October 1, 2020
Adnan Amin is a development economist and senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he works on the Geopolitics of Energy Project. From 2011 to 2019, Amin served two terms as the first director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) headquartered in Abu Dhabi. Prior to his election as director general, Amin had a distinguished career at the United Nations, where he served as the director of the UN Systems Chief Board for Coordination from 2006 to 2010. In 2006, he led the Secretariat for the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in development, environment, and humanitarian assistance. From 1998 to 2005, Amin served as the director of the UN Environmental Programme’s New York office. From 2000 to 2006, Amin was a trustee and member of the Board of Directors for the UK-based World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Amin received an M.Phil and a B.A. with honors from the University of Sussex.
Dr. Sami Atallah
Dr. Sami Atallah is the executive director of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS). Previously, he served as a consultant to the World Bank, European Union, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Lebanon and Syria. Notably, he served as a member of the committee established by Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati to draft a decentralization law from 2012 to 2014, and as an advisor to the Lebanese Ministries of Finance, Industry, and the Interior, as well as the office of the prime minister. Dr. Atallah holds a Ph.D. from New York University, an M.A. from Columbia University, and an M.A. from Yale University.
Dr. Myriam Bincaille
Dr. Myriam Bincaille is the managing director of the Suez Foundation. From 2011 to 2017, she was the managing director of the Suez Environmental Initiatives Fund. Over her career with Suez, she held a variety of positions, including knowledge and networking manager, head of technical communication, and research and innovation officer. Prior to joining Suez in 1991, she was a program officer and deputy head of the Desertification Control Project in North Africa at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. Her work focuses on a wide range of topics from the impact of resource scarcity on women and girls to increasing access to waste management among underserved populations. Dr. Bincaille received a Ph.D. from Louis Pasteur University.
Dr. Shanta Devarajan
Dr. Shanta Devarajan is a professor of the practice of international development at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He was previously at the World Bank, where he was the senior director for Development Economics, the chief economist of the Middle East and North Africa, Africa, and South Asia regions and the Human Development Network. He was also a director of the 2004 World Development Report, Making Services Work for Poor People. Before 1991, Dr. Devarajan was on the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an A. B. in mathematics from Princeton University.
Dr. Nadim Farajalla
Dr. Nadim Farajalla has been the director of the Climate Change and the Environment Program at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut (AUB) since 2008. From 2009 to 2016, he founded and headed the Land, Water, and Environment Department at SETS International, a consulting firm based in Beirut with projects across the Middle East. He served as an adjunct professor at AUB from 2002 to 2016. From 1997 to 2002, Dr. Farajalla was a senior engineer at engineering consulting firm Dar al-Handasah, Lebanon. He began his career as a senior scientist at Stone Environmental in Montpelier, Vermont, from 1995 to 1997. Dr. Farajalla received a Ph.D. from Oklahoma University, an M.S. from Utah State University, and a B.S. from AUB.
Fida Geagea is the executive vice president of the Social Development Group (SD) at Cowater International. Prior to joining Cowater as a project director in 2013, Ms. Geagea worked with the Canadian federal government as a project director managing donor funded projects in public sector oversight, reform, and institutional capacity-building in Mali and Cuba from 2006 to 2012. From 2001 to 2005, she was the assistant director general of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Development Initiative (IDI) in Oslo, Norway. As the assistant director of the IDI, Ms. Geagea oversaw the management and implementation of multi-donor regional programming throughout eastern Europe, the Middle East, western Africa, and Latin America. Geagea received an M.A. and a B.A. from the University of Ottawa.
Kishan Khoday is Regional Team Leader for Nature, Climate and Energy with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Hub for Arab States. Kishan coordinates a team of fifteen regional advisors and over $500 million of grant projects for countries across the MENA region. These projects help communities manage climate risk, accelerate the sustainable energy transition, enhance food and water security, and advance sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems. He has been with the UN for over 20 years, with assignments in China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Kishan has a Juris Doctorate degree specialized in international environmental law, a MSc in natural resource management, a BSc in agriculture and environmental science and has authored over thirty publications on sustainable development.
