Management at the University of British Columbia.I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyatta University  (in Nairobi) in environmental studies with a focus on community development.  Following my undergraduate training, I decided to pursue a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in strategic management from the University of Nairobi.I have been searching for Ph.D. programs that fit my specific career plans, and after reading about the mandate, and accomplishments of the Department of Forest Resource Management, I have realized that it appears to be a perfect fit for me because of its focus on conservation and sustainable management of forests, woodlands and wild lands.  I have explored the program website in detail, and have found that it is aligned with my research and training interests, and my future career.  One of the most attractive aspects of the Forest Resources Management Department profile is its research foci in engagement with indigenous people in sustainable approaches to natural resource management and conservation challenges.  These themes are precisely in line with my career objectives and I feel that the calibre of training and preparation I would receive in the Department would prepare me for the challenges I wish to confront.
I am a professional environmental conservation specialist with seven year’s work experience (please refer to my c.v. for details).  Over the course of my academic and professional career I have developed a deep interest in the sustainable management of natural resources and cultural landscapes, and the interface between the two. I have worked with diverse communities in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania  and Malawi in programs designed to ensure conservation of natural and cultural heritage and improvement of community livelihoods. I strongly believe that the answers to the long-term conservation of natural resources lies with  empowering, and working with, local/indigenous communities. Some of the work I have been involved with has dealt with the conception, construction, and management of forest ecosystems and I have developed a strong interest in their function and preservation, especially  through constructive community engagement. I am actively involved in the preparation and editing of professional reports and  fundraising proposals.
I have worked with diverse stakeholders; government bodies, NGO’s, multi-lateral agencies and community  based organizations.   To this end, for my Ph.D. program, I wish to not only deepen my knowledge of the field, but make  innovative contributions to theory, practice, and policy of sustainable forest systems.  I believe my work experience has given me a well-rounded perspective towards understanding the dynamics of community management of forest resources.Additionally, my unique worldview, specifically from previous work throughout Africa and Australia,would be a valuable asset in pursuit of my Ph.D. in the challenging forest resources management program.  I also feel that my experience would contribute to the diversity of the Department and complement it’s varied research themes. My research interests are in the field of sustainable management of  forest resources through involvement of forest dependent communities, the inter linkages between conservation and development  and decentralization of forest management as a conservation strategy. To this end I have conceived three broad research topics that I wouldlike to pursue at UBC:
1. The economic impact of decentralization of forest management in Kenya.
2. Traditional governance systems and the management of forest ecosystems.
3. The effectiveness of fencing of forest ecosystems in Kenya as a conservation strategy; An
     analysis of the social economic and environmental impacts.
I noticed from your profile that your research interests concentrate on forest ecosystem services and you are working in China, Mozambique and Uganda. I also appreciate the fact that you are an advocate for interdisciplinary research. Since my own research interests overlap with yours I foresee an exciting opportunity to break new ground together and to develop my ideas and learn in a dynamic environment.
Part of my desire to pursue a Ph.D., and to reach the highest levels of influence in management and policy in this field, is related to the belief that learning is a continuous process.  Thus, I want to push the boundaries of my understanding of forest ecosystems, sustainable economies, and human-environmental interactions, and make critical contributions to this vast endeavor.  Additionally, I know that we learn from a plethora of sources, and our teachers wear many hats, from academic specialists, government managers, NGO employees, through to local stakeholders, and the traditionalenvironmental knowledge of elders and native people.  Finally, I am confident  that my personal and professional qualities and skills that I have acquired over the years have prepared me to fulfill the requirements  for entering, and completing, my Ph.D.  in the Forest Resources Management Department at the University of British Columbia. I have attached  my curriculum vitae , and would be pleased to provided further information upon request.
Thank you for your time and consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours faithfully,
 Kendi Borona

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