Staff Directory

Our Staff

  • Sam Szoke-Burke is a Lead Researcher for the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, focusing on land-based investment (including large-scale agriculture, renewable energy, and extractive industries), the just transition, Indigenous peoples, transparency, and human rights. At the Center, he supervises researchers working to uphold human rights and improve sustainable development outcomes in the context of land-based investment, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. He leads research projects and technical support collaborations with civil society and government on legal and policy issues relating to the governance of land-based investment. He also advances practical resources, develops and leads trainings, and designs and facilitates multi-stakeholder convenings. Prior to joining CCSI, he worked for the Land, Environment and Development project at the Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia, where he collaborated with various Indigenous communities on legal matters relating to mineral exploration, ancestral land claims and forced resettlement, and Indigenous representation, among others. He has also worked with various human rights and public interest organizations in the US and Australia, and clerked for Justice Anthony Cavanough, head of the Judicial Review and Appeals List, at the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and a Bachelor of Laws with first class honors from Monash University Australia, and a Master of Laws from New York University School of Law, where he was a Rotary Global Scholar, a Transitional Justice Scholar, and an NYU International Law and Human Rights Fellow. He is admitted to practice in Victoria, Australia and works in English and French.

  • Petros C. Mavroidis is the Edwin B. Parker Professor of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia Law School. He teaches the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also co-teaches a course on corruption and sports, and a seminar on a trade issue. He is also Professor of Law at the University of Neuchâtel. His latest major publication is the book The Regulation of International Trade, MIT Press, 2016, which won the 2017 Certificate of Merit in a Specialized Area of International Law from the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). The honor is awarded annually to a recent work that represents “a distinguished contribution to the field.” He has served as chief reporter for the ALI Study ‘Principles of International trade: the WTO’ (2013).

  • Perrine Toledano is the Director of Research and Policy overseeing the development of a coordinated, integrated, and impactful program of research across CCSI's thematic areas of interest. She also heads the Center’s focus on Mining and Energy. She leads research, training, and advisory projects on the impact of the energy transition on extractive industry investments and resource-rich countries as well as on the deployment of large-scale investments in renewable energy, zero-carbon industrialization, and economy-wide decarbonization. She also leads work on the governance of extractive industries including on fiscal regimes, financial modeling, shared use of mining infrastructure (rail, port, telecommunications, water, and energy infrastructure), climate resilience and mitigation at mine sites, local content, revenue management, and optimal legal provisions for development benefits. She has led projects in DRC, Liberia, Paraguay, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Timor-Leste, and assisted many more government teams remotely. She also jointly developed curricula for a masters and an executive course on extractives and sustainable development taught at Columbia University. She is the co-editor of two volumes published by Columbia University Press: Rethinking Investment Incentives: Trends and Policy Options and The New Frontiers of Sovereign Investment. She serves on the advisory board or committee of the Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), International Senior Lawyers Project's tax program, Women and Mine of the Future Project, the Social Performance and Governance Stream of the 2023 World Mining Congress, and UNEP’s International Resource Panel on Financing Minerals for Sustainable Development. She is also part of the Panel of Experts advising on the Regional Economic Development strategy of Rio Tinto in Simandou (Guinea) and she sits on the IRMA Initiative for Responsible Mining expert working group on GHG Emissions and Climate Change and on the technical advisory group of RMI's Horizon Zero project. Prior to joining CCSI, she worked as a consultant for several non-profit organizations, including the World Bank, DFID, and Revenue Watch Institute (now NRGI), and private sector companies, including Natixis Corporate Investment Bank and Ernst and Young. Her experience includes auditing, financial analysis, IT for capital markets, public policy evaluation, and cross-border project management. She has a Masters of Business Administration from ESSEC in Paris, France, and a Masters of Public Administration from Columbia University.

  • Paulo Cunha is CCSI's Director of Operations. In this capacity, he oversees much of the Center's financial, administrative and communications responsibilities, while contributing to research, strategic planning and project management. He joined the Center from the Earth Institute, where he directed operations and managed a number of sustainable development projects across several centers and initiatives. As part of his responsibilities, he managed the Earth Institute’s advisory project in São Tomé and Príncipe, working with Columbia Law School to coordinate the team’s work on extractive industries transparency, oil revenue management and development planning. He has over 15 years of experience as a project manager, operations specialist and researcher in the fields of sustainable development and investment, natural resource governance and extractive industries transparency. He has also worked with the Natural Resource Governance Institute, the Swiss Network for International Studies and the United Nations Development Program. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master's degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

  • Nora Mardirossian is a senior legal researcher at CCSI, leading projects on environmental sustainability and human rights in international business and finance. Prior to joining CCSI, they conducted research on responsible business conduct and advised multinational companies on their approaches to meeting international human rights expectations through work at Shift and Triponel Consulting. Nora also researched the role of institutional investors in driving ESG reporting at the Columbia Water Center and promoted accountability for environmental and human rights impacts in development finance at Accountability Counsel. They conducted legal research for UN Special Procedures mandates related to sustainable development and for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ business and human rights team. They hold a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Juris Doctor with a concentration in international law from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. They are admitted to the bar in California. 

