TSAVO, KENYA - Muli, a Maasai guide who works with the Maasai Wilderness Conservation TrustÕs

Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship

 

Contact Info and Current Positions

For questions, please contact:
Kelsey Rosenbaum
Fellowship Program Director
krosenbaum@conservation.org
(703) 341-2853

​​At Conservation International we believe that investing in talent is fundamental to our mission and key to providing sustainable solutions. In that spirit, the Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship program hosts conservation fellows — academics, scientists, public and private sector leaders, independent scholars and policy analysts — who work to create dynamic and unconventional approaches to address existing barriers to sustainability and contribute to a shift in how nature is valued. These fellowships provide unparalleled opportunities for intensive focus and achievement at the intersection of climate, conservation, business and technology.

The program engages recognized leaders — Distinguished and Senior Fellows — and emerging talent — Technical Fellows — to provide fresh thinking and extensive leadership to Conservation International’s work around the world. By strategically combining the skills and knowledge of both groups, the Lui-Walton Fellows are able to expand the breadth of their skills, gain valuable experience in their fields, and find innovative solutions together with Conservation International program staff and local partners.

The Lui-Walton fellowship is distinguished by four ​​key areas of opportunity: travel, access to resources, professional development and direct participation in Conservation International programs.

Senior Fellows

© Noel Matoff

Dr. Günther Bachmann

As a Lui-Walton Senior Fellow, Günther works to elevate and advance Conservation International’s efforts in Germany and across Europe.

Günther serves as adviser to the CEPEI Covid-19 Data and Innovation Center at the Center for International Strategic Thought (CEPEI), a think tank based in Colombia. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Thünen Institute, the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC), the board of trustees of the German Nature Conservation Association, and the executive board of the German Sustainability Award for companies and municipalities.

Formerly, Günther was director of the German Council for Sustainable Development, an innovative multi-stakeholder body that advises the German government on sustainable development. He has held leading positions on soil and land regulation at the German Federal Environment Agency and was instrumental in the creation of the country’s 1999 soil protection law.

He has a PhD in landscape planning from the Technical University of Berlin.

 

© Carlos Correa

Carlos Correa

As a Lui-Walton Senior Fellow, Carlos Correa provides strategic counsel to Conservation International’s leadership to support institutional priorities — natural climate solutions, ocean conservation at scale and nature-positive economies — in a just and inclusive way.

As Colombia’s former Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Carlos builds on years of leadership to help advance critical policy goals and shared priorities. He championed Colombia’s efforts toward carbon neutrality and nature-positive outcomes, including leading the development of the country’s carbon neutrality strategy and strengthening Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris climate agreement. This resulted in the legal incorporation of new commitments to reduce greenhouse gases by 51 percent by 2030.

Carlos also furthered initiatives, such as launching a 30x30 campaign and the national roadmap towards carbon neutrality by 2050. In 2022, Colombia announced that it has protected and conserved 31 percent of its lands and 37 percent of its waters, putting it well ahead of the global goal to protect 30 percent by 2030. Carlos serves as a World Economic Forum Champion for Nature.

 

© Conservation International

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

As Conservation International’s Lui-Walton Senior Indigenous Fellow, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim advocates for greater inclusion of indigenous groups — and their knowledge — in the global climate movement.

A member of the Mbororo semi-nomadic community, she leads the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad. Lake Chad, a water source for 40 million people, has lost 90 percent of its surface area in just 40 years. As conflict has increased among groups competing for this essential resource, Ibrahim began the first major dialogue among the area’s numerous cultures and communities. Together, they are creating a 3D-map of the environmentally fragile region to inform conservation and resource management while promoting security.

Over the last decade, Hindou has worked with indigenous communities at the local and international levels to give a voice to those who are never heard — and to make governments and the private sector listen. She is a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Ambassador and a member of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues, and she served on the Key Advisory Committee to the Secretary General for the 2019 Climate Action Summit. In 2019, Hindou won the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award; was listed as one of 15 women leading the fight against climate change in Time Magazine; was featured in ELLE Magazine’s first-ever conservation issue; and delivered a powerful TEDWomen talk.

