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ALLART LIGTENBERG, MS
Allart Ligtenberg was born in 1941 in Indonesia, then a Dutch colony. Six months later the Japanese invaded, and he and his parents were interred in Japanese concentration camps, where they managed to survive for the duration of WWII. When finally freed, the family returned to The Netherlands, where Allart earned Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering.
In 1967 he immigrated to the U.S., where his career in high-tech industries included design, R&D and engineering management in automatic test systems, rapid transit, energy management, integrated circuit manufacturing and other fields with companies including Westinghouse and Tempress, culminating with 19 years at Hewlett Packard.
In 1988 he became an advocate of solar cooking and an advisor for Solar Cookers International, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Sacramento.
In 1992 he took early retirement from management at HP to follow his dream of disseminating technologies for solar cookers, water pasteurization and renewable energy in developing countries. Allart is the person who got solar cooking started in Nepal in 1992 when this method was not known and practiced in Nepal.
He has been a full-time volunteer, traveling several months each year, promoting his programs and teaching how to use and make the various devices locally, which will improve health, reduce poverty, protect the environment, empower women and the disabled and promote economic development.
For nearly 30 years Allart spent 2-3 months every year doing solo-treks in remote regions of Nepal, demonstrating solar cooking and water pasteurization to the local population. In 2008 the solar backpack cooker that he invented made it to the summit of Mt. Everest.
In 1992 he founded Friendly Appropriate Solar Technologies (FAST), a network of volunteers who have developed projects in Nepal, Mongolia, South America, Indonesia, Mexico and Haiti. FAST projects focus on health, water, sanitation, environment, energy, empowerment of women, income generation, vocational training and opportunities for “forgotten groups,” such as the disabled.
Since 2002 he has been a member of Rotary International, and many of his projects in Nepal, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Haiti have been supported by grants from the Rotary Foundation. He now serves as Chair of the Water, Health, Hunger and Solar Taskforce for Rotary District 5170, and he is a Charter member of the Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group (WASRAG).
Since 2003 he has served on the Board of Directors of Child Health and AIDS Prevention (CHAP) – formerly known as the Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project (LARAP).
Through that organization he has coordinated a number of HIV/AIDS prevention projects and workshops in Nepal.
Allart has been the recipient of many awards in recognition of his volunteer efforts, including the “Service Above Self Award” – Rotary International’s highest honor.