Paul LeClerc began his tenure as director of the Columbia Global Centers | Paris on July 1, 2012. LeClerc’s academic interests are Voltaire and the French Enlightenment. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in French at Columbia and wrote a dissertation on Voltaire that was awarded distinction. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of six scholarly volumes, all published by the Voltaire Foundation of Oxford University. His foreign honors include the French Legion of Honor (Officier), the French Order of Palmes Academiques (Officier), and the Spanish Order of Isabel the Catholic (Commander), as well as honorary doctorates from Oxford University and La Nouvelle Sorbonne. In 2004 LeClerc received the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Distinguished Achievement and he holds honorary doctorates from nine American colleges and universities. In addition, President Bill Clinton named him to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He was named the Networking Chair of Columbia Global Centers in June of 2014.
Prior to joining the Columbia staff, LeClerc was president and CEO of the New York Public Library (1993-2011); President and Professor of French of Hunter College, CUNY (1988-93); Provost, Academic Vice President and Professor of French, Baruch College, CUNY (1984-88); University Dean for Academic Programs, CUNY (1979-84); Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor of French, Union College (1966-79).
Throughout his career, LeClerc has been committed to international educational and cultural relations. He directed terms abroad for Union College students in France, was instrumental in creating the CUNY-Universities of Paris Exchange Program, the first large-scale exchange program between an urban US university system and a European counterpart, created exchanges between the Hunter College Master of Fine Arts program and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and between the Baruch College School of Business and the University of Paris-Dauphine, and organized landmark exhibits at the New York Public Library with European partner libraries.
LeClerc is presently Chair of the Advisory Board of the Columbia Maison Francaise and a Trustee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the J.Paul Getty Trust, The Voltaire Foundation (Oxford University) and the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation. He is an Honorary Trustee of the New York Public Library and past Trustee of Union College, the National Book Foundation, and a variety of other non-profit educational and cultural organizations.
Karen Poniachik has been Director of Columbia Global Centers | Santiago since September 2011. She is also a member of the corporate boards of directors of Metro S.A. and Nuevo Pudahuel as well as an advisor Maersk Container Industries San Antonio.
She serves in the advisory councils of the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce, AmCham Chile, and of Universidad Católica’s Center for Corporate Governance. She also teaches the “Corporate Compliance” segment of the Corporate Governance Certification Course offered by Universidad Católica.
Ms. Poniachik was Chile’s Minister of Mining in 2006-2008, time during which she chaired the boards of directors of state-owned companies Codelco, Enap and Enami. From March 2006 to March 2007 she also served as Minister of Energy. She was Chile’s Special Envoy to the OECD in charge of the country’s accession process to the Organization, which was successfully completed in January of 2010. Previously, she was Executive Vice-President of the Foreign Investment Committee (2000-2006); and Director of Business and Financial Programs at the Council of the Americas in New York (1995-2000).
Karen Poniachik graduated as a journalist from the Universidad Católica de Chile (1987) and holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York (1990).
She has served in the corporate boards of E.CL, British American Tobacco Chile, and Terpel Chile. In addition, she was visiting fellow at the University of Miami’s Center for Hemispheric Policy (for 2010-2011 academic year) and adviser to the World Economic Forum’s Mining & Metals Industry Group (March 2008 - May 2010).
Thomas J. Trebat is director of the Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro. He joined Columbia after a lengthy career on Wall Street dedicated to economic research on Latin America.
He formerly served as Executive Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University and of the Institute’s Center for Brazilian Studies. Prior to joining ILAS in February 2005, Tom was Managing Director and Head of the Latin America team in the Economic and Market Analysis department of Citigroup. He joined Citicorp Securities in 1996 as the head of Emerging Market Research.
Previously, he worked at Bankers Trust, the Ford Foundation, and Chemical Bank. As a senior international economist at Bankers Trust, he was involved in many aspects of country debt negotiations in Brazil, Chile, Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America during the 1980s. At the Ford Foundation, he served for four years as the regional director for Latin America and Caribbean Programs. At Chemical Bank, Tom organized and directed the emerging markets research group. Mr. Trebat has a PhD in economics from Vanderbilt University and remains active in teaching and publishing. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. His book, "Brazil's State-owned Enterprises: A Case Study of the State as Entrepreneur," was published by Cambridge University Press in 1983
Ravina Aggarwal is director of the Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai. Prior to joining Columbia, she was a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation’s New Delhi office from 2007-2015, where she was responsible for strategic planning and grant-making for programs on development, social justice and public policy, with a focus on the fields of education, media and technology, and arts and culture.
Dr. Aggarwal’s work in the philanthropy sector followed a long career as a sociocultural anthropologist. After receiving her doctoral degree from Indiana University in 1994, she joined the Department of Anthropology at Smith College, where she became a tenured faculty member and also served in the Women’s Studies Program. Her research was based on extensive fieldwork in the Himalayan region of Ladakh in South Asia and her areas of study and teaching included political anthropology, peace-building, cultural studies, gender, and development.
Dr. Aggarwal is the author of several publications including Beyond Lines of Control: Performing the Border in Ladakh, India (Duke University Press, 2004). She is co-founder of the journal Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism and a founding trustee of Ladakh Arts and Media Organization, a non-profit society.
Murugi joined the Nairobi Center from her previous role as associate professor of nutrition and health care management at Appalachian State University, where she conducted research on the health of vulnerable populations and the efficacy of public health nutrition interventions in domestic and international settings. In that role, Murugi was also East African Coordinator for the African Nutritional Sciences Research Consortium. She holds a PhD in nutrition and food systems from the University of Southern Mississippi, and an MA in Psychology and a BA in Education, both from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya.