The EarthRights Leadership Council was founded in 2014 to harness the energy, passion and perspectives of our supporters and fellow earth rights defenders. The Council brings together advocates, experts, and leaders in the human rights and environmental fields that have unique capabilities to support ERI’s organizational mission. Members serve in an advisory capacity, contributing their expertise and working to strengthen ERI’s effectiveness and expand our support networks.
Each Leadership Council member serves without terms for as long as the Council member and ERI consider the service mutually beneficial.
Senior Partner of Leigh Day
Martyn Day is the Senior Partner of Leigh Day, and specializes in international, environment and product liability claims, often as group actions. He heads a team of over 20 lawyers, representing claimants in cases against corporate and government bodies. He is well known for running many high profile and controversial cases, mostly on behalf of groups of claimants, both in this country and abroad. Martyn qualified in 1981 with Colombotti & Partners. He moved to Clifford & Co and then Bindman & Partners in 1981 and left to set up Leigh Day & Co in 1987. He is an Executive Committee Member of the Society of Labour Lawyers, a Director of Greenpeace Environmental Trust and a member of the Association of Professional Injury Lawyers. He is Co-Author of 'Toxic Torts', 'Personal Injury Handbook', 'Multi-Party Actions' and 'Environmental Action: A Citizens Guide'. He regularly addresses lectures, seminars and the media on environmental issues. Martyn has consistently been ranked as leading lawyer in the two main legal directories for the last decade. In Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession 2012, Martyn is identified as a star individual and described as "without question one of the most knowledgeable and experienced environmental lawyers in the country." He is also identified as "a real fighter for his clients – he is very shrewd and does it with great charm" and "very clever and very smart with the science."
Clinical Professor of Law and the Clinical Director of HRP at Harvard Law School
Prior to joining Harvard Law School, Tyler was a founder and director of EarthRights International. Giannini spent a decade in Thailand with ERI conducting fact-finding investigations and groundbreaking corporate accountability litigation. He served as co-counsel in the landmark Doe v. Unocal case, a precedent-setting Alien Tort Statute (ATS) suit about the Yadana gas pipeline in Burma, which successfully settled in 2005. He is currently co-counsel in In re South African Apartheid Litigation, a major ATS case that seeks to hold multinationals liable for their support of human rights violations committed by the apartheid state. He is also co-counsel in Mamani v. Sanchez de Lozada, which brings claims against the former Bolivian president and defense minister related to a 2003 civilian massacre. Giannini has authored numerous amicus curiae briefs including, in 2010, two to the United States Supreme Court in Samantar v. Yousuf and Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman. He has authored numerous publications and reports and teaches in the fields of business and human rights, human rights and the environment, human rights in contemporary South Africa, human rights in Southeast Asia, and ATS litigation. Giannini holds graduate degrees in law and foreign policy from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the law review. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar and speaks Thai.
Partner in Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman, LLP
President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
Ms. Kennedy's life has been devoted to the vindication of equal justice, to the promotion and protection of basic rights, and to the preservation of the rule of law. She has worked on diverse human rights issues such as children’s rights, child labor, disappearances, indigenous land rights, judicial independence, freedom of expression, ethnic violence, impunity, and the environment. Ms. Kennedy established RFK Partners for Human Rights in 1986 to ensure the protection of rights codified under the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. RFK Partners provides an on going base of support to leading human rights defenders around the world. The Center uncovers and publicizes abuses such as torture, disappearances, repression of free speech and child labor; urges Congress and the U.S. administration to highlight human rights in foreign policy, supplies activists with the resources they need to advance their work and creates other programs to advance respect for human rights. She is also the Chair of the Amnesty International USA Leadership Council. Nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate, she serves on the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace, Human Rights First, HealthEVillages and Inter- Press Service (Rome, Italy). She is the best-selling author of Being Catholic Now, Prominent Americans talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning, and Speak Truth to Power; Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World. She is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia bars and is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School.
