Our 2014 Delegation
COP20 Delegation Profiles
School: Columbia College
Country of Origin: USA
Sabrina graduated from Columbia College in May 2014. While at Columbia she focused on building fruitful interactions between the environment and society on campus, within the local community, and on a global scale. Senior year she completed a thesis entitled “Integrating Remote Sensing and the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach in Assam, India” and worked as a student consultant for West Point on a project involving climate change, water limitations and agriculture. Currently, she is interning at the White House Council on Environmental Quality within the Land and Water team, where she works closely with the National Ocean Council. As the future unfolds, she hopes to continue her work at the cross-section between the environment and society.
Douglas Enrique Gómez Mendiburu
Program: Master of Public Administration in Development Practice
Country of Origin: Mexico
Focus Areas: Gender, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Nonprofit Management.
Born in the south side of the U.S. – Mexico border, Douglas Enrique grew up witnessing the clash and negotiations between contrasting cultures. These formative experiences sparked his interest in matters of social justice, leading him to major in Communications and Journalism at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico. In 2011, he co-founded Tierra Colectiva (Collective Earth) a nonprofit organization focuses on community participation, gender equality, and environmental education. Seeking to expand his knowledge in sustainable development, he enrolled in 2013 at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where he is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Administration in Development Practice. In summer 2014, he collaborated with the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), an international Public-Private Partnership that promotes inclusive investments in the country’s agricultural sector. Besides establishing an outreach program for Tanzanian agribusinesses, he provided support to the creation of a Green Growth Strategy to safeguard the natural resources and the communities in which these investments take place. Douglas Enrique is also a Fulbright scholar and Board Member of the Columbia University Coalition for Sustainable Development (CUCSD).
Diana M. Montoya
Country of Origin: Colombia
Diana has been involved in several activities and international policy events. She is interested in how introducing sustainability measures at national and international levels and how this can drive significant positive change. Diana has experience in entrepreneurship, economic policy, economic analysis, local government and sustainable development. She believes for world leaders to implement successful sustainable economic development and foreign policy strategies require an integrative approach of all of these areas.
She pursues her MA/BA degree in Financial Economics and International Affairs at Columbia University where she focused in analyzing the challenges that global economies, in particular developing countries, face today. She is involved with a number of organizations at Columbia University and across the Latin American communities. She is Chair of Columbia University Interschool Government Board -IGB. She is senior adviser to CUCSD.
She presently works as an executive assistant to a very successful financial company for non-profit organizations. In addition, she still holds her position as a paralegal and executive assistant for a successful real estate law firm in New Jersey. Both positions allow her to grow her expertise in financials, economics, non- profit, law, real estate transactions and litigation. This experience gives her the confidence in her career direction and in her abilities to perform with competence, which allows her to successfully convert it into greater rewards for both her immediate and larger communities.
Program: Master of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP)
School: School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
Focus areas: International Cooperation, Climate Change, Agriculture, Food Security, Sustainable Development
Country of Origin: Brazil
Cassia has been working with international cooperation on environmental issues in the public, private and third sectors. At college, her undergraduate research resulted in the thesis “Brazil in the construction of the international regime of climate change”. Since then, she has been following up the major global processes in the sustainable development area, having attended the Rio+20 in 2012, and later working as an advisor on Sustainable Development at the Brazilian Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Currently, Cassia is interning at the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), where she is supporting the organization’s initiatives in Brazil and in the Amazon. After SIPA, her goal is to work with issues related to climate change, food security and poverty eradication, as she believes that a truly sustainable world must also be a fairer one.
Program: Master of International Affairs (MIA)
Concentration: Energy and Environment
School: School of International and Public Affairs
Undergraduate: Bachelors in Computer Engineering – University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
Focus areas: Technologies, Economics, Energy Access, Development
Country of Origin: Peru
Cesar Penafiel has over 17 years of entrepreneurial experience in the engineering, education and service industries. Following seven years of living, working and volunteering in various countries, he started post-graduate education at SIPA concentrating on energy and environment. He is presently a research assistant at the Center on Global Energy Policy assigned to former International Energy Agency Executive Director, Nobuo Tanaka. His research focuses on international cooperation on nuclear technologies that can be quickly scaled up, made safer, proliferation resistant and capable of consuming nuclear waste and weapon stockpiles to generate vast amounts of electricity for an energy rich future for all nations. Cesar believes that the solutions to achieving a zero carbon world in a decade exist, but politics and mistrust of science are preventing us from achieving this goal.
Program: Master of Science in Sustainability Management (MSSM)
School: Earth Institute & SCE
Focus Areas: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environmental Governance, and Sustainable Business.
Country of Origin: Spain/USA
Having an affinity for geography and politics in high school, David enrolled in Royal Holloway College, University of London to pursue a degree in politics and international relations. He spent his junior year at the National University of Singapore, which reaffirmed his concern for sustainability through the academia and travelling he was exposed to. David worked on the Rio+20 conference as an intern for Club de Madrid that lead him to complete his thesis on public-private partnerships and earth system governance. He was the youngest accepted candidate to the Earth Institute’s MSSM degree in 2013, and will move to Palau next year to work as a sustainability consultant for the Manta Trust and complete his capstone project. In order to mitigate climate change the involvement of the private sector is essential, which is why David aims to start his professional career in the “belly of the beast” after graduating from Columbia University.
Program: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (SCE)
Focus Area: International Cooperation, Conflict Resolution, Disaster Risk Reduction, Sustainable Development.
Country of Origin: Italy
Letizia is originally from Italy, and is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University. She has professional experience in the tourism sector in Italy, as well as in the private sector in Japan.
After having experienced the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, in March 2011, she became interested in natural disasters, environmental issues and climate change. She is currently a consultant for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) where she is working on the preparations for the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which will be held in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015.
She also worked for an NGO in Jaipur, India, for a project on Women Empowerment and Education in fall 2012. She holds a degree in Intercultural Communication from the University for Foreigners of Siena, Italy, and she completed her studies in International Relations at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.
School: School of International and Public Affairs
Focus Areas: Access to Clean Energy; Climate and Development
Country of Origin: Finland
Program: Economics and Sustainable Development
School: Columbia University School of General Studies
Focus Areas: Environmental Economics, Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change
Country or Origin: USA
Dawn Wells has experience in both non-profit and private sectors and has on-going independent research in India, in collaboration with The Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE). The focus of her study is on the externalities of development in southern India, with an economic valuation of ecosystem services and analysis of hydroelectric energy production She is interested in the nexus of economics, climate change, and loss of biodiversity and how changes in these variables impact one another.She is also researching the present gender gap in the energy sector for the Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), and assisting in the expansion of their Women in Energy (WIE) program to promote efficiency, equality and sustainability.Her past and on-going projects focus on biodiversity preservation via economic solutions to stem the ivory trade, in collaboration with Kenya based NGO Wildlife Direct and New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) through a partnership created by the Clinton Global Initiative. She has also served as the New York Co-Chair for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s global awareness campaign on the ivory trade.