OUR TEAM
Ghassem Asrar
START Board Chair
Director
Joint Global Change Research Institute
USA
Fatima Denton
Director
Special Initiatives Division
UN Economic Commission for Africa
ETHIOPIA
Mohamed El-Ashry
Senior Fellow
United Nations Foundation
USA
Mohamed Hassan
Co-Chair
Inter Academy Panel
ITALY
Thomas Lovejoy
Senior Fellow
United Nations Foundation
USA
Dong-Pil Min
Scientific Advisory Board Member
UN Secretary General
KOREA
Rémi Quirion
Chief Scientist Officer
Research Funds of Quebec
CANADA
Reneé van Kessel-Hagesteijn
Director
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
NETHERLANDS
Joachim von Braun
Director
Center for Development Research (ZEF)
Bonn University
GERMANY
Cheikh Mbow
(Ex-Officio Member)
Executive Director
International START Secretariat
USA
Hassan Virji
(Ex-Officio Member)
Adjunct Professor
Dept. Of Geography
University of Maryland
USA
Cheikh MbowExecutive Director
Cheikh Mbow holds academic degrees from Cheikh Anta Diop University and University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He…

Cheikh Mbow holds academic degrees from Cheikh Anta Diop University and University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He has been on the academic and research faculty at Cheikh Anta Diop University and Michigan State University. He has worked as a Senior Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and a Member of the Science Committee of Future Earth. Cheikh is a regional expert on disturbances of savanna vegetative systems, particularly the impact of bush fires and other land cover changes in rural areas. He has experience with above-ground in situ carbon stock assessments, vegetation inventory the use for carbon models, and the monitoring of vegetative communities.

cmbow@start.org
Jon PadghamDirector of Partnerships
Jon Padgham joined in September 2008 as the Director of START’s Risk, Vulnerability, and Adaptation program.…
Jon Padgham joined in September 2008 as the Director of START’s Risk, Vulnerability, and Adaptation program. Prior to joining START, Jon worked at the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development on climate change adaptation initiatives. At the World Bank, he developed a study detailing where Bank investments are needed to build adaptive capacity in the agriculture sector. At USAID he managed adaption projects and helped to develop a guidance manual on climate change adaptation for that agency’s field operations. Jon received a PhD in soil science from Cornell University.
jpadgham@start.org
Margaret ChapmanDirector of Finance and Administration
Margaret Ann Chapman, MBA, MA is the Director of Finance and Administration. She oversees…

Margaret Ann Chapman, MBA, MA is the Director of Finance and Administration. She oversees the daily operations and financial health and planning of START. Prior to this position, Margaret was the Institute Administrator and Fiscal Manager for the George Washington University Cancer Institute and various positions at the Pew Charitable Trusts. She has her Masters in Business Administration and Masters in European and Eurasian Studies from the George Washington University. In addition to her work at START, Margaret serves as the Treasurer for Triage Cancer and the immediate past president of the board of directors for Street Sense, a Washington, DC, non-profit helping create economic opportunities for the district’s homeless population.

mchapman@start.org
Sarah SchweizerDirector of Programs
As Director of Programs for the International START Secretariat, Sarah develops project concept notes and program…
As Director of Programs for the International START Secretariat, Sarah develops project concept notes and program proposals, designs and leads execution of project activities, manages START budgets and engages in outreach to START partners and donors. She also manages day-to-day activities of START program staff. Previously, Sarah was a Research Associate for the Colorado State University Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, where she managed the NSF sponsored project: Climate Change Education Partnership. She has investigated climate change resilience, communication, and decision-making within the U.S. National Park Service and helped to develop the agency’s national climate change response strategy. She holds a Master of Science in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Communication from Colorado State University.
sschweizer@start.org
Senay HabtezionSenior Program Specialist
Senay Habtezion serves as START’s focal point for the Global Environmental Change (GEC) – Governance portfolio.…

Senay Habtezion serves as START’s focal point for the Global Environmental Change (GEC) – Governance portfolio. He also helps manage START’s Global Observation of Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) and Advanced Institutes for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programs. Previously, Senay worked for UNITAR, Geneva, and UNDP, New York, on GEC related programming and research. He was also research fellow at Harvard University and a faculty at the University of Asmara. He is Lead Author for the policy chapter of the Global Environment Outlook Report (GEO-5). Senay holds a bachelors degree from the University of Asmara, a master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and has attended the Donald Bren School of Environmental Management, University of California, Santa Barbara.

shabtezion@start.org
Mary Thompson-HallProgram Specialist
Mary Thompson-Hall joined START in 2015 as a program specialist working primarily on the Adaptation at…
Mary Thompson-Hall joined START in 2015 as a program specialist working primarily on the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project, part of the broader Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in geography from the University of South Carolina where her research focused on intersections of conservation and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Previously, Mary worked with World Bank and African Development Bank experts on participatory adaptation fieldwork for the Zambian Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), and also co-authored a USAID commissioned report on gender and climate change adaptation. Most recently, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3) in Bilbao, Spain on topics relating to agricultural biodiversity and climate change adaptation.
mthompson-hall@start.org
Marina MonzeglioCommunications Specialist
Marina joined START in February 2017 as Communications Specialist. Before joining START, she developed web content…

Marina joined START in February 2017 as Communications Specialist. Before joining START, she developed web content for WWF International. Previously, she worked at the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. She has extensive experience helping international organizations communicate effectively and creatively. Most recently, she developed web content for WWF International. Previously, she worked at the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, where, among other projects, she developed the online and social media component of the World Wetlands Day campaign. She also managed the website and social media presence of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). At GAIN, she contributed to event-related communications, the development and implementation of branding guidelines and the production of marketing materials. While completing her Master’s degree in Translation from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, she interned at local media outlets as well as at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

mmonzeglio@start.org
Shayne PiltzAdministrative Assistant
Shayne Piltz joined START in June 2014 and is responsible for providing administrative and program support…
Shayne Piltz joined START in June 2014 and is responsible for providing administrative and program support to the START Secretariat. Shayne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and International Studies with a focus on Politics and Policy in the Global Economy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently studying to get her LEED Green Associate certification and plans on working towards a Master’s degree in Sustainable Urban Planning.
spiltz@start.org
Prof. Roland FuchsEmeritus
Roland Fuchs led START’s work and activities until 2008. Prior to joining START he served as…

Roland Fuchs led START’s work and activities until 2008. Prior to joining START he served as Professor of Geography. Roland Fuchs has held various positions within academia and international organizations. Prior to joining START he served as Professor of Geography and Department Chair at the University of Hawaii and later Vice-Rector of the United Nations University in Japan. He has also served as President of the International Geographical Union (IGU) and Secretary-General of the Pacific Science Association (PSA). During his career he has been associated with a number of institutions, including Moscow State University, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, National Taiwan University, Clark University, Ohio State University, and the East-West Center. His research has focused on urbanization and global change.

fuchsr@eastwestcenter.org
Hassan VirjiEmeritus
Hassan Virji has been involved with START since its inception in 1992, and served as START’s…
Hassan Virji has been involved with START since its inception in 1992, and served as START’s Executive Director from 2008 to 2016. Prior to joining START, in his role as Executive Secretary of the US Inter-agency Subcommittee on Global Change Research he contributed to set up the US Global Change Research Program during early 1990s. Before then, he was Deputy Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and Associate Director of the Climate Dynamics Program of the US National Science Foundation. Hassan is a member of the Governing Boards of the International Centers of excellence located at CSIR/South Africa and the Academia Sinica/Taipei, UK-based Education, Learning, and Research for Humanitarian Assistance, the Civilian Research and Development Foundation of USA and the Manila Observatory located at Ateneo de Manila University. He is a permanent member of the National Research Council of the US National Academies. He serves on the editorial boards of “Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability”, “Advances in Climate Change Research”, and “Climate, Disasters, and Development”. Hassan is a graduate of the Universities of Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Wisconsin in Madison.
hvirji@start.org