Damai is a southern California native with family from Argentina. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and double minors in Mathematics and Neuroscience. While at UCLA, he worked in the Department of Medicine for a pulmonary oncology laboratory as a research assistant and in the pediatric ward at Mattel Children’s Hospital.
Damai completed his graduate studies at Georgetown University, where he obtained his masters in Global Human Development, as well as received certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies. He also received a certificate in African Studies. It was there that he took an invested interest in climate finance, supporting refugees from fragile states most impacted by climate and conflict. His capstone work with Energy Peace Partners looked to green U.N. humanitarian operations and expand renewable energy into ‘high-risk’ conflict environments, where energy poverty remains rampant and funding crucially insufficient. He also assisted a team of economists while at the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Unit in analyzing impacts of COVID-19 on South Pacific labor markets, landing him a co-authored World Bank publication titled “Pacific Island Countries in the Era of COVID-19: Macroeconomic Impacts and Job Prospects”.
Previously, Damai had a combined five years of health research, sustainable development, and project management experience. He worked as a Project Coordinator at Mosaic Laboratories working with a team dedicated to optimizing clinical trial services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. His passion for development stems from his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Mozambique, where he demonstrated a commitment toward STEM education, community health, developmental policy, and youth services in a highly political conflict area within sub-Saharan Africa. He has used both Portuguese and Spanish in a professional setting, and basic Swahili to better integrate into his Peace Corps community.
His main projects included local government collaboration in promoting “hands-on” science education, management of a youth empowerment program focused on empowering adolescents through self-expression, esteem-building, and community health education, all while formally teaching mathematics and biology at the secondary school level. He decided to join GNSD Executive Team, as he believes that his experience can contribute to the implementation of the network’s mission.