I am a French American scholar, author, and advocate for policy changes in the environmental and social areas. My name is typical of the island of Corsica, but my heritage is also from Spain (through my grandmother, the harpsichordist Regina Patorni-Casadesus). I was born and grew-up in Paris. My father Raphael Patorni was a classical theater and movie actor, my mother Jacqueline Horner was a tennis champion. I now live in Santa Fe. My career entailed decades of travel to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. Overall, I lived or worked in about fifty countries.
I completed graduate (Mathematics, Physics) and post-graduate (Water, Forestry, and Engineering) studies in France, spent some time in Togo, followed by two years as a volunteer in rural Chad. I worked on NASA’s Earth Resources Satellites Program in France, then on agriculture projects in Benin and Algeria. In 1972, I tried the American experience, earning an MBA from the Wharton School in Philadelphia. On campus, I campaigned in the Nixon-McGovern presidential race; we lost!
At the World Bank
After graduation from Wharton, I embarked on a career at the World Bank. This entailed decades of travel, including multi-year postings in India (I managed the irrigation unit of the World Bank’s New Delhi office from 1982 to 1984) and in Senegal (“Resident Representative,” a diplomatic position as the World Bank’s spokesperson, from 1988 to 1992). When based in Washington, D.C., I travelled frequently to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.
My focus was the design economic and social policy reforms, particularly to reduce poverty and develop education, agriculture, forestry, water, and natural resources preservation. My travel and meetings with people from various cultures brought me in contact with the highest and the humblest members of society. In doing so, I became familiar with a wide range of leaders, influencers, and regular citizens. Overall, I lived or worked in about fifty countries.
In late 1991, I joined the writing team of the then new World Bank Water Policy. This led to my appointment to the World Bank Institute (the capacity-building arm of the World Bank) to design, secure funding for and manage the Water Policy Reform Program. The program interfaced with over 10,000 stakeholders from about 50 countries, through about 120 events bringing together heads of state, ministers and high-level civil-servants, parliamentarians, community and corporate leaders, non-profit organizations, journalists, and concerned citizens. With my counterparts at the UNESCO, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), US Aid, and other institutions, I launched the Water-Education-Training (WET) initiative and its Capacity Building Network for Sustainable Water Management, Cap-Net. I co-authored Water Sector Capacity Building: Concepts and Instruments (1996), which discusses capacity building as a means to support and guide sector and policy reform. Among the many influential partners of the program, the US Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources offered its pioneering and cutting-edge methodologies in collaboration and public participation.
After retiring from the World Bank, I moved to France, then to Virginia, where I developed hands-on expertise in the governance and management of non-profit organizations.
I was a board member of the Piedmont Environmental Council (a large non-profit organization to promote and protect the Virginia Piedmont’s rural economy, natural resources, history and beauty), co-founder of RappFLOW (a non-profit organization to protect the Rappahannock river watershed in Virginia), a member of the Advisory Board of the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (the largest international graduate water education facility in the world, based in the Netherlands), and president of the International Network for Participatory Irrigation Management, an international non-profit organization facilitating reforms in the management of large irrigation schemes (it fragmented into national units after its relocation from Washington DC to Pakistan).
I convened – with UNDP and other agencies – the education component at the 2003 World Water Forum in Kyoto, as I had co-founded Cap-Net, the International Capacity Development Network for Sustainable Water Management.
Upon moving to New Mexico in 2004, I continued to be engaged in environmental advocacy. I worked with citizens’ groups on the Santa Fe City Vision Plan, the Santa Fe County Growth Management Plan and Sustainable Development Code, on Santa Fe County’s Wildlife Corridors plan, and on the Travel Management Rule to preserve the Santa Fe National Forest. I was board chair of the Santa Fe Watershed Association, and an alternate member of the Santa Fe River Commission.
I became intrigued by the vast but forgotten legacy of the French-speaking people in New Mexico. My book, The French in New Mexico, chronicles their history since the 1500s. As I wrote this book, I felt the need to spread knowledge in the English-speaking world about the legacy of French-speaking people to civilization, history, and culture. The creation of the French Legacy and French in America Presses are steps in that direction. My recent book, The Politicians’ Breviary: A Companion to Leaders and Influencers and Those they Seek to Control, is the first translation into English of the seventeenth-century Breviarium politicorum, which draws inspiration from the legacy of Cardinal Jules Mazarin. While working on water issues, I co-edited Water Sector Capacity Building: Concepts and Instruments (Rotterdam, 1999), and was a reviewer of the Traité d’Irrigation (Paris, 1998), the main French laguage reference work on irrigation.
MBA, Wharton School (1973), University of Pennsylvania (USA); post-graduate engineering degree, National School for Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry (Paris, 1968); alumni of the Paris Institute of Political Studies – “Sciences Po” (1967/68), and of the Institute for the Study of Economic and Social Development (IEDES, Paris-Sorbonne) (1967/68). Masters in Mathematics and in Physics (1966, University of Grenoble, France).
Specialties and hobbies
Natural resources management, water policy, economics and finance, project finance and management. Non-profits. History. Classical guitar. Astronomy.