STRATEGIC ADVISORS

 
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SUSAN ROBESON, STRATEGIC ADVISOR

Susan Robeson, an author, filmmaker and broadcast journalist, has produced extensively for public television stations and network affiliates in New York City. As executive producer of PBS-Television in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Robeson managed a documentary unit and transformed the station’s second channel into a model for community empowerment and development. She designed a nationwide citizen journalism initiative for Timor-Leste’s president–Nobel Peace laureate, Dr. Ramos-Horta – to help foster civic engagement and build democracy in this first new nation of the 21st century. Robeson has worked with street gangs around the nation documenting efforts to organize peace treaties, and spent time in post-apartheid South Africa training township activists in broadcast-quality video production. Robeson has been a visiting professor in film, American studies and African American studies at Macalester College, Carleton College, and Colorado College and is currently a guest lecturer at Rutgers University and an adjunct professor in communications at William Paterson University. Robeson is the author of the award-winning book, The Whole World In His Hands: A Pictorial Biography of Paul Robeson, and a forthcoming children’s book, Grandpa Stops A War / Seven Stories Press. She lives in the New York City area where she is producing her first dramatic feature film and is Executive Director of The Paul Robeson Foundation.


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DONALD LASSERE, STRATEGIC ADVISOR

Donald  E.  Lassere  is  President  and  CEO of The Muhammad Ali Center, where he is responsible for fostering the Center’s mission and expanding its educational programs, partnerships, and other outreach initiatives. Among his  accomplishments,  Lassere has facilitated a rebranding process and implemented a strategic plan that has focuses on three  primary  programmatic areas:  Education, Global Citizenship and Gender Equality. Lassere was instrumental in the creation of The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards, a premiere event that honors the greatness of people around the world. An addendum to the actual awards is a multiple-day celebra tion at The Ali Center called Days of Greatness. Mr. Lassere currently serves as the Chair for The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, is on the Advisory Board for the Family Business Center, a Board Member on the Louisville Downtown Management District Board of Directors and sits on the Louisville Ballet Board of Directors.  He holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Cen-ter, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BS in business administration from the University of San Francisco. Lassere has worked for Enron Corporation, Gallup Consulting, Ernst & Young Consulting, Verizon, and Scholarship America. Donald Lassere and his wife, Sarah, have two children: Isabella and Grayson. 


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David Orr, Environmental Advisor

Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies & Politics, Emeritus. He also served as “Counselor to the President” of Oberlin College for ten years. He is the author of eight books, including Dangerous Years: Climate Change and the Long Emergency (Yale, 2016) and Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford, 2009) and co-editor of three others. He has authored over 220 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications. In the past twenty-five years he has served as a board member or adviser to ten foundations and on the Boards of many organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute, Bioneers, and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. He is currently a Trustee of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, Children and Nature Network, and the WorldWatch Institute. He has been awarded nine honorary degrees and a dozen other awards including a Lyndhurst Prize, a National Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, leadership awards from the U.S. Green Building Council (2014) and from Second Nature (2012), and a lifetime achievement award from Green Energy Ohio and the North American Association for Environmental Education. He has lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia. He headed the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, which was named by an AIA panel in 2010 as “the most important green building of the past thirty years,” as “one of thirty milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy, and as one of “52 game-changing buildings of the past 170 years” by the editors of Building Design +Construction in January, 2016. He was instrumental in the design and funding of the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center. He is the founder of the Oberlin Project and a founder of the journal Solutions. His current work is on the state of American democracy (www.stateofamericandemocracy.org).


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DR. LISE VAN SUSTEREN, environmental advisor

Dr. Lise Van Susteren, a practicing general and forensic psychiatrist in Washington, DC, is an expert on the physical and mental health effects of climate change. In 2011 she co-authored “The Psychological Effects of Climate Warming on the U.S. – Why the US Mental Health System Is Not Prepared”. Dr. Van Susteren has served as a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University and has been a consultant to the Executive Branch of the US Government profiling world leaders. After receiving her medical degree from the University of Paris, she practiced medicine in West Africa, at community health centers and homeless shelters in metropolitan Washington DC. In addition to community organizing on climate issues, Dr. Van Susteren serves on the Advisory Boards of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health and of EARTH DAY NETWORK, and is co-founder of “Climate Psychiatry Alliance,” a professional group dedicated to promoting awareness and action on climate from a mental health perspective. She is a frequent contributor on television, radio and in the print media.


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Kira Vinke

Kira Vinke works at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as a Reesearch Analyst to the Director. From 2014-2016 she worked as an analyst to the director for the German Advisory Council on Global Change to the Federal Government (WBGU). Previously, Ms. Vinke was affiliated with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi in collaboration with the Environmental Policy Research Center (FFU) of Berlin. In New Delhi, she conducted field research on governance in the energy sector and cross-border river administration. In 2014 she worked as a consultant for the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) on the nexus between climate change and migration into vulnerable cities in Southern Bangladesh. 2016 and 2017 Ms. Vinke worked as an external consultant for the Asian Development Bank developing the flagship report “A Region at Risk - The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific.”


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ALEEM WALJI

Aleem is Chief Executive Officer at the Aga Khan Foundation USA. In this role, Aleem focuses on deepening partnerships with US-based organizations to improve the quality of life of communities in Africa and Asia by building lasting institutions, strengthening civil society, and investing in local leaders. Previously, Aleem was Chief Innovation Advisor within the Leadership, Learning, and Innovation Vice Presidency at the World Bank Group. He oversaw a portfolio of programs related to Big Data/Analytics for Development and Innovations in Finance for basic service delivery to base of the pyramid (BoP) clients. As Director of the World Bank’s Innovation Labs, Aleem led initiatives which leveraged open data, mapping and information technology to improve service delivery to the poor. He supervised the Development Marketplace program which provides finance, advisory services, and policy support to social businesses and social enterprises serving BoP clients in South Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Aleem was the first CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation in Syria and managed a portfolio of health, education, rural development, water management, and microfinance programs. He was Head of Global Development Initiatives at Google.org, with a focus on eastern Africa and led efforts related to job creation, enterprise growth, and increasing accountability in the delivery of public services. Aleem is a graduate of Emory University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern Studies and Anthropology and his master’s degree in International Development and Regional Planning.


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Rabbi David Baron

Rabbi David Baron was born in New York and graduated from Hunter College of the City University of New York with a double major in Political Science and Hebrew Literature. He completed his rabbinical studies and was ordained in Jerusalem, Israel by Rabbi Israel Grossman, the Av Bet Din (Chief Rabbinic Jurist) of the Jerusalem rabbinate. After his ordination he served conservative pulpits in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey and Miami, Florida before moving to Los Angeles. As the Founding Rabbi of Temple of the Arts in 1992, he developed the unique approach of “Religion through music, drama, art, dance, and film.” Rabbi David Baron is the rabbi of the largest arts and entertainment-industry synagogue in the United States, Temple of the Arts in Beverly Hills, which owns the 1900-seat, art deco Saban Theatre. His Yom Kippur services and inspirational sermons are broadcast on national television (Time Warner, Comcast, DIRECTV) and webcast internationally to US troops overseas on the Armed Forces Network. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, NBC, PBS, A&E, and has spoken to many diverse groups ranging from Young Presidents Organization and World Presidents Organization to the Young Leadership Convention of the United Jewish Communities.