  • Nancy Siporin is the Executive Coordinator of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. Prior to joining CCSI, she worked in television production, in areas ranging from broadcast operations to publicity, before becoming a casting director and owner of an independent casting company. Previously, she spent numerous years in the advertising industry, where she served as the Manager of Network Television Programming at a large ad agency. Her diverse background also includes working as a Senior Recruiting Manager in the medical market research industry. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Arts and Sciences, with honors, from Queens College, New York.

  • Martin Dietrich Brauch is a Lead Researcher at CCSI. He leads economic and legal research, training, and advisory work, with a focus on legal and policy frameworks and practices for sustainable investment to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation goals—including through decarbonization and a just transition to net-zero emission energy systems and economies—along with other SDGs. His work centers on the following focus areas at CCSI: Climate ChangeEnergy TransitionExtractive Industries, and Investment Law & Policy.

    He has worked extensively with developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, speaking English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Prior to joining CCSI, he worked as international law advisor at a global think tank, in-house counsel at a media conglomerate, and associate attorney at a boutique law firm. As a graduate student, he undertook a legal internship at United Nations Climate Change. He received a B.A. in Economics, a Bachelor of Laws, and a specialization certificate in Environmental Law from the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil. He holds an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from NYU School of Law, where he was an IILJ International Law Fellow.

  • Madeleine Songy works with CCSI Director Lisa Sachs, supporting the Center’s research and programmatic work in investment policy. She received a Master of International Affairs and BAs in international studies and Spanish language from Texas A&M University. As a student at Texas A&M, she worked for her graduate school’s economics research institute where she contributed to research concerning global value chains and regional trade agreements. She also served as a non-voting member on the board of directors for the Bryan-College Station chapter of Habitat for Humanity and the vice president of community service for Texas A&M’s chapter of Kappa Delta Sorority. She is originally from Dallas, Texas.

  • Lisa Sweat joined CCSI in 2018 to help the Center refine its strategic direction and lead its fundraising efforts as Associate Director of Development and Strategy. Prior to that, she was at the International Senior Lawyers Project, where she established and managed their Myanmar Program from 2013 to 2015 before helping the organization undertake a strategic transition and eventually serving as Director of Strategy. Her previous experience also includes legal internships with the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Burma Lawyers’ Council in Mae Sot, Thailand, as well as research assistance for The Center on Law and Security, for a law firm representing victims’ rights at the International Criminal Court, and for NGOs working in the areas of international economic development, security, and human rights. She holds a JD from New York University School of Law and a BA from Emory University, and is admitted to the bar in New York.

  • Lisa Sachs is the Director of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. Since joining CCSI in 2008, she established and now oversees CCSI’s robust and interdisciplinary research portfolio and advisory work on the alignment of investment and investment policy with the sustainable development goals. She teaches a masters seminar at Columbia Law School and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs on Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development, and lectures at Externado University in Colombia on International Investment Law. She has served on World Economic Forum Global Future Councils on International Governance and on Mining & Metals, and is a co-chair of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s thematic group on the Good Governance of Extractive and Land Resources. She is a 2020-2021 Senior Fellow of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and sits on several advisory boards, including of the Investor Alliance for Human Rights and SDGAcademy. Before joining CCSI, she worked at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and at Amnesty USA, in both cases on shareholder engagement. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard University, and earned her Juris Doctor and a Masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, where she was a James Kent Scholar and recipient of the Parker School Certificate in International and Comparative Law.

  • Lara Wallis is a Senior Legal Researcher at CCSI, focusing on sustainable investment in land, agriculture, food systems, and other sectors, primarily as part of the Advancing Land-based Investment Governance (ALIGN) project. She is a South African-qualified attorney. Prior to joining CCSI, she worked across a range of human rights, corporate accountability, environmental justice, and natural resource governance issues in South Africa and internationally at organizations including EarthRights International, the Centre for Environmental Rights and the Legal Resources Centre. She is a former law clerk of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and a recipient of the Constitutional Court Trust Ismail Mahomed Fellowship. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and a Master of Laws (LL.M) in Human Rights Law from the University of Cape Town, as well as an LL.M from Columbia Law School, where she graduated as a James Kent Scholar. At Columbia, she was the recipient of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Fellowship, the Lawrence A. Wien Corporate Social Responsibility Fellowship, and, upon completion of her LL.M, the Columbia Law School Global Public Service Fellowship.

  • Ladan Mehranvar is a senior legal researcher for the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment, with a focus on investment law and policy, and human rights and sustainable investment. In addition, she is a lecturer at Princeton University, where she teaches Environmental Law and Policy. Her previous experience includes work for a national law firm in Toronto, Canada, with a focus on environmental and expropriation law, an NGO in Guatemala supporting indigenous communities on issues surrounding human rights and extractive industries, and as a legal researcher at Amnesty International (Vancouver) and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (Costa Rica). She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Ecology from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, a JD from Osgoode Hall Law School, and an LLM from the University of Toronto. Her research at Osgoode and Toronto largely focused on the impact of foreign investment on subaltern communities in Latin America.

