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Our Team

Headshot of Alice Plane

Alice Plane

Senior Fellow

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs


“I’ve been a climate negotiator for France from 2016 to 2020. As the Head of Unit for Climate Change in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I would have to speak in the name of “France”. But what is “France”, and who am I speaking in the name of, when I say, “France would like to say this or that”?”. It all feels quite arbitrary when I think about it… So I wondered: what if we were to walk that line – all the way? What if we were to claim that all of this is, indeed, arbitrary? And since it is arbitrary, then we can also arbitrarily speak in the name of other kinds of things and beings that we are not – like the invasive reed, the atmosphere, or the extinct dolphins of the Yangtze River. And through an act of representation – obviously insufficient and clumsy – maybe this conference could get us all to a point where we could speak together in a new kind of way”.


Headshot of Ziad Baki

Ziad Baki

Freshman, International and Public Affairs & Pre-Medical School

"I love learning about history, international relations, and environmental science, so this project has captivated my interest. I’m really looking forward to the summit this April!"

Headshot of Veronica Dickstein

Veronica Dickstein

Sophomore, International and Public Affairs


“COAL is so valuable because it creates a framework that allows us to imagine a better future for our planet. Without this type of imagination and ‘radical hoping’, this future is improbable”.

Headshot of Camila Murillo

Camila Murillo

Sophomore, International and Public Affairs & Latin American and Caribbean Studies

“COAL is trying to get to the roots of the climate crisis, framing negotiations by thinking not only about reducing our climate impact but also how to re-ignite our relationship with the Earth”.


Allison Clark

Master of Public Affairs Candidate

“Being a member of this team has challenged me to think critically about creative ways to uproot the status quo and I see this internal growth as one of the primary takeaways COAL hopes to instill within its participants. This team embraces an exploration of, imagination about, and openness to ourselves and the world around us in ways that are unique from any prior experience I have had”.


Ava Ward

Junior, Environmental Science & Economics

“The climate crisis is such a pressing, stressful issue. Because of that, I think it is so valuable to create spaces like COAL where we can confront this massive challenge in a collaborative, nurturing, supportive environment”.

Headshot of Priyanka Mahat

Priyanka Mahat

Senior, International and Public Affairs (Development) & Environmental Studies (Environment and Inequality)


“In my environmentalism, I have grown deeper into my own frustration and deep critiques of the dominant political and economic systems that are behind the climate crisis and the inadequacy of international negotiations to address them. Upon theoretically questioning anthropocentrism through my education, I joined this project due to its experimental aspect – to design something that truly bridges what is lacking with how our worldviews can be radically rethought”.



Joseph O'Brien

Senior, Environmental Studies

 “COAL is an exciting experiential form that invites cross-disciplinary conversation around a topic especially needing a collective matrix of translators, artists, storytellers, scientists, and the like. Importantly, it gives us college students an opportunity to fail now in a reflective way so that we are pushed to better understand and challenge academic learnings in a generative manner”.


Dark green leaves

Angela Wei

 Senior, Environmental Studies & International and Public Affairs (Development)

“COAL is bringing something to reality that should have been present from the get-go! When we start tackling the climate crisis from a place of deep connection. listening, and the ability to recognize the needs of other people and more-than-peoples! It is a radical and loving reimagination of how we understand each other, I’m so grateful to be able to work on COAL – there’s nothing like this!”.

Dark green leaves

Fanny-Marie Vavrosky

 “Most of us think of human consequences when we imagine climate change: displacement, famine, sickness…but we often neglect to think of all the other species and elements we share the planet with. COAL asks the question: how will they be affected? What is their story, their voice?”.

Headshot of Atharva Nihalani

Atharva Nihalani

Sophomore, Undecided

"Hey! I'm Atharva, a sophomore fascinated by intelligence, both natural and artificial, as well as PPE-adjacent fields. Still figuring out how to piece those together :) Excited for the ride!"

Headshot of Gulsima Young

Gulsima Young

Master of Public Affairs Candidate

“A lack of equitable representation is a key reason that initiatives and policies fail to support and exacerbate harm against those who depend on them. I am excited to see how through our conference’s reimagination of representation, we might envision actionable pathways toward a more just future".

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