November 15, 2019
Supported by The Graciela Chichilnisky Environmental Fund
in Honor of Natasha Chichilnisky-Heal
Natasha Chichilnisky-Heal (1987-2014) was a vibrant and highly intellectual student and professional. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2009 after only three years of study, and went on to pursue her Ph.D. in Political Science at Yale University. Chichilnisky-Heal was a worldly individual who lived in Argentina, Australia, Italy, Mongolia, the UK and on both the East and West coasts of the US. In addition to English, she spoke French, Russian and Spanish.
Prior to her studies at Yale, she worked at the World Bank, the World Energy Forum, and the Nexus Global Youth Summit. In 2007 and 2008, while still an undergraduate, she worked as an investment-banking analyst at Mongolia International Capital Corporation (MICC), the first investment bank in Mongolia. She spoke through a translator and prepared personalized investment packages for clients, ultimately contributing to the cutting-edge development of Mongolian capital markets. She found herself living in an area plagued with toxic pollution during the Mongolian winter, which contributed to her decision to pursue research concerned with natural resource management and global environmental inequities. At Yale, she began her work introducing the concept of “the permeable state” to reflect the enormous political and business impact of the Bretton Woods institutions—such as the IMF and the World Bank—in Mongolia and other resource-rich developing nations, with the corresponding effect on corruption. She further developed this topic with her Ph.D. advisor Professor Susan Rose-Ackerman and presented this work in conferences, papers, and articles.
Chichilnisky-Heal was fiercely dedicated to her work and is known as an intellectual force who was both brilliant and approachable. Her tenacity, intelligence, and compassion drew others to her and positioned her as a force for good, allowing her to bring attention to cases of global injustice. She used her skills to increase awareness of global inequities and even organized a conference in the Political Science Department at Yale to discuss the Russian involvement in Ukraine. Beyond her intellectual contributions, Chichilnisky-Heal is remembered for her kindness, humor, and passion.