Staff

Monti Aguirre Email me
Latin America Program Coordinator

Monti 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. Monti has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s degree from New York University in Environmental Education and Conservation.

Kirk Barlow Email Kirk

China Programs Consultant

Kirk works to protect key rivers and promote higher environmental and social standards for hydropower projects around the world.  He has worked with organizations in China since 2007 (Xi'An, Beijing and Shanghai to name a few). He has worked directly with Chinese energy and financial firms both in and outside of China while working at KPMG. He also brings a strong background in sustainable agriculture and food systems, and has helped bridge grassroots movements around the world to impact policy developments at the UN'S FAO. He is knowledgeable of China's importance on the global stage and its infrastructure work around the world, particularly along the Belt & Road Initiative.

Pianporn Deetes Email me
Thailand and Burma Campaigns Director

Based in the Mekong Region, Pai 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, Pai 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. Pai has a Bachelor's degree in English and is an Ashoka Fellow.

Nick Guroff Email Nick
Director of Communications and Development

Nick directs International Rivers' communications and funder relations. Previously he was a deputy director for Corporate Accountability, managing the organization's foundations relations and communications. He began his work in advocacy as a field organizer for Green Corps, field manager with MoveOn PAC, and as the California organizer for the National Environmental Trust (NET). At NET, Nick effectively advocated for the passage of landmark children’s environmental health protections. He holds a B.A. from Northwestern University in Radio/TV/Film and Slavic Languages and Literature, as well as a Masters of Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a PBS FRONTLINE/World fellowship. He is also currently an adviser to Pacific Environment.

Maureen Harris Email me
Southeast Asia Program Director

Maureen works with people’s movements and civil society partners in Southeast Asia, providing technical and advocacy support to efforts to protect vital transboundary rivers in the region from destructive dams and other developments. She works closely with regional networks of affected-communities, indigenous peoples and NGOs to safeguard water resources, rights and livelihoods, with a focus on the Mekong and the Salween Rivers. Prior to joining International Rivers, Maureen worked as Mekong Legal Director for EarthRights International based in Thailand, coordinating regional legal advocacy initiatives in support of local communities in the Mekong affected by hydropower dams, land concessions and mining projects. She has also worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission on human rights and judicial reform projects in China and Vietnam, and on human rights documentation and research in India and Australia. Maureen holds Bachelors’ degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney and a Master of Laws (Human Rights and Social Justice) from the University of New South Wales.

Sandie Hum Email me

Administrative Coordinator

Sandie oversees human resources at International Rivers, as well as provides operational, administrative and accounting support. She brings with her 20 years of experience in those areas. Before joining the team in Berkeley, Sandie managed human resources at a sailing club and school in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a degree in American Civilization from Mills College.

Stephanie Jensen-Cormier Email me
Consultant

Stephanie joined International Rivers in 2015 as China Program Director where she was based in Beijing and led a small team to protect China’s rivers and promote higher environmental and social standards in Chinese hydropower projects around the world. Since August 2018, she has been based in Costa Rica where she consults for environmental groups. She supports International Rivers with programmatic work.

Driven by her conviction of China's importance on the global stage, Stephanie has been engaged in environmental work with a specialization on understanding China since 2005. Stephanie is a native French and English speaker, is professionally fluent in Mandarin and is brushing up on Spanish. She earned her Master Degree from the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University.

Josh Klemm Email me
Policy Director 

Josh joined International Rivers in 2014 and is based in Washington, DC, where he focuses on the growing role of international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Green Climate Fund in the water and energy sectors. Prior to joining International Rivers, Josh worked for over eight years with the Bank Information Center (BIC), an NGO based in Washington, DC, dedicated to promoting social and economic justice and ecological sustainability in the projects and policies of the World Bank. As Africa Program Manager, he worked closely with civil society and community representatives in Africa to challenge problematic hydropower, mining, coal, and other World Bank-financed projects, and to seek remedy for the negative impacts they cause. Later, Josh coordinated BIC’s flagship campaign to strengthen the environmental and social rules of the World Bank to ensure that community rights are respected. He has also served on the Steering Committee of the CSO Coalition on the African Development Bank. He received his Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University in International Affairs, and subsequently spent three years working with local NGOs in Ghana and Sierra Leone on governance issues. 

Penny Malepe Email me
Africa Bookkeeper and Administrator Clerk 

Penelope works as part of International Rivers located in Africa. She provides bookkeeping support to all regions with budgeting and financial competency. Penelope gained admin and bookkeeping experience at Mehlala Consulting Chartered Accountants in Johannesburg where she was a trainee accountant for two years. She is also a trained financial advisor and worked with Old mutual Personal Financial Advisory in 2018. Penelope is a holder of a Bcom Accounting degree from the University of Limpopo in South Africa.

Samir Mehta Email me
South Asia Program Director

Based in Mumbai, Samir 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. Samir 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, Samir 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.

Brent Millikan Email me
Amazon Program Director

Based in Brasilia, Brent 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. Brent 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, Brent 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.

Siziwe Mota Email me
Africa Program Campaigner

Siziwe Mota has a Bachelor of Social Sciences Degree and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Marketing and Supply Chain Management from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal as well as a certificate in Project Management from Varsity College.

Rudo Angela Sanyanga Email me
Africa Program Director

Rudo 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, Rudo 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.

Michael Simon Email me
Interim Executive Director

Michael oversees the Program Section at International Rivers. With a background in environmental and social justice campaigning, he has worked extensively on rivers and water governance. With long experience in the Mekong region supporting civil society and community strengthening, he brings expertise in business and human rights, gender and indigenous peoples.  


Michael has honors and teaching degrees from Monash University and a Masters in Integrated Water Management from the University of Queensland, Australia. He is also a graduate of the Prince of Wales Business and Sustainability Program delivered by Cambridge University.

Margaret ZhouEmail me
Partnerships Manager

Margaret provides a wide range of core partner and donor relationship management and strategic support. Prior to joining International Rivers, she served as a Communications Consultant and Administrative Assistant in start-up and non-profit settings. As an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, she researched environmental justice issues in China’s rural areas and migrant worker's rights in Beijing, before writing her senior honor's thesis on China's Great Famine. She graduated with a major in Comparative Literature (emphasis in Chinese) and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. 

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