The Development Practitioners Seminar is a special feature of the MPA in Development Practice program at SIPA.  The weekly seminar provides students the opportunity to hear from and engage directly with experienced development practitioners, ask candid questions and gain practical insight on how to function effectively in their future careers.  The program has had the privilege of hosting a diverse group of speakers from non-governmental organizations, private sector companies, consulting firms, UN development agencies, philanthropic organizations, the diplomatic corps, and academic institutions. Our guests enjoy access to a forum for sharing experiences, best practices and current trends in development with the next generation of development practitioners. The seminar also promotes longer-term professional exchanges that open the door for internship and employment opportunities.







Wednesday, April 14
Time 1-2 pm EST 

H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General holding the post of High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) since January 2019- present. Mr. Moratinos has committed his professional and political career to international relationships and development cooperation, notably as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain from 2004 to 2010. During his tenure as Foreign Minister, Spain presided over the UN Security Council in 2004, held the chairmanships-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the Council of the European Union. Mr. Moratinos succeeded in fostering the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.


Monday, April 5
Time: 1-2:30 pm EST 

Ambassador Munir Akram, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN and 74th President of the UN General Assembly 
Ambassador Amal Mudallali, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the UN


Friday, April 2, 2021
Time: 1-2pm 

Dr. Noureddine Amir serves as chair of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and chair of all UN human rights committees, a total of nine treaty bodies that oversee the implementation of major international human rights treaties. For 20 years, Dr. Amir has served as a member of CERD and worked on human rights at the United Nations. A sociologist with a doctorate in political science from the University of Paris, La Sorbonne, Dr. Amir also serves as a professor of diplomatic law. Before his career as a UN human rights expert, Dr. Amir was a practicing diplomat who represented Algeria for over 40 years.


Friday, February 26, 2021 
Time: 12-1pm 

René Celaya is a leader in international humanitarian and development strategy and practice. Growing up in Mexico and in the US shaped his lifelong commitment to promoting equality and social justice. As vice president for humanitarian programs at Sesame Workshop, René leads an innovative collaboration between Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee. The committee provides early learning opportunities for displaced and host community children and caregivers affected by the Syrian conflict in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and northern Syria. The program will reach more than a million children by delivering urgent early childhood development support to families through classrooms and health clinics. The program will also provide an all-new, Arabic-language Sesame TV show called Ahlan Simsim that is broadcast in 20 countries across the Middle East and North Africa. Ahlan Simsim is also elevating awareness, engaging policy makers, spearheading research, and increasing investment to support the critical needs of early childhood development in crisis settings. 

Heidi Rosbe is a Senior professional with over 17 years of expertise in program and project design, management and strategy for international peacebuilding, mediation, humanitarian aid, gender, youth and conflict-affected populations, with extensive experience in the Middle East. She is motivated by confronting the most challenging problems head on and cultivating the teams and systems needed to succeed. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Time: 1-2pm 

Dr. Jürgen Zattler is a development and macroeconomist with more than 30 years of international experience. Dr. Zattler has been working in the BMZ in various positions since 1986 including Director General for Multilateral and European Policy, Head of the Division on World Bank, IMF, and debt related issues, and Deputy Head of the Division for WTO and trade policy. From 2017 to 2020, Dr. Zattler served as World Bank Group Executive Director representing Germany. His prior experience in the public and private sector includes the European Commission in Brussels, where he worked on macroeconomic issues related to developing countries and the Dresdner Bank in Berlin. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Giessen.


Wednesday, February 17
Time: 1-2 pm EST 

James Suru BOYON is an experienced Advocacy Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the program development industry. Specialized in child protection, Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Public Engagement, Program Evaluation, and Volunteer Management. Strong operations professional with an M.Sc focused in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from National open university Apapa Lagos.

He was a member of MAEJT, and now a program and child protection coordinator at the regional office of Enda Jeunesse Action, the supporting structure of MAEJT. He has experience working with children and in community accompaniment.






Friday, December 11
Time: 1-2pm EST 

Nina Kantcheva Tushev is a Senior Policy Adviser on Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Engagement at the Nature for Development Programme at UNDP. Nina is also the co-founder of Tushevs Aerials, an initiative to democratize drone technology that includes design, building, data processing, and capacity building for Indigenous peoples, local communities, organizations and individuals to use drones towards environmental and humanitarian goals. Nina has extensive experience at the UN and non-profit organizations, and aims to use her privileged access to be an ally to and open up political space for essential but marginalized voices, like those of indigenous and local communities and grassroots women. Understanding that we cannot solve the planetary emergencies of climate change and biodiversity loss without their knowledge, experience, and decision-making, Nina works to establish and support initiatives and convenings that place the needs and priorities of indigenous peoples and local communities at the center. Born and raised in Bulgaria, Nina lives in New York City with her family.


Global Climate Change Governance: The Role of International Organizations
Wednesday, December 2
Time: 10am-12pm 

Climate action is one of the foremost challenges of our times. This panel discusses the distinct role of international organizations in climate governance. This includes not only the role of the Paris Agreement but the broad work of international organizations with governments and non-governmental actors at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels to promote environmental and climate change related action. The discussion will foster a better understanding of the multiple and complex ways, UN agencies and programmes are promoting change and the political and practical obstacles and strategies. 
•    Joyce Msuya, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director, UN Environment Program
•    Ovais Sarmad, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 
•    Scott Barrett, Vice Dean and Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics, SIPA
•    Moderator: Daniel Naujoks, Director a.i., International Organization and UN Studies, SIPA

Thursday, November 19
Time: 1-2pm EST 

Mariana is the co-founder and CEO at Laboratoria, an organization that trains women from underserved backgrounds as software developers and connects them with companies in need of their talent. With learning centers across Latin America, Laboratoria is working to build a more diverse, inclusive and competitive digital economy in the region that can create opportunities for all people. For her work as a social entrepreneur Mariana has received multiple recognitions, including being named one of Peru's leading innovators by the MIT and one the world’s most influential women by the BBC. She holds a BSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Columbia University in New York.

Tuesday, November 17
Time: 1-2pm EST 

Sara Balonas is assistant professor at University of Minho (Portugal) and researcher at Communication and Society Research Centre (CECS). PhD in Communication Sciences - Advertising in Social Sphere. Teaches Strategic Communication and Advertising. Research work is focused on the reconfiguration of advertising, its role in society beyond consumption and as a contribution to a better citizenship practice. Research interests: Strategic Communication, Social Change, Behavioural Communication, Social Marketing, Non-profit Communication, CSR, Communication for Public Health, Territorial Communication, Political Communication. 

Coordinator of Createlab - Creative Agency: experimentation and innovation Lab at CECS.
CEO of B+ Communication, an advertising company created in 2002 and founder of Be True Programme for sustainability and social responsibility (2010). 
Member of the board of a non-profit association. Has been member of the board of ADDICT - agency for creative industries. Has been ambassador of entrepreneurship, nominated by the European Commission (2010-2013).

Thursday, October 29 
Time: 1-2pm EST 

Paloma is a development practitioner and a senior infrastructure expert. She is currently working as the principal executive of transport infrastructure for the Development Bank of Latin America based in Lima. Prior to moving to Peru, Paloma worked as an infrastructure and PPP specialist for the World Bank in Washington DC. While at the World Bank, she also collaborated with the United Nations Office of Project Services in Peru. Prior to focusing her career on development, she had worked in Spanish companies, leaders in transport consultancy, civil construction and PPP projects with worldwide operations. 

Considering infrastructure as a tool for progress -rather than an end in itself, Paloma stresses the importance of empathizing and contextualizing to truly understand all aspects interwoven in policy decisions. With this perspective, her opinion and advice are appreciated and often searched to provide strategic recommendations regarding policy making to enable project investment. 

She has extensively worked and volunteered in more than 30 countries worldwide including Kenya, Guinea Bissau, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kuwait or the Americas. 

Paloma holds a MPA in Development Practice from Columbia University and a MSc in Civil Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid.


Thursday, October 15
Time: 1-2:15pm EST

Ms. Anke Strauss serves as the Head of Talent Management at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency. A lawyer with over 20 years of work experience in international organizations both at Headquarters and in the field, she previously held the posts of Chief of Mission of the IOM in Mauritania and Morocco, as well as Deputy Permanent Observer at the IOM Permanent Observer office to the United Nations in New York, among others. As the head of talent management in IOM's Human Resource Department since January 2018, Anke supports IOM's most important resource – the staff (both national and international) - by creating fair and clear processes, accountability and continuous learning.


Tuesday, October 13
Time: 1-2pm EST


Mariela Machado is Program Manager at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers's (ASME) Engineering for Global Development programs & Engineering for change, a Tech4Dev nonprofit based in NYC, where she works actively in the ICT4D and Tech4Dev fields all over the world. Mariela has a Telecommunication/Network Engineering degree from UCAB in Caracas, Venezuela, a Master’s degree in ICTs from Barcelona, Spain and a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) in Development Practice from Columbia University. She has worked both in private sector telecommunication companies and in nonprofit organizations devoted to technology for development and ICT4D. She worked as Project Manager for Telefonica, an international telecoms company present in over 15 countries in 3 continents for over 5 years which gave her the much needed perspective of the actual state of affairs in ICTs all over the world. Mariela then went to do research for academia where she co-authored a report together with Jeffrey Sachs that was presented at the World Economic Forum of Africa in 2016 on how ICT could enable the achievement of the SDG's by 2020, an article on ICTs in Cuba for Foreign Affairs, among others. Mariela is still supporting research in projects devoted to connecting the unconnected in the developing world and teaches an ICT4D master class at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.


Tuesday, September 15
Time: 1-2pm

Cassia is the Founder and CEO of Youth Climate Leaders, a social enterprise that trains and connects young people with networks and opportunities to start their careers as climate leaders. She has experience working on sustainable development and international cooperation in the public, private, and third sectors. Previously, she has served as Deputy Executive Coordinator at the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change and worked as a consultant at CIVICUS, UNDP, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Cassia holds an MPA in Development Practice degree from Columbia University.




Wednesday, April 27
Karla Hoff, Visiting Professor at Columbia University

Karla Hoff is a Visiting Professor at Columbia University and was a lead economist at the World Bank before 2020.  She co-directed the Bank’s World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior, which provided a framework for the emerging field of behavioral development economics.  She has been investigating how social constructs, such as categories and narratives, affect perception, performance, and solidarity, with applications to inequality, coordination in games, and domestic violence.  She is an Associate Editor of The World Bank Economic Review and co-edited The Economics of Rural Organization and Poverty Traps. She was a National Merit Scholar at Wellesley College and a Peace Corps volunteer in the Ivory Coast.  She earned a PhD in economics at Princeton University.


Thursday, April 2 
Caitlin Taylor, Director of the Food Systems Design Lab, MASS Design Group

Caitlin is an architect and farmer whose work focuses on designing regional food systems that value economic, social, and environmental justice. Her work spans from the scale of a table to the scale of a city. In this lecture, she will discuss a few projects on the boards or under construction as part of the Food System Design Lab portfolio including the Rwandan Institute for Conservation Agriculture, ongoing master planning of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Brigaid school kitchen design, and the Good Shepherd Conservancy. 

Caitlin lives with her family in East Haddam, Connecticut, where they own and operate an organic vegetable and cut flower farm. She has taught advanced architecture studios at the Yale School of Architecture and Columbia Graduate School for Architecture, Planning & Preservation, and previously worked at firms in New York City and Connecticut. Caitlin studied biochemistry at Wesleyan University and received her Masters of Architecture from Yale School of Architecture. She is a registered architect with licenses in Connecticut and Massachusetts.


Thursday, April 2 
Matt Smith, Managing Director, MASS Design Group

Matt co-leads the Santa Fe Studio and Research & Development. From 2015 to 2019 Matt oversaw global operations, using organizational design to guide MASS’s growth from 35 employees to now over 120. In his new role, Matt is developing Design Labs, scaling new ventures across the organization, and building new partnerships in the American West.

