Staff

Monti Aguirre Email me
Latin America Program Coordinator

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.

Narissa Allibhai  Email me
East Africa Program Coordinator

Narissa is a Kenyan working with groups across East Africa to protect our rivers and defend rights of river communities. She wishes to promote truly green and inclusive energy solutions. She has previously been involved in the struggle for the preservation of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, producing a short film amplifying voices from communities around the lake and awareness-raising locally and internationally. Before re-joining International Rivers, she was Mercy Corps’ Regional Manager for East and Southern Africa. Narissa is involved with several arts for social change and pan-Africanist movements. She is also a performer, speaker, and writer – blogging on peopleinthemargins.com and tweeting from @NarissaAllibhai.

Narissa holds a Master of Development Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. & Sc. (major in Mathematics, minors in English Literature and Economics) from McGill University.

Ange Asanzi Email me
Africa Program Associate

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. 

Sarah Bardeen Email me
Communications Director

Sarah has worked as a writer, editor and communications consultant for over 15 years. She's written about a wide range of issues over the years, including affordable housing, health equity, sweatshop labor, environmental justice, urban sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. As a music critic, her work has appeared on NPR and in numerous online and print publications.

Peter Bosshard Email me
Interim Executive Director

Peter Bosshard leads International Rivers while we are looking for a new Executive Director. In addition to his overall responsibilities, he supervises our Africa, Amazon and Policy programs. Previously, he also supervised our China, South Asia and Climate programs. Mr. Bosshard joined International Rivers as our Policy Director in 2002. Before this, he was the coordinator of the Berne Declaration, a Swiss advocacy organization. He has worked on international environmental and human rights issues for more than 20 years, and was closely involved with the World Commission on Dams. Mr. Bosshard studied in Switzerland, the US and Jamaica, and has a PhD from Zurich University. He enjoys writing, blogs for International Rivers and the Huffington Post, and tweets at @PeterBosshard. His favorite river is the Albula in Switzerland.  

Pianporn Deetes Email me
Thailand and Burma Campaigns Director

Based in the Mekong Region, 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.

Maureen Harris Email me
Southeast Asia Program Director

Ms. Harris 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, Ms. Harris 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. Ms Harris 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 in Australia.

Sandie Hum Email me
Administrative Coordinator

Ms. Hum 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, Ms Hum 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
China Program Director

Based in Beijing, Ms. Jensen-Cormier works to protect Asia’s key rivers and promote higher environmental and social standards in Chinese hydropower projects around the world. She has been engaged in environmental work in China since 2005. Her specialization on China is driven by her conviction of this country’s importance on the global stage. Prior to joining International Rivers in 2015, Ms. Jensen-Cormier was the program director at a China-based environmental education NGO. She has also worked with the International Labor Organization and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. Ms. Jensen-Cormier has a Bachelor Degree from the University of Victoria in British Columbia and earned her Master Degree from the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University in New York City. 

Chuck Johnson Email me
Web Director

Mr. Johnson produces the International Rivers website and oversees fulfillment of International Rivers’ technology needs. 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. His home river basin is the Neuse in North Carolina.

Josh Klemm Email me
Policy Director 

Mr. Klemm 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, Mr. Klemm 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, Mr. Klemm 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. 


Candace Lazarou Email me
IT Manager

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, playing instruments, and directing the East Bay chapter of Women Who Code.  She holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

 

Samir Mehta Email me
South Asia Program Director

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.

Brent Millikan Email me
Amazon Program Director

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.

Lemlem Rijio Email me
Director of Development

A senior development professional, Lemlem Rijio joins International Rivers with over fifteen years of work leading Bay Area legal, environmental, and media institutions to develop strategic plans and reach a broad range of stakeholders. Ms. Rijio brings high professional standards and an excellent track record of growing organizational budgets. She holds a BA from University of California Berkeley in Environmental Science Policy and Management.

JC Ross Email me
Foundations Manager

Ms. Ross works with our foundation partners in our joint efforts to preserve free-flowing rivers and river communities, ameliorate climate change, and protect important ecosystems. Before joining International Rivers, J.C. directed grants in a division at the University of California, Santa Cruz. As former faculty at colleges such as the University of Arizona and USC, she has taught courses that include environmental ethics, journalism, and grantwriting. She completed her MA at Hollins, her MFA at the University of Arizona, and her Ph.D. in Philosophy at Penn State. When not researching, writing, and talking to people about grants, she is hiking the North American West, often along the Truckee or Athabasca Rivers. 

Kate Ross Email me
Mekong Program Coordinator

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.

Rudo Angela Sanyanga Email me
Africa Program Director

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.

Bharat Lal Seth Email me
South Asia Program Coordinator

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.

Maureen Vachal Email me
Finance Manager

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.

Margaret Zhou Email me
Development and Communications Associate

Ms. Zhou provides administrative, fund development, and operational support to the staff in Berkeley. 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. Outside of International Rivers, she enjoys pursuing her interests in creative writing, gardening, and traditional medicine.

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