 

© Greta Francesca Lori

Greta Francesca Iori

As a Lui-Walton Senior Fellow, Greta will provide strategic counsel to promote Conservation International’s global leadership on natural climate solutions and biodiversity loss, including elevating the organization’s work to help elephants and people thrive together.

Greta is an Ethiopian-Italian wildlife crime and conservation expert and adviser to various African governments and international organizations. She has extensive experience in working to bring an end to illegal wildlife trade across the Horn of Africa, resolve human-wildlife conflict and better understand the gendered dynamics of organized criminal networks — while encouraging more sustainable, just and inclusive conservation models across Africa. Greta has headed the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation’s program development and human-elephant conflict work across 21 African member states, and between Africa and Asia. She continues to advocate for compassionate and nuanced systems change, including the vital collaboration required to enable climate justice and resilience.

 

 

TECHNICAL FELLOWS

© Charlotte Boyd

Charlotte Boyd

Africa Oceans Fellow

Charlotte will lead the development of the Africa Field Division’s work on oceans, developing its oceans strategy and supporting existing field teams, as well as growing initiatives on a Mozambique Seascape and the Western Indian Oceans Region. Charlotte is a marine spatial ecologist with a particular interest in the spatial ecology of highly mobile marine vertebrates, such as seabirds and cetaceans, and the identification of important areas for safeguarding species and ecosystems in the context of broad-scale conservation strategies.

Prior to joining Conservation International, Charlotte was the key biodiversity area expert at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), co-leading development of the key biodiversity area training program and building capacity for identifying and mapping key biodiversity areas around the world. She has 25 years of experience in marine science and international biodiversity conservation, with a long-standing focus on Africa and Madagascar. She holds a PhD in marine ecology from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle WA; an MSc in Conservation from University College, London; an MSc in Economics for Development from New College, University of Oxford; and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from New College, University of Oxford.

 

© Paula Bueno

Paula Bueno

Ocean Governance Fellow

Paula will assess Conservation International’s contributions to ocean knowledge, science and innovation in the Americas. In support of the organization’s regional and global goals, she will build a community of thought to identify opportunities to scale up national programs with the aim of producing broader, regional results. In collaboration with Conservation International’s country programs, Paula will identify links with relevant regional ocean initiatives and governance frameworks. Paula has worked in Latin America and the Caribbean for more than 16 years — contributing to various cooperation initiatives and international negotiations for biodiversity conservation, including developing a strong relationship with networks such as Redparques, the Marine Corridor of Eastern Tropical Pacific (CMAR) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), where she has had leadership and coordination roles at regional and global levels. A Colombian national, Paula strongly believes in the power of transboundary cooperation and collaborative governance, which she will pursue during her fellowship. She holds a B.A. in Government Affairs and International Relations from Universidad Externado de Colombia and a M.Sc. in Sustainability Science to Address Global Change, from Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, Spain.

 

© Adriana Casas

Adriana Casas

Conservation Fellow

Adriana will provide legal and policy advice to Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) grantees, initially in the tropical Andes (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) with a specific focus on advancing legal and policy instruments in Bolivia related to gold mining and its associated activities, such as mercury contamination. Her work will entail reviewing the regulatory landscape, assessing current actions and opportunities to mitigate threats, and supporting CEPF grantees with legal and policy advice to plan appropriate actions.

Adriana is a mission-driven and solutions-oriented environmental law and policy professional. She’s passionate about building a sustainable present and future for people and nature through collaboration across sectors. Her background and includes biodiversity conservation in infrastructure development, nature-based solutions for climate change such as REDD+ and the transition towards renewable energy systems.

Adriana holds a J.D. from Universidad de Los Andes Law School and a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale University’s School of the Environment.

 

© Adrienne Cleverly

Adrienne Cleverly

Conservation Finance Innovation Fellow

Adrienne will work to develop a Conservation Finance Innovation and Replication program to increase private sector investment in conservation. Adrienne will contribute to the design of this new program and will help pilot new approaches to building Conservation Internationals pipeline of innovative business and investment models.

Prior to joining Conservation International, Adrienne worked in the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI), where she was the communications lead for the Net-Zero Banking Alliance. Prior to that, she worked in consumer and community banking at J.P. Morgan Chase. Adrienne holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and a bachelor's degree in communications from California State University Channel Islands.

