The Board of Trustees is responsible for the fulfillment of the mission of UNIS and for policies relating to the conduct and management of the affairs of the school. The Board is appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and is composed of 18 members.

Board members are, back row standing l to r: Emmanuel Ago, Pierre Alexandre De Looz, Franck Barrat, Alla Liberman, Jean-Victor Nkolo, Santiago Villalpando, Bornali Basu, Manu Rana, Michael Adlerstein; seated l to r: Lena Dissin, Yvonne Tsang, Jane Camblin, Cristina Gallach, Marc Powell, Virginia Roach, Maria-Luisa Chavez. Board members not pictured:Peter Sorrentino, Felipe Dorregaray, and Caryn Groce.

UNIS Board Members 2016 - 2017

Cristina Gallach - Board Chair

Cristina Gallach became Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information at the United Nations in February 2015.

Before joining the UN, Ms. Gallach served as Head of the Public Relations Unit in the Council of the European Union. Previously she had served as Spokesperson of the Spanish Government for the EU’s rotating presidency; as Spokesperson and Chief Media Adviser of the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy; and as Deputy Spokesperson of NATO and Chief Media Adviser for its Secretary-General.

Prior to working for international institutions, Ms. Gallach spent more than 15 years as a newspaper and television journalist, reporting from Spain, the United States, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Belgium, among other places.


Michael Adlerstein - Special Representative of the Secretary-General

In July 2007,United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Michael Adlerstein as the Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan. The CMP is a $2 billion project to renovate the Organization’s Headquarters in New York. Mr. Adlerstein was the Project Director for the restoration of Ellis Islandand the Statue of Liberty and later became the Chief Historical Architect of the National Park Service. As such, he was recognized as a national expert in the field of historic preservation, advising the National Park Service Director and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior on all historic preservation issues. He managed a planning, design and construction program which included complex partnership projects at Gettysburg, Valley Forge, Gateway, Independence, Acadia and Jamestown. Mr. Adlerstein later served as the Vice President and Architect of The New York Botanical Garden, America's oldest and most respected center for horticulture, botanical research and education.

Mr. Adlerstein is a New York native. He received his architectural degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, and has worked as a State Department consultant on numerous preservation and planning projects, including the preservation of the Taj Mahal. He has been recognized for his contributions in architecture with numerous awards and in 1994 was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Emmanuel Ago - Secretary - Health and Safety Chair

Emmanuel (Sonny) Ago is the Assistant Vice President for Student Life at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. Prior to joining Manhattan College, Dr. Ago served as the Dean for Multicultural Affairs at Barnard College, Columbia University. Dr. Ago attended UNIS Manhattan from Junior A until graduating in 1987. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Amherst College, his Master of Arts in Sociology from New York University, and his Doctorate of Education from The University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ago is married to Angela Tolosa, an attorney who currently works at The Council of State Governments Justice Center. She previously served as Assistant Commissioner with the New York City Department of Correction. They have two daughters, Emma Victoria and Evangelina. Evangelina is currently in the UNIS Manhattan Junior School.

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Caryn Groce - Advancement Chair

Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Viacom International Media Networks

Caryn Groce is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel of Viacom International Media Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc. At VIMN, Ms. Groce oversees the Business and Legal Affairs function of Viacom’s international media networks business (ex-US), which operates international extensions of Viacom’s multimedia brands as well as program services created or acquired for international audiences. Prior to that, Ms. Groce served as a Vice President, Associate General Counsel,Corporate Transactions at Viacom Inc., where she managed the mergers and acquisitions and JV governance legal teams. Before working at Viacom, Ms. Groce served as Senior Corporate Transactions Counsel at NBCUniversal, and was a corporate associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore (in its New York and London offices) as well as Hogan Lovells.

Ms. Groce received a Bachelor of Arts from Bryn Mawr College, her Masters of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. A born and raised New Yorker, Ms. Groce is also a UNIS alumnae.

Alla Liberman - Treasurer

Alla Liberman is a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at Citadel Investment Group, a global multistrategy hedge fund and asset manager. In her current role, she is responsible for making investment decisions within the fund’s liquid fixed income strategy. Prior to joining Citadel, Ms. Liberman spent almost twenty years as a fixed income trader/portfolio manager at Brevan Howard Asset Management as well as Proprietary Positioning businesses of both Royal Bank of Canada and JP Morgan Chase, where she ran Proprietary Positioning Fixed Income business as a Managing Director.

