Earth Island Institute
The New Leaders Initiative (NLI) grows environmental leadership by raising the profile of young emerging environmental leaders in North America, celebrating their achievements, and providing them with the skills, resources, and relationships to lead effective campaigns and projects. NLI honors the legacy of David Brower - firebrand environmentalist, community activist, and founder of Earth
NLI is home to the Brower Youth Awards, the premier North American awards honoring bold young environmental leaders. Since 2000, the Brower Youth Awards has recognized 61 exceptional leaders with a cash prize, a high-energy week of activities in San Francisco, and ongoing leadership support. NLI also offers mentoring and project sponsorship to rising young leaders.
Anisha Desai joined the Earth Island Institute's team after a long history of work in
youth leadership and social justice. She serves as Director for the New Leaders Initiative and the Brower Youth Awards. Her areas of interest include green economy access for low-income
communities, environmental degradation caused by militarism, and grassroots environmental
movements in Africa, and her native India and Sri Lanka.
She has co-authored publications on fair
taxation, housing and the racial wealth divide. She has also served as a
consultant to independent and public schools, social justice organizations and
journalists on the topics of education reform, youth at risk, anti-oppression
work and strategic change planning. She has taught courses on youth rights
and activism, and became deeply involved with educators of color, pan-African
and South Asians networks in the Bay Area. She traveled to Rwanda where she
studied post-genocide reconciliation efforts and has continued to share her
experiences with various activist circles in the United States.
Anisha has done PhD work at the University of California of Berkeley in the
Graduate School of Education. She earned a Masters of Education in Risk and
Prevention at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts
degree in African-American Literature, Psychology and Secondary Education from
the University of Miami in Florida.