Michele de Nevers

Executive Director of Sustainability, Haas School of Business

Michele is the Executive Director of Sustainability at Haas. Michele has worked on development, environmental and climate change matters for more than 40 years, first at the World Bank and then at the Center for Global Development in Washington. She was a visiting fellow at the Oxford Global Economic Governance Program and visiting professor at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (Barcelona Institute for International Studies) where she taught a course on international climate change policy. Her policy papers cover performance-based financing to reduce deforestation of tropical forests, leverage in multi-lateral bank climate investments and mobilizing private investment for development.


Vera Songwe

Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings Institution

Vera Songwe is a nonresident senior fellow in the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution. Most recently, she was an Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Previously, Songwe was Regional Director Africa covering West and Central Africa for the International Finance Corporation, and Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania at the World Bank. Her main areas of interest are fiscal policy, innovative financing mechanisms for development, agriculture, energy and economic governance. She is a member of the African Leadership Network.

Prior to becoming Director, she was a Lead Economist at the World Bank and the Advisor to the Managing Director who oversaw the World Bank Operations in the Africa, Europe and Central Asia and South Asia regions, as well as Human Resources, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

She is a member of the World Bank Group team that recently raised a historic US$49.3 billion dollars in concessional financing for the low income countries of the World as part of the International Development Association (IDA) 16th replenishment. Prior to this, she worked in the East Asia and Pacific Region’s – Poverty Reduction and Economic Management unit, as Country Sector Coordinator and Senior Economist for the Philippines, where she led the dialogue on macroeconomic, fiscal policy and governance issues. She has worked in Mongolia, Cambodia and Morocco managing different World Bank programs and the economic and growth policy dialogue. Prior to joining the Bank, Dr. Songwe was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California and at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, USA. She has published several articles on governance, fiscal policy, agriculture and commodity price volatility and trade. Dr. Songwe holds a PhD. in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research & Econometrics from the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium. She holds a BA in Economics and a BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Ertharin Cousin

CEO and Managing Director, Food Systems for the Future

Ertharin Cousin currently serves as the CEO and Managing Director of Food Systems for the Future, a nutrition impact investment fund; a Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; a Bosch Academy, Robert Weizsäcker Fellow; and a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University, Center on Food Security and Environment.

Cousin is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago; the University of Georgia Law School and the University of Chicago Executive Management Program-Finance for Non-Financial Executives.