Ms. Liberman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics from Stern School of Business at NYU, from where she graduated as a Valedictorian.

Born in Ukraine, Ms. Liberman has been living in New York for over 20 years and currently resides in Tribeca with her husband Stan Liberman, a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley, and their three daughters, Frances (Class of 2016) and Erica and Sasha (Class of 2023)

Marc Powell - Vice Chair

Marc Powell has been a management consultant for 25 years, including the last nine years with the Boston Consulting Group where he rose to the rank of Partner and Managing Director and founded the Infrastructure Investment Practice. In his professional capacity, Mr. Powell guides world-class corporations on issues of business strategy, operational restructuring and investment prioritization. He focuses on high technology and telecommunications markets. Mr. Powell also supports the financial community in planning major investments in infrastructure. He is now the CEO of InfrastrucPartners.

Mr. Powell has been called upon to advise clients around the world, and has developed an extensive international perspective. He has worked in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina. France, U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, India, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Tunisia, Israel and Australia.

Prior to BCG, Mr. Powell helped launch a major internet consulting firm – Viant Corporation –where he was a member of the core leadership team.

Mr. Powell is very active in the community and serves on several not-for-profit boards. He has been an active member of the board of the New York City Opera for the last eight years, and is a member of its finance committee and strategic planning committee. He is also a Trustee of New York's Citizens' Budget Commission and member of its infrastructure committee. He has served as the President of the Sugar Warehouse Corporation since 2004.

Mr. Powell grew up in Québec City, Canada, and remains a Canadian citizen. He has lived in New York for the past 25 years. He received a Bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics from Université Laval in Québec, an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) in Cambridge, and an M.A. in Politics and Economics from New College, Oxford University, U.K., where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Mr. Powell is the father of a current J2 student at UNIS, Anaïs Dufresne Powell.

Manu Rana - Strategic Planning Chair

Manu Rana is a Partner and a Managing Director of Napier Park Capital, a New York-based alternative asset manager, a member of Napier Park’s executive committee, and co-head of Napier Park’s Financial Partners funds. Mr. Rana was previously a Managing Director of Old Lane, L.P, acquired by Citigroup in 2007, and its successor businesses until 2013, when Napier Park was spun out of Citigroup by Napier Park’s partners; and joined Old Lane from Lazard Alternative Investments, where he was a Partner and a Managing Director of the firm. Mr. Rana focuses on principal investments in financial services and related businesses.

Mr. Rana has been and is a member of many for-profit and non-profit boards, including a member of the Board of Governors of the International Baccalaureate Organisation (2010-2016), head of the IBO’s finance committee, and head of IBO’s chairperson search committee.

Mr. Rana is an IB diploma graduate from the United Nations International School, and received a bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia College, part of Columbia University. He, his wife and their daughter live in New York City.

Virginia Roach - Academic Policy Chair

Dr. Virginia Roach was appointed the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Bank Street College in 2011. During her first two years, she engaged in an extensive “listening tour” of faculty, staff, and alumni to learn about the strengths and talents of the community as well as potential areas for growth and development. She has met with alumni and potential partners in New York, Newark, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. Istanbul, and Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Based on this input, work is underway to support online learning, international partnerships, and new conceptions for developing teachers and leaders to work in the diverse classrooms, schools, and other educational settings of today.

Her research focuses on state policy related to developing education leaders (for which she won the 2012 William J. Davis Award for outstanding scholarship) and the development of women in higher levels of educational leadership domestically and abroad. Dr. Roach also supports the development of new scholars by serving on doctoral dissertation committees both in the U. S. and abroad. In addition to her research activities and serving as Dean of the Graduate School, she is on the Board of the International Society of Educational Planning and was the editor of its journal, Educational Planning, from 2009-2012.

Dr. Roach worked at Bank Street from2002-2004 as the Project Director of the Teachers for a New Era Project. Prior to joining Bank Street the second time, she was an Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Policy in the Department of Educational Leadership of George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. There she served as department chair from 2006-2009, taught masters and doctoral-level courses, and chaired dissertations.

From 1986 to 2002 Dr. Roach worked at the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), serving as the Deputy Executive Director from 1994-2002. At NASBE she worked on several foundation-and government-funded grants as well as provided technical assistance to state boards of education, state departments of education, local districts and federal agencies, particularly in the areas of teacher development and including children with disabilities in the general education program. She began her career as a special education teacher and was awarded an Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1992.

