A River Protection Dream Team

Sarah Bardeen

International Rivers is pleased to announce that David Gordon and Michael Simon, two brilliant campaigners with unmatched experience in environmental and human rights advocacy, will join International Rivers’ leadership team. 

David and Michael will serve as Co-Directors of Programs, providing strategic coordination, oversight and support to our programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They will join our newly appointed Executive Director, Kate Horner, as the senior leadership of the organization. 

This marks a new day for International Rivers, as we boost our capacity at a time when the threats against rivers have never been greater. We expect these seasoned campaigners will help take the organization to new levels in our fight to protect the world’s rivers and all who depend on them.   

Both activists bring impressive credentials to the table. Says Executive Director Kate Horner, “I’m thrilled to welcome Michael and David to the organization at this critical time for the future our world’s rivers. David and Michael together have an unparalleled wealth of experience in building creative, effective teams to tackle some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. As the threat of harmful infrastructure increases and climate change continues to wreak havoc on our rivers, we’ll benefit greatly from their wisdom and expertise as we take on one of the great fights of the coming century: the fight for freshwater.”

David Gordon

David Gordon
David Gordon

David Gordon comes to International Rivers with an extensive background in international environmental activism. During two decades at the NGO Pacific Environment, he fostered grassroots environmental activism in Russia, China, Alaska and California. He helped protect millions of acres of wilderness and campaigned against destructive extractive industry projects. At the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, he helped build an international environmental program focused on supporting community-based natural resource management and worked in globally significant river basins such as the Mekong River.  

David most recently served as Executive Director of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, which manages the world-renowned Goldman Environmental Prize, where he expanded the organization’s support for former Prize Winners.

“I’m thrilled to join such an effective team at International Rivers to protect rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them,” said Gordon. “Global freshwater security is a defining issue of the 21st century. International Rivers is committed to building the power and rights of communities, which is the only way we can protect rivers from the increasing threats of infrastructure development and climate change, and ensure freshwater conservation.”

Michael Simon

Michael Simon
Michael Simon

A specialist in gender and social policy – especially in water governance, hydropower and gender impact assessment – Michael has strong advocacy skills and has carried out successful high-level negotiations with government, multilateral agencies and the private sector. Michael’s work is global in scope but deeply rooted in Asian experience, with long-term program management responsibilities in South East Asia and the Mekong region. His work has always supported communities who rely on natural resource-based livelihoods and healthy ecosystems. 

A leader in sustainability and development, Michael Simon combines extensive community development experience with public policy advocacy. During nearly two decades at Oxfam Australia, he built effective partnerships with civil society organizations and project-affected communities, and developed and delivered innovative training and capacity-building programs in cross-cultural contexts. 

“I believe International Rivers is uniquely placed, with its allies and partners,” says Simon, “to play a catalytic role in building awareness of the connectivity of rivers, people and place – and to expose how dams directly threaten these values.”

Both begin their positions this week. We’re pleased that Michael will come on board part-time this month, while he finishes projects for Oxfam through the end of this year.

David Gordon can be reached at dgordon@internationalrivers.org, and Michael Simon can be reached at msimon@internationalrivers.org.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016