Originally from Montana, Matt has a passion for rural community development and is interested in ways design can strengthen community capital, enable civics, and convene dialogue around critical issues of economic disinvestment, climate change, and community identity. 

Matt holds a Masters in Development Practice from Columbia University where he was the recipient of the U.S. Department of Education’s Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. Matt was also the recipient of a David L. Boren Fellowship, studying Kiswahili and entrepreneurial development programs in East Africa after graduating from Montana State University where he studied Business Management and Ethics.




Wednesday, November 20
Stefan Knupfer, Senior Partner,  McKinsey’s Stamford office


Stefan Knupfer is a Senior Partner in McKinsey’s Stamford office and leads McKinsey's Sustainable Resources and Productivity (SRP) Practice in North America. Prior to this, Stefan was responsible for McKinsey's Automotive & Assembly Practice in the Americas and was the Managing Partner of our Detroit office.

As part of McKinsey’s leadership team in the Advanced Industry Sector he serves clients on large scale transformations and global strategy programs. Stefan has led McKinsey's knowledge efforts in Electrical Vehicles and leads the firm’s global activities on all mobility-related activities and global cities.  

Watch the Video 


Wednesday, October 30
Alba Reyes, Founder of Fundación Sergio


Alba Reyes is the mother of Sergio Urrego, a teenager who killed himself at the age of 16 because of bullying and discrimination at his high school. Alba founded Fundación Sergio Urrego, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tolerance and ending school bullying. Ms. Reyes shared how her personal tragedy sparked the nationwide movement that now goes beyond Colombia's borders. The format of the seminar was in the form of the discussion, and participants of the seminar had an opportunity to ask numerous questions. Questions included how the organization tackles homophobic attitudes present in the country, how they brought anti-discrimination provisions into legislation, and how they cooperate with other organizations of the world with similar agendas. Guests from the organization were delighted to share that recently they launched suicide prevention hotline for youth.


Wednesday, October 16
Noeline Kirabo, Founder and Executive Director of Kyusa


Noeline Kirabo is a family therapist by profession and a social entrepreneur by passion. She has over twelve years’ experience in the nonprofit sector mainly working with children, youth, women and community self-help groups. She also has four years of practice as a therapist and five years’ experience as a life coach and business consultant.

She is the Founder and Executive Director of Kyusa, a registered organization that restores hope and dignity to vulnerable youth through livelihood development by empowering them to turn their passion into profitable, sustainable businesses. Kyusa has been in operation since 2014.

Kyusa has been serving low income communities for the last five years and has discovered that while the desire to access free online courses is strong, the barriers to accessing MOOCs in low income communities are steadily growing - ranging from lack of access to stable internet, the high cost of internet bundles and cheap phones that don’t support some programs.

Last year Kyusa received permission from Plus Acumen to pilot some of their online courses as offline courses for the young people that they serve. The results were amazing and prove that such contextualization and customization can enable international programs to actualize impact at the grassroots levels through strategic partnerships that allow similar modifications in the programming and implementation methodologies.


Tuesday, October 8 
Cainã Perri de Souza, Program Manager, Teacher Education at Khan Academy


Cainã majored in English Language Teaching and Translation. He holds a postgraduate certificate in Education, a TESOL diploma from Ilac Canada and the Cambridge CELTA. For nearly a decade, he worked as an English teacher in various school settings such as private schools, language institutes and NGOs in  Brazil, Peru and Turkey. In 2018, he finished his M.Ed with a specialism in Teacher Education from Leeds University (UK). Cainã has dedicated the last few years of his career to help other teachers implement active methodologies and use technology to enhance the learning experience. Cainã is a member of the “Talents of Education” network, powered by the Lemann Foundation.

In 2014, Cainã was hired by the Lemann Foundation to manage the translation of Khan Academy into Portuguese. He led a team of approximately 80 translators who was responsible for the launch of different courses. In 2017, he officially became a Khan Academy employee and joined its content team. After finishing his Master's, Cainã became responsible for all teacher education initiatives in Brazil, supporting Partner Districts, designing in-product campaigns for professional development and devising a year-round teacher training calendar. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)  consulting group, he devised the Train the Trainers program. 

Watch the event here.


Thursday, September 26
Balaraba Aliyu-Inuwa , Commissioner of Public Works and Infrastructure, Kaduna State


Balaraba Aliyu-Inuwa is a development practitioner and the current Commissioner of Public Works and Infrastructure in Kaduna State, the first woman to be appointed to that role in Kaduna State. Before then, she was Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport.

Prior to her appointment as Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport, she served as the Commissioner for Rural and Community Development and coordinated the design and delivery of the Kaduna Rural Development Program (KRDP).  Prior to her appointment as Commissioner she was the Education Specialist and Deputy Programme Director for the Earth Institute, Columbia University on the Nigeria MDG Scale up Programme based in Abuja.


Thursday, September 26
Anela Layugan, Senior Research Staff Assiant, CIESIN


Anela Layugan is a Senior Research Staff Assistant at CIESIN conducting geospatial analyses with GRID3. She holds a BA in Environmental Science and MS in Geographic Information Science from Clark University where she researched changes in Arctic sea ice seasonality.

She now uses her GIS, cartography, and Python/R coding background at GRID3 to support SDG implementation by quality checking and analyzing geospatial data. Specifically, she has partnered with CSD’s education team to assess school access in Nigeria based on the location of school-aged children, and will continue using her cross-cutting skills to support similar GRID3 research in the DRC and Mozambique.


Thursday, September 26
Emilie Schnarr, Senior Research Associate, CIESIN


Emilie Schnarr is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), a unit of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

She currently manages the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) Nigeria Project, which provides support to low- and middle-income countries to collect, analyze, integrate, disseminate and utilize high-resolution geo-referenced data on population, boundaries, settlements and infrastructure along with other key spatial datasets for evidence-based development and humanitarian decision making.


Thursday, September 26
Tara Stafford Ocansey, Education Specialist, Center for Sustainable Development


Tara is an education specialist with experience working in diverse education settings as an organizer, researcher, teacher trainer, and program designer. At the Center for Sustainable Development, she has helped design and implement the Connect To Learn technology in education initiative in 9 countries, and managed Connect To Learn’s girls’ scholarship program that has helped over 1,300 girls complete secondary education.

Tara has developed vocational and life skills programs to support marginalized young women in building livelihoods in Ghana and Rwanda, and is currently leading CSD’s Strengthening Education in Northeast Nigeria project aimed at improving learning outcomes and well-being among learners in 200 schools.

Watch the event here.


Friday, September 13
Diogo Amaro, Consultant in Data and Analytics Section at UNICEF New York


Diogo Amaro is a Consultant inData and Analytics Section at UNICEF New York and a PhD candidate from the Institute of Education of the University College London. His main roles include helping countries make more effective use of data for education planning and drafting policy reports. Diogo introduced some cross-country findings on inclusive education using newly released MICS data to connect disabilities and learning.


Friday, September 13
Radhika Iyengar, Associate Research Scholar and the Director of Education at the Center for Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University


Radhika Iyengar is an Associate Research Scholar and the Director of Education at the Center for Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University. Radhika Iyengar has a Ph.D. in Economics of Education from Teachers College in 2011. She received a distinction from Teachers College, Columbia University on her dissertation Social capital as a determinant of schooling in rural India: A mixed methods study. Prior to her Ph.D. at Columbia University, she has a Masters degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, India. Her professional experience also includes working in an India based non-profit organization- Pratham, for multiple years. Along with a rich practical experience of six years, Radhika has also made a contribution to the scientific community focusing on international educational development. She has published numerous articles in reputed journals in her field and also has been referred to by others in her field.


Friday, September 13
Prof. Alexander Van Green, Lamont Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


Prof. Alexander Van Green is a Lamont Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. His field of study range from chemical oceanography and paleoceanography to environmental and human health. His research includes patterns of contamination, e.g. arsenic (As) in well water of across South Asia and lead (Pb) in soil contaminated with mine tailings in the Peruvian Andes.


Friday, September 13
Charlotte Munson, Columbia University Student


Charlotte Munson studies sustainable development at Columbia University where she also  She began an internship with the Center for Sustainable Development in the spring of 2019 through which she has been fortunate to work on several projects in the education sector. She also works for the Communications and Special Events team at the Earth Institute and serves as an Expert Specialist on the University Senate Subcommittee for Campus Sustainability and as the president of the Student Union for Sustainable Development.



Friday, May 3
Sarah Bieber, Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships, Acumen

As Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships, Sarah cultivates Acumen’s relationships with corporations that want to co-invest in pioneering enterprises in emerging markets.

Prior to joining Acumen in 2018, Sarah spent seven years as a foreign service officer for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Bangkok and Washington, DC. She most recently led a global partnership to mobilize public- and private-sector investment in off-grid solar solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. Sarah’s career has focused on advancing clean energy to address climate change.

Sarah holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, and a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University.


Friday, April 19
Kavita Bali, Independent Consultant

Kavita Bali most recently led Women's World Banking’s Development and Strategic Partnerships team and secured its largest philanthropic contribution in the organization’s history. Kavita’s strong belief that all women can succeed with the right support and opportunities aligns with Women’s World Banking’s mission to give more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they require to build security and prosperity. In her work, she draws on her public and private sector experience to engage partners in collaborations that both teach us what works and results in meaningful change for those we aim to serve.

Prior to joining the organization, Kavita was with CARE, where she led corporate partnerships in health care and financial services. She also spent time at Pfizer Inc in the Corporate Responsibility division working to improve access to medicines and healthcare for underserved populations. Kavita began her career in public health serving women in emergency and post-conflict settings. 

Kavita holds an MPH and MIA from Columbia University, a BA from Brown University, and has studied at the London School of Economics and Stanford. She currently serves on the Alumni Board at the Mailman School of Public Health and as a senior advisor to the startup Upbuild. Kavita is passionate about working with women and girls, playing and dreaming with her children, and enabling people to realize their full potential.

Friday, April 19
Anna Gincherman, Partner, ConsumerCentrix

Anna Gincherman is a partner at ConsumerCentrix (CCX), a Geneva-based strategy consulting firm working with a wide range of institutions translating consumer insights into winning business strategies.  Prior to CCX, Anna was an executive with Women’s World Banking, the global nonprofit dedicated to giving low-income women access to the financial products and services they need to achieve security and prosperity. As a VP of Strategic Partnerships and the Chief Product Development Officer, Anna was responsible for the identification, development and roll-out of innovative financial products, including savings, health insurance, digital financial services, and credit for low-income women. In this capacity, she worked closely with financial institution leadership teams to guide product strategy and share best practices in serving the women's market. 

 Prior to joining Women’s World Banking, Anna worked for the Council on Economic Priorities and the United Nations, focusing on defense conversion programs in Eastern Europe. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Pennsylvania. 


Friday, February 22
Jasmina Byrne, Chief of Policy Lab, UNICEF

Jasmina Byrne is Chief of Policy Lab, UNICEF Division of Data, Research and Policy. Ms. Byrne has over 20 years of experience in research, policy and programme design on a global level as well as in South East Asia, Europe and Southern Africa. UNICEF’s Policy Lab focusses on innovation in policymaking and analysis of complex global trends of increasing importance to child and adolescent wellbeing with a view to providing policy guidance to UNICEF and governments. These areas are digital connectivity, climate change, governance and future of work/employability. Prior to joining the Policy Division, Ms Byrne managed UNICEF Office of Research portfolio on children and digital connectivity, child rights and child protection. She is one of the creators and leads of Global Kids Online, multi-country research initiative on children’s use of digital technologies, and has led the development of UNICEF’s policy on digitalisation and children. She has co-authored and authored several studies on children’s use of digital technologies, internet governance as well as family support policies. Her field work spans from leading child protection emergency response in Indonesia to supporting development of child protection policies and legislation in Southern Africa and South East Europe. Jasmina Byrne holds MA in international relations and human rights studies from Central European University.