Roula Majdalani is the director of the Sustainable Development Policies Division (SDPD) of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) where she is in charge of the Technology Center and the sections on food and environmental policies, energy, and water resources. Prior to her appointment as director of SDPD, Ms. Majdalani had a long-standing career with the UN-ESCWA, notably serving as UN-ESCWA’s acting deputy executive secretary for programme support. She also served as the chief of technical cooperation, first economic affairs officer on water resources, and as a human settlements officer. Before joining UN-ESCWA in 1989, Ms. Majdalani worked in London for Dar al-Handasah Consultants from 1985 to 1989. Ms. Majdalani received an M.U.R.P. from Syracuse University.
Dr. Michael Mason
Dr. Michael Mason is the director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science and an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environment. He is also an associate with the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment. From 2008 to 2009, Dr. Mason served as lead consultant for a UNDP project developing a climate change adaptation strategy for the Palestinian Authority. In addition to articles in a wide range of academic journals, he authored The New Accountability: Environmental Responsibility across Borders and Environmental Democracy in 1999. Dr. Mason also co-edited works like Transparency in Global Environmental Governance and Renewable Energy in the Middle East. Dr. Mason earned a Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. from Cambridge University.
Dr. Claudia Sadoff
Dr. Claudia Sadoff is the managing director of research delivery and impact at CGIAR, as well as convener of the CGIAR Executive Management Team. Previously, she served as director general of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and as a member of the CGIAR System Management Board. Prior to joining CGIAR, Dr. Sadoff spent over 20 years at the World Bank, holding multiple positions including lead economist as well as global lead for water security and integrated water resource management. Outside of the World Bank, she has also held multiple appointments including distinguished visiting scholar at Oxford University, chair of the Global Water Partnership and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Task Force on Water Security and Sustainable Growth, economic advisor to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water Security; and member of the Global Water Partnership Technical Committee. Dr. Sadoff received a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkley, an M.A. from Columbia University, and a B.A. from Barnard College.
Dr. Jeannie Sowers
Dr. Jeannie Sowers is a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, where she served as director of the International Affairs Program from 2015 to 2019 and associate professor from 2012 to 2020. In the spring of 2013, she was a senior associate member of the Middle East Centre at Oxford University and from 2009 to 2010 she received a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard University Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. In the fall of 2008, Dr. Sowers was a Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) III fellow in Cairo, Egypt. From 2007 to 2008, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Middle East Studies. Prior to joining the University of New Hampshire as an assistant professor in 2006, Dr. Sowers was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Iowa from 2002 to 2003. She has published several books including Modern Egypt: What Everyone Needs to Know and Environmental Politics in Egypt: Experts, Activists, and the State which was designated runner-up for the 2014 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for the best book in international environmental politics by the International Studies Association. Dr. Sowers received a Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University and a B.A. from Harvard University.
Dr. Robert Springborg
Dr. Robert Springborg is a visiting professor in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, and non-resident research fellow of the Italian Institute of International Affairs. In 2016, he was the Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar at the Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Until 2013, Dr. Springborg was professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School and program manager for the Middle East for the Center for Civil-Military Relations. From 2002 to 2008, he held the MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle East Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, where he also served as director of the London Middle East Institute. Prior to 2002, Dr. Springborg was director of the American Research Center in Egypt. In 2003, he founded and remains a regular editorialist for The Middle East in London magazine. From 1997 to 2002, Dr. Springborg was an executive associate and director for the Middle East at Development Associates, a U.S.-based consulting firm. His commentary is frequently featured in major outlets such as Al Jazeera, CNN, and Foreign Policy. Dr. Springborg has published numerous books, including Political Economies of the Middle East and North Africa, Oil and Democracy in Iraq, and Family, Power, and Politics in Egypt. Dr. Springborg received a Ph.D. from Stanford University.