Peter Sorrentino - Vice Chair

Peter Sorrentino is a Managing Director at Perella Weinberg Partners, the New York-based boutique investment bank, where he is a founding member and Head of the Global Private Capital business. Prior to joining Perella Weinberg in 2010, he spent over a decade at Lehman Brothers’ Investment Banking Division and subsequently at Barclays Capital in New York.

Mr. Sorrentino has extensive experience in advising corporate clients on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions transactions across a diversified set of industries. In addition, he has deep expertise in global capital markets, credit analysis, fixed income and equity products and capital structure advisory. He began his finance career at Lehman Brothers, where he provided corporate finance advisory services to clients in the diversified media and entertainment sectors and subsequently became Head of Lehman Brothers’ Media and Telecommunications Leveraged Finance practice. Prior to and until joining Perella Weinberg Partners in 2010, Mr. Sorrentino was a senior member of the Global Private Capital Group and Head of Mezzanine financing at both Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital.

A native of Boston, MA, Mr. Sorrentino received his MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Tufts University. He lives in Manhattan and is married to Dr. Rachel Sorrentino, with twin sons, Luca and Quincy (M2).

Santiago Villapando - Vice Chair

Santiago Villalpando is the Chief of the Treaty Section of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. During his career at the United Nations, he has served as Registrar of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal, and worked in the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He has also participated in legal teams representing governments in international judicial proceedings, and as an advisor for international organizations.

Mr. Villalpando has taught in several universities in the United States, Europe and Latin America, including the University of Geneva, Leiden University and New York University. He is currently Adjunct Professor at the New York University School of Law, and has published three books and several scholarly articles in public international law.

A citizen of Argentina and Spain, Mr. Villalpando obtained his high school degree in the French system and pursued his law studies in Rome. He holds an Italian law degree, as well as a Master’s and a PhD in international law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, who is also a United Nations civil servant, and two daughters, who are students in Junior School and Middle School at UNIS.

Franck Barrat

Franck Barrat is a Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan and a Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at the Weill Cornell Medical College of the Cornell University. Prior to moving to New York, Mr. Barrat worked for 15 years in the biotechnology industry conducting research focusing on autoimmune diseases, first at the DNAX Research Institute, then at Dynavax Technologies in California, and recently as a Distinguished Scientist at Hoffmann-La Roche in New Jersey. He holds multiple patents and his work has led to many scientific publications and the discovery of new drugs which are currently under clinical development.

Mr. Barrat is also a former representative at the Assembly for French Expatriates (AFE) where he was elected in 2009 and served for 5 years as a member of the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. This committee holds hearings with the various stakeholders of the Agency for French Education Abroad, a French government agency that manages the network of over 400 French schools in the world but also interacts with legislative members (Sénateurs, Députées) to push for new legislations related to education and cultural issues. The main objective of this assembly is to make recommendations on critical issues faced by the schools such as funding, large construction projects and relationship between the schools with local governments.

Mr. Barrat grew up in the south of France and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Vanessa 15 years ago. He received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Paris conducting his research at the Necker Children’s Hospital. They live in Manhattan and have three children, two of them students in the Middle School and Tutorial House at UNIS.

Bornali Basu

Bornali Basu is a psychologist in private practice and a member of the faculty of NYU School of Medicine. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, Teachers College. She holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, an M.A. from Teachers College, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Adelphi University. Previously, she was a senior psychologist and Program Director at Bellevue Hospital. Dr. Basu was born in Canada and raised in India. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Ranjan and their son, a Tutorial House student at UNIS.



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Maria-Luisa Chavez

Ms. Maria-Luisa Chávez, a national of Mexico and Greece, retired from the United Nations in 2013, after a thirty-two year career ranging from a Political Affairs Officer to Chief of Non Governmental Organizations Relations.

During her thirty two year career at the United Nations she has held several senior Public Information positions, including Director of UN Information Centre for Greece, Cyprus and Israel, Chief of the Educational Outreach Section, and Chief of the Non Governmental Organizations Section in the Department of Public Information (DPI), which was her last post prior to retirement, acting as the liaison between the United Nations and some 1300 NGOs.

Ms. Chávez comes from a multicultural family, and also as a second-generation UNer, she was raised in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Greece, Jordan, Kashmir, Lebanon, India, Italy, Mexico, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, and the United States.

