About Us

China estimates that it will cost between $600 billion to $1 trillion annually through at least 2020 to achieve its goals for a green economy, but the government is only capable of covering up to 15% of those costs. The difference in financing, therefore, must come from the private sector. In order to attract the significant monies that are available globally for investing in green projects and programs, China needs to establish the appropriate regulatory and financial policies combined with innovative financing models.

With an ambitious domestic program for financing green growth, China is becoming the global testing ground for innovative concepts in green finance. These concepts, if successful, could drive standards and practices for the rest of the world. The Paulson Institute is helping China to implement its ambitious agenda in green finance. It has served as an advisor to the G20 Green Finance study group, established by China during its time as President of the G20. The Institute works closely with China’s financial institutions in providing advice and counsel, as well as developing and testing innovative financing models to promote green growth.

Through convening, advocacy, thought leadership, and expertise, the Paulson Institute is dedicated to moving green finance from philanthropy to the mainstream of investing principles and working to encourage a vibrant international green finance market.

The Institute has a dedicated team focused on the development of the green finance program.

The Green Dream Team

Deborah M. Lehr

Vice Chairman and Executive Director

Gracie Sun

Senior Advisor and Managing Director of Green Finance Center

Kate Li

Associate Director of Green Finance

Phylicia Wu

Associate Director, Green Finance

Senior Fellows

Ma Jun

Senior Fellow

David Sandalow

Senior Advisor

Leigh Wedell

Senior Fellow

Simon Zadek

Senior Fellow


Deborah Lehr is the Vice Chairman and Executive Director of the Paulson Institute. In that capacity, she advises the Chairman on U.S.–China relations as well as oversees the development and implementation of Paulson Institute programs and initiatives. In addition, Ms. Lehr manages the Green Finance Center for the Paulson Institute.

Ms. Lehr has served in the public, private and not for profit sectors focused on China, the Middle East and emerging markets. She advised Mr. Paulson when he was the CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs and helped then-Treasury Secretary Paulson to create and launch the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue.

In addition, she served as Senior Advisor to the Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch and was a Senior Managing Director at the New York Stock Exchange. Ms. Lehr has built several successful consulting businesses, including as a partner at Mayer Brown, a top-10 law firm, as President of Stonebridge China and then with her own firm, Basilinna. Basilinna is focused on China and the Middle East.

Ms. Lehr also served in the U.S. Government in the Executive Office of the President as a Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China, where she was a lead negotiator for China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, for two intellectual property rights negotiations and on the team for the 1992 Market Access Agreement. Also, Ms. Lehr was one of the youngest Directors of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council. Previous to that, she was involved in export control and trade policy issues at the Department of Commerce.

As the Founder and Chairman of the Antiquities Coalition, she works with governments around the world to fight against the illicit trade in antiquities. She serves on the International Advisory Board of the London School of Economics, the World Monuments Fund Board and the Middle East Institute Board. Ms. Lehr is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. UNESCO listed Ms. Lehr on its inaugural list of accomplished global women. She also received the prestigious Hadrian Award from the World Monument Fund for her work in fighting the illicit trade in antiquities.

Ms. Lehr has lived and studied around the world, including China, England, France, and Germany. Her writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Foreign Affairs, South China Morning Post, U.S. News and World Report, Caixin Magazine, and Xinhua.net, among others.


Gracie Sun serves as Managing Director of the Green Finance Center and Senior Advisor of the Paulson Institute. The Center was launched in 2018 to focus on the use of market mechanisms to promote green development and support climate change. She has served as an Advisor to the Paulson Institute since its launch. In this capacity, she played a key role in the creation and launch of the U.S.-China Green Fund.

Ms. Sun also has broad experience in the consulting field in China. She is a Founding Partner and the President for China of Basilinna LLC, a strategic business consulting firm headquartered in Washington DC. Prior to that, she also worked as a Senior Counsel at Ogilvy Public Relations China. She served as Executive Vice President of Sierra Asia, an Advisory firm based in Beijing, Shanghai and Washington DC.

Ms. Sun was also a Managing Director for China with Albright Stonebridge International, a consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former U.S. National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. During her time at Stonebridge, she served as the China Representative to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and represented major U.S., European and Chinese firms in the market. She also worked for MBP Consulting, the Asia consulting practice of Mayer, Brown, a top 10 law firm based in Chicago, founded by Ambassador Mickey Kantor.

Gracie Sun has represented and advised multinational corporations on government strategy, market access, communication strategy, crisis management, intellectual property, and investment issues in China, serving in wide range of industries including Pharmaceutical, Telecommunication, Media and Entertainment, Mining, Agriculture, Banking and Financial Organizations.

Gracie often speaks and writes about green finance and other issues in the U.S.-China bilateral relationship. She has an MBA and lives and works in Shanghai.


