Emlyn Koster, PhD
Born in Egypt's Suez Canal Zone, Emlyn obtained a Special Honors BSc from the UK's University of Sheffield and a PhD from Canada's University of Ottawa, both in geology. Career drivers have been wide time and space horizons, learning experiences in landscapes and cultures around the world, and the seizing of opportunities to contribute to a more sustainable future. He has recently founded Relevancy Matters, LLC.
Emlyn's initial career phase was in the geology field, comprising faculty and managerial positions at Concordia University in Montreal, the University of Saskatchewan and Alberta Research Council. These culminated in elected presidency of the Geological Association of Canada during its 50th anniversary. A convener of multidisciplinary conferences on Earth system science and on catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis, his published research focused on powerful river systems, dinosaur habitats and fossilization in strata exposed in Alberta's badlands and China's Gobi Desert, and waste disposal and river alteration in western Canada.
Maintaining ties with academia, Emlyn's next career phase comprised CEO positions at Alberta's Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Liberty Science Center across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan, and the Maryland-based Institute for Learning Innovation. Each of these major museums achieved significant civic and environmental impacts during his tenure, including as an exemplar of assistance and therapy in the aftermath of a disaster. Elected chair of the worldwide Giant Screen Theater Association, he co-led its unification with the LA-based Large Format Cinema Association. Other board and advisory appointments have included the worldwide Association of Science-Technology Centers, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, US committee for the International Council of Museums, Challenger Center for Space Science Education, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Project Rebirth that began at 9/11's Ground Zero, Getty and Noyce Leadership Institutes, and the Business School's Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers University. The external usefulness of museums has been the focus of his invited institutional mentoring, keynote presentations and sixty publications in the museum field, including ones co-authored with John Falk and Elaine Gurian. In their 2007 article in The Informal Learning Review titled "Science museums face the 21st century", Carol Bossert and Mac West opined that "The word 'relevancy' is irrevocably connected to him [Emlyn Koster]".
Integrated multi-sector approaches to the escalating volume of "think global, act local" priorities are Emlyn's interest now. Two examples are holistic frameworks of how learning grows in life-deep, life-wide and lifelong contexts and how long-term outlooks must inform the challenges and opportunities facing society and the environment. Recent publications are on the evolution of purpose in science museums, museum attendance as a potentially misleading measure of museum usefulness, the past, present and future of natural history museums, and the geopolitical merits of renaming the epoch since the Industrial Revolution as the Anthropocene. His reflection on relevancy and sustainability for the 2006 centennary of the American Association of Museums is among the "seminal papers" in "Reinventing the Museum", a 2012 compilation by Gail Anderson and published by AltaMira.
A Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Ottawa, Emlyn's contributions to educational and humanitarian causes have been recognized with awards and honors in Canada, France and the United States. He has also been an invited guest on several international diplomatic tours.