Hear in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia, and civil society.


Find out more about our upcoming and past events.


Center on Global Energy Policy Announces Inaugural Charif Souki Global Energy Fellows

The Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (CGEP) announced the inaugural cohort of 20 graduate students for the Charif Souki Global Energy Fellows Program. The year-long program provides students with access to a world-class community of experts, professional development opportunities, and funding for internships in order to create a launching pad to impactful careers in energy and climate.

From the Law School to the Engineering School to the Climate School, Columbia University’s graduate community contains an incredible wealth of talent in the energy and climate fields, but this is the first program that brings students together to work on climate and energy issues in a multi-disciplinary way. The Program challenges students to think critically on relevant global challenges while facilitating engagement between Colubmia’s brightest energy-focused graduate students and the experts at CGEP.

“Solving today’s interlocking energy and climate crises will take tangible and practical solutions — but we’ll need leaders to put them into practice and guide the transition away from fossil fuels,” said CGEP founding director Jason Bordoff. “Part of what makes Columbia a world-class institution is the experiential education we can provide to those looking to learn from the top leaders and experts in their field. We are thrilled to welcome this inaugural class of fellows and offer them unique opportunities and partnerships that will help them grow and thrive as they hone their expertise.”

Fellows in the program will participate in monthly luncheons with Bordoff, other scholars, and CGEP Distinguished Visiting Fellows in addition to internship workshops, networking events, and field trips. Fellows will also be provided with job search assistance and full funding for the summer internship of their choice in the energy and climate field.

The Charif Souki Global Energy Fellows program, supported by Tellurian, Inc., is focused on addressing key challenges facing the global energy system and equipping students with the knowledge they need to be leaders in energy and climate policy. “Energy and climate are enormously complex issues,” said Charif Souki, Executive Chairman of Tellurian, Inc. “The most important thing we can do is to give young people the literacy to understand the issues and apply their knowledge to make the world a better place. My hope is that whatever career paths the Energy Fellows choose, they go about it with some humility and acceptance that they will not know everything and that there is always more to learn. Not everyone sees the world the same, but there is value in understanding everyone’s perspective” 

“SIPA has a duty to generate new solutions, fresh thinking to the most pressing policy challenges and ground them in world class, evidence based research,” said SIPA Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo “We have a responsibility to prepare our students to be the next generation of leaders. CGEP and SIPA will deepen our partnership to expand our impact and provide more educational opportunities for students. The global energy fellows program is an essential component of that partnership. We’re grateful to Charif Souki for kickstarting this program.”

“Being part of the inaugural cohort of Global Energy Fellows at CGEP is tremendously exciting in many ways. I am looking forward to meeting and learning from an exceptional group of Columbia students committed to the energy transition. Of course, I am also very excited about the opportunity to engage with the wealth of experience that CGEP’s scholars have in designing action-oriented energy policies, in a moment when the world is facing its first global energy crisis, and we are at a critical point in the energy transition,” said 2023 fellow Javier Baranda Alonso.


The inaugural class of the Global Energy Fellows Program, includes:

Kai Salem
Kai Salem advocates for just, carbon-free energy systems. Before law school, she advocated for ambitious state-level climate policy with Green Energy Consumers Alliance and the Environment Council of Rhode Island. Kai graduated with honors from Brown University in Environmental Studies in 2018.

Javier Baranda Alonso
Javier is an MPA in Development Practice student at SIPA, passionate about the interlinks between energy, climate, and economic development. He holds an MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures from Imperial College London, and has experience working on energy access and energy transition programs in Sub-Saharan Africa from academia, government, and non-profit sectors. 

Jonathan Kao Lesh
Jonathan Lesh is a first-year graduate student at Columbia SIPA concentrating in Energy and Environment. An experienced policy analyst and researcher, Jonathan has three years of experience working across sectors in Washington, D.C., most recently at the China desk of an international strategic advisory firm. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he earned his BSFS from Georgetown University. 

Mostafa Bushehri
Mostafa is a Master of Public Administration student, with a concentration in International Finance and Economic Policy, in Columbia University, SIPA. He is enthusiastic about renewable energy finance, energy transition risks and opportunities, and geopolitics. Prior to joining Columbia, he was a policy and risk analyst, focusing on energy issues in Iran and the MENA. 