  • John Biberman is a Senior Associate at CCSI, focusing on mining and energy. His research centers primarily on harmonizing standards for greenhouse gas accounting and reporting. Prior to joining CCSI, he worked as an economic modeler and researcher with the Energy and Resources Institute - TERI - in New Delhi in partnership with the Earth Institute to project investment needs for the Sustainable Development Goals and investigate the impact of information and communications technology on India's development trajectory. Further experiences in policy research and practice have taken him to Cameroon, Chad, China, and Uganda. He received his BA from Dartmouth College and his MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He enjoys climbing, skiing, and backpacking in his spare time, as well as learning languages, devouring history podcasts, and playing the piano and violin. He is professionally proficient in French and Mandarin Chinese, and conversational in Hindi and Spanish.

  • Jesse Coleman is a lead researcher at CCSI. She coordinates the Center’s work at the intersection of human rights and investment law, and works on two other focus areas at the Center: Investment Law & Policy and Land, Agriculture & Food Systems. Jesse leads research, provides technical and advisory support on investment governance, develops and leads trainings, and collaborates with partners to translate research into applied policies and practices. She is also co-editor-in-chief of the Yearbook on International Investment Law & Policy, an annual volume published by Oxford University Press.Prior to joining CCSI in 2015, Jesse worked with public health and human rights organizations. Jesse holds a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge, where she specialized in public international law. She received her Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Trinity College Dublin. Jesse speaks English and Italian fluently, and is working on her French.

  • Jack Arnold supports the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment’s research and programmatic work on investments in mining and energy. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Pomona College, where he concentrated in Environmental Studies and Public Policy. As an undergraduate, he played on Pomona-Pitzer’s varsity soccer team, conducted research on carbon pricing policies, and served as a German Language Partner at Pomona’s Foreign Language Resource Center.

  • Hansika Agrawal is a legal researcher at the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment, with a focus on Land, Agriculture & Food Systems. In addition, she is a Fellow with New York University School of Law’s Global Justice Clinic, where she provides training and research support on community rights, climate justice, and corporate accountability initiatives. Previously, she worked at Migrasia, an NGO in Hong Kong where she supported migrant domestic workers, conducting human rights investigations, strategic litigation, and advocacy on migrant workers’ rights, labor trafficking, and the intersection of financial crime and human rights. Her prior experience includes work on legal empowerment, particularly in relation to Indigenous land rights in Guyana, and rights of the elderly and housing rights in Hong Kong. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Social Sciences from the University of Hong Kong, as well as a Master of Laws in International Legal Studies from New York University School of Law, where she was a Deans Graduate Scholar, an International Law and Human Rights Fellow, and a Research Assistant at the Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. 

  • Grace Brennan supports the Center’s research and programmatic work on land, agriculture & food systems. She received a BA in anthropology on the political ecology track from Barnard College. As an undergraduate, she worked for Campus Sustainability and Climate Action. She wrote her senior thesis on the socio-ecological risk of nuclear power, comparing perspectives from power plant communities and nuclear engineers. She also served as a research assistant on an archeological project supporting land and water rights for a tribal nation in New Mexico.

  • Esther Akwii is a Legal Researcher at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, with a focus on Land, Agriculture & Food Systems. Prior to joining CCSI, she was a senior clinical fellow at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic. She also has worked at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School, and at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Her prior experience includes work on land tenure, right to food, farm viability, food loss and waste, food security, climate change, and natural resource governance. She holds a Master of Laws in Food and Agriculture Law, with distinction from Vermont Law School and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from Makerere University. She also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice and a Diploma in Law (First Class) from the Law Development Centre.

  • Chris Albin-Lackey is CCSI’s Director of Programs. He helps guide and support the organization’s research, outreach, and advocacy work with a view to maximizing its impact. He has a background in international human rights law and brings extensive experience as a researcher, editor, manager, and attorney. Prior to joining CCSI, he worked for 15 years at Human Rights Watch in a variety of roles across the organization’s Africa, Business and Human Rights, and Legal and Policy teams. He also worked as Legal and Policy Director at the National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School, and in private practice advising Fortune 100 companies on complex human rights governance challenges. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Boston University, and a Juris Doctor from Columbia University. 

  • Anna Bulman is a Legal Research Fellow who contributes to the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment's human rights and investment law, and land, agriculture and food systems focus areas. She conducts research and writing, runs trainings and workshops, and collaborates with partners to apply research to policy and practice. She is also the co-founder of Picture Human Rights, a free online resource that explains human rights-related concepts, such as this CCSI collaboration on investor-state dispute settlement. Prior to joining CCSI, first as an intern in 2014 and then again as a Fellow in 2020, she led a right to food project in the Constitutional Litigation Unit of the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa, worked briefly in international agricultural trade at the World Trade Organization, and was an advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston. She was previously an associate in the Supreme Court of South Australia and a paralegal at Blake Dawson (now Ashurst). She is proficient in German and Spanish. She holds a Master of Laws (James Kent Scholar) from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours), Bachelor of Arts (Spanish), and Diploma of Languages (German) from the University of Adelaide in Australia.