For 17 years Michael worked as a senior manager, strategist, and advocate for several international relief and development organizations. As Regional Director for the International Rescue Committee he supervised programs in Rwanda, Burundi, The Republic of Congo, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Tanzania. Michael spent six years in eastern DRC as the country director overseeing a broad range of humanitarian and development programs. He has also worked for the International Medical Corps in Angola, and Action against Hunger-USA in Rwanda. He began his overseas work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon.
Over the last several years Michael has focused on promoting sustainable development in the United States. He has worked with Environment America, Clean Air-Cool Planet, and spent a year with Friends of the Earth advocating for sound US policy to address the impacts of climate change and he co-authored a report on the risks associated with the use of carbon offsets. He is currently the Regional Director for Asia for CHF International, an international development organization.
Michael has conducted extensive reading and research on environmental science, climate science, energy technology, consumption, economics, and other topics related to sustainability. Based on this research and life experience Michael created “The American Dream – The World’s Nightmare,” a powerful presentation that he offers to high schools, colleges, universities, churches and other public venues to increase public awareness and action on these issues.
Michael has a B.S in Electrical Engineering, a B.A. in General Arts and Science, and a Masters in International Management.
Michael is also a passionate amateur nature and wildlife photographer and his images can be seen at Michael Despines Photography.