Friday, February 15
Priya Joshi, Researcher with the Global Education Monitoring Report 

Priya has a PhD in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She is a researcher with the Global Education Monitoring Report, an editorially independent team within UNESCO that has the mandate to monitor education progress globally. She leads and contributes on education’s role in the sustainable development goals (SDG) agenda, gender equality in education, and urban inclusion.

Her personal research focuses on the consequences of private sector growth for the public sector, parental choice, and systemwide equity in developing countries to inform policy debates on the roles and responsibilities of public and private actors. Her latest papers have been published at the Comparative Education Review, International Journal of Educational Development, and Compare. 


Friday, February 1
Elizabeth Long, Founder of DTA Innovation

Elizabeth Long is a Behavioral Designer in global health and development and the Founder of DTA Innovation. Her journey to becoming a behavioral designer began after working on implementing or evaluating programs that clearly were not designed around the realities of peoples’ lives and how people actually think and act. Seeing numerous programs fail to improve lives because of either their top-down design or their lack of user input led her to the field of behavioral design, the intersection of behavioral economics and human-centered design.

She loves challenging myths that knowledge transfer alone changes behavior. Behavioral economics shows that we as humans don’t always notice or process information. And even if we form an intention, that may not lead to action. Her methodology focuses on the contextual factors that influence cognitive and behavioral biases and how using these contextual cues to design interventions lead to better outcomes. Prior to setting up her own consulting firm and consulting for UNICEF, WHO, Abt Associates, Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, and GRID Impact, she worked for ideas42, Harvard University School of Public Health, and USAID. She is currently the Chair of the WHO Expert
Consultation on Behavior Change and Anti-Microbial Resistance.

Her mantra is: Let's not push people into doing something just by 'nudging' them. Let's co-design products and systems that make it mentally effortless for people to improve their own lives.



Friday, December 7
Dr. Ruben Echeverría, Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Since March 2009 Dr. Echeverría is the Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).  CIAT has a global research for development mandate related to food security (rice, beans, forages, cassava, and biotechnology), management of natural resources (agronomy and soils) and policy analysis (adaptation to climate change, ecosystem services, linking farmers to markets, gender analysis, impact assessment). CIAT staff (991 total) includes 250 researchers and 400 professionals working in Asia (based in Hanoi, Vietnam), sub-Saharan Africa (based in Nairobi, Kenya) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (from its headquarters in Cali, Colombia).


Friday, November 2
Prabhjot Singh, Director, Arnhold Institute for Global Health

Prabhjot Singh, MD, PhD is Director of the Arnhold Institute for Global Health and Chair of the Department of Health System Design and Global Health at the Mount Sinai Health System, as well as Special Advisor for Strategy and Design at the Peterson Center for Healthcare. He is also an attending physician at Mount Sinai Hospital and volunteers in the surrounding Harlem neighborhood. Dr. Singh is the author of Dying and Living in the Neighborhood: A Street-Level View of America’s Healthcare Promise (Johns Hopkins Press). His next books focus on last mile health (Columbia University Press, with Raj Panjabi) and how to invest in better healthcare (Columbia Business School Press, with Niyum Gandhi).

Previously, he was professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, and co-chair of the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign. Throughout his career, he has focused on how advances in community health systems globally can improve health in America. He advises social enterprises like City Health Works and companies like City Block Health that are pioneering a new generation of sustainable and scalable care models. He also serves on the National Academy of Medicine’s forum on Aging, Independence and Disability, as well as the National Quality Forum’s taskforce on the impact of Housing Instability and Food Insecurity on health.

Dr. Singh is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation young leader, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, Presidential Leadership Scholar, term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Truman National Security Fellow. His contributions have been covered in venues like PBS Newshour, National Public Radio, The Economist, and published in leading scholarly journals like The Lancet, Health Affairs and the New England Journal of Medicine. He completed a BA & BS at the University of Rochester, an MD at Cornell and PhD in Neural & Genetic Systems at Rockefeller University, with a Post-Doctoral fellowship in Sustainable Development at Columbia University.


Friday, October 26
Michael Lwin, Co-Founder, Koe Koe Tech 

Michael is the son of two doctors who moved to the United States from Myanmar in the 1970s. When U.S. sanctions for Myanmar were suspended in 2012, he left his corporate law job and went to Myanmar to form Koe Koe Tech with his cousin, Dr. Yar Zar Minn Htoo, a Myanmar citizen, doctor, and software developer. He is a 2014 Echoing Green Global Fellow. 
Koe Koe Tech is building the fundamental software systems for Myanmar in health, law, and fintech, working with USAID, British Council’s MyJustice, Jhpiego, Population Services International (PSI), World Vision, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, Save the Children, World Bank, GIZ, Nathan & Associates, Pact, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the International Growth Centre (IGC), Princeton in Asia, The Asia  Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, among other organizations.  
Michael believes that government and development aid should empower the rising, talented young people of Myanmar, providing them with the financing, the opportunities, and the flexibility to allow them to fail and learn in order to improve their country. Today Koe Koe Tech has 80  employees, 77 of whom are Myanmar nationals and about two-thirds of whom are women. The team includes Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Burmese, ethnic minorities, and a mix of all of the above -- truly representative of Myanmar's diversity.


Friday, October 5
Kyle Newell, Associate Director, EY

Kyle is an Associate Director for EY's Ripples Projects, a heavily subsidized extension of the firm’s consulting practice, working hands-on for leading social enterprises in low and medium income countries. Kyle has worked throughout the world in over 45 countries on working to develop businesses that are creating solutions to reduce inequality in the world. Previously he was a portfolio manager for the African Agriculture Fund and has consulted for among others the Gates Foundation, the World Food Program, TechnoServe, the Syngenta Foundation, and USAID. Kyle also owns two agriculture companies which connect small holder farmers into established value chains which have given him first-hand experience which he applies to the consulting work. Kyle holds a Master of Business Administration from Purdue University and a Master of Public Policy from the Fletcher School.



Friday, September 28
Selam Kebrom, Program Director,

In her role as the Amplify Program Director, Selam brings her experience of working in international development to thoughtfully explore new ways of tackling some of the most complex challenges facing marginalized communities around the world.

Prior to joining, Selam worked for the U.S. government as well as non-governmental organizations (both small and large). Her work (and a general love for travel) has taken her to many countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Selam holds a Masters of Public Health from George Washington University and a Bachelors in International Development from UCLA.


Friday, September 14
Sasha Fisher, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Spark MicroGrants

Sasha is the co-founder and executive director of Spark MicroGrants. Spark is changing the way we use aid, departing from the traditional prescriptive models and supporting rural villages facing poverty to design and launch local solutions and drive local change. Spark supports each village to found a project from a farm to feed families to a school to teach children. Sasha has led the organization to work across Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana to open opportunities for over 160 communities, reaching over 100,000 lives in the first seven years.



Friday, April 6
Verna Eggleston, Executive Director of Women’s Economic Development initiatives, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Verna Eggleston has led the Women’s Economic Development initiatives at Bloomberg Philanthropies since the inception of the program in 2007. She has worked for more than four decades in the area of human and social development, both in government and the private sector. Eggleston served as the Commissioner for New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) for the Bloomberg Administration. Eggleston also served for 12 years under the Administrations of Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins, working on many social issues including opening the first facility for infants with AIDS, to being appointed Deputy Commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services. During her leave from City government, she served as the Executive Director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School. While there, she met Mike Bloomberg who sought her advice on social services issues in New York and joined his first campaign for Mayor. Eggleston was named one of the 100 Black Executives by Black Enterprise magazine, and received the Arthur Ashe award for social development. She presented her work on social reform before Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, and the Presidents of Congo and Rwanda. She worked with Oprah Winfrey and the Governor of Illinois on legislation against child abuse, and Attorney General Janet Reno on hate crimes. Eggleston received her Masters Degree as a Mayor’s Scholar at the New School of Social Research School of Urban Development.


Friday, March 30
Shauna Downs, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Systems and Policy, Rutgers School of Public Health

Shauna Downs, PhD, focuses on two main areas: 1) the role of policies and interventions to reorient the food system towards the production and consumption of nutritious foods and 2) the environmental and health trade-offs of the promotion of healthy diets. She conducts research in India, Senegal, Myanmar and New York City using mixed-methods approaches. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Shauna was a Hecht-Levi Fellow with the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and an Earth Institute Fellow at Columbia University where her research focused on the impacts of intensified horticultural production, complemented with nutrition education, on nutrition outcomes in Senegal. Shauna received her PhD in Public Health from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the University of Sydney. She also has a Master’s of Science in Nutrition from the University of Alberta, Canada. 


Friday, February 16
Jessica Gehl, Manager in PwC’s Sustainability Services Practice

Jessica manages various major clients' engagements for pre-assurance and assurances for corporate sustainability reporting. Jessica has provided leadership to a variety of global client's projects related to greenhouse gas emissions, energy, water, waste, health & safety, beneficiation, healthy living, and responsible sourcing. In previous PwC roles, Jessica was part of PwC USA conflict minerals practice team and the PwC global scorer team for the Carbon Disclosure Process. In 2017, Jessica was the PwC global team's only USA representative in a groundbreaking initiative around corporate reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals. The team provided support to the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, and to GRI, the world’s leading organization for sustainability reporting. 


Friday, February 9
Susan Gigli, Global Director for International Development, Kantar Public

Susan Gigli has 25 years of experience in designing, implementing and managing applied research and evaluation for social, behavioral and organizational change in low and middle-income countries worldwide. Susan works in close partnership with Kantar Public specialist hubs across low and middle income countries to support clients across multiple sectors—from maternal & child health and disease eradication to sanitation, agriculture and education—in assessing the appropriateness, effectiveness, sustainability and impact of social programs, and delivering a better public realm.Susan holds an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University. She is proficient in Italian and Russian.


Friday, January 26
Nilda Mesa, Director, Urban Sustainability and Equity Planning Program, Earth Institute

Nilda Mesa is the Director of the Urban Sustainability and Equity Planning Program with Columbia University's Urban Design Lab in the Earth Institute, as well as an adjunct professor with the School of International and Public Affairs. She served as NYC Director of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability under Mayor Bill de Blasio, where she directed climate, energy, and other initiatives including OneNYC, the city's long-term sustainability plan. Previously she served in the White House Council of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Attorney General's office. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School.



Friday, December 1
Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Innovation Specialist, UNDP

Benjamin leads the Innovation Facility of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in New York. He manages UNDP’s Innovation Fund, a pooled funding vehicle created to support and scale innovations that address challenges related to poverty, governance, climate change and gender equality across the globe. Benjamin advises internal and external clients on social innovation with a focus on behavioral design. Benjamin’s work experience includes assignments in Rwanda, Nepal, India and Jordan. He holds a Master's degree in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Heidelberg and a post-graduate certification from New York University.


Friday, November 17
Radhika Iyengar, Director, Education Sector, Center for Sustainable Development

Radhika Iyengar has a Ph.D. in Economics of Education from Teachers College in 2011. She received a distinction from Teachers College, Columbia University on her dissertation Social capital as a determinant of schooling in rural India: A mixed methods study. Her professional experience also includes working in an India based non-profit organization- Pratham, for multiple years. At Pratham, Radhika brought cutting edge research into operation in the program management and implementation areas. She also collaborated with researchers from Imperial College, London and University of California, Berkeley to design and implement a pivotal randomized experiment study on the impact of health interventions on cognitive and other educational outcomes of pre-schoolers in India.


Friday, November  4
Maurice A. Bloem, Executive Vice President, Church World Service

Maurice assists and advises the president in the daily management of CWS, while specializing in managing research, monitoring and evaluation and incubation. He is also the agency’s Main Representative to the United Nations. Bloem is the former country director and regional director of CWS in Indonesia/Timor-Leste. In that position he led CWS’s multi-million dollar response to the tsunami and the earthquakes that devastated the region in 2004 and 2005 and directed the development and implementation of innovative HIV/AIDS programs and programs for youth. Prior to joining CWS in 1999, Bloem was project coordinator for an HIV/AIDS prevention project run by CARE Bangladesh. Before that he was an advisor to the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh. A native of the Netherlands, Bloem earned a Master of Science degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Leyden in the Netherlands. In 2011, Bloem started the 100-mile Walk to raise awareness of issues around hunger and poverty. As part of the annual effort, Bloem Walks 100 miles in a single week, visiting programs supported and funded by CWS.


Friday, October 27 
Kevin Hong, International Relations Officer, U.S. Department of Labor

Kevin is a data-driven innovator having worked with a broad range of NGOs, social enterprises, and bilateral organizations such as Africare, Aravind Eye Hospitals, Carter Center, ideas42, Innovations for Poverty Action, Proctor Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Trickle Up, and USAID. Most recently, Kevin was an M&E Advisor at Mercy Corps, especially on impact investing, social ventures, and Shared Value programs. He is currently an International Relations Officer (focusing on M&E and impact evaluations) at Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking at Department of Labor. He holds a Master in International Affairs from the SIPA and graduated from Cornell University with summa cum laude in computational and systems biology. He is also a founder of the Social Enterprise Boot Camp, a hands-on skill building workshop which he started to go beyond theoretical conversations in conferences and impart actionable knowledge to aspiring social entrepreneurs. He is a reluctant triathelete and lover of outdoors and spicy food.


Friday, October 6 
Kris Torgeson, Global CEO, Lifebox

Kris Torgeson is the Global CEO of Lifebox, leading our efforts to make surgery and anaesthesia safer worldwide. A former Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontièrs/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) International based in Switzerland, Kris also served as Founding Executive Director of the US office of The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA).



Friday, September 29
Boris Maguire, Head of Deployment, Echo Mobile

Boris Maguire is the Head of Deployment at Echo Mobile in Kenya, where he designs and oversees global ICT projects with clients including multinational corporations, leading social enterprises, UNICEF, UNDP, the governments of Kenya and Malawi, UC Berkeley, and IPA. Echo’s turnkey communication and management information tools help these organizations interact with customers and beneficiaries in emerging markets through mobile channels, enhancing their impact and operations through better data-driven decisions. The Deployment Team is Echo’s consulting business unit—internal experts who help clients leverage Echo’s technology to most effectively achieve their objectives.

Boris believes passionately in the potential for emerging market ICT companies to empower the private sector and enable the social sector to efficiently drive sustainable development. At SIPA, he conducted consulting projects in Mexico and East Timor with ICT startups and companies, and he previously helped design and produce innovative TV and radio programs with emerging independent media outlets in South Asia and North Africa. He also worked for the US Congress on foreign policy oversight. He holds a BA from Duke and an MPA-DP from SIPA.


Friday, September 15
Linda Raftree, Consultant, Girl Effect Mobile

Linda Raftree (@meowtree) supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She currently consults with Girl Effect Mobile (GEM) on digital safety, security, privacy, strategy, and learning. She also advises The Rockefeller on the use of ICTs in monitoring and evaluation and runs the MERL Tech Conference. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Linda worked for 16 years with Plan International. She has published discussion papers on adolescent girls and ICTs for UNICEF, the role of ICTs in child/youth migration for the Oak Foundation, mobile technologies and youth workforce development for the mEducation Alliance, and ICT-enabled monitoring and evaluation for Rockefeller. Linda is a co-founder of Regarding Humanity, which encourages debate and dialogue around the portrayal of ‘the poor’ in the media, social impact work, and non-profit marketing. She runs Technology Salons in New York City and advocates for ethical approaches for using ICTs and digital data.



Friday, April 21
Dr. Eugenia Cherkasskaya, Clinical Psychologist Columbia Counseling & Psychological Services

Dr. Eugenia Cherkasskaya, a Clinical Psychologist from Columbia's Counseling & Psychological Services, joined the DP Seminar to discuss ways that we can identify signs of burnout, traumatic stress, and vicarious trauma, as well as ways that we can learn to build resilience and coping strategies to deal with the multiple stresses associated with international fieldwork. Prior to Columbia, worked as a clinical fellow in college mental health at the CUNY College of Staten Island.  She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Eugenia's professional interests include sexual health and women's sexuality, couples therapy, relationship and identity difficulties, developmental issues specific to emerging adulthood, and trauma.


Friday, April 7
Case Cline, Director of Impact Investing and Operations for Shared Interest

Casey Cline is the Director of Impact Investing and Operations for Shared Interest. Casey previously served as the Director of Operations for myAgro, a West Africa-based non-governmental organization that works with small-scale farmers. Prior to that, he was a Kiva Fellow initiating, monitoring, and evaluating relationships with microfinance partner organizations in Central America. Casey’s earlier background includes working in corporate finance and investment management for 17 years, most recently as a Vice President at Allen & Company LLC. Casey holds a BA in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College. He serves as a board member of myAgro.


Friday, April 7
Donna Katzin, Founder and Executive Director of Shared Interest

Donna Katzin is the Founder and Executive Director of Shared Interest. Prior to, Donna served as the Director of South Africa and International Justice Programs for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility for 8 years. In that capacity she worked with religious bodies, institutional investors and community organizations to exert economic pressure to end apartheid, promote responsible reinvestment after apartheid, and to advance social criteria for domestic and international lending. She holds a master’s degree in Community Organization and Planning, and a doctorate in Human Services Education and Development. She is a board member of the Thembani International Guarantee Fund in South Africa, and the Center for Community Change in the U.S.


Friday, March 3
Eric Couper, Co-founder and Director of Operations for GreenPath Food

Eric Couper (Columbia MPA-DP c/o 2011) is the Co-founder and Director of Operations for GreenPath Food, Ethiopia's first and only Organic certified fruit and vegetable business. He is passionate about using technology to address agricultural development challenges in the developing world. Eric formerly worked as a Technology Advisor at Abt Associates, where he provided consulting, implementation, and training support across Abt's international projects. Eric also worked at the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), advising the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture on their ICT4Ag strategies and initiatives. Originally from the state of Louisiana in the southern US, Eric loves all things New Orleans, most notably the food, music, and culture.


Friday, February 24
Tensie Whelan, Director of NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business

Tensie Whelan is the Director of NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business, where she is bringing her 25 years of experience working on local, national and international environmental and sustainability issues to engage businesses in proactive and innovative mainstreaming of sustainability. As President of the Rainforest Alliance, she built the organization from a $4.5 million to $50 million budget, transforming the engagement of business with sustainability, recruiting 5,000 companies in more than 60 countries to work with Rainforest Alliance. She built the Rainforest Alliance frog into an internationally recognized and credible brand. Her previous work included serving as Executive Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters, Vice President of the National Audubon Society, Managing Editor of Ambio, a journal of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a journalist in Latin America. Tensie has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics, was the Citi Fellow in Leadership and Ethics at NYU Stern in 2015 and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and corporate advisory boards such as the Unilever Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board and the Nespresso Innovation Fund Advisory Board. Tensie holds a B.A. from New York University, an M.A from American University, and is a graduate of the three-year Harvard Business School Owner President Management Program.


Friday, February 17
Isabel Beltrán, Associate Director 100 Resilient Cities

Isabel Beltrán joined 100RC after over 10 years of experience in international development. Prior to 100RC, she worked at the World Bank in Washington D.C. – in both the Research Group and the Bank's Development Impact Evaluation Initiative. She contributed to the design and implementation of impact evaluations in Africa and Asia. She also worked at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) where she developed extensive expertise in Latin America. As part of the IDB’s Young Professionals program Isabel spent one year in Peru working with the IDB's Country Director in the development of the Country Strategy. She also spent four years in the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative of the IDB in Washington D.C. working with local governments to develop multisector sustainable action plans, defining interventions, prioritization processes, and defining possible funding sources.

Beltran holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Economics from the Catholic University in Ecuador. She is a native Spanish speaker.


Friday, February 3 & 10
Dr. Eric Hansen, President of the Economic Transformations Group

Dr. Eric Hansen is the President of the Economic Transformations Group. His areas of expertise are economic competitiveness analysis, strategy development, and managing broad-based economic change and action implementation for regions and industries. He is a specialist in cluster-based economic development and is innovating procedures for stimulating private-sector development and public-private collaboration in a variety of socio-economic and cultural contexts. Dr. Hansen has directed major economic strategy projects in areas throughout the U.S., Africa, Eastern Europe, and in Mexico. He has authored numerous articles and publications, and lectures at ESSEC Business School (Paris), the Mediterranean School of Business in Tunisia, Columbia University, NYU, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University. He is a founder and member of the Advisory Board of The Competitiveness Institute (TCI) – the Cluster Practitioners Network.


Friday, January 27
Dr. Jo Puri, Head of the Independent evaluation office, Green Climate Fund 

Dr Jyotsna (Jo) Puri is an expert in evaluation methods and systems and adjunct faculty member at SIPA. Until recently she was the head of evaluation at the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and also the Deputy Executive Director of the organization. Since Feb. 2017, Jo has been leading the Independent Evaluation office of the Green Climate Fund, headquartered in Korea. Jo has more than 21 years of experience in the area of evaluation and has worked at the UNEP in Paris as part of the Green Economy team; at the World Bank in the Development Economics Research Group, as part of the Guatemala Poverty Assessment team, and at Columbia University where she was the impact evaluation advisor and associate research scientist. She was also a board member of the Community of Evaluators, South Asia, and holds board positions with the Geneva-based Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative and with the Africa-based International Center for Evaluation and Development. Jo’s main passion is to advocate for producing and using high-quality evidence in decision making. In this, she has worked to advise WFP, UNICEF, AGRA, IFAD and other INGOs in areas related to agriculture, environment, infrastructure, and humanitarian assistance and livelihoods. 





Friday, December 2
Jason Foley, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Afghanistan and Pakistan, USAID

Jason Foley has over 20 years of public and private sector experience.  As a career member of the Senior Executive Service, he currently serves as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Assistant Administrator (DAA) for Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Previously, Mr. Foley served as DAA for East Asia and as the Director of Strategic and Program Planning.  In these capacities, he testified to Congress, provided media interviews including to the New York Times, gave public speeches, attended high-level White House meetings, and negotiated policy issues with senior host-country government officials. In addition to his USAID assignment, Mr. Foley serves as an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University's Graduate School of Foreign Assistance where he designed and is currently teaching a course on the role of development in national security.  Before joining USAID, Mr. Foley served as the Director of Strategic Planning at the U.S. State Department, Budget Director at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Benin.  Prior to his government service, Mr. Foley was a senior manager for a consulting firm where he advised foreign governments on reforming their financial sectors.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and his Master’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.


Friday, November 18
Philip Sayeg, Managing Director of Policy Appraisal Services

Philip Sayeg holds degrees in engineering, planning, and management and has 40 years of managerial and technical experience in urban and regional multi-modal transport & associated environmental matters in Australasia, the Pacific, Asia, and Africa. With 34+ years of international development experience, since 1990 Philip has been on regular assignment (over 100 missions) as a staff consultant for Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, working on project preparation, supervision, post evaluation and knowledge product development. He has also worked with the French Development Agency, International Finance Corporation, German International Cooperation Agency, UNEP, and Australian Aid. Currently, for World Bank, he is supporting their Lead Economist to develop a global tracking framework for sustainable transport, an effort that aims to replicate for transport, the Sustainable Energy for All tracking framework.


Friday, November 11
Nyla Rodgers, CEO and Founder of Mama Hope

Nyla Rodgers is the CEO & Founder of Mama Hope, a non-profit that works in close partnership with local African organizations to fund the completion of projects to improve the health and economic standing of the entire community (e.g. schools, health clinics, food security). Since launching in 2007, it has supported 150,000 people throughout Africa with these projects. Nyla is also is a Co-Producer of the Stop The Pity video campaign, and has been featured on CNN and Al Jazeera & at Sundance and SXSW conferences. Nyla is also the Co-Founder of the Global Advocates, a 9-month program that provides instructional career training, real leadership opportunity, & hands-on experience, including a 3-month stay as a program manager with partners throughout Africa. Nyla graduated with a BA in Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara & received an MA in Peace and Conflict Transformation from the European University of Peace Studies. 


Friday, November 4
John McArthur, Senior Fellow: Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution

John McArthur is an economist focused on improving global living standards and advancing sustainability and co-founder of the MDP program. He is a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, a senior advisor to the UN Foundation, and a member of the Board of Governors for the International Development Research Centre. He has previously served as CEO of Millennium Promise; manager and deputy director of the UN Millennium Project; a senior fellow with the Hong Kong-based Fung Global Institute; faculty member at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs; and policy director at the University’s Earth Institute. He began his career as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Center for International Development, where he co-authored the Global Competitiveness Report and supported the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health. In 2007-08 John co-chaired the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice. He has chaired two Global Agenda Councils for the World Economic Forum and in 2009 was recognized as a Young Global Leader. He completed a DPhil (PhD) and MPhil in economics from Oxford University (Rhodes scholar); an MPP at Harvard's Kennedy School; and a BA at the University of British Columbia.


Friday, October 28
Connie Nelson, Director, RE:Design project at the Center for Policy Design
Jeff Zlonis, Director, RE:Design project at the Center for Policy Design

Connie Nelson is Partner Emeritus of the former Public Strategies Group. She has over 40 years experience as an executive leader in government and as a consultant across public and non-profit sectors. Connie is passionate about organizations being very clear about why they exist and for whose benefit. She has participated in or led over 30 Design Labs to rethink areas as diverse as property taxation, child support payment, financial inclusion, older adult self-sufficiency, youth homelessness and tribal nation sovereignty. 

Jeff Zlonis has over 40 years experience working as a manager in government, teacher in university management programs and consultant for public & private organizations. Jeff's primary focus has been strategic management and applying enterprise thinking to public sector management, in particular, transforming central administrative systems. Jeff received a MPA degree from Harvard University, where he was a Bush Leadership Fellow. 


Friday, October 14 
Michael Shank, Head of Communications for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Michael Shank Ph.D., is Head of Communications for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network in New York City, where he handles communications for Professor Jeffrey Sachs and SDSN’s work on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Michael’s recent positions include serving as Director of Media Strategy at Climate Nexus, Associate Director for Legislative Affairs at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and US Congressman Michael Honda’s Senior Policy Advisor and Communications Director. Michael’s Ph.D. from George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution is on Climate Conflict.


Friday, September 23
Claire Starkey, President of the Executive Committee at Fintrac

Claire has been collaborating on agricultural initiatives with local and international partners to improve food security for farmers and farm families in developing countries for three decades. A creative strategist, she provides leadership to Fintrac's organizational development, advises staff and clients on best practices to achieve sustainable impact, and advocates for increasing women's participation in the agribusiness sector worldwide. Prior to joining Fintrac in 1990, she coordinated agri-marketing activities for commercial entities, trade associations, USAID, and NGOs.


Friday, September 16
Jess Fanzo, Professor of Ethics and Global Food & Agriculture at Johns Hopkins

Dr. Fanzo is the Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Ethics and Global Food & Agriculture at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of International Health at JHU. She also serves as the Director of the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program at JHU.  Prior to going to JHU, Dr. Fanzo taught nutrition at SIPA and the CU Medical School. She has been – and continues to be – a wonderful friend of the MDP program. She has advised and mentored many past students and graduates of our program. 



Friday, March 4
Leslie Kantor, Vice-President of Education, Planned Parenthood

Leslie Kantor, MPH, Ph.D, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) vice president of education, is a widely respected leader in the field of sexual and reproductive health, with over two decades of experience in sex education. Since arriving at PPFA, Ms. Kantor has led efforts to develop innovative, technology-based approaches to sex education, partnered with affiliates to strengthen programs and evaluation, served as a national spokesperson, and spearheaded PPFA’s policy efforts related to sex education.


Friday, February 26
Owen Phillips, Associate Advisor, Behavioural Insights Team

Owen is an Associate Advisor on the North American Team. Prior to joining BIT, Owen worked on the NPR Education team producing digital and radio stories on all things education and learning. He has also researched how insights from behavioral science can be applied to higher education for the Washington, DC based think tank, New America. Owen holds a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University. He is originally from Mississippi and earned a bachelors degree in economics from Millsaps college in Jackson, Mississippi.


Friday, February 19
Lauren Burke, Executive Director of Atlas: DIY

Since graduating from New York University School of Law in 2009 she focused her career on developing inclusive legal programs for immigrants and youth in various organizations throughout New York City. During a Skadden Fellowship, Lauren developed the Immigrant Youth Peer Educator Program, and in 2010 she and three of her students worked together to create Atlas. Fluent in Mandarin, Lauren has an expertise in representing youth trafficked to the U.S. from China (her work inspiring the documentary "Walking Merchandise"), though in founding Atlas she became passionate about serving immigrants of all origins. Lauren and Atlas have been profiled in Forbes, where she was also named one of "30 Under 30" (Law & Policy) and one of "20 Millenials on a Mission," in The New York Times, and on NPR's All Things Considered. In 2013 Lauren was named NYU's Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year. Lauren also hosts a popular YouTube series teaching youth from across the country how to file their own cases.


Friday, February 12
JD Stier, President of Stier Forward

JD has held leadership positions within numerous campaigns, including the 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign, leading to a Presidential Appointment in the White House in 2009.  After serving in the White House JD was tapped to lead the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo Campaign. Under his leadership, the campaign increased public pressure on the electronic industry to further address their role in cleaning the conflict minerals supply chain. In 2012, Raise Hope for Congo highlighted Congolese activists, including Amani, in the I Am Congo documentary series. The campaign also initiated a gold campaign calling on the jewelry industry to lead the way to a clean gold sector in eastern Congo.  He is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, advocating for solutions to the crisis in eastern Congo. He asked Apple for increased leadership addressing conflict minerals; partnered to raise awareness of the crisis in Congo; and asked President Obama to increase his engagement in eastern Congo.


Friday, February 5
Ben Smilowitz, Disaster Accountability Project

Soon after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, Ben Smilowitz directly witnessed the failed response as the manager of a Red Cross Client Service Center in Gulfport, MS. With a background in civic engagement and issue campaigns, Ben started DAP to confront the root causes of the bungled disaster response.  In August 2008, Ben and the Disaster Accountability Project received a highly competitive Echoing Green Fellowship, awarded to social entrepreneurs addressing the root causes of societal challenges by starting new, cutting-edge ventures. Since founding DAP, Ben has raised over one half million dollars of in-kind and probono support and the group’s reports have been covered by The New York Times, Washington Post, Al Jazeera English and Fox News. Ben received a BA in Political Science and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management at Washington University in St. Louis and is currently pursuing a law degree at the University of Connecticut School of Law.


Friday, January 29
Valter Vincent, Senior Legal Advisor for Timor Leste's Ministry of Finance

Valter has acted as a legal advisor for the government of Portugal and the Australian Council of Ministers. Valter was part of the World Bank’s legal advisory program at the Ministry of Finance for East Timor from 2008 to 2013 where he conducted policy and legal training for national staff and worked on legislation and other legal documents in the area of public financial management, national budget, taxation, procurement, the petroleum fund and local development among many others.  Since 2013, Valter has acted as Senior Legal Advisor of Timor Leste’s Ministry of Finance as well as Senior Legal Advisor of the Office of the Prime Minister where he developed and introduced legislation on the SDGs.


Friday, January 22
Graciela Leal, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager/Program Manager Latin America, PCI Media Impact
Carina Schmid, Program Manager, PCI Media Impact

Graciela received an M.A. in Sociology of Education, from Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development in New York University. She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from ITESO University in Guadalajara, Mexico, with an emphasis in educational interventions, communication theory and social research. She has extensive professional experience as Program Manager, Project Designer and Researcher combining research in communications and education with hands-on work. During her time at the Trompo Magico Interactive Museum in Guadalajara, Mexico she designed scientific dissemination workshops and museological content for exhibits. She has worked at ITESO University as a Researcher, Assistant Program Manager and Facilitator for an at-risk youth national program in rural and urban vocational high schools. She also has experience in other formal and non-formal educational settings such as distance learning programs and community work. During her time at New York University she worked as a research assistant conducting qualitative data collection and analysis. Graciela also carried out monitoring and evaluation activities to analyze the impact of the Entertainment-Education Program My School-My Community in eleven New York City schools. As one of her latest projects she worked in the impact evaluation of the A Ganar program in Central America (Honduras and Guatemala).  

Carina is passionate about leveraging the power of media and creative communications to develop, implement and evaluate successful public health initiatives. Throughout her research and work, Carina constantly strives to find the balance in programs that are theoretically sound and also out-of-the-box to bring about innovative health behavioral changes without inducing fear. In this regard, Carina is a strong advocate and proponent of capacity building. The most successful and sustainable programs, she believes, are designed within a community and not for a community.  With a background in professional nursing, Carina worked as a head nurse in south Germany until she realized the importance of reaching out to people before they need medical care. She earned a Bachelor's degree in business communication with a focus on health communication and social marketing in Berlin. In 2012, she graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion.





Friday, December 4
Pravin Chandrasekaran, CEO and Founder, OpelCrest

Pravin leads the management of OpalCrest’s global business. Pravin has spent the last seventeen years of his career focused in Agriculture and Energy Trading. He started in the Petroleum business focused on Middle Distillates and later moved to trading Agriculture Commodities. Before founding OpalCrest, Pravin worked at various institutions including Reliance Industries, ADM, Deutsche Bank, Rabobank and most recently at Citigroup, where he headed their Agriculture Derivatives trading desk in London. Throughout his professional life, Pravin has established a broad array of strong client relationships by living and doing business across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. He frequently contributes articles to the business press and is active as a speaker with organizations focused on agribusiness, commodities markets, data sciences, and sustainability. Pravin is a member of the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture Transformation Leader’s Network.

Pravin received a Masters Degree from Harvard University, USA and a Bachelors Degree from Anna University, India.


Friday, November 20
Karla Hoff, Senior Research Economist, Development Research Group

Karla Hoff is a Senior Research Economist in the Development Economics Research Group and Codirector of the  World Development Report 2015. Much of her work focuses on using the tools of economics to study social interactions. She has published papers in theAmerican Economic Review that explain how good people can form bad neighborhoods, how productivity is sensitive to social setting, and how historical legacies influence the difficulty of establishing a rule of law. She won a Citation of Excellence for one of the top 50 papers from Emerald Management Review in for her 2009 Economic Journal paper with Joe Stiglitz, “Exiting a Lawless State.” She was a member of the MacArthur Research Network on Inequality and Economic Performance, 1996-2006. She coedited two books—The Economics of Rural Organization and Poverty Traps. Ongoing work evaluates a women’s empowerment project and a political theater program in India. Her work spans conceptual analysis and grassroots fieldwork. She has a BA in French from Wellesley College and a PhD in economics from Princeton. She taught English in the Peace Corps in the Ivory Coast.


Friday, November 13
Leith Greenslade, Vice-Chair at the MDG Health Alliance 

Leith Greenslade is vice-chair at the MDG Health Alliance, a special initiative of the UN Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Every Woman, Every Child movement. Greenslade is also an investor in several nonprofit organizations that empower women, the chair of a giving circle that invests in women social entrepreneurs working globally and a member of the Peace and Security Funders Group. Greenslade served on the US Board of GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance and in several positions with the Australian Government, including policy advisor and speechwriter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, economic adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, and chief of staff to the Shadow Minister for Social Security and the Status of Women. Greenslade holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, an MBA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a First Class Honors Degree from the University of Queensland


Friday, November 6
Katherine Garcia, Member of the Founding Team for The Center for Open Data Enterprise

Katherine Garcia is a member of the founding team for The Center for Open Data Enterprise, where she manages communications and outreach. Previously she served as a Research Assistant on the Open Data 500 Study and Project Liaison on the Open Data 100 Mexico Study at The Governance Lab at NYU. Prior to joining The GovLab, Katherine served as Press Assistant at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. She has over 10 years of media and publishing experience. Katherine earned her MPA with an emphasis in Policy Analysis from Baruch College. She serves as Co-President of the Metro NY Chapter of the U.S. National Committee for UN Women, which promotes gender equality and women's empowerment. She also serves on the Board of SustainUS, a non-profit that empowers youth to advance sustainable development. She is passionate about open data because of its impact on governance and human rights. She tweets at @katherinejulia.