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Jennifer Sara

Jennifer Sara is the Director for the World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice, a position she has held since July 2014.  Ms Sara has 30 years of experience working on global water issues, with overseas assignments in the World Bank as Sector Manager for Sustainable Development based in Hanoi, Vietnam (2010 – 2014); Sector Leader in Brazil (2006 – 2010); and Water and Sanitation Specialist in Bolivia (1990 – 1995). Ms Sara found her passion for water at the start of her career while serving as an intern in the US Indian Health Service and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia. In her current assignment, Ms Sara is a core member of the Practice’s senior management team, which drives the policy direction, oversees a portfolio of $25 billion in water-related investments, analytical work, multi-donor trust funds and global partnerships (including as Secretary of the UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water). Ms Sara supports an integrated approach to water security and service delivery, customizing the Bank’s global water strategy to the country dialogue, and providing policy advice and operational support in response to specific client and community needs. She holds an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of London, Wye College, and a BSc in Environmental Engineering from Brown University.


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Sheel Tyle

Sheel is the Founder & CEO of Amplo, a global venture capital firm that helps build companies that matter. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Andela, most recently named the #1 most innovative company in Africa by Fast Company. He previously was the co-head of the seed practice at NEA, the world’s largest venture capital firm. As an angel investor, Sheel has invested in the seed or Series A of Casper, Flutterwave, Mark43, Robinhood, and others. Sheel graduated from Stanford University in three years, at the age of 19. He is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and was on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2013. He holds a JD from Harvard Law School. In 2016, upon invitation of the White House, Sheel was part of the US delegation with President Obama on his historic visit to Cuba.


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PATRICK DOHERTY

Patrick Doherty is cofounder of Long Haul Capital Group. Early in his career, he spent 12 years in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucuses working at the intersection of conflict and economic development. As deputy director of the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation, he partnered with Colonel Mark Mykleby (USMC–Ret.) to develop a white paper on U.S. Grand Strategy prepared for the White House. He was founding codirector of the Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University and coauthor of The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security and Sustainability in the 21st Century.


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BRADY FORSETH

Brady Forseth is the CEO of the African Community & Conservation Foundation. Forseth is the former Executive Director of Philanthropy at Starkey Hearing Foundation. He has more than 25 years of experience working with non-profits in development and fundraising. As Executive Director of Philanthropy, Brady has helped to identify new partners and build networks of support to expand the scope and increase the sustainability of the Foundation’s work. These partnerships have helped the Foundation provide hearing health care in the Americas, African Region, Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific Region. Brady participates in dozens of hearing missions every year with the Foundation, breaking down barriers and borders around the world to help individuals feel connected and empowered through the gift of hearing.


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Charles Holmes

Charles Holmes is a cultural anthropologist by education. Over the past 25 years he has been engaged as a facilitator on projects where the need for understanding and shaping culture through dialogue and inclusion have been critical. His clients include University of Southern California, Pepsi, Capital Group, SC Johnson, the Salvation Army and many others.  Holmes worked closely with Victor Chan in the founding of The Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education. He led the creation of the Connecting for Change dialogues that brought together business and NGO leaders in a series of dialogues with His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama. He co-created the Connecting for Community dialogues in Cincinnati with Peter Block. He is a co-founder of the Academy for Systems Change with Peter Senge, where he works with next generation leaders to address challenges in community development, marine ecosystem restoration, education, global food security, and reconciliation. He also teaches in Executive Programs at the University of British Columbia.


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Rev. Fletcher Harper, INTERFAITH ADVISOR

Fletcher Harper, an Episcopal priest, is Executive Director of GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition. GreenFaith, in partnership with EARTH’S CALL, spearheaded the interfaith presence at the 400,000+ People’s Climate March in New York City in 2015.  An award-winning spiritual writer and nationally recognized preacher on the environment, Rev. Harper has developed a range of innovative programs to make GreenFaith a leader in the fast-growing religious-environmental movement. A graduate of Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary, Harper served as a parish priest for ten years and in leadership positions in the Episcopal Church prior to joining GreenFaith. Founded in 1992, GreenFaith is a leading interfaith coalition for the environment which inspires, educates and mobilizes people of diverse religious backgrounds as environmental leaders. Through religious-environmental education programs, by greening the operation of religious institutions and the homes of its members, and through legislative advocacy and values-based environmental activism, GreenFaith helps religious institutions and people of all faiths put their belief into action for the earth.