Partner in M&H Capital Partners
Scott is a partner in M&H Capital Partners, a private investment firm focused on socially-conscious investments. He is also an independent management consultant specializing in start-up organizations and small non-profits. Previously, Scott held several senior management positions in a leading Internet consulting firm and was the founder of a successful information technology consulting firm. Scott started his career at Bank of Boston as a commercial loan officer in the area of acquisition finance. Currently he is active in several philanthropic initiatives including serving on the board of Courtney’s Foundation, a San Francisco-based foundation that he co-founded. Courtney’s focuses on funding unique approaches to solving environmental and human rights issues around the world. He also serves on the board of Our Children’s Earth, a maverick public charity which is recognized for its effectiveness in highly leveraged environmental justice campaigns and litigation, specializing in clean air issues.
Launch Director, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity
Born in South Africa, Kumi became involved in the country’s liberation struggle at the age of 15. As a result of his anti-apartheid activities, he was expelled from high school. He was very involved in neighbourhood organisation, youth work in his community, and mass mobilisations against the apartheid regime. In 1986, Kumi was arrested and charged for violating the state of emergency regulations. He went underground for one year before finally deciding to live in exile in England. During this time he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford and earned a doctorate in political sociology. After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, Kumi returned to South Africa to work on the legalisation of the African National Congress. During the democratic elections in 1994 he was the official spokesperson of the Independent Electoral Commission and directed the training of all electoral staff in the country. Kumi became the founding executive director of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), an umbrella agency for the South African NGO community. Moved by the fact that South Africa has one of the highest rates of violence against women, Kumi organised the National Men's March Against Violence on Women and Children in 1997. From 1998 to 2008, Kumi was the Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, which is dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. He was also the founding Chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and also served as a board member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development. In 2003 Kumi was appointed by the former Secretary General of the United Nations to the Eminent Persons Panel on UN Civil Society Relations. More recently, he served as Chair of the civil society alliance ‘Global Campaign for Climate Action’ (GCCA), of which Greenpeace was a founding member.
Kavita N. Ramdas
Representative, India, Nepal & Sri Lanka, The Ford Foundation
Kavita N. Ramdas currently serves as the representative of the Ford Foundation's office in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where she oversees all of the foundation's grant making in the region. Her regional work focuses on issues of equity, inclusion, economic fairness, freedom of expression, human rights, sexuality and reproductive health and rights, transparency and accountable governance, and sustainable development. Before joining the foundation in 2012, Kavita served as the founder and first executive director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship (PSE)—housed at the Centre for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. PSE brings global leaders in social innovation to share their expertise as practitioners with the academic community. From 1996 to 2010, Kavita served as president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, which grew under her leadership to become the world's largest public foundation for women's rights. During her tenure, the fund's assets increased from $3 million to $21 million—giving women in more than 170 countries access to financial capital that fueled innovation and change.
In addition, Kavita has broadly promoted women's human rights, social justice philanthropy and international development through her personal activism, writing, and membership and professional affiliations on the boards and advisory councils of a diverse array of organizations, including the Dalai Lama Fellows and the Women’s Public Service Leadership Program. She currently serves on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council for India and is a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Kavita has a master's degree in public affairs with a focus on international development from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She holds a bachelor's degree in politics and international relations from Mount Holyoke and academic training from Delhi University.
Tom Van Dyck
Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor, Senior Consulting Group, RBC Wealth Management
Tom has been a leader in the field of socially-responsible investing since starting at Dean Witter in 1983. In 1987, he founded Progressive Asset Management (PAM), a firm dedicated to socially responsible investing. At PAM, Tom created the firm's shareholder advocacy program. Joining Piper Jaffray in 1997, he developed an investment management consulting team, now called the SRI Wealth Management Group, which moved to RBC Wealth Management in 2006. Tom has authored numerous articles and studies on the economics of socially responsible investing. He has been actively involved in cleantech investing and was instrumental in developing Piper Jaffray's Cleantech Ventures private equity fund of funds strategy. Throughout his career, he has worked to encourage major pension funds like CalPERS and CalSTRS to consider issues such as divestment from South Africa and environmental investment strategies. Tom is the founder of As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy foundation, and is active with environmental groups, including Rainforest Action Network, Baykeeper, Bioneers. He graduated from Duke University in 1980 with a B.A. in Political Science.