Anisha Desai is the Program Director of the New Leaders Initiative (NLI) at Earth Island Institute, which raises the profile of young emerging environmental leaders in North America and provides them with skills, resources, and relationships to lead effective campaigns and projects. The NLI also confers the Brower Youth Awards, the premier North American awards honoring bold young environmental leaders. Anisha has a long history of work in youth leadership and social justice, and was formerly the Executive Director of the Women of Color Resource Center in Oakland and the Program Director of United for a Fair Economy in Boston.
Her areas of interest include green economy access for low-income communities, environmental degradation caused by militarism, and grassroots environmental movements in Africa, and her native India and Sri Lanka. She has co-authored publications on fair taxation, housing and the racial wealth divide.
Anisha served as a consultant to independent and public schools, social justice organizations and journalists on the topics of education reform, underserved youth communities, anti-oppression work and strategic change planning. She taught courses on youth rights and activism, and became deeply involved with educators of color, pan-African and South Asians networks in the Bay Area. She traveled to Rwanda where she studied post-genocide reconciliation efforts and has continued to share her experiences with various activist circles in the United States.
Anisha did PhD work at the University of California of Berkeley in the Graduate School of Education and earned a Masters of Education in Risk and Prevention at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American Literature, Psychology and Secondary Education from the University of Miami in Florida.