Ms. Chávez received her Master in International Affairs at Columbia University, and completed her BA at Marymount College in New York, as well other studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris and the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France. She is a UNIS alumna, class of ’71, a former faculty and advisor to UNIS regarding their student conferences.

Throughout her career and as a retiree, Ms. Chávez, has promoted and strengthened partnerships with civil society, and empowered youth to effectively use their voices in advocacy, and to be the voice of change.

Ms. Chavez is presently advisor to two NGOs, the Smile of the Child in Greece and the FundaciónCultural Carol Baur in Mexico. She also is advisor to the Office of the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece in outreaching youth of civil society.

Ms. Chavez is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Italian and has good knowledge of Greek.

Ms Chavez is married.

Pierre Alexandre De Looz

Pierre Alexandre de Looz is an educator, writer and architect. Prior to starting an independent design practice, Mr. de Looz was project lead at various local firms following apprenticeships with Robert AM Stern, New York, and Zaha Hadid Architects, London. He currently focuses on small-scale residential renovation.


Mr. de Looz teaches in the Master’s program in Design Research, Writing and Criticism at SVA and is visiting Professor in Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute with multidisciplinary appointments in Architecture and Industrial Design. As a writer Mr. de Looz has reported on art and design for a wide range of publications such as The New York Times and V Magazine. He is contributing editor at Berlin-based 032c Magazine and in 2006 co-founded semiannual architecture magazine PIN-UP, where he continues as editor-at-large.

Born in France and raised in New York, Mr. de Looz is a 1993 IB diploma graduate of the United Nations International School. He received his B.A. in Comparative Literature from Yale University and a Master’s in Architecture from Columbia University. He works and lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.


Lena Dissin

Lena Dissin spent a life-long career working in the United Nations, where her experience spanned several departments, including the Secretary-General’s Office under Kofi Annan, the Department of Public Information and the Department of Management. Her professional expertise in the Organization centered around communications, administration and management reform, and internal dispute resolution, with her most recent position being Chief of Office of Ombudsman and Mediation Services, providing assistance to UN staff around the world in resolving workplace issues.

A Swedish citizen, Lena grew up in Sweden, the United States, France, Germany and Brazil, setting the foundation of an international outlook. Lena was a UNIS parent from 1995 to 2009, with both her children having attended the school from Kindergarten through Tut House. She is married to Mark Dissin, President and Owner of Pre-Sliced Productions, specializing in food television. After having retired from the UN in July 2016, Lena splits her time between homes in Manhattan and Hudson, New York.


Felipe Dorregaray

Felipe Dorregaray is a Managing Director, the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Compliance Officer, and a senior member of the investments team at Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management, LLC. Prior to joining Metropolitan Real Estate, Mr. Dorregaray served as a Vice President at D. Sherman & Co., Inc. Previously he was a Latin America Equity Analyst in the strategy group of ABN AMRO, Inc. He also worked in equity research at Salomon Smith Barney.

Mr. Dorregaray received a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida and an M.B.A. from the American University in Washington, DC. He and his wife Ariela have three children; their two oldest are JS students at the UNIS Queens Campus.


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Jean-Victor Nkolo

Jean-Victor Nkolo has worked at the United Nations for over 20 years. He has served as a spokesperson for three Presidents of the UN General Assembly, and for the Security Council during some of the Council’s missions outside New York. In 2006, he received an International Peace Award for contributions to peace, justice and development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Before working with the UN, Mr. Nkolo worked as an international broadcaster for Radio-Canada International and Radio Quebec Television in Montreal, the BBC World Service in London and Radio Netherlands International in Hilversum. He is the father of a son in the Manhattan Junior School.


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Yvonne Tsang

Ms. Yvonne Tsang recently completed two terms as President of the UNIS Queens Campus Parents Association. An educator by training, she has taught in both private and public high schools in the New York and San Francisco metropolitan areas, most recently at Hunter College High School in Manhattan.

A native of northern California, Ms. Tsang received her B.A. from Smith College, J.D. from the Tulane University Law School, and M.A. in Secondary Social Studies Education from the New York University Steinhardt School of Education. She resides in Forest Hills with her husband, Dr. Anthony Shih, and their twins, Allison and Nathan, who are in the M1 class at the UNIS Queens Campus.


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