 

© Justin Kenney

Justin Kenney

Global Ocean Fellow

Justin will work with the oceans and policy teams on our goals to advance the protection of 30 percent of the global ocean by 2030, promote ocean-based solutions to the climate crisis and support efforts to curb illegal fishing. He has more than 25 years of experience bridging communications and conservation in government, philanthropy and advocacy. He served as communications director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Obama Administration and as deputy communications director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under the Clinton Administration. Justin also directed communications for the environment programs of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Walton Family Foundation, as well as the Pew Oceans Commission. Most recently he served as a senior advisor for ocean and climate at the UN Foundation, where he worked with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He also directs the 30x30 Ocean Alliance, a partnership that includes Conservation International, and will continue to do so in his new position. Justin earned his master’s degree in public communication from American University and his bachelor’s from the University of Iowa.

 

© Jason Knauf

Jason Knauf

Global Leadership Fellow

As Global Leadership Fellow, Jason will work with Conservation International colleagues to build a new strategy for our work in South Asia as we look to support innovative natural climate solutions in the region. He will also help strengthen our relationships with leading philanthropists in Africa to support our many programs on the continent.

Jason has worked with leaders in business, public life and philanthropy for two decades. Most recently, he was CEO of The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, having previously served as Communications Director at Kensington Palace. In these roles he worked with Prince William to create The Earthshot Prize, on whose Board of Trustees he now serves.

Before his work with the royal household, Jason was Director of Corporate Affairs at the Royal Bank of Scotland with responsibility for the bank’s strategy across media relations, public affairs, sustainability and digital communications. Jason is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

 

© Lia Lopez

Lia Lopez

Indigenous Conservation Leadership Fellow

Lia will work within Conservation International's expanding array of Indigenous fellowship programs. She will collaborate with initiatives such as the Amazonia Indigenous Women's Fellowship and the Sue Taei Fellowship, and engage with peers from the Blue Nature Alliance, among others. The primary objective of this collaboration is to amplify opportunities for Indigenous leaders. Lia will provide direct support for the Inclusive Conservation Initiative Fellowship program under the Global Environment Facility (GEF). She will also work on consolidating existing fellowships and processes within the Center for Communities and Conservation. Furthermore, she will contribute to the development of current and former fellows through a community of practice across all programs.

 

© Shalom M. Ndiku

Shalom M. Ndiku

Africa Policy Fellow

Shalom will support Conservation International’s Africa Division to prioritize and identify policy opportunities related to biodiversity negotiations, climate change, the forest and ocean protection, rangeland restoration, and engagements with governments. Shalom has expertise in constitutional, extractives and environmental law — with experience both in private practice and the non-profit sector.

Before joining Conservation International, Shalom was the senior program manager in Africa for TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono legal service. Prior to that, he provided project management, research and policy support to the environmental organizations Natural Justice and the Friends of Lake Turkana — including playing a pivotal role in putting together the legal petition that led the Kenyan government to pause construction of what would have been East Africa's first coal-fired power plant. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Psychology from Helderberg College and a law degree from the University of Cape Town, both in South Africa.

 

© Kalei Nuʻuhiwa

Kalei Nuʻuhiwa

Indigenous Knowledge System Fellow

Dr. Kalei Nuʻuhiwa is the Indigenous Knowledge System Fellow based in the Center for Oceans. During her first year, Kalei will explore and document the intersection of Indigenous science and Western knowledge in Hawai‘i, and will advance CI-Hawai‘i’s efforts to redefine how government uses Indigenous knowledge in marine management. Based on this pilot, she will broaden and refine this approach, working with other CI country programs to transform how Indigenous and Western knowledge systems are understood, recognized and deployed for ocean resilience and management. Kalei holds a master’s degree from the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaiʻi, and a Ph.D. in Māori and Indigenous Studies from the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

 

Rubén Perez-Peña Sanchez

Climate Policy fellow

Ruben will support national and regional policy teams in developing CI's REDD+ nesting efforts and designing policy frameworks to facilitate the development and delivery of high-quality natural climate solutions (NCS) credits. He will also engage with governments as they design processes for participating in carbon markets. Ruben has expertise in the implementation of REDD+ initiatives at the local level, natural climate solutions applied science, payment for ecosystem services and climate financing.

