Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Eilish Zembilci

Eilish Zembilci


Senior Policy Associate, Energy and Climate Policy


Eilish Zembilci is a senior policy associate with the Energy and Climate Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability at Duke University. She is also an adjunct fellow (non-resident) with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Global Food Security Program. She brings a comprehensive background in sustainable development issues, with expertise in policy analysis, program management, and stakeholder engagement across various development issues, including food security, conflict and peacebuilding, human mobility, and energy and infrastructure.

Prior to joining Duke, Zembilci served as the program manager for the CSIS Global Food Security Program, overseeing program operations, orchestrating high-level events, and contributing to the program’s research portfolio on topics such as food security as a national security imperative, equity in US food systems, and the impact of climate change on food and nutrition security. She has also produced policy analysis for prominent development institutions such as the World Food Program USA; the US Agency for International Development Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance and Bureau of Resilience, Environment, and Food Security; and the US Institute of Peace. Most recently, Zembilci worked with the US Department of State Office of Foreign Assistance to conduct an interagency review of American governmental foreign assistance investments along the infrastructure project lifecycle in low- and middle-income countries.

Zembilci received her master’s degree in public policy as a Carlucci Fellow of Security Studies from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and her bachelor’s degree in international affairs with a concentration in global public health and a minor in sustainability studies from the George Washington University.

Eilish recommends:

Spending time outside reading—or listening to—Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, for its harmonious blending of science, nature, and spirituality. Braiding Sweetgrass is a great read (or listen) for those seeking a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all living beings and the wisdom to cultivate a more reciprocal relationship with the natural world. (Bonus: The audiobook is read by Kimmerer and she is a fantastic orator!)