Meet the CGA Team

The NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Global Affairs (CGA), one of the most exciting and dynamic programs to emerge on the higher education landscape, explores the latest trends in international policy and examines and vigorously debates critical issues in the classroom and through public events. It is a program that provides the opportunity for individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities to come together and to explore how to make our world a better and more just place. CGA embraces a world where diplomacy and global transactions occur in a 21st-century milieu comprised of state and on-state actors.

Our mission is straightforward—to create a community of global citizens who are capable of changing the world. Some might this is a terribly bold aim for an academic program. Nonetheless, we would have it no other way! CGA’s leading-edge MS in Global Affairs, career advancement courses, and diploma programs, as well as its provocative public events, combine to create an environment where everyone with an interest in global affairs can find a place to contribute and learn.

Those who develop these programs are scholars and practitioners, individuals who have had direct experience in the global arena. Everyone at CGA is passionate, enthusiastic, and committed to our ambitious global agenda.

Graduate Administration

Carolyn Kissane, Associate Dean

Dr. Carolyn Kissane serves as the Associate Dean and is a Clinical Professor at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University where she teaches graduate level courses examining the Central Asian region, transformations in China, the geopolitics of oil, comparative energy politics, resource security, civil society organizations, and women’s movements. She serves as the Coordinator of the Energy and Environment concentration at the Center and is faculty advisor to the Energy Policy International Club. She held a two year fellowship from the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs and received a Fulbright Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, Teachers College Columbia University Dean’s Grant, National Security Graduate Enhancement Fellowship, IREX Caspian Sea Fellowship, IREX travel grant for study in Kazakhstan, and an IREX Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Grant to examine the impact of natural resources on civil society development. In recognition of her unwavering commitment to education Dr. Kissane was awarded the esteemed NYU Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007 and nominated for the NYU-wide Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008 and 2009. She received the SPS Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009.

In 2009 Dr. Kissane received a grant from the Canadian government to lead a group of students to visit the Canadian Oil Sands in Fort McMurray and to visit with oil sands leaders in Calgary. Her work with Canada continues in the form of event partnerships and a special series on the Arctic which she is organizing with the Government of Quebec. Complementing her academic, public service and consultant experience, Kissane is the author of numerous publications including an article on history education in Comparative Education, Freedom House: Countries at the Crossroads report on Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Great Decisions Series, and Evaluating Human Rights Education. She also has chapters on transitional challenges in education in Central Asia and human rights education in Europe, an article on Girls’ Education and Democratization in the Post-Taliban Era and another focusing on the oil extractive industry published in Globalization, Societies and Education. Dr. Kissane received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Sylvia Maier, Academic Director and Clinical Professor

Dr. Sylvia Maier serves as the Academic Director and is a Clinical Professor at the Center for Global Affairs where she directs the MSGA Concentration in Global Gender Studies, the annual Global Field Intensive to the United Arab Emirates, and serves as faculty adviser to the MSGA Gender Working Group. Sylvia’s principal fields of interest and expertise are women’s rights in the Middle East, South Central Asia, and the Gulf States, with a particular focus on the United Arab Emirates, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Afghanistan, where she has taught and conducted extensive field research. Sylvia is especially interested in women’s culturally-situated modes of resistance to patriarchy in deeply traditional societies, the “globalization-empowerment nexus” in the Gulf States, feminist urbanism, gender and migration, and the politics of integration and multiculturalism in Western Europe, chiefly the legal responses to cultural diversity and honor-based violence against women. She has spoken extensively and published on these and related subjects. Her co-edited book, titled EU Development Policies: Between Norms and Geopolitics was published by Palgrave Macmillan in February 2019. She is currently working on a comparative research study of feminist urbanism in global cities (Vienna, Berlin, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, and New York), on a field research project on biotrade, food security and women’s empowerment in Perú with her CGA colleague Jens Rudbeck, and, with another CGA colleague, Christopher Ankersen, on a book manuscript on Monarchies in Global Affairs. 

Sylvia’s teaching interests bridge the fields of gender studies and international politics and include Gender and International Affairs: Sex, Power and Politics, Gender and Migration, Women’s Rights in the Middle East and South Asia, International Relations Theory, The Geopolitics of Afghanistan, Ethics in International Affairs, and Analytic Skills. 

Complementing her academic work, Sylvia was the co-founder and deputy editor-in-chief of Women Across Frontiers, a digital women’s rights magazine, and currently serves as VP and Director of Education Programs as well as on the board of The Peace Project, Inc.

Prior to joining the CGA, Sylvia Maier was on the faculty of the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at NYU and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, where she worked on Islam-state relations and the politics of integration and multiculturalism in Western Europe. 

Sylvia received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Southern California in 2001.

Amy Jaffe, Director, NYU SPS Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability Lab

Amy Jaffe is an energy consultant and leading expert on the geopolitics of oil, energy, security, and risk, and an influential thought leader on global energy policy and sustainability. She is currently serving as Director of the Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability Lab and a research professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies.

She is the author of “Energy’s Digital Future: Harnessing Innovation for American Resilience and National Security,” published by Columbia University Press in January 2021. She is co-chair of the Women in Energy Initiative at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a faculty research affiliate at the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University.

