Announcing the Inaugural Cohort of Ecological Security Fellows

The Converging Risks Lab, an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, is pleased to announce its inaugural class of Ecological Security Fellows. This initiative is a part of the institute’s Ecological Security Program, supported by the VK Rasmussen Foundation. Fellows are mid-career experts from a variety of backgrounds and geographies, and will work together over the next year to deepen their understanding and analysis of ecological security risks.

Christopher Bobryk is an Environmental Planner with the Clinton River Watershed Council – a non-profit focused on protecting natural assets in the Clinton River Watershed in southeast Michigan. Christopher has over 10 years of experience working with a variety of stakeholders that include private industry, academic institutions, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations. He currently works with government officials and community leaders on climate resilience planning that includes urban ecological restoration, biodiversity protection, and green stormwater infrastructure projects. Christopher received a BS in Environmental Science from Wayne State University, MS in Biology from Eastern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Missouri; specializing in Landscape Ecology and decision-support modeling. An avid writer, researcher, and fly fisher – Chris thrives on everything outdoors; especially recording ambient soundscapes from natural and built environments.

Ousseyni Kalilou received the 2019 Environmental Peacebuilding Award for Best Student Research Paper. He obtained his Masters of Science (MS) in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance from New York University- School of Professional Studies at the Center for Global Affairs. He also has a Master in Business Administration (MBA) in International Business from Strayer University in the USA and an undergraduate degree in Diplomacy from Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Algeria. Ousseyni contributed to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) research report no. 5 on the “Member States’ Approaches to the Climate-Security Nexus” as a partner scientist with the IFSH-Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He has experience in the private and public sectors and is currently the CEO and founder of the Gum Arabic Institute of Poverty Alleviation (GAIPA). His works have focused on climate security and environmental peacebuilding in the Sahel region. His recent publication in International Affairs journal was on climate change and conflict in the Sahel: the acacia gum tree as a tool for environmental peacebuilding.

Olivia Lazard is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe. Her research focuses on the geopolitics of climate, the transition ushered by climate change, and the risks of conflict and fragility associated with climate change and environmental collapse. Olivia is an environmental peacemaking and mediation practitioner as well as a researcher. She has over twelve years of experience in the peacemaking sector at field and policy levels. With an original specialization in the political economy of conflicts, she has worked for various NGOs, the UN, the EU, and donor states in the Middle East, Latin America, Sub-Saharan and North Africa, and parts of Asia. Her research at the field level and on thematic issues has led to support the European External Action Service in integrating environmental peacemaking as part of their mediation toolkit. Prior to joining Carnegie Europe, Olivia set up her own consultancy firm, Peace in Design Consulting, which remains exclusively active in conflict and fragile zones.

Sonaar Luthra is a water and climate consultant, a Senior TED Fellow and a RAND Pardee TNL non-residential fellow. As the CEO/Founder of Water Canary, he forecasts water and climate risks, drawing on a deep understanding of how essential models, institutions and markets are struggling to adapt to rapid transformations in our planet’s water cycle. He has practical expertise covering every area that water intersects, from energy, agriculture, science, technology, operations, manufacturing, logistics, quality assurance, and data systems to law, policy, regulatory compliance, finance, taxation, insurance and risk management. Sonaar studied at Bowdoin College, Oxford and NYU.  He was recognized as a speaker and specialist in water quality and climate change by the Obama State Department. He is a member of the GE Global Insights Network, an ambassador for the Fight Forever Chemicals campaign run by Participant Media and the film Dark Waters, and his work has been featured in TED, WIRED, the BBC, the CBC, Al-Jazeera, the Architectural Review, and the Obama White House Water Summit’s Commitments to Action on Building a Sustainable Water Future.

Rachel Richardson is currently serving as a consultant at the United Nations Environment Programme where she coordinates communication on issues related to biodiversity and ecosystems. Previously, Rachel worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Papua New Guinea where she contributed to proposal and project development in the areas of climate change, conservation and peacebuilding. Prior to the UN, Rachel worked with an environmental NGO leading national efforts for increased oceans protections and has also served in senior roles on U.S. campaigns for local and federal elections. Rachel earned her master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. During her studies and after, she has worked with research centers to address climate change through assessment and dissemination of its implications on human security.

Amber Todoroff has worked in nonprofits in the public policy space for the past five years, focusing on a range of topics such as forest management, coastal adaptation, green workforce development, and the application of data science to conservation. Amber currently serves as Deputy Public Policy Editor at OpenTheBooks, where she engages in issues related to government spending efficiency and transparency. She has Bachelor degrees in English and geography from the University of Florida, and a Master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Oxford.

Nikola M. Zivkovic is an Assistant Professor of International Relations, Foreign Policy and Negotiations and Conflict Management at Tecnológico de Monterrey, School of Social Sciences and Government, Mexico City. He is a Co-chair of the Education Interest Group at the Environmental Peacebuilding Association (2022-2023), a Member of the Board of Directors of the Mexican Association for International Studies (AMEI), where he is leading the Committee for Environment and Sustainable Development (2022-2023), and he is designated as a European Climate Pact Ambassador for 2022.