Friday, October 16
Karim Abouelnaga, CEO and Co-founder 

Karim Abouelnaga is CEO and co-founder of Practice Makes Perfect, a nonprofit organization conceived on the premise that all children, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, have equal potential to compete intellectually in our society. After learning about the achievement gap and its personal impact on his life in 2010, Karim set out to create a program that addressed three critical pain points: lack of engagement in middle school, especially in low income neighborhoods like the one in which he was raised; summer opportunities and graduation rates for high school students, especially for those attending inner-city high schools like the one Karim attended; and college readiness and matriculation into selective universities. Since graduating from the New York City public school system, Karim secured over $300,000 in scholarships and awards to make his college education possible. For his work with Practice Makes Perfect, Karim has been featured in the New York Times and awarded several distinctions, including the Robinson Appel Humanitarian Award, Newman Civic Fellowship, Pearson Prize National Fellowship, Cornell Distinguished Leadership Award and the Cornell Class of 1964 John F. Kennedy Memorial Award. Karim is a graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, where he served as a student assistant to the Dean and was a Presidential Research Scholar.


Friday, October 9
Karolo Aparicio, Executive Director

Karolo Aparicio is the executive director of EcoViva, an 18 year-old nonprofit organization with deep ties to grassroots social movements in El Salvador that grew out of peace-building efforts after the Salvadoran Civil War. Today, Ecoviva works in partnership with community-led organizations in Central America that work on environmental conservation and economic development. EcoViva provides assistance to their partners' initiatives in diversified agriculture, rural infrastructure, youth leadership development, climate change adaptation, and environmental conservation. They embrace a collaborative and democratic approach to development that seeks to reconcile what are often considered competing priorities of economic development and environmental sustainability.

Prior to joining EcoViva, Karolo was in leadership roles at the Global Fund for Women, the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter, and International Rivers. Karolo has an MBA from San Francisco State University, where he also earned his BA. Karolo also holds an MA in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University where he did field and archival work in Guatemala and Mexico. He is a member of the Program Committee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter and helps coordinate professional development programs for fundraising professionals


Friday, September 25
Dr. Frannie Leautier, Chairperson and Co-Founding Partner of Mkoba Private Equity

Mkoba Private Equity is a fund offering growth capital to small and medium enterprises in Africa. Previously Dr. Leautier served as World Bank Vice President and Chief of Staff to the President of the World Bank; Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF); and Founder and Managing Partner of the Fezembat Group, a company focused on risk management and leadership development. She holds a number of Board Director positions including at PTA Bank; AERC; Nelson Mandela Institute for Science & Technology; editorial board of the Journal of African Trade (JAT); and UONGOZI Institute. She serves on Visiting Committees at the MIT Corporation and on the Advisory Board of Women’s World Banking. She was Co-Chair for World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa and is a member of the WEF Global Agenda Councils.

Dr. Léautier has a Masters and Doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from University of Dar es Salaam. She graduated Harvard University’s Executive Program and holds an honorary degree in Humane Letters from North Central College in recognition of her contribution to Africa. She received the title of Queen of Development for the Agona area in Ghana in 2012. Dr. Léautier was Distinguished Professor at Sciences Po Paris from 2007 to 2012. She is well published with a series of books and articles, including a well-acclaimed book on Leadership in a Globalized World.

Friday, September 18
Tony Annett, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor, New York

Tony Annett is a Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. Working closely with Religions for Peace, he leads the Earth Institute’s initiative to strengthen the engagement of the world’s religious communities in the climate change and sustainable development agenda. Trained as an economist, Tony has a keen interest in Catholic social teaching and in the intersection of ethics and economics more broadly.

Tony spent sixteen years at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, with stints in the European, Fiscal Affairs, and Communications departments. In this role, he worked as an economist on a variety of countries and regions – including Bulgaria, Ghana, Euro Area, Iceland, Jordan, Poland, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Uganda, and the United Kingdom. Most recently, he worked for five years as speechwriter to two successive Managing Directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine Lagarde.

Tony received his B.A. (First Class Honors, Gold Medal) from Trinity College Dublin in 1991, his M.Litt. from Trinity College Dublin in 1993, and his Ph. D. in economics from Columbia University in 1998. He is also a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a papal order of chivalry.



Friday, April 10
Jean Manney, US Country Representative, Restless Development
Lorraine Perricone, US Fundraising and Communications Manager, Restless Development

As US Country Representative, Ms. Jean Manney leads Restless Development USA, an affiliate of the global youth-led development agency, working to establish strategic partnerships and initiatives that support youth policy and practice and the organization’s global work. Jean has been driving growth and innovation in civic engagement and youth participation for more than a decade, including developing service-learning programs and campus-community partnerships at higher education institutions in the US, supporting a youth empowerment program in Guadalajara, Mexico, and researching innovations in volunteering models through the lens of active global citizenship.  Prior to launching Restless Development USA, Jean was the Director of Strategic Development at Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP), where she designed and managed national and international initiatives, networks and partnerships that advance youth civic engagement programs and policies.  Jean’s Master’s degree combined international development and NGO management at Roehampton University in London and the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara. Her B.A. is in International Relations and Spanish from Tufts University.

Ms. Lorraine Perricone-Dazzo is the US Fundraising and Communications Manager for Restless Development, supporting on building and maintaining strategic funding and technical partnerships for the organization globally. Ms. Perricone - Dazzo began her experience with non-profit work in 2009, serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the South Bronx, working to build the capacity of a multi-service community center. She then completed coursework for the Master of Professional Studies degree in International  Agriculture  and  Rural  Development  at  Cornell  University  as  a  Masters International student through the joint program with the United States Peace Corps. Her Peace Corps service commenced in August 2011 in Senegal West, Africa where she served as a Sustainable Agriculture sector volunteer for 2 years. Her B.A is in Philosophy and Anthropology from the State University of New York at New Paltz (2008).


Friday, April 3
Blair Glencorse,  Founder and Executive Director, Accountability Lab

Blair Glencorse is Founder and Executive Director of the Accountability Lab, an incubator for creative ideas around accountability and integrity. He is also a Social Impact Fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, Blair worked for the World Bank on issues of governance and development. In 2014 he was selected as an Echoing Green Fellow, chosen a Stanford Business School Social Entrepreneurship Scholar, and was a winner of the World Technology Award and BMW Responsible Leaders Awards. 


Thursday, March 5
Dr. Patrick Meier, Director of Social Innovation, Qatar Computing Research Institute, Co-Founder, CrisisMappers, Digital Humanitarians, MicroMappers, Humanitarian UAV Network, and the Standby Task Force

Patrick Meier is an internationally recognized thought leader on humanitarian technology and innovation. His brand new book, “Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Action,” has already been endorsed by Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, UN, Red Cross, World Bank, USAID and others. In 2010, he was publicly recognized by Clinton for his pioneering digital humanitarian efforts, which he continues to this day. Patrick’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC News, UK Guardian, The Economist, Forbes & Times Magazines, New Yorker, NPR, Wired, Mashable, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American and elsewhere. His influential and widely read blog iRevolutions has received over 1.5 million hits.

Patrick is also an internationally sought-out speaker, having given over 200 talks in more than 20 countries across 6 continents. He has spoken at the White House, UN, Google, Twitter, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Skoll World Forum, Club de Madrid, Mobile World Congress, PopTech, TTI/Vanguard, SXSW and several TEDx’s. Given his expertise, Patrick often serves on judging panels for international competitions, which have included GSMA’s Global Mobile Awards  and UAE’s Drones for Good Award. At present, Patrick is Director of Social Innovation at QCRI where he both develops and deploys unique Next Generation Humanitarian Technologies in partnership with multiple humanitarian groups. He is on the Innovation Team of the United Nations Secretary-General’s World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and has been awarded a number of fellowships:UNICEF Humanitarian Innovations Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation Fellow and PopTech Fellow. Patrick is also a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

Prior to QCRI, Patrick co-founded and co-directed the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s (HHI) Program on Crisis Mapping & Early Warning and served as Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi. He has consulted extensively for several international organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank. Patrick also founded/co-founded CrisisMappersDigital HumanitariansMicroMappersHumanitarian UAV Network and the award-winning Standby Task Force. He is a distinguished scholar with a PhD from The Fletcher School, a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from Stanford University, an MA from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and EAP from UC Berkeley. In addition, Patrick was a Research Fellow at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and holds an advanced certificate in Complexity Science from the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). He has given numerous guest lectures and has taught several professional, graduate and undergraduate courses. Patrick also writes the influential and widely-respected blog iRevolutions and tweets at @patrickmeier.


Friday, February 19th, 2015
Jacqueline Corbelli, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of BrightLine

Jacqueline Corbelli is an entrepreneur and is the Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of BrightLine. Jacqueline is the visionary and principal architect behind BrightLine’s path and direction in interactive advertising. It is this vision that equips top U.S. marketers like Unilever, Kellogg’s and American Express to transform a consumers’ television viewing experience. Jacqueline jumped into the marketing business from an unlikely background in banking. She was President of Aston Associates, LLC, where she led the business and operational redesign of major financial institutions worldwide.

An entrepreneur at heart, Jacqueline saw a golden opportunity in the advertising space eight years ago. As traditional TV ad models began to buckle beneath the weight of a burgeoning digital revolution, Ms. Corbelli looked for a way to reinvent how viewers interact with their television screens. BrightLine was born and the company has enjoyed double-digit growth while old-school advertising agencies die on the vine. Unstoppable and infinitely curious, Jacquie is also passionate about her work beyond the boardroom. In 2008, she produced a movie, “The Deal” with William H. Macy, and is board member and an active supporter of The Atlantic Theater Company in New York. Ms. Corbelli also serves as a board member to The International Radio and Television Society Board and chairs the board of The Millennium Promise Alliance. She has traveled extensively across Africa in support of ending extreme poverty through integrated economic development. Jacqueline is married and the mother of three girls, and resides in Connecticut.


Friday, February 13
Paul Bugala, Independent Extractive Industries Sustainability Analyst

Paul Bugala has worked for more than ten years on sustainability and development issues in the oil, gas and mining industries at Calvert Investments, Oxfam America, and as an independent industry analyst. He also is a member of the multi-stakeholder group that is implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the U.S., and of advisory boards for the Center for Environmental Policy at American University and Amnesty International USA’s Business and Human Rights Group. In these roles, Paul has helped create new avenues for capital markets investment, public policy, and international development to reflect the necessity and materiality of human rights and environmental responsibility. Before coming to Washington, DC in 2004, Paul had been a networking and telecommunications industry analyst, marketing executive, and journalist.


Friday, January 30
Claire Starkey, President, FINTRAC

Claire has been collaborating on agricultural initiatives with local and international partners to improve food security for farmers and farm families in developing countries for three decades. A creative strategist, she provides leadership to Fintrac's organizational development, advises staff and clients on best practices to achieve sustainable impact, and advocates for increasing women's participation in the agribusiness sector worldwide. Prior to joining Fintrac in 1990, she coordinated agri-marketing activities for commercial entities, trade associations, USAID, and NGOs.