Jaffe has taught energy policy, business, and sustainability courses at New York University (NYU) Tufts University, Rice University, University of California, Davis and Yale University. She served as the senior advisor for energy and sustainability at the Office of the Chief Investment Officer (OCIO)of the UC Regents from 2014 to 2017, contributing to the design of the UC pension system’s sustainable investing framework and training the team of investors at the UC OCIO how to incorporate sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics into investment decision making across portfolio activities including public equities, fixed income securities, real assets investment, and real estate.

Jaffe is a regular contributor to the popular podcast “The Energy Gang” and a frequent media commentator in television and print media, including the New York Times, the Financial Times of London, and the Wall Street Journal. A prolific author, Jaffe holds a career prize in energy economics from the US Association for Energy Economics and also served as the organization’s President in 2020.

Cori Epstein, Director, Graduate Administration

Cori Epstein has been with the NYU Center for Global Affairs (CGA) since 2006 and is currently the Director of Graduate Program Administration.  Prior to joining the CGA, Cori worked on school reform initiatives at the New York City Department of Education and on youth development programming at the Partnership for After School Education (PASE).  Cori holds an M.A. in International Education from NYU Steinhardt and a B.A. in History from Brown University.

Tanala OsaYande, Assistant Director, Graduate Programs

Tana OsaYande’s career has focused on education, access, and restorative justice. Prior to joining the SPS Center for Global Affairs, Tana worked as the Manager of Literacy Initiatives at Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit supporting survivors of gender-based violence. She worked for ten years in the School of Professional Studies, English Language Institute, in ESL and English instruction and testing and evaluation, and was awarded the SPS Award for Teaching Excellence in 2016. She also taught abroad at the Universidad del Caribe in Mexico and the Berlitz dil Merkezi in Turkey. Tana holds an MS in Publishing from Pace University and a BA in International Studies from the Atlanta University Center, Morris Brown College.

Noncredit & Public Programs

Michelle D’Amico, Director, Continuing Education and Public Programs

Michelle D'Amico is the Director of Continuing Education and Public Programs at the Center for Global Affairs (CGA). She has been with CGA since 2006 and has overseen and helped to develop a wide range of programs, including career advancement and personal enrichment courses, weeklong summer high school programs, and professional certificate programs. These programs cover a variety of topics, including monitoring and evaluation, clean energy, digital fundraising, data analytics, global affairs, international development, and fundraising. She also has experience with developing and delivering executive education and custom corporate programs.

She is a skilled collaborator and project manager who works with faculty and partners to direct 20-30 public events each semester and support conference production. 

As a part of her work, Michelle identifies and manages strategic partnerships with corporate and public sector organizations and academic institutions for CGA and the NYU SPS Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability Lab, which is housed within the CGA. She also supports fundraising efforts for the department, manages social media, and has helped to plan and administer 12 Global Field Intensive programs for MS in Global Affairs students.

Michelle holds an M.P.A. from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, a B.S. in Marketing and Advertising from F.I.T., and a Professional Certificate in Fundraising from the NYU SPS Heyman Program. 

Catherine Monzón, Program Administrator, Continuing Education and Public Programs

Catherine Monzón is a new member of the Center for Global Affairs team. Her previous experience includes managing alternative educational programs, creating external partnerships with local organizations, and overseeing events as well as other special programming within multiple NYC public High Schools. Catherine holds a Bachelor's Degree in History & Cultural Anthropology from CUNY's City College of NY. Excited to be part of CGA, Catherine is looking forward to making an even bigger positive impact with the students and faculty of NYU's School of Professional Studies.

Robert Lesko, Administrative Aide, Continuing Education and Public Programs

Robert Lesko has been the Administrative Aide of non-credit programs at NYU’s Heyman Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising since 2005, providing support to students and faculty in the Certificate in Fundraising and Career Advancement courses.  Prior to the Heyman Program, Robert worked for 20 years in a number of other capacities for NYUSPS, including in the Office of Finance and Administration, the Shack Institute of Real Estate, and the office of Non-Credit Student Services. Robert holds a B.S. in Marketing from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Advisory Board

  • Ruchi Bhowmick, Vice President of Public Policy, Netflix
  • David Goldring, Chairman and CEO, Overseas Military Sales Corporation
  • Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO, GLAAD
  • Jason Hochman, Co-Founder and Senior Director at Direct Air Capture Coalition
  • Go Katayama, Senior LNG Analyst, Shell Energy Japan
  • Nicholas Kourides, Senior Counsel, DLA Piper
  • Sam Lissner, Managing Director, Ridgewood Energy


  • Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, UN Navy Retired; President, SJL Global Insights
  • Channon Lucas (Co-chair), Chief Administrative Officer, Mother Cabrini Health Foundation
  • Robert Pietrzak (Co-chair), Partner, Sidley Austin LCC Retired
  • Alexandra Rogan, Director of Outreach and Parnerships, Council for Inclusive Capitalism
  • Richard Wolffe, Managing Director, Jose Andres Media


Honorary Members of the Board

  • H.R.H. Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security


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