Before joining Conservation International, Ruben was a Natural Climate Solutions Applied Scientist at The Nature Conservancy. Prior to that, he worked at the Inter-America Development Bank’s Climate Change Division in Mexico, where he promoted the mainstreaming of sustainability and climate change mitigation and adaptation across all sectors. He also supported dialogue with the federal government, private sector and civil society stakeholders. He has a degree in natural resources engineering from the University of Guadalajara and a master’s degree in environmental law and public policy analysis from the University of the Environment (Universidad del Medio Ambiente), both in Mexico.

 

© Rahman Adi Pradana

Rahman Adi Pradana

Indonesia Policy Fellow

Adi will lead policy engagement with key partners to deliver on climate, biodiversity and ocean policies in Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific region. Adi is a passionate advocate for equitable and sustainable development with more than 12 years of experience in policy analysis and program management in the private, non-profit and public sectors.

Prior to joining Conservation International, Adi worked at WRI Indonesia, where he led the sustainable landscape and cities portfolio, and at the Indonesian government, where he helped monitor and support national priority programs — including REDD+. Adi completed his graduate study in public policy at Duke University, where he was a Global Social Innovation Fellow, and fulfilled his International Development certification in India. He is also part of the Obama Foundation’s Asia-Pacific Emerging Leaders program and the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect program.

 

© Mariana Prieto

Mariana Prieto

Conservation Design Fellow

Mariana will lead the creation of Conservation International’s innovation center — helping to instill human-centered design and creative confidence across the organization.

Mariana has more than 10 years of experience as a leader in social and environmental innovation, spanning non-profits and the private sector. She began her career at IDEO.org, where she focused on solving complex global humanitarian issues. Over the years, she has led teams in collaboration with IDEO, WildAid, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, General Electric and many others.

Mariana has served as an adjunct professor at the ArtCenter College of Design and the USC Marshall School of Business, and has been a guest lecturer at various institutions, including Berkeley Haas School of Business, Stanford University, Microsoft and IDEO.

Mariana was born and raised in Colombia. She now lives in Los Angeles with her son, husband and numerous foster animals that pass through their home.

 
© Martha Cecilia Rosero-Peña

Martha Cecilia Rosero-Peña

Social Inclusion Fellow

Martha will lead Conservation International’s work to strengthen and deepen engagement with Afro communities in the Americas on natural climate solutions and biodiversity conservation. She will work in close collaboration with country and regional leadership, staff and partners to strengthen Conservation International’s engagements with Indigenous people and local communities. Martha’s work builds on Conservation International’s long history of partnering with Indigenous people and local communities, and its commitment to diversity equity and inclusion.

Before joining Conservation International, Martha worked for the Center for Latin American Studies and the Tropical Conservation and Development Program at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she received her Ph.D. She is a member of the Science Panel for the Amazon and author of a chapter on the importance of African descendants in the Amazon, published in the Amazon Assessment Report 2021.

 

© Gustavo Souza

Gustavo Souza

Americas Policy Fellow

Gustavo will be responsible for working with country programs in the Americas region to achieve Conservation International’s policy objectives. He will work on enabling conditions for the creation and sale of carbon credits, and will support on the region’s engagement in the upcoming biodiversity negotiations, as well as the design of biodiversity and sustainability policies.

Gustavo comes to us from CDP (formerly the Climate Disclosure Project), where he was the senior policy manager for the Americas — leading policy engagement with governments across the region. His experience spans climate (including REDD+ and carbon markets), biodiversity (including payments for ecosystem services), sustainable supply chains and private sector engagement. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Policy Management from the University of São Paulo and has a Master in Sustainable Resources Management from the Technical University of Munich. He is based in São Paulo, Brazil.

 

© Andrea Vásquez R.

Andrea Vásquez R.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fellow

Andrea will play a key role in helping Conservation International establish diversity, equity and inclusion governance structures, design action plans that are locally relevant and context specific, and create mechanisms to our track progress. Andrea is a social communicator, behavioral insights practitioner and innovation enthusiast who uses a design mindset to promote social transformation.

For most of her 20-year career, Andrea has worked for United Nations agencies and the Canadian government to advance initiatives that sought to empower women, combat xenophobia and promote the rights of L.G.B.T.Q. people. She has also worked as regional head of diversity, equity, and inclusion for global companies like Adidas and Gensler.