Katherine Garcia is a member of the founding team for The Center for Open Data Enterprise, where she manages communications and outreach. Previously she served as a Research Assistant on the Open Data 500 Study and Project Liaison on the Open Data 100 Mexico Study at The Governance Lab at NYU. Prior to joining The GovLab, Katherine served as Press Assistant at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. She has over 10 years of media and publishing experience. Katherine earned her MPA with an emphasis in Policy Analysis from Baruch College. She serves as Co-President of the Metro NY Chapter of the U.S. National Committee for UN Women, which promotes gender equality and women's empowerment. She also serves on the Board of SustainUS, a non-profit that empowers youth to advance sustainable development. She is passionate about open data because of its impact on governance and human rights. She tweets at @katherinejulia.





November 21
Carolina Gomma de Azevedo, Communications Specialist, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Programme 

Carolina Gomma de Azevedo is a Communications Specialist with over 14 years of experience in crisis communications, advocacy, international media and international development. In her role at UNDP, Carolina is responsible for coordinating the regional communications and advocacy strategy, as well as supporting UNDP HQ content, including UNDP's flagship report, The Human Development Report. Prior to coming to New York, Carolina worked for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Brazil, where she created content and coordinated national campaigns to prevent and raise awareness about human trafficking, drug abuse and corruption. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese; speaks intermediate German and basic French. She is also trained as a UNDP SURGE Advisor for Crisis Contexts.


November 14
Prabhu Pingali, Founding Director, Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (TCI)

Prabhu Pingali is a Professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, with a joint appointment in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and the Founding Director of the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (TCi). Prior to joining Cornell in June 2013, he was the Deputy Director, Agricultural Development Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, from 2008–May 2013. Pingali was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as a Foreign Fellow in May 2007, a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) in 2006, and a Fellow of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) in 2009. He served as the President of IAAE from 2003–2006, and was named the 2010 Outstanding Alumnus of North Carolina State University. He has received several international awards for his work, including the Research Discovery Award from the AAEA.

Pingali has over three decades of experience working with some of the leading international agricultural development organizations as a research economist, development practitioner and senior manager. He was the Director of the Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations from 2002–2007, and the Director of the Economics Program at CIMMYT, Mexico, from 1996–2002. Prior to joining CIMMYT, he worked at the International Rice Research Institute at Los Banos, Philippines, from 1987 to 1996 as an Agricultural Economist, and at the World Bank's Agriculture and Rural Development Department from 1982–1987 as an economist.

Professor Pingali has written 10 books and over 100 referred journal articles and book chapters on food policy.


Elena Arias Ortiz, Education Senior Associate, Inter-American Development Bank
November 7

Elena Arias Ortiz joined the IDB in 2011 as part of the Young Professional Program, a highly competitive program with over 4000 applications. The program is designed for exceptionally qualified and motivated Young Professionals that want to start a career at the Bank. Her first rotation was in the Competitiveness and Innovation Division. Since then, she has been part of the Education Division.

Elena's research focuses mainly on the transition from school to work and post-secondary, and on the use of technology in education. Her publication record includes international peer-reviewed journals and several book chapters on both areas. Before joining the IDB, Elena worked as a consultant for the World Bank, UNDP, and the European Commission on topics related to perceived social mobility and human capital investment in Latin America and school management policies.

Elena holds a Master Degree in Economic Analysis and a Ph.D. in Economics, both from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). During her PhD, she spend one year as a visiting Scholar in the Department of Economics of Boston University. Elena is originally from Costa Rica and is currently based in Washington, D.C. 


October 24
Katarina Kahlmann, Director, TechnoServe
Carl Cervone, Senior manager, Coffee Sector, TechnoServe

Katarina Kahlmann is TechnoServe’s former Country Director in Haiti and now supports consumer-goods companies to develop sustainable sourcing strategies. Katarina set up TechnoServe’s Haiti program and projects working with 30,000 fruit and nut farmers.Before joining TechnoServe, Katarina worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. Katarina has a MSc in Economics and Business Administration from the Stockholm School of Economics and is based in New York.

Carl Cervone leads TechoServe's work with coffee producers and buyers in East Africa and Latin America. Carl led TechnoServe’s entry into Ethiopia in 2009, growing it to become TechnoServe’s largest coffee program with more than 100,000 farmer participants. He developed organizational best practices for coffee processing, financing, sustainability, training, and quality/marketing. Carl has conducted significant analytic work on global coffee industry trends and opportunities in Africa, Asia and Latin America and presented findings to governmental and coffee industry stakeholders. Carl holds a Bachelor's in Environmental Science from Wesleyan University and is based in New York.


October 17
Nancy Walters, Global Coordinator, UN REACH

Nancy Walters has been working in the field of international development and humanitarian action for over 25 years. Her experience covers a wide range of operations, with a special interest in food security, nutrition and nutrition-sensitive programmes, strategic planning and results-based management. Over her career, she has worked in Mali, Egypt, Lesotho and Ghana and at WFP's Headquarters in Rome with the Africa and Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe Bureaux and the Office of the Executive Director.

She has been Senior Regional Programme Adviser for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Iran and focused on results-based management. In 2008-2011, she was Chief of the School Feeding Service in the Policy, Planning and Strategy Division, where she moved forward WFP's flagship programme through global partnerships with a view to reaching hungry schoolchildren through nationally owned and sourced school-feeding programmes. Ms. Walters was also the Chair of the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition School Age Children Working Group. Since 2011 Ms. Walters has been WFP Representative and Country Director in Mali. 


October 10
Jennifer L. Pehr, Associate Principal, Urban Planner at Kohn Pedersen Fox

Jennifer Pehr has seven years of experience in master planning, urban design and public health. Since joining the international architecture and planning firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, she has worked on wide range of projects throughout the United States, Asia and Africa, including master planning, sustainable development, streetscape design, and urban design guidelines. 

Ms. Pehr currently is providing planning and urban design guidance on a number of projects, including urban design for the Port Authority Bus Terminal Master Plan; regional analysis, transportation planning and streetscape design for the Square One Master Plan, a redevelopment proposal in downtown Mississauga, Ontario; and site analysis, master planning and streetscape design for Accra, Ghana. Ms. Pehr has recently completed work on the STAR Centre, a Research and Training facility in Swaziland, Southern Africa, as well as the Ga Mashie Concept Housing Plans and Coastal Development proposal in Accra, Ghana, a project that won a 2014 AIA New York award in urban design.

Prior to KPF, Ms. Pehr practiced urban planning and public health in rapidly developing areas of the Global South. She was involved with the Millennium Cities Initiative at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, an organization that oversees the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.


October 3
Ruben Flores, Project Coordinator, Doctors Without Borders

Ruben Flores is a Project Coordinator with Doctors Without Borders with 10 years of experience as an emergency manager, including the Pakistan and Haiti earthquakes and emergency medical response to epidemics, famine, and displacement due to conflict in the Central African region. He is a graduate of The George Washington University, and has done post-graduate work at the International Institute for Humanitarian Action.  He is a former Mexican Red Cross and NYC Paramedic.


September 19
Michael Emery, Director, Division for Human Resources, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Michael Emery is currently the Director, Division for Human Resources at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) having recently joined from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Prior to IOM, Michael was with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) where he was the Chief of Recruitment, and previous to this role was with UN Peacekeeping for the best part of 13 years.  Michael has spent the last two decades working in different disciplines of Human Resources including Recruitment, Career Development, Staff Training, Performance Management and Staff Administration, in geographically diverse contexts including West Africa, the Balkans, East Timor and Headquarters in New York and Geneva.

Michael has also worked in organizationally diverse environments including UNFPA, IOM, UNDP, UN Peacekeeping, CARE International and UN Volunteers.  Michael has been instrumental in initiating and organising the Career Development Roundtable, and annual event that attracts over 150 Human Resources professionals from more than 70 International Organisations across the multilateral sector, looking at global trends and best practices in career development and talent management.  Michael holds a Masters degree in Organisational Development and Training and a Bachelors degree in Education.


September 12
Dr. David Rock, Director, NeuroLeadership Institute

Dr. David Rock coined the term ‘NeuroLeadership’ and is the director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, a global initiative bringing neuroscientists and leadership experts together to build a new science for leadership development. He co-edits the NeuroLeadership Journal and heads up an annual global summit. He has written many of the central academic and discussion papers defining the NeuroLeadership Field. David is the author of the business best-seller 'Your Brain at Work' (HarperBusiness, 2009), as well as 'Quiet Leadership' (Harper Collins, 2006) and the textbook 'Coaching with the Brain in Mind' (Wiley & Sons, 2009). He blogs for the Harvard Business Review, Fortune Magazine, Psychology Today and the Huffington Post, and is quoted widely in the media about leadership, organizational effectiveness and the brain.

David is also the founder and CEO of NeuroLeadership Group, a global consulting firm with operations in 24 countries, helping large organizations operationalize brain research to develop better leaders and managers. Academically, David is on the faculty and advisory board of Cimba, an international business school based in Europe, and a guest lecturer at many universities including Oxford University’s Said Business School. He is on the board of the BlueSchool, an initiative in New York City building a new approach to education. He received his professional doctorate in the Neuroscience of Leadership from Middlesex University in 2010. Originally Australian, he now lives in New York City with his wife and two young daughters.


September 5
Maurice Bloem, Executive Vice President, Church World Service

Maurice Bloem is a seasoned professional with 20 years experience in the field of development and humanitarian assistance, Bloem has also served as CWS’ deputy director and the country director and regional director of CWS in Indonesia/Timor-Leste. In that position he led the regional office in developing and implementing substantial health and nutrition programs in areas heavily beset by hunger and malnutrition, partly as a result of climate change. While serving in Indonesia Bloem also led CWS’ multi-million dollar response to the tsunami and the earthquakes that devastated the region in 2004 and 2005 and directed the development and implementation of innovative HIV/AIDS programs and programs for youth.

Prior to joining CWS in 1999, Bloem was project coordinator for an HIV/AIDS prevention project run by CARE Bangladesh. Before that he was an advisor to the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh and a staff member of the Department of Social Medicine at VU University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

A native of the Netherlands, Bloem earned a Master of Science degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Leyden in the Netherlands.



January 24
Carlos CuéllarVice President & Senior Fellow, Abt Associates

Carlos Cuéllar, Abt Associates’ Vice President and Senior Fellow, is currently the Portfolio Manager of the Clinical HIV/AIDS Services Strengthening project in Mozambique, the Maternal & Child Centers of Excellence project in the Dominican Republic; and technical lead of Abt Maternal & Child Health Technical Working Group.

He joined Abt in January 2001 and served successively in Jordan as Director of the Primary Health Care Initiatives and the Health Systems Strengthening projects (2001-2007). From 2009-2012 worked as Director of the Maternal & Child Centers of Excellence project in the Dominican Republic. Prior to joining Abt, Dr. Cuéllar was co-founder and Executive Director of PROSALUD - the single largest health NGO in Bolivia. PROSALUD is a franchised network of health centers and hospitals that provide high quality affordable health care to low-middle income families in nine cities in Bolivia. He also worked as Deputy Director of the USAID-funded Commercial Market Strategies project in Washington DC.

Carlos Cuéllar holds an M.D. from the Catholic University of Cordoba, Argentina, an MPH and a Diploma on Tropical Medicine from the Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp, Belgium, and a Diploma in Management from NUR University, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.


January 24
Lisa Dreier, Senior Director, Food Security and Development Initiatives, World Economic Forum USA

Lisa Dreier is Director of Food Security and Development Initiatives at the World Economic Forum USA in New York, where she works to advance public-private collaboration on food security, sustainable agriculture and economic development. She founded and leads the Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative, managing its work to build partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaboration at global, regional and country level. The initiative has catalyzed action-oriented partnerships in 14 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America; collaborates globally with the G8, G20 and United Nations; and facilitates innovative global leadership networks including a Global Agenda Council on Food Security and a Transformation Leaders Network. She previously worked concurrently as Manager of the UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force and Associate Director of the Tropical Agriculture Program at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. In the decade prior, Lisa consulted on sustainable development issues for the North American Development Bank and the World Bank; worked for 6 years with the Environmental Defense Fund; advised NGOs in the U.S., South America and Asia; and was a freelance journalist in the US and Asia. She holds an M.A. in Energy and Resources and an M.P.P. in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. from Bowdoin College. She has lived and worked in Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the USA.


