Our work is guided by a dedicated Board, which include other island champions and supporters, creating a unique network able to mobilize significant action. The Board meets biennially and is responsible for matters on governance, membership, sustainability and strategy implementation.
The Partnership employs a Coordination Team to support the day to day functions of the partnership.
H.E. Hersey Kyota
Palau Ambassador to the United States
GLISPA Board Chair
President's Representative Member
Hersey Kyota was appointed as Palau’s Ambassador to the United States in November 1997. In 2015, as Washington D.C.’s longest serving ambassador he was appointed as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and is responsible for representing the Washington diplomatic corps at major functions such as the State of the Union.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador [JR1] on November 12th, 1997, Ambassador Kyota conducted legal research from 1981 to 1984 for the Palau House of Delegates. From 1985 to 1988, he served as chief clerk in the Palau National Congress for the Palau House of Delegates. His position as Director of the House of Legal Counsels’ Office from 1989 to 1990 was followed by his service as a senator in the Palau National Congress from 1990 to 1996. H.E. Kyota also sat on the Board of Directors for the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures from 1992 to 1996.
Ambassador Kyota received both a bachelor’s (1977) and Master’s (1979) degree in Art from the International University of San Diego. He and his wife are the proud parents of five children. Ambassador Kyota has a passion for fishing and a demonstrated commitment to building a sustainable and resilient future for islands globally.
Ambassador Kyota was appointed Chair of the Global Island Partnership Board during its annual meeting in Turin, Italy in October 2015. He was re-appointed for a second term in October 2017.
William N. Kostka
Micronesia Trust Fund Executive Director
GLISPA Fiscal Host
William is the co-founder of both the the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP) and the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), fiscal host of GLISPA. He presently serves as Executive Director, Micronesia Conservation Trust and was the Co-coordinator of PIMPAC (2006 – 2009) and Co- coordinator, IUCN-WPCA Marine Program for Micronesia. He has over twenty years in senior executive positions as well as extensive experience in non-profit management, conservation financing and endowments, organizational capacity development and mentoring, fund raising, conservation, strategic planning, community outreach and empowerment, and government relations. William is the recipient of the Pew Marine Fellowship, the world’s most prestigious marine conservation fellowship, The Conde Nest Environment Award, US Coral Reef Task Force Award, and the US EPA Pacific Islands Environment Award.
William Kostka joined the Board in July 2020, upon signing a fiscal host agreement with GLISPA.
Dr. Spencer Thomas
Grenada’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Multilateral Environmental Agreements
Prime Minister’s Representative
Dr. Spencer Thomas, Grenada’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Multilateral Environmental Agreements is the country’s lead negotiator for climate change and biodiversity. He is a former Financial Secretary and Economic Policy Adviser in the Ministry of Finance, Grenada. Dr Thomas served on the Bureau of the Convention of Biodiversity and as Chairman of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice. He also served as Regional Councillor of IUCN and as a Vice President of IPBES. Dr Thomas has over 25 years of experience in the area of biodiversity diplomacy.
Hon. Josh Tenorio
Lieutenant Governor, Guam
Governor General’s Representative
The Honorable Joshua “Josh” Franquez Tenorio is the 10th elected Lieutenant Governor of Guam. He is an experienced administrator with a demonstrated history of managing large organizations in both the public and private sectors. Since taking office in January 2019, Lt. Governor Tenorio has spearheaded efforts that embrace sustainable development; reduce homelessness and poverty; expand drug and alcohol treatment programs, and improve the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. He is the Co-Chairperson of the Guam Green Growth (G3) Steering Committee.
As the first LGBTQ person to be elected Lt. Governor in the United States, he advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion and is a founding member of the non-profit, Equality Guam. After graduating from the Guam Community College Vocational High School, Lt. Governor Tenorio served as Speaker of the 17th Guam Youth Congress. He earned a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Guam. He is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management at the National Center for State Courts and is a certified court manager and executive.
His many awards and honors include the 2021 NLGA Energy and Environmental Stewardship Award, presented in partnership with the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) and Baker Hughes. Lt. Governor Tenorio resides in the southern village of Talofofo but was raised in the central village of Sinajana by his parents, the late Jesus Atoigue Tenorio, a retired telephone man; and Therese Taitano Franquez Tenorio, a retired school teacher. His late grandfather, Jose Cruz Franquez, was his role model.
Vice President, Global Development, Rare
Chair, GLISPA Growth Committee
Ariane leads Rare's climate change policy work globally, with a goal to advancing existing and building new partnerships with public and institutional funders. Given Rare’s focus on empowering local communities to better protect and manage their natural resources, Ariane has also built a network of partners from academia and practice to strengthen behavior change approaches within conservation together with the Stockholm Environmental Institute.
Between 2011 and 2015, Ariane has been the lead of TNC’s global efforts around with the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) and streamlining TNC’s work in the CBD and UNFCCC conventions with the common goal to strengthen the role of natural solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Before engaging in the international UN processes, Ariane has worked at the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Bonn in the Department of Society and Sustainability as well as public relations (2002 until 2003) and as a senior policy advisor for biodiversity at the parliamentary group of the German Green Party in the German Bundestag (2005 until 2009).
Director, Global Institutions, The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Chair, GLISPA Governance and Nominations Committee
The Global Institutions team of The Nature Conservancy works closely with bilateral and multilateral institutions to develop sustainable, nature-based solutions to some of the most pressing challenges across the globe.
Several global, regional and country programs within The Nature Conservancy engage directly with GLISPA around geographical initiatives – such as the Micronesia Challenge or the Caribbean Challenge Initiatives – or thematic efforts – such as the effort to mainstream ecosystem-based adaptation or develop innovative financial solutions such as foreign debt conversions for adaptation purposes. The Partnership allows The Nature Conservancy to advance conservation priorities more efficiently by connecting with a variety of partners.
CEO, Hawai’i Local2030 Hub
GLISPA Advisor on High-impact initiatives
Celeste Connors has twenty years of experience working at the intersection of economic, environment, energy, and international development policy. Before joining the Hawai'i Local2030 Hub (formerly Hawai‘i Green Growth) she was CEO and co-founder of cdots development LLC, which works to build resilient infrastructure systems and services in vulnerable communities. Celeste previously served as the Director for Environment and Climate Change at the National Security Council and National Economic Council in the White House where she helped shape the Administration’s climate and energy policies, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior to joining the White House, Celeste served as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Germany. She also held positions at the U.S. Mission to the UN, served as the Climate and Energy Advisor to the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and worked for City of New York.
Celeste is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the East-West Center and was a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in the Energy, Resources and Environment Program. She holds an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Celeste has served on numerous boards including her current service on Hawaiian Electric Industries, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), the Institute for Sustainability and Resilience at the University of Hawaii and Icebreaker One. She previously served on the Board of America’s Service Commissions, the IUCN World Conservation Congress National Host Committee, and was a Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations. Celeste grew up in Kailua, O‘ahu.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Director, Global Ecosystem Management Programme
Dr Radhika Murti is IUCN’s Director of Global Ecosystem Management Programme, based at the Headquarters in Switzerland. In this position, Radhika has the management and oversight of IUCN’s work on ecosystem-based approaches, islands, drylands, agriculture and the Red List of Ecosystems assessment tool. Most recently, she has led the design and consultation processes for developing IUCN’s Global Standard on Nature-based Solutions. Originally from Fiji Islands, Radhika has a background in Forestry Science, conflict transformation and community based climate change adaptation.
Executive Director, Global Island Partnership
Kate Brown is the Executive Director of the Global Island Partnership, a platform that enables island leaders and their supporters to take action to build resilient and sustainable island communities. Kate is a passionate advocate for islands. She is a valued and trusted international partnership and collaboration leader, with a unique ability to connect dots for issues and people. Kate has extensive experience in all island regions globally, and brings an extensive network of island leaders, blue sky thinkers and people dedicated to supporting islands.
Kate has experience working inside government, non-profits and intergovernmentally as well as a keen sense of the most important elements of the international policy setting space relevant to islands as well as what is needed for implementation to happen. A strategic thinker who is able to present clear ideas and set up the right conditions for collaboration to thrive. Kate is originally from New Zealand and lived for eight years in Apia, Samoa. Kate now resides in Washington DC with her family.
Partnerships Manager, Global Island Partnership
Paula is an experienced tourism professional with a strong background in agro and community tourism management, marketing, research and event planning and coordination. She has a Master’s Degree in Tourism Management from Royal Roads University in Canada and a keen interest in sustainable development and climate change issues borne out of her love for travel and work with communities. Paula has worked with the Centre for Responsible Travel in Washington, DC; the Blue Innovation Institute in Grenada; and was an event planner for the first ever Climate Smart Exhibition in Grenada. She volunteers with the St. Patrick Environmental and Tourism Organisation which has the mandate for Leatherback Turtle Conservation in Grenada.
Strategy Manager, Global Island Partnership
Jabal is a trained urban planner-cum-communications strategist. A former "Island Scholar", Jabal worked as an urban planner in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago for a number of years. Since moving on from the Ministry of Planning and Development, he has pursued a wide range of interests and possibilities outside of his comfort zone, from teaching English in Japan, to acting as the media liaison for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Now at GLISPA, he is motivated simply by a desire to make a meaningful contribution to any venture he pursues.