Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Anuradha Mittal is the founder and Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank that brings fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time. An internationally renowned expert on development, human rights, and agriculture issues, Anuradha has authored and edited numerous books, reports, and articles in leading publications; given hundreds of keynote addresses; and been interviewed by dozens of media sources. Anuradha also serves on the boards of the ActionAid USA and the Blue Planet Project, and is the Chair of the Independent Board of Ben & Jerry’s.
Conniel Malek is the Executive Director of True Costs Initiative (TCI), which seeks to increase corporate accountability and strengthen legal systems in the Global South by driving collaboration among communities, funders, and creative leaders in an effort to tip the balance so corporations are held accountable for and internalize the true environmental and human costs of their actions. She is a proud daughter of the Caribbean and particularly committed to advocating for the rights of those in often overlooked parts of the world and to grooming the next generation of human rights lawyers and advocates. Conniel is also a Board Member of EDGE Funders Alliance and serves on advisory boards of groups that work to ensure human and environmental rights accountability of economic actors. Prior to TCI, Conniel practiced corporate law at a multinational corporation. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Cornell University.
Durwood Zaelke is the founder and President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD), which works to promote just and sustainable societies and to protect the environment by advancing the understanding, development, and implementation of effective, and accountable systems of governance for sustainable development. Prior to IGSD, Durwood co-founded and was President of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL); served as the Director of the Secretariat for the International Network for Environmental Compliance & Enforcement; and was a partner at an international law firm. He has taught at various law schools and is the author of the leading textbook on international environmental law.
Lewis Gordon is the founder and former Executive Director of EDLC. Prior to starting EDLC in 2003, Lewis successfully defended environmentalists and environmental organizations from intimidation lawsuits, and represented them in environmental litigation as well. From 1989-94, Lewis served on the plaintiffs’ steering committee that managed the massive litigation arising from the grounding of the Exxon Valdez. Lewis has been invited to every continent to speak on human rights and corporate accountability issues before legal groups, NGOs, and foundations. See also staff biography.
Maxime Beaugrand is Director of the Paris Office at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD). Maxime joined IGSD in 2007 and has been focusing on international and French/EU climate strategy, policy and advocacy for near-term climate mitigation. She has also led IGSD’s international litigation portfolio since 2020. Previously, she worked for several years in a commercial law firm in Paris and later on, as a fundraiser for several environmental campaign groups and organizations in the UK. Maxime holds an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School, an LL.B. and LL.M. from Panthéon Sorbonne Paris II Assas. She is a native French speaker and is fluent in English.
Nick Hesterberg is the Executive Director of EDLC. Nick served as staff attorney for EDLC in 2009-2010 before entering private practice at international law firm Perkins Coie LLP, where he focused on challenging illegal price fixing conspiracies and monopolization schemes, in addition to maintaining an active pro bono practice. Nick returned to EDLC as its Executive Director in January 2020. Nick is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law and Lewis & Clark College. See also staff biography.
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.