Board of Directors and Advisory Board
Kenneth L. Adams
Kenneth Adams is the founder of Adams Holcomb LLP in Washington, D.C. He was formerly a senior litigation partner at the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro LLP, where for more than thirty years, he concentrated on litigating and resolving the most complex, multifaceted disputes the firm was called upon to handle. Mr. Adams served for nearly twenty years on the Executive Committee appointed by state and federal judges in Alaska to coordinate the litigation against Exxon Corporation on behalf of more than 40,000 plaintiffs who were injured in the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
José Roberto (Beto) Borges
Beto Borges was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. He is the director of the Communities and Markets Program for Forest Trends, and previously worked as a program officer with the Goldman Environmental Foundation. Mr. Borges was the director of the Brazil Program at Rainforest Action Network for nine years, promoting forest policies and indigenous land demarcation in the Amazon region. He has consulted for philanthropic foundations and environmental organizations including the Damien Foundation, Global Greengrants Fund, Conservation International and the Centro de Pesquisa Indígena.
Theodoros Chronopoulos is currently a Senior Programme Officer for Africa at EMpower – the Emerging Markets Foundation while maintaining an independent consultancy practice advising NGOs and philanthropic foundations on corporate accountability; environmental justice; public participation; and social and economic rights. From 2006-2012, he was Programme Director for Social Justice at the Sigrid Rausing Trust.
Stuart Kirsch is an anthropologist who has worked extensively on indigenous rights in the Pacific, especially in relation to the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea. He earned a doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania, and is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Reverse Anthropology (Stanford 2006) and Mining Capitalism (California 2014). Dr. Kirsch has consulted widely on environmental issues and land rights for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the World Bank, the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, and numerous NGOs and law firms.
Joshua Mailman is internationally recognized as one of the leading social venture entrepreneurs and philanthropists in America. He is the founder of the Threshold Foundation, and a co-founder of the Network for Social Change U.K. Mr. Mailman has played an instrumental role in the founding of numerous organizations focused on business and social responsibility, including Social Venture Network, Business for Social Responsibility, and Social Venture Network Europe. He is a co-founder of Grameen Telecom in Bangladesh, the only phone company in the world one-third owned by a bank that represents the interests of the poor.
Tom Sargent is a real estate developer and city planner specializing in environmentally responsible projects located in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a principal in Equity Community Builders, LLC (ECB). ECB’s portfolio includes the Thoreau Center for Sustainability in the Presidio of San Francisco, the David Brower Center in Berkeley, and the Retreat at Fort Baker in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Mr. Sargent has served on the Board of Directors of the New Field Foundation, a supporting organization of the Tides Foundation, focused on international grantmaking at the grass-roots level.
Cosette Thompson worked for Amnesty International USA for over twenty years, nine of those years as the organization’s Western Regional Director, based in San Francisco. Her work included developing or coordinating numerous projects in the areas of human rights education and the protection of environmental activists. Ms. Thompson now works as an independent human rights researcher and consultant based in Tucson. She earned a doctoral degree from the University of La Sorbonne, and taught at the University of Orleans (France) and the International French-American School in San Francisco.
Durwood Zaelke is the founding Director of the Secretariat for the International Network for Environmental Compliance & Enforcement, and the Resident Managing Partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the international law firm, Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette, LLP. He is the founder (1989) and past President (1989- 2003) of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and the founder and President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. He is the author of the leading law school textbook on International Environmental Law.
*Member of the Board of Directors
EDLC Programs in Action
Reparations for Chixoy dam victims in Guatemala
Guatemala received funding from the World Bank to build the Chixoy dam in an area long inhabited by Achí-speaking Maya indigenous people, but the government failed to address the needs of the communities, who wanted neither the project nor to relocate. The military government targeted one village in particular-Rio Negro-and the community’s resolve to press for just terms was met by a series of horrific massacres in which nearly five hundred residents were killed. Rio Negro was abandoned, the dam was built, and the Chixoy basin filled. Years of poverty, violent repression and psychological trauma followed.
Over the years, there were numerous efforts to engage the government on these abuses. In 2004, a peaceful protest at the dam site led to an agreement with the government to establish a commission to consider the communities’ claims. The Mayan communities harmed by Chixoyrequested EDLC to find an international law firm to represent them, and Holland & Knight agreed to take on the case. Over the next ten years, dozens of the firm’s associates, partners, and paralegals worked on the case.
Following years of negotiations, a reparations plan was finalized, calling for a payment of $150 million to the communities. In 2015, the Guatemalan Congress paid the first $3 million to several hundred families, and in 2016, paid over $4 million to hundreds of other families, but it has failed to meet its commitments since then.