Zoya Husain
With a background in Geoscience Engineering, Zoya gained 4+ years of work experience with Shell plc in petrophysics and hydrocarbon production technology domains. Currently pursuing her MS with specialization in Carbon Management at Columbia University, she is highly motivated to contribute towards energy transition and climate change mitigation. 

Kathryn Obisesan
Kathryn is pursuing her Master of International Affairs specialized in International Conflict Resolution. Previous to SIPA, Kathryn worked as a Junior Policy Analyst at the OECD-NEA. While obtaining her bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Government and Politics, Kathryn worked as an intern twice at the US Department of Energy.

Luma Dias
Luma Dias is pursuing a Master of International Affairs with a concentration in Energy and Environment and a specialization in International Organizations & UN Studies. Previously, she worked as Climate Finance Manager, enhancing international cooperation for the protection of forests and the support of sustainable livelihoods in Brazil. 

Mohammad Ahzam
Mohammad is an Architect from India. He has executed multiple large-scale resiliency masterplans and public urban projects. Presently, he is pursuing MS in Sustainability Management at the Columbia Climate School. His focus is helping developing countries make a clean energy transition and support vulnerable communities in these countries to become resilient and sustainable.

Felipe Verástegui
Felipe is a PhD student in Operations Research at Columbia University. He focuses on mathematical and economic tools to study sustainability challenges in complex socio-technical systems, such as energy and climate. Before Columbia, he worked at the Chilean Ministry of Energy and as adjunct professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Frank Agwuncha
Frank has a decade of experience in the energy industry spanning technical, integration, project/asset management, and leadership roles. He is a graduate student in the Sustainability Management program. Frank is passionate about sustainability, energy access, and DEI issues. He enjoys watching football, Formula 1, and traveling in his spare time. 

Anita Eisakhani
Anita Eisakhani is a Licensed Professional Engineer with over five years of experience analyzing data and developing policy related to environment, energy and climate change. She has experience analyzing compliance and developing implementation mechanisms for the United Nations (UN) Multilateral Environmental Conventions and Protocols and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Anita is currently studying Master’s of International Affairs with an Energy and Environment concentration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Victoria Prado
Victoria was the first employee at Brazil’s largest carbon credit developer, Carbonext, where she led the Business Intelligence department and helped the company grow to protect +3M hectares of the Amazon Rainforest. Before that, she helped devise long-term sustainability strategies for major players in the Brazilian mining and O&G sectors.

Meha Jain
Meha Jain is a Master in Public Administration – Development Practice student at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. She aspires to help protect low-income and vulnerable communities through energy and climate transitions. A Mumbai native, she received her Bachelor’s in Economics and International Studies from Macalester College in 2019. 

Samuel Oswald
Samuel Oswald is pursuing an MIA at Columbia University, SIPA with a concentration in Energy & Environment. He works as a Policy & Government Affairs Specialist at Eni, SpA – the Italian multinational energy company. He moved to New York after nearly seven years in Washington, DC, where he also studied Global Business at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  

Alicia Liono
Alicia Liono has over four years of sustainability consulting, finance, and research experience. With a biology bachelor’s degree from Imperial College London, she is currently pursuing a sustainability management master’s degree at Columbia University. Post master’s, Alicia plans to continue advancing investment and operational decarbonization for corporate net zero alignment.

Zaki Alattar
Zaki Alattar is in the second year of his Masters of Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering. His research focuses on the nexus of water and energy and the forefront of decentralized infrastructure systems.

Shreya Tiwari
Shreya Tiwari is an MPA student at Columbia SIPA with a background in engineering and experience in renewable energy and plastic recycling in India. She is passionate about finding solutions to increase and facilitate capital investments for renewable energy projects. She is often described as full of laughter and happiest when eating good food.

Gaspar d’Ursel
After working for 6+ years in Energy Finance and Business Development, lately for TotalEnergies in Paris, Gaspar decided to pursue his MPA at Columbia SIPA. In addition, he has worked and studied in a variety of geographical environments (Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America and the USA).

Nathan Michael Bodger
Nathan is a British/American student with a BA in comparative religious studies. He is completing a joint JD/MIA degree and pursuing a career in climate law. Nathan has interned with AIR Guatemala, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, the World Bank, and the Mission of Palau to the UN.

Kristina Nabayan
Kristina is a materials science and engineering PhD student conducting research in electrochemistry. Her passions for sustainability, energy, and equity led her to researching batteries and becoming a Global Energy Fellow. In her free time, she likes to sing, dance, skateboard and do anything outdoorsy!