Professor Richard A. Matthew

Director, Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation and Professor, Urban Planning and Public Policy, UC Irvine

Richard A. Matthew (BA McGill; PhD Princeton) is Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy and Director of the Climate and Urban Sustainability Program at the School of Social Ecology at the University of California at Irvine. He is also the inaugural Director of the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development; a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Sustainable Development; a member of the United Nations Expert Group on Environment, Conflict and Peacebuilding; and a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy and co-chair of its Task Force on Conservation, Migration and Conflict. He was recently appointed Research Director of Climate Change and Security for the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.

Over the past twenty-five years, he has done extensive fieldwork in conflict and disaster zones in Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. He has served on UN humanitarian and peacebuilding missions in DRC, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. His work in Rwanda and Sierra Leone pioneered the full integration of natural resource management into peacebuilding operations, summarized in two comprehensive technical reports:

UNEP Mission Report–Rwanda: From Post-Conflict to Environmentally Sustainable Development. 2009. Geneva: UNEP

UNEP Mission Report–Peacebuilding and Environmental Management Issues Relating to

Natural Resources in Sierra Leone. 2009. Geneva and Nairobi: UNEP.

His current research activity includes projects on (1) high resolution flood risk modeling in California, Malawi, Mexico and Paraguay; (2) coastal wetland restoration in California; (3) climate change impacts on public health priorities in Malawi; (4) climate change, sleep disruption and health outcomes; (5) environmental change, migration and conflict; (6) environmental change, art and community mobilization in the DRC, Kenya and Nigeria; and (7) human trafficking.


Every day human trafficking survivors are overcoming trauma and rebuilding their lives.

A Bright Future for Aina

A relative coerced Aina, 15, into online sexual exploitation. Through EverFree’s support, Aina is thriving and dreams of helping others.
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Marion Leads the Way

Trafficking once shattered her dreams. Now, Marion uses her experience and voice to empower other survivors and lead her community.
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Powerful by Design, Sharlene’s Story

Once a victim of human trafficking, Sharlene now employs other survivors in her fashion business, empowering sustainable freedom.
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Our 2023 Annual Report is here.

“The impact you see in this report is tangible – it reaches so many lives and has the power to transform the entire fight against human trafficking.”

– EverFree CEO Kelsey Morgan