February 7
John Coonrod, Executive Vice President, The Hunger Project

John Coonrod is the Executive Vice President of The Hunger Project, where he is responsible for research and advocacy. He works closely with the President and CEO on all aspects of strategy, including programs, fundraising and communications and is based in Washington, DC. He is a leading spokesperson for the organization and has been interviewed on BBC, CNN and NBC television. John is an expert on bottom-up, gender-focused development and decentralized local governance who has lectured at the United Nations, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University (NYU), Princeton University and the United States Air Force Academy. John serves as co-chair of InterAction's Food Security and Agriculture working group, as advisor and board member to a number of emerging international NGOs. He is an avid amateur photographer and figure skater. John became The Hunger Project's first volunteer in March of 1977, joined its staff in 1985, and has participated in the development and implementation of all of its programs.

John grew up in the Midwest and was trained as a physicist at Stanford (BSc) and the University of California-Berkeley (MS, PhD), during which time he was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements. He worked as a research physicist at Princeton University from 1978 through 1984. As a physicist, he was involved in the design and construction of the High-Energy Astronomical Observatory satellite, the first whole-body CAT scanner and the first tokamak designed to achieve a break-even fusion reaction. At The Hunger Project, John met his colleague and future wife Carol. They were married in 1988 and are living happily ever after.


February 21
Gib Bulloch, Global Managing Director, Accenture Development Partners

Gib Bulloch is Founder and Global Managing Director of Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), a corporate social enterprise hosted within Accenture, whose clients include many of the major international NGOs and development agencies. Since 2013, ADP has brought Accenture’s business and technology expertise to the international development sector on a not-for-profit basis and has championed the concept of cross sector convergence. ADP has gained recognition as a pioneering new business model through various prestigious awards and is featured in an INSEAD MBA Teaching Case on social innovation.  Gib is a regular blogger and speaker on the role of business in development, cross-sectoral partnerships/convergence and has played a key role in promoting the emerging concept of social intrapreneurship.  In 2008, he was named as the Sunday Times sponsored Management Consultant of the Year in the Best Partner/Director category.

Gib is a Visiting Fellow at the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility, acts as the private sector representative on the UN Education First Technical Advisory Group, serves on the US Board of the END Fund and the Advisory Board of DFID’s Business Innovation Facility.

Gib joined Accenture’s strategy practice in 1996 and worked as a management consultant to multi-nationals for several years, before taking on the leadership of a feasibility study and pilot of ADP in 2002 . His transition to a development sector career focus stemmed from a year spent as a volunteer advising small to medium sized enterprises in Macedonia in the aftermath of the crisis in neighboring Kosovo in 2000, and marked the start of Accenture’s long term commitment to VSO’s Business Partnerships programme.

Prior to joining Accenture in 1996, Gib worked for 4 years in Mars Inc and 2 years with BP.  He has an honours degree in engineering and an MBA from Strathclyde University and a post graduate certificate in cross-sectoral partnerships (PCCP) from Cambridge.


February 28
Corina Villacorta, Executive Advisor on Child Rights, World Vision

Corina Villacorta is an accomplished international development and advocacy executive, with more than 30 years of experience in NGO leadership. Currently she works at World Vision International as Executive Advisor on Child Rights based out of New York. She leads the Empowerment for Advocacy and Justice for Children global team. Corina is a spokesperson development and advocacy with a focus on children and youth.

Previously, Corina was the Regional Vice-President for Latin America and the Caribbean managing operations of World Vision programs in 14 countries and partnering with 4,000 communities. In that capacity she led the first regional strategy with a clear focus on the empowerment of children, adolescents and youth. She held the Secretariat for the Global Movement for Children, Latin America Chapter, steering the efforts of organizations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, Plan International, REDLAMYC, YMCA and World Vision. Most recently she has been championing the participation of children and youth in the Post 2015 process, advocating for children and young people to be at the center of the new development framework.

Corina holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and a license in social work from the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru. She also holds a master’s degree in urban planning and international development, from the University of California at Los Angeles. She is fluent in English, Spanish and French and is proficient in Portuguese.


April 4
Francesco Mancini, Senior Director of Research, International Peace Institute (IPI)

Francesco Mancini is currently Senior Director of Research at the International Peace Institute (IPI) and Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where he teaches a graduate-level seminar in conflict assessment. At IPI, Francesco develops and leads the research agenda, is in charge of quality control of research outputs, manages research staff, and fundraises. His research focuses on conflict analysis, prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. He also leads IPI’s largest program that works on strengthening multilateral response capacity to crises and conflict. He worked at the nexus of security& development. He works on conflict prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and overall multilateral responses to crises and conflict. His most recent publication is the edited collection of case studies New Technology and the Prevention of Violence and Conflict. He regularly lectures in academic institutions and presents to conferences and governments on global trends and security challenges. Francesco was educated at Bocconi in Milan, his hometown, and Columbia Universities. He has served as management consultant at the French Group CRCI in France, Italy, and Morocco in the 1990s.


April 11
Jose Dallo, Policy Advisor on Post-2015, UNDP 

Jose Dallo joined UNDP in 2009 after spending 13 years working in various developing countries. Currently he is Policy Advisor in the UNDP Post-2015 team. Previously, he worked in UNDP’s Bureauof Development Policy (BDP) and co-led the multi-practice task force in UNDP which started UNDP’s process of defining and promoting its position and fulfilling its mandate vis-a-vis the post 2015 development agenda, and he is been part of the core team of the Post-2015 UN Task Team and the One UN Secretariat on Post-2015.

Prior to UNDP, Jose was the Representative of the Spanish Cooperation Agency in Honduras and Uruguay; Deputy Representative in Nicaragua and El Salvador; and project director in Nicaragua. Previously, Jose also worked with development NGOs both in the North and the South.

Jose holds a Degree in Economics and a Degree in Law and completed his M. Sc. at Pompeu Fabra University in Spain.


April 24
Jennifer Baarn, Deputy CEO, Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT)

Jennifer Baarn is an experienced professional in the development and facilitation of international public-private partnerships (PPPs), with a particular focus on the role of partnerships in agriculture as drivers of economic growth. Prior to joining the SAGCOT Centre, Jennifer was an Associate Director at the World Economic Forum (WEF) where she helped develop the WEF's New Vision for Agriculture initiative.

Jennifer spent a number of years in financial services at Rabobank International, identifying growth opportunities in food and agribusiness and developing key insights into the agricultural sector. A South American who has lived in Europe and holds a passion for Africa, Jennifer brings knowledge and experience from around the globe to apply in furthering the objectives of SAGCOT.





November 22
Isabelle Tsakok, Economist, Consultant on Agriculture and Rural Development

Isabelle Tsakok grew up in the Republic of Mauritius, a multi-lingual and multi-cultural society in a small island in the Indian Ocean. Living with and learning from people of very different cultures and ways of life during her formative years proved to be a valuable asset as a development practitioner. It has enabled her to feel at home communicating with people from very different socio-economic environments.

After leaving Mauritius, Isabelle pursued my university education in Britain and in the United States. She received my B.A. in philosophy and economics (1970), and M.SC. in economics (1971) at the London School of Economics and Political Science. At Harvard, Isabelle obtained an M.A. in Asian Studies (1973), and a PH.D in economics (1976).

Isabelle have worked on development issues for over twenty five years, first as World Bank staff and since retirement as consultant. This has brought her into close contact with governments and local institutions in many regions of the developing world. She has specialized in policy analysis, program and project formulation and evaluation, research and training activities in agriculture, agro-business, rural development and poverty reduction. She have worked in most regions of the developing world: Africa, Asia - South, Southeast and East, North Africa and the Middle East and Latin America. Isabelle have also conducted training for development practitioners on agricultural policy analysis, at times using a policy game called Exaction, a simulation game she developed with Professor Graham Chapman.

Isabelle Tsakok’s most recent book is “Success in Agricultural Transformation: What It Means and What Makes It Happen” (Cambridge University Press, August 2011). In this book, instead of correlations, Isabelle looks for patterns common to cases of successful agricultural transformation and then tests them against other cases. She proposes a hypothesis that five sets of conditions are necessary to achieve success. She concludes that government investment in and delivery of public goods and services sustained over decades is essential to maintaining these conditions and thus successfully transform poverty-ridden agricultures. No amount of foreign aid can substitute for such sustained government commitment. The single most important threat to such government commitment is subservience to the rich and powerful minority.


November 15
Josh Ruxin, Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and the Founder and Executive Director of Health Builders

Dr. Ruxin is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and the Founder and Executive Director of Health Builders. Dr. Ruxin has extensive experience operating at the intersection of public health, business and international development. In 1996, he joined Monitor Group and in 2000, he co-founded and served as vice president of OTF Group, a strategy consulting firm. During his years there and at Monitor, he led projects in a several developing countries and was an advisor to government and private sector leaders on business strategy and economic development.

In 2002, Dr. Ruxin along with Professor Jeffrey Sachs and Rob Glaser founded Health Builders (formerly the Access Project) to support over a dozen countries in acquiring and effectively managing financing by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and to transparently and sustainably improve their public health systems.  Under his leadership, Health Builders secured $1.3 billion for countries working on national strategies and programs.  In 2003, Dr. Ruxin led Health Builders to intensify its interventions in a few select countries, and to eventually focus specifically on improving the management of rural health centers in Rwanda. Dr. Ruxin also founded and directed the Neglected Tropical Disease Control Project, as well as the Millennium Villages Project in Rwanda. 

In 2008, Dr. Ruxin and his wife, Alissa, built and opened Heaven Restaurant and Inn, one of Rwanda’s leading venues for hospitality training.

Dr. Ruxin holds a Bachelor of Arts in the History of Science and Medicine from Yale University, where he was a Truman Scholar. He received a Master of Public Health from Columbia University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in History from the University of London as a Marshall Scholar. He is a frequent contributor to national publications and has been featured in numerous outlets, including the Washington Post, Forbes, Time, Seed magazine, CNN and CNN International’s Inside Africa. He serves on the Board of Generation Rwanda and FilmAid International.  

Dr. Ruxin is based in Kigali, Rwanda, where he lives with his wife and three children. His memoir, A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda, is forthcoming in November 2013.


October 25
Lucy Shinyoung Park, Advisor for the South Korean Presidential Special Advisory Committee for Youth

Lucy Shinyoung Park is a current advisor in the South Korean Presidential Special Advisory Committee for Youth. She is well known for winning proposal competitions (she won 23 national competitions for advertising, marketing, and consulting proposals). She is a best-selling author of her recent book "The Standard of Planning" and currently speaks and teaches on the topic of writing winning proposals. She also writes proposals for the mayor of Seoul, as part of marketing and promoting Seoul's new policies. Previously she worked for Samsung's advertising agency, Cheil, as an expert for presentation competitions. She has also been chosen by university students as one of the leading role models of her generation, and she was featured numerous times in Korean media as a mentor for young professionals.


October 7
Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre

Tony Simons is the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre. Tony has worked for 27 years on issues at the tropical agriculture/forestry interface in more than 40 developing countries. This has spanned the private sector (Shell Forestry), academia (University of Oxford), official development assistance (ODA/DFID) and research (CGIAR). He holds a B.Ag.Sci degree from Massey University, NZ as well as Masters and Doctoral degrees from Cambridge University, UK.

In 2009, he was made an Honorary Professorship in Tropical Forestry at the University of Copenhagen. Tony is a Board member of Africa Centre Technology Studies, Plant Resources of Tropical Africa, DANONE Livelihood Fund and DCM International Imaging. He is also the Leader of IUFRO Forest and Water Task Force. He has published over 100 research papers and has sat on several journal editorial boards. His interests span the seven major research themes of ICRAF encompassing: tree germplasm; agroforestry systems; tree product marketing and extension; land health; climate change; environmental services and policies; and tropical forest margins. He is passionate about the transformative and profitable change that the private sector can bring to development.


September 27
Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, Executