Ms. Aguirre works as part of International Rivers’ Latin America program to support local movements for the protection of rivers; to identify new dam projects in Latin America and to examine their economic, social, and environmental impacts; and to design strategies to counteract their effects. She has worked for more than a decade in support of Amazon indigenous peoples’ rights and is co-producer of Amazonia: Voices From the Rainforest, a film on the fight of grassroots groups in the Amazon to defend their lives and their land. She has also been a tireless supporter of the people affected by Chixoy Dam in Guatemala. Prior to joining International Rivers in 1998, Ms. Aguirre worked with the Environmental Action Coalition and El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in New York City. Ms. Aguirre has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s degree from New York University in Environmental Education and Conservation.
Ms. Asanzi joined International Rivers in 2014 to work with the Africa program covering the Inga dams and the broader dam development projects on Sub-Saharan Africa’s rivers. She provides campaign and adminstrative support for the Africa program as well as creating awareness on renewable energy solutions. Prior to joining International Rivers, Ms. Asanzi worked as a consultant in a Human Resource firm in Johannesburg for two years. Her experience also includes monitoring developments and carrying out reaserch for the Inga dams as an intern at the United Nations Information Centre. Ms. Asanzi holds an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Kwazulu Natal and is currently completing her Master’s degree in Applied Economics from the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
Mr. Bosshard leads International Rivers’ efforts to strengthen the social and environmental standards of governments, financial institutions, and the dam industry. He has promoted policy change and corporate social responsibility since the early 1990s, was closely involved with the World Commission on Dams, and has coordinated campaigns to stop destructive projects in many countries. Mr. Bosshard leads our effort to strengthen social and environmental standards, and supervises our Policy, Climate, China and South Asia programs. Mr. Bosshard studied at the universities of Zurich, Minnesota, and the West Indies, and holds a Ph.D. from Zurich University. Before joining International Rivers in 2002, he was the coordinator of the Berne Declaration, a Swiss advocacy organization. Mr. Bosshard has authored numerous reports and articles in books, academic journals and the popular press, blogs for International Rivers and Huffington Post, and tweets @PeterBosshard. His favorite river is the Albula in the Swiss Alps.
Based in Bangkok, Ms. Deetes' work focuses on protecting the Mekong River from dams proposed for its mainstream, and in particular on Thailand's role as dam developer and the main intended market for the hydroelectricity. Before joining International Rivers in 2010, Ms. Deetes spent seven years as coordinator of the Thai NGO Living River Siam (SEARIN), working to empower communities living alongside the Mekong and Salween rivers to protect their rivers, rights and livelihoods, and to stop destructive dams. Ms. Deetes has a Bachelor's degree in English and is an Ashoka Fellow.
Ms. Devaporihartakula is responsible for providing administrative and campaigns support for the implementation of our Southeast Asia Program’s work in Thailand and our broader regional agenda. Prior to joining International Rivers in 2012, Ms. Devaporihartakula interned with the United Nations Development Programme helping the Development Strategy and Advocacy Unit on HIV and gender related issues. Additionally, Ms. Devaporihartakula has five years of experience working as a web administrative assistant for a private company. Ms. Devaporihartakula holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business English and a Bachelor's degree in International Relations. She is currently enrolled in Chulalongkorn University’s Master’s Program in International Relations with a special focus on renewable energy and human development.
Ms. Hazel oversees International Rivers’s finance, human resources, and office management activities, and serves as a member of International Rivers’s management team. Before joining International Rivers in 2002, she worked at a variety of for-profit and nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, including serving as the office administrator at the San Francisco office of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She is trained as an herbalist, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Theological Studies.
Mr. Hurwitz coordinates International Rivers' efforts to promote environmental and social standards, to improve the risk management policies of public and private sector banks, and to hold developers to sustainability commitments, with a special focus on emerging markets. Before joining International Rivers in 2011, he worked as a geographer, researching climate mitigation and river basin management policy in Brazil's Amazon region. He has previously analyzed human rights violations in the energy and infrastructure sectors, and is certified in environmental and social risk analysis and management by the UNEP-FI. Mr. Hurwitz holds a Master of Arts in Geography and the Environment from the University of Texas at Austin, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Wesleyan University, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. He tweets @ZacharyHurwitz.
Mr. Johnson administers and produces multimedia content for International Rivers website. Before moving to the Bay Area in 2007, he worked for several years on the IT staff at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research in Chapel Hill. Also a composer and musician, Mr. Johnson has composed soundtracks for several award-winning documentary films and performs regularly in the Bay Area and across the U.S. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Psychology from the University of North Carolina and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Electronic Music and Intermedia Art from Mills College.
Ms. Jovais assists efforts to stop destructive dams in Patagonia and Ethiopia through communication, research and policy reform. She provides overall communication support for the organization and coordinates events and actions surrounding the International Day of Action for Rivers. Ms. Jovais also supports the policy team and the campaign, Power 4 People, in an effort to promote energy alternatives to large hydro power that have the ability to provide electricity to those in need while protecting the planet. Prior to joining the team in 2013, she was an intern in the Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council and wrote her senior thesis on transnational resistance against large dams. Ms. Jovais graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California with a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and International Relations and a minor in Hispanic Studies.
Ms. Lazarou provides technical support and network/systems administration for our Berkeley office and regional staff. Before joining International Rivers in 2013, Ms. Lazarou worked as a freelance IT technician and web administrator for several years. When she is not happily tinkering with computers at International Rivers, she is making websites and playing instruments. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Ms. Lee works for International Rivers' Southeast Asia Program to monitor hydropower developments in Laos, with a particular focus on tributaries of the Mekong River. She documents the implementation of mitigation and compensation measures for existing dams in Laos, advocates for compensation for dam-affected communities, researches and highlights the impacts of new hydropower projects planned for Laos, and pushes for the implementation of the Lao National Hydropower Policy and other relevant laws. Originally from Anishinabek Territory on Turtle Island (Toronto, Canada), Ms. Lee has previous work experience campaigning with communities defending their lands from mining and oil extraction, on community rights to water and food sovereignty, for labour rights, migrant justice and women’s health rights. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Globalization Studies and Women’s Studies from Trent University and a Master’s in International Human Rights Law from the UN Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica.
Ms. Lowrey-Evans works to increase awareness of the threats facing the world's rivers using online and offline communication channels. She coordinates International Rivers' online engagement efforts, including online advocacy and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Pinterest in order to reach our partners and members of the movement for healthy rivers and human rights throughout the world. Ms. Lowrey-Evans led International Rivers' involvement in the Patagonia Sin Represas campaign for 2 years, and was one of the lead organizers of Rivers for Life 3: The Third International Meeting of Dam-Affected People and Their Allies. Ms. Lowrey-Evans joined the International Rivers team in 2008 after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies. In her free time, you will find her practicing and performing with a local Salsa dance team, or knitting something interesting for friends and family.
Ms. Mang manages International Rivers' China Program. She leads efforts to strengthen the environmental and social standards of China's overseas dam builders and their global environmental footprint. Before joining International Rivers in 2010, she worked as an environment and water Policy Adviser in the Australian Prime Minister's Department on major environmental reform issues such as river basin management of the Murray-Darling basin, national environment protection laws and biodiversity protection strategies. Ms. Mang is a lawyer by training and specializes in environment and water law. She graduated from the University of Sydney with Bachelors' degrees in Economics and Law.
Based in Mumbai, Mr. Mehta works with regional partners to campaign against the construction of destructive dams in the Himalayas. He supports social movements and provides advocacy support to South Asian communities and NGOs. Mr. Mehta was appointed by the Bombay High Court on a Committee to assess the impacts of development on the tidal movement of a coastal river in Mumbai. Prior to joining International Rivers in 2010, Mr. Mehta worked with Bombay Environmental Action Group for over 17 years. He worked on environmental and town and regional planning legislation and developed an expertise on declaration and planning of ecologically sensitive areas. He was on several Federal and State appointed Committees. After obtaining his Bachelor's Degree in Statistics from the University of Bombay, India, he started his career in IT. Exposure to environmental activism in the west influenced his decision to change careers. He also has a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.
Based in Brasilia, Mr. Millikan supports movements of dam-affected peoples and their allies to successfully resist destructive dams, while promoting alternative policies in energy planning and river basin management that contribute to sustainable livelihoods and environmental conservation in the Amazonian countries, especially Brazil and Peru. He has lived and worked for many years as a researcher, activist and consultant in the Brazilian Amazon, focusing on the impacts of large infrastructure projects, particularly highways and hydroelectric dams. Mr. Millikan has a long history of engagement in the western Amazonian state of Rondônia, where he actively participated in grassroots and international campaigns around the World Bank-financed POLONOROESTE and PLANAFLORO projects. Prior to joining International Rivers in 2010, Mr. Millikan collaborated extensively in Brazil with academic institutions, social movements, the Ministry of the Environment and NGOs such as Amigos da Terra – Amazônia Brasileira. He received a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master's degree in Geography at the University of California, Berkeley.
Since joining International Rivers in 1995, Ms. Pottinger has been the editor of our quarterly publication, World Rivers Review. She was a co-producer on the video A River Runs Through Us, and on our Google Earth video, Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers. She has been the executive editor for our Dams, Rivers and People reports. She is also a senior campaigner for our Africa program, working to raise international awareness about the problems with large dams in Africa and alternatives to them. Current campaigns include the Nile River and Ethiopia's dam boom. She edited a number of major reports published by International Rivers, including The Downstream Impacts of Ethiopia's Gibe III Dam and A Risky Climate for Southern Africa Hydro. She also solicited research on the relationship of dam operations in Uganda and dropping water levels at Lake Victoria, and helped publicize the results. Ms. Pottinger has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University, and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. After so many years with the organization, she still finds it challenging and satisfying; she is especially excited about better solutions for meeting energy and water needs, and the prospects for energy efficiency. Follow her on Twitter: @loripottinger_r
Mr. Rainey joined International Rivers as Executive Director in 2011. He has led the organization in its international expansion for greater effectiveness in the dam-building hotspots of the world, expanding and establishing offices in South America, Africa, and Asia. Jason supports an international staff and network of civil society partners campaigning against destructive dams, advancing trans-boundary river protection, and influencing global investment patterns toward decentralized and human-scaled energy and water solutions. Before joining International Rivers, Mr. Rainey served as Executive Director of the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in his home watershed from 2005-2011, where he built a grassroots movement to restore a healthy Yuba River, championed the decommissioning of two federal dams, protected wild salmon runs, improved water quality and habitats, fought new dams, and developed the Wild & Scenic Film Festival into one of the largest and most successful environmental film events in North America. He has served as a steering committee member of the California Hydropower Reform Coalition, a founding member of the Calling Back the Salmon Committee, and a board member for SalmonAid. He has also worked as an educator, researcher and organizer for human rights and environmental initiatives throughout the world, including in Russia, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, and Thailand. Read his full bio.
Ms. Ross supports International Rivers’ efforts to stop destructive dams on the mainstream of the Mekong River. She works closely with the Save the Mekong coalition and regional networks of affected-communities and NGOs working to protect the vital lifeline of the Mekong region. Previous to joining our Southeast Asia team, Ms. Ross led International Rivers' involvement in the campaign to stop dams in Chilean Patagonia and provided support for our work in the Amazon, Mesoamerica, South Asia and Southeast Asia in her role as Program Associate. She first joined International Rivers in 2010 as a full-time intern helping coordinate Rivers for Life 3: The Third International Meeting of Dam-Affected People and Their Allies. She went on to become our 2011 International Day of Action for Rivers coordinator, and officially joined our staff shortly after that. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice.
Ms. Sanyanga provides advocacy and analytical support to African communities and NGOs working to protect themselves from the destructive impacts of large dams. She monitors proposed dams, helps communities affected by dams to seek reparations, and advocates for decentralized renewable energy options as alternatives to big dams. Before joining International Rivers in 2011, Ms. Sanyanga worked as an aquatic ecology researcher, university lecturer and an environmental consultant. She has conducted a major portion of her work on Lake Kariba and the Zambezi River Basin, based at the Lake Kariba Fisheries Research Institute, and later at the University of Zimbabwe Lake Kariba Research Station. She was one of the consultants for the EIAs for the Batoka Gorge Dam Project in 1997-98 and in 2010-11 consulted for the Dam Synchronisation and Flood Releases Project for the Zambezi Basin. As a lecturer she has taught principles of aquatic ecology, environmental sciences, water resource management and EIA methodology. She holds a Ph.D. in Aquatic Systems Ecology from Stockholm University, a Master's of Science in Applied Hydrobiology from the University of Wales, Cardiff and a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Zimbabwe.
With seven years of experience in research and communications, Mr. Seth joined International Rivers in 2013 to work with and support campaigns opposing destructive dams on Himalayan rivers. Based in New Delhi, Mr. Seth is a Human Geographer by training and has travelled and written extensively in India as the Water & Sanitation correspondent for a leading science and environmental publication. More recently he has worked for the Water Advocacy & Research team for a Delhi based think-tank communicating policy and strategy to government. He has also commented, through journalistic as well as official channels, on India’s evolving National Water Policy. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics & Geography, and subsequently travelled and researched for a documentary, and co-authored a 180-page publication on the River Yamuna. In 2007-08, he read for an MSc in Water Science, Policy & Management at Oxford University, UK. He loves the sound of a gushing stream.
Ms. Trandem leads our efforts to stop destructive dams on the Mekong River and its tributaries. She is responsible for supervising members of the Southeast Asia campaigns team, providing strategic direction to the program, developing and managing the program budget and fundraising for the program. Before joining International Rivers in 2010, she spent five years living and working in Cambodia on issues related to hydropower development and community rights first as an advisor to the 3S Rivers Protection Network and then the NGO Forum on Cambodia. Through her work with dam-affected communities and the Rivers Coalition in Cambodia, Ms. Trandem provided support to local activists and assisted national campaign work that focused on seeking remedy for communities impacted by hydropower dams on the Sesan and Srepok rivers in northeastern Cambodia and advocating for improved energy planning processes. In addition, Ms. Trandem has previous work experience with democracy assistance and labor rights organizations in the Netherlands, Honduras, Ecuador and the US. Ms. Trandem holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College and a Master's degree in the Politics of Alternative Development from the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands.
Ms. Vaghela joins the policy team to coordinate efforts on people power energy alternatives to large hydro power. She conducts research and creates awareness on policy solutions and regional networks that provide energy access and sustainable development for marginalized regions. Ms. Vaghela joins International Rivers as the 2013 recipient of the Switzer Environmental Leadership Grant. Since 2006, she has facilitated indigenous communities, field-based NGOs, policy makers, donor agencies, and government stakeholders in implementing learning-process approaches to decentralized renewable energy in Odisha, India. Building upon her action research, in 2012 Ms. Vaghela co-established a practitioner's knowledge exchange network for community-based micro hydro in South and Southeast Asia. Her passion for technology that sustainably alleviates poverty and drudgery was triggered by an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, her perspectives as a productive design engineer in Silicon Valley, and her family's roots in rural India.
Ms. Vachal provides accounting services for International Rivers, supporting the Berkeley office and regional staff. She comes to International Rivers with a passion for environmental stewardship and five years of experience in accounting and administrative support. Before International Rivers, Ms. Vachal worked on corporate engagement at Environmental Defense Fund, making a business case for energy efficiency and sustainable supply chains. She holds a dual Bachelor's degree in Accounting and International Business, as well as a minor in Spanish, from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Ms. Van Valer-Campbell is our first point of contact for our contributing members. She also manages the Glenn Switkes Intern and Volunteer Program helping incorporate interns and volunteers into our work. She comes to International Rivers with a passion for human rights and seven years administrative experience. She has degrees in Political Science and Theology from Fordham University and a Master's degree in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies with concentrations in Conflict Resolution and Spanish. Academic pursuits have taken her to the former Yugoslavia to study nationalism and to work with genocide survivors.