Governance

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. Information for current board members is available on the Board Members Documents Page.

UNIS Board Members 2017 - 2018

Catherine Pollard - Board Chair

Ms. Catherine Pollard assumed office as Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management on 1 December 2015. She was appointed to this position by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 27 November 2015. Previously, Ms. Pollard has served as Assistant Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management since September 2014.

On 16 August 2017, the Secretary-General appointed Ms. Pollard as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations International School. She was also appointed on 17 December 2015 by the Secretary-General as the Coordinator for Multilingualism in the United Nations Secretariat

Before joining the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM), she was Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management since 2008. While in that position, she represented the Secretary-General on human resource management issues, providing advice on wide-ranging strategies and policies. She has led human resources reform initiatives and the introduction of new policies during her tenure including as Co-Chair of the Chief Executive Board/Human Resources Network for the United Nations common system.

Prior to joining the Office of Human Resources Management, Ms. Pollard was Chief of Staff in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and before that, the Director of the Peacekeeping Finance Division in the Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts.

Ms. Pollard’s career in the United Nations began in 1989 when she worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the Chief of National Execution Projects. In 1993, she joined the Department for Peacekeeping Operations; she then worked as Chief Budget Officer for the United Nations Operations in Yugoslavia and Central Headquarters. Thereafter, she served as Chief of the Budget and Finance Section of the United Nations Volunteers.

Ms. Pollard brings a proven track record of valuable experience in conference management, financial, human resource and general administrative management. During her 28 years with the United Nations, she acquired a solid foundation of the United Nations culture, organizational and operational structures, global initiatives and reform efforts in accordance with the Secretary-General’s priorities and strategies. In each of her assignments at senior levels, she has helped to effect real improvements in management practices, moving away from the status quo.

Born in 1960, Ms. Pollard holds a Master’s degree in accounting from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.

Joan McDonald -Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Joan McDonald has over 35 years of diverse experience in management and administration positions in the United Nations in Geneva, Vienna and New York, and in a peacekeeping mission in Namibia.

Her most recent assignment was as Project Manager/Business Coordinator, for the new central administrative system, Umoja, for the Office of Central Support Services (OCSS), Department of Management (DM). Previously she held the positions as Director, Human Resources Information Management Systems Service, managing development and operations and support for all human resources technology systems; Director, Facilities & Commercial Services Division, and as Programme Director and Deputy to the Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan managing the renovation of the UNHQ complex. She has also worked as a consultant providing advice on conference service revenue producing activities at St. John’s University in Queens.

She has managed multidisciplinary operations - Contracts and Procurement, Travel & Transportation, Broadcast & Conference support, IT system development and operations, Facilities Management, Special Events, Commercial Activities, Archives and Records Management, Business Continuity, renovation of the UNHQ complex, Human Resources, Budget & Finance and Change Management.

She was a Member of the UNIS Board of Trustees for 12 years from 2001-2006 and 2008-2013 and was on the Executive Committee, Strategic Planning, Buildings & Grounds, and Development Committees and was 11 years Secretary of the Board. She is currently an Honorary Trustee. She has one son who graduated from UNIS in 2009 (Kindergarten to 12th grade). She is on the Governing Board of the Association of Former International Civil Servants (AFICS/NY).

Santiago Villalpando - 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 - Vice-Chair

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.

Lena Dissin - Vice-Chair, Health & Safety Co-Chair

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 on 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.


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)

Bornali Basu - Secretary

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. Their son is an alumnus of UNIS.



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Yvonne Tsang - Health & Safety Co-Chair

An educator by training, Yvonne has taught in both private and public high schools in the New York and San Francisco metropolitan areas. A native of northern California, Yvonne received her BA from Smith College, JD from the Tulane University Law School, and MA 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 attended the UNIS Queens Campus and are now enrolled in the Tut House.


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Pierre Alexandre De Looz - Buildings, Grounds, and Security Chair

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

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 NBC Universal, 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 alumna.

Anita Batisti - Academic Policy Chair

During the course of her career, Dr. Batisti has served as an administrator, educator and development specialist for New York City Community School Districts, The New York City Department of Education, Fordham University, Pace University, New York University, The United States Department of Education, and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and not-for-profit organizations. She is an experienced, knowledgeable educator, fundraiser and administrator who understands the complexities and subtleties of institutions of higher education, as well as both urban and suburban school systems, government agencies and empowered networks. She has raised over $280 million from public and private sources. Dr. Anita Vazquez Batisti is currently the Associate Dean and founding Director of the Center for Educational Partnerships at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education established in 2006. The Center serves over 150 schools, 2,200 K-12 teachers, 150 administrators and 50,000 students throughout New York City, Westchester County and Long Island, with programs and services that are researched based.

Since 2006, she has secured over $93 million for the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University for the establishment of three major technical assistance centers, Bronx BETAC – Bilingual/Educational Technical Assistance Center, LHV BETAC – Lower Hudson Valley Bilingual/Educational Technical Assistance Center, RBERN- Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network, Community Schools and a Partnership Support Organization Network (Fordham & NYCDOE), leadership development grants and vendor contracts for teacher professional development in the curriculum areas of mathematics, literacy, English Language Learners (ELL) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Pre-K. For her efforts, Dr. Batisti was awarded the “Fordham President’s Meritorious Service Award”, November 2016 and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., issued a proclamation recognizing her work, and also declared November 16, 2016 to be “The Center for Educational Partnerships Day” in the Bronx.

Dr. Batisti has over 21 years higher education administrative experience (Fordham University – GSE and New York University – Metropolitan Center for Urban Education), as well as over 25 years as an adjunct associate professor at Fordham GSE. Her career includes positions as Director of Funded Programs – Community School District 2 Manhattan, as well as Director of Development – Jazzmobile, Inc. She began her career as an elementary school teacher in Community School District 2 – PS 130 Manhattan, Chinatown.

During her career, Dr. Batisti has conducted numerous presentations on Fundraising, Leadership, Bilingual/Bicultural Education, and Technology in schools, both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Batisti earned her Ph.D. from Fordham University Graduate School of Education in Administration, Policy and Urban Education. She is a native New Yorker born and raised on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where she currently resides.


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.

Marc Powell

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, and 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, a 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.

Virginia Roach

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 from 2002-2004 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.

Maria-Luisa Chavez

Ms. Maria-Luisa Chávez, 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 1,300 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.

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 a member of the Advisory Board of a new organization HIGGS based in Athens, Greece promoting capacity-building for NGOs, and advisor to 2 NGOs, the Smile of the Child in Greece and the Fundación Cultural Carol Baur in Mexico (NGO Representative at the UN) in outreaching youth of civil society.

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

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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Roberto Pagan

Roberto Pagan is a statistician and currently works in cost of living comparisons with the International Civil Service Commission of the United Nations since 2007. He has worked in various roles in statistics with the United Nations and served in Bangkok and Geneva between 1998 and 2007.

Before joining the United Nations he worked in automotive and jewelry sectors with quantitative roles in retail network development and logistics.

A national of Italy, he received his statistics and economic sciences degree at the University of Padova (Italy) and resides in Manhattan with his wife and their two daughters, currently in the UNIS Manhattan Middle and Junior schools.

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