Andrea has a Master's in Social Communication from the University of Costa Rica and a Master's in Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Queen's University in Canada. She completed an advanced program in behavioral sciences at the University of British Columbia, where she researched ways to interrupt unconscious biases in evaluations.

 

© Ami Vitale

Ami Vitale

Visual Storytelling Fellow

National Geographic photographer, filmmaker and writer Ami Vitale has spent three decades sharing powerful stories that build connection and inspire change. Today, Ami focuses on telling intimate stories of conservation and environmental action — amplifying the work of communities on the front lines of conservation and offering an unparalleled view of endangered wildlife on the brink. She is the founder and executive director of Vital Impacts, a women-led organization that supports efforts to protect people, wildlife and habitats. Through Vital Impacts, Ami is also creating opportunities for the next generation of conservation storytellers.

In her fellowship with Conservation International, Ami will advance awareness about irrecoverable carbon — building visual stories that will connect viewers to the important and threatened places in nature we cannot afford to lose in our fight to stabilize our climate.

 

© Neil Vora

Neil Vora

Pandemic Prevention Fellow

Neil is a physician with Conservation International where he leads efforts on pandemic prevention through addressing the underlying drivers of pathogen emergence such as deforestation. He was previously with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which he first joined in 2012 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. While with CDC, Dr. Vora deployed to Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to assist in the responses to the two largest Ebola outbreaks on record and to the country of Georgia to lead an investigation of a newly discovered virus related to the smallpox virus. From 2020-2021, Dr. Vora led New York City’s COVID contact tracing program composed of over 3000 staff. He has over 60 publications including in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Lancet and is currently an Associate Editor at CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. Dr. Vora still sees patients in a public tuberculosis clinic in New York City. He completed medical school at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 2009 and his Internal Medicine training at Columbia University in 2012.

 

© Elle Wibisono

Elle Wibisono

Indonesia Fishery Science and Policy Fellow

Elle will support the research and implementation of the production–protection approach in oceans through the Blue Halo S Project in Indonesia. Prior to working at Conservation International, she was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, where she helped to draft and negotiate oceans bills. She also worked at The Nature Conservancy Indonesia Fisheries Conservation Project on the sustainable management of deep-water snapper and grouper fisheries. In addition to her research and policy work, Elle explores the importance of effective science communication by designing and creating fish comics (fishtory.co). Through her comics, she aims to highlight topics in fishery science and conservation in a fun and engaging way. She received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in sustainable fisheries management from the University of Rhode Island.

 

© Thérèse Yarde

Thérèse Yarde

Caribbean Fellow

Thérèse will lead the development of a strategic framework for Conservation International's work in the Caribbean, establishing the organization as a partner of choice for governments and civil society in the climate, biodiversity and sustainable development arenas.

Originally from Barbados, Thérèse brings to her fellowship more than 20 years of experience in strategic planning, capacity building and program implementation for environmental and ecosystems management in the Caribbean. She played an instrumental role in preparing the inaugural report on the state of biodiversity in the Caribbean Community and initiated the development of the first Caribbean biodiversity strategy.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph, a Master of Science in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London and a PhD in Geography from the University of Edinburgh.

 

The Visionaries

© Courtesy of Yvonne Lui

“The environmental issues the world faces require a special class of leaders: Innovative thinkers who can apply their unique aptitudes, experiences and passions to help change the world and carve a new path to sustainability. I am pleased to establish the Lui-Walton Innovators Fellowship Program at Conservation International, alongside Melani and Rob Walton, to embolden Conservation International’s efforts to provide the sustainability solutions our global community seeks.”

— Yvonne Lui

 

Portrait of Rob Walton
© Walmart Corporate

“With the world population projected to reach 9 billion in the next forty years, doubling our demand for food, water and energy, we must nurture ingenuity, initiative and talent to ensure these vital natural resources and the services they provide are protected. Melani and I are delighted to join Yvonne in welcoming the first class of Lui-Walton Innovator Fellows to Conservation International. This group’s skills and ideas will have a lasting impact on our ability to solve the conservation challenges of today and tomorrow.”

— Rob Walton