Staff Directory

Our Staff

  • Sam Szoke-Burke is a senior legal researcher for the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment’s focus areas of land and agriculture, human rights and investment, and extractive industries. At the Center he leads research projects and provides advice and support on legal and policy issues relating to land and human rights. 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.

  • 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 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 of the Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG). 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 is also an extractive industries transparency specialist. 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 14 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 leads the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment’s work on aligning the food sector with the Sustainable Development Goals. 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. At the Columbia Water Center, they researched the role of institutional investors in driving ESG reporting, and at Accountability Counsel, they promoted accountability for environmental and human rights impacts in development finance. They also 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 conducts economic and legal research, training, and advisory work at CCSI. He focuses on extractive industry investments in the context of sustainable development and the low-carbon transition. His expertise also extends to investment law and policy, among other areas of international economic governance. He has worked extensively with developing countries, 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.

  • Lise Johnson leads the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment's work on investment law and policy. Her work at CCSI centers on analyzing the contractual, legislative, and international legal frameworks governing international investment, and shaping the impacts that those investments have on sustainable development objectives. She focuses in particular on analyzing international investment treaties and the investor-state arbitrations that arise under them, examining the implications those treaties and cases have for host countries' domestic policies and development strategies. In addition, she concentrates on key institutional and procedural aspects of the legal framework, including efforts to increase transparency in and legitimacy of investor-state dispute settlement. She has a B.A. from Yale University, J.D. from University of Arizona, LL.M. from Columbia Law School, and is admitted to the bar in California.

  • 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.

  • Ladan Mehranvar is a 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.

  • Kimathi Muiruri supports the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment’s research and programmatic work on land, agriculture & food systems. He received a BA with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied African history and environmental studies as a Morehead-Cain Scholar. As an undergraduate, he researched community-based climate change resilience and United States federal policy under a leading investigator at the UNC School of Law and worked for social equity-focused nonprofit organizations in St. Louis, MO and Jacksonville, FL. He is originally from Toronto, Canada.

  • Karl P. Sauvant is Resident Senior Fellow at CCSI. In addition to his research at the Center, he also serves as an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School; Fellow at the Academy of International Business; and Honorary Fellow at the European International Business Academy. He is also Guest Professor at Nankai University, China.

    He was the Founding Executive Director of CCSI (previously the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment) until February 2012. While in this role, he launched the Yearbook on International Investment Law and Policy, the Columbia FDI Perspectives, the Columbia FDI Profiles, the annual Columbia International Investment Conference, the Investment Law and Policy Speaker Series, and the Emerging Markets Global Players project. He teaches a seminar on FDI and public policy and has published widely in the international investment area. Until October 2011, he was also the Co-Director of the Millennium Cities Initiative at the Earth Institute, responsible for helping African cities attract investment.

    Prior to his time with the CCSI, he served as the Director of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD’s) Investment Division, the focal point in the UN system for matters related to FDI, as well as a major interface with the private sector. While at the UN, he created the prestigious annual World Investment Report, of which he was the lead author until 2004. In 1992, he founded the journal Transnational Corporations, serving as its editor until 2005. He provided intellectual leadership and guidance to a series of 25 monographs on key issues related to international investment agreements, which were published in 2004/05 in three volumes. Together with Prof. John H. Dunning, he edited a 20-volume Library on Transnational Corporations (published by Routledge). His name is associated with a great number of United Nations publications on FDI over his three decades of service in the UN. He holds a Bachelor's equivalent from the Freie Universitaet Berlin (Germany), a Master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and received his Ph.D. degree in 1975 from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Jesse Coleman is a senior legal 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.

  • Ella Merrill works with CCSI Director Lisa Sachs, supporting the Center’s research and programmatic work in investment policy. She studied Environmental Policy and Human Rights at Barnard College. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant to a leading environmental journalist, and conducted her own research on the previously undetected persistence of herbicides in a Florida lagoon. She also worked on Barnard College's successful fossil fuel divestment campaign. Before joining CCSI, she worked in energy and sustainability management.

  • Brooke Guven is a senior legal researcher at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. She coordinates the Center’s work on SDG-aligned Business and Finance and also specializes in Investment Law & Policy. Her research, policy advising, training, and collaboration focuses on aligning cross-border financial flows with sustainable development objectives, as well as analyzing the contracts, domestic frameworks, and international legal arrangements governing these investments. Her work is at the intersection of climate change, human rights, and finance and investment. Prior to joining CCSI, she was a finance lawyer specializing in cross-border transactions at an international law firm, and also worked as a legal advisor with the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. She has an LLM from New York University School of Law, where she was a Human Rights Scholar, a JD and MA from the University of Wisconsin, and a BA from Northwestern University.