Who We Are
Founded in 2015, Climate Refugees is an independent project created to bring attention and action to help people displaced across borders as a result of climate change. Although used here, 'climate refugees' is not a term supported in international law. Just as the Refugee Convention protects those who are forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution, we at Climate Refugees believe the time has come to act now to ensure the international community stands ready with a legal framework to protect those who are forced to flee their countries because of climactic change.
Our field reports that identify climate change as a driver of displacement provide a human lens on climate change, documenting human rights conditions side-by-side with political, social, economic, and conflict risk analysis. We identify cases, trends, gaps and policy recommendations, which we leverage to meet with governments, the United Nations and relevant international organizations, media and corporations to advance changes in policy and practice that promote an international legal framework of protection for 'climate refugees.'
Climate Refugees defends the rights of human beings displaced across borders as a result of climate change. We document cases to shed light on the legal void and advocate for the creation of legal norms and policies that protect those impacted by climate change-induced cross border displacement.
Amali Tower is the Founder and Executive Director of Climate Refugees. Amali has worked the past 12 years to promote the protection of refugees and forcibly displaced persons in a variety of contexts, including in refugee resettlement, protection, evaluation and research with the UN Refugee Agency in Kenya and Jordan, various NGOs throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the US, and as a sub-contractor to the US Department of State's overseas US Refugee Admissions Program.
Amali has interviewed countless refugees and internally displaced persons over the years in urban and camp contexts, and has strong field research and advocacy experience in human rights, humanitarian programming and conflict risk analysis.
She holds a Master of International Affairs focused in Human Rights from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance from Fordham University.
Stéphanie David serves as UN and legal adviser to Climate Refugees, specifically helping to shape the agency’s advocacy initiatives. Stephanie currently serves as Director and UN Representative to the International Federation of Human Right’s (FIDH) NY Office, and previously served as Director to FIDH’s Cairo Regional Office and Head of the Middle East and North Africa desk at FIDH headquarters in Paris, France.
Stéphanie has extensive field research and advocacy experience throughout the Middle East, including as a Legal Researcher at the Institute of Law at Birzeit University in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
She holds a Masters degree in International Law and International Organizations from La Sorbonne University, as well as numerous International Law certificates from La Sorbonne, Birmingham and Limoges Universities.
Jill Blackford serves as Research and Development adviser, providing expertise on Climate Refugees' research methodology and strategic institutional support. Jill has several years of experience in grants and research management and currently works in this capacity at the Simons Foundation, and previously at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, supported educational projects in Africa with ELMA Philanthropies, and at the Aspen Institute, supporting research grants on non-profit and foundation issues.
Prior to this she worked as the Publications Manager for Professor Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia University, where she supported the research and editorial work of the Nobel-prize winning economist. She has also worked at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, US State Department in D.C and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.
Jill holds a Master of International Affairs focused in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelors degree from Boston University.