Li Xiaozhen (Kate) is Associate Director of Green Finance at the Paulson Institute. Prior to joining the Paulson Institute, Ms. Li worked at China’s largest state-owned enterprise in energy conservation and environmental protection–China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Corporation (CECEP) for over 10 years. She has rich consulting experience in the fields of green finance and low carbon development in China. At CECEP, her clients included the Chinese government agencies, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, KfW, and the EU delegation. She led the CECEP Consulting team, which achieved the award of “Top Consultants Involved in ADB Technical Assistance Project” in China and won several national and Beijing Municipal prizes for outstanding engineering consulting in recent years. Li received her M.A. degrees from Inner Mongolia Normal University in China and Osaka University of Japan. She is Mandarin Chinese native speaker and speaks English, Japanese and some Mongolian.


Phylicia Wu is Associate Director of the Paulson Institute’s Green Finance program. Phylicia joins the Institute from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where she was the Research and Programs Assistant for the Chamber’s China Center. She has also served at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in the Office of China Affairs. Phylicia is from Atlanta and received her M.S. degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and B.B.A. from Emory University. She is proud to hail from the Peach State and is an avid Atlanta sports fan.


Dr. MA Jun is Director of the Center for Finance and Development, Tsinghua National Institute of Financial Research. He is also Special Advisor to Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Chairman of Green Finance Committee of China Society for Finance and Banking, and Co-chair of G20 Green Finance Study Group, Member of China’s Finance 40 Forum, Vice Chairman of China International Economic Relations Association, Special Advisor on Sustainable Finance to UN Environment. Before joining Tsinghua, he was Chief Economist at Research Bureau of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) from 2014-17. Prior to that, he worked for 13 years at Deutsche Bank, where he was Managing Director, Chief Economist for Greater China, and Head of China and Hong Kong Strategy. From 1992-2000, he worked as public policy specialist, economist and senior economist at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. From 1988-1990, he was a research fellow at the Development Research Center of China’s State Council. Dr. Ma received his Ph.D. in Economics from Georgetown University in 1994, and his master’s degree in Management Science from Fudan University in 1988.


David Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and co-Director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He launched and directs the Center’s U.S.-China Program and has written, most recently, on topics including energy diplomacy and energy finance.

Mr. Sandalow has served in senior positions at the White House, State Department and U.S. Department of Energy. He came to Columbia from the U.S. Department of Energy, where he served as Under Secretary of Energy (acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs. Prior to serving at DOE, Mr. Sandalow was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, as well as Energy & Climate Change Working Group Chair at the Clinton Global Initiative. He has served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment & Science and a Senior Director on the National Security Council staff.

Mr. Sandalow writes and speaks widely on energy and climate policy. His recent works include The Geopolitics of Renewable Energy (2017, co-author), Financing Solar and Wind Power: Lessons from Oil and Gas (2017, co-author), Solar Together (2016), CO2 Utilization Roadmap (2016, project chair), The History and Future of the Clean Energy Ministerial (2016) and Meeting China’s Shale Gas Goals (2014, lead author). Other works include Plug-In Electric Vehicles: What Role for Washington? (Brookings Press, 2009) (editor), U.S.-China Cooperation on Climate Change (Brookings, 2009) (co-author) and Freedom from Oil (McGraw-Hill, 2008). Mr. Sandalow has appeared on CNN, NPR, NBC, BBC, CCTV and many other broadcast outlets.

Mr. Sandalow serves on the Board of Directors of ReNew Power, India’s leading renewable energy developer, and as an advisor to a number of companies. Mr. Sandalow is a member of the Steering Committee of the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum and chairs the ICEF Innovation Roadmap Project. He is a member of the Selection Committee of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, University of Michigan Energy Institute’s Advisory Board, the Electric Drive Transport Association’s “Hall of Fame” and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Yale College.


Leigh Wedell is the COO of Basilinna, a strategic consultancy focused on China and the Middle East. She is the former Chief Sustainability Officer for the Paulson Institute, and led the Institute’s sustainability training program for Chinese mayors. She has spent more than 20 years designing and managing capacity building programs in China on topics ranging from elections, local governance, parliamentary development, legislative drafting, professionalization of the judiciary, legal aid, intellectual property rights enforcement, and sustainability.


Dr. Simon Zadek is currently Principal of Project Catalyst, an initiative by the United Nations Development Programme designed to address systemic opportunities to meet the 2030 Agenda, Senior Advisor on Sustainable Finance to UN Environment , and Visiting Professor at Singapore Management University. He was until recently Senior Advisor on Finance in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General, and Co- Director of the UN Environment’s Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System. He is on the Advisory Board of the leading sustainability investment fund, Generation Investment Management.

Previous roles include Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Martin School of the University of Oxford, Visiting Scholar at Tsinghua School of Economics and Management in Beijing, Senior Fellow at the Institute and the International Institute of Sustainable Development, Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Academy of Business in Society, Senior Advisor to the World Economic Forum, Senior Fellow at the Global Green Growth Institute, Senior Visiting Fellow at Harvard`s JK Kennedy School of Government, Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Visiting Professor, Copenhagen Business School, and Honorary Professor at the University of Southern Africa.

He founded and was until 2009 Chief Executive of the international think tank, AccountAbility, and before that was Development Director of the New Economics Foundation. His book, ‘The Civil Corporation’, was awarded the Academy of Management’s prestigious Best Book on Social Issues in Management, and his Harvard Business Review article, ‘Paths to Corporate Responsibility’ is widely used as a reference point in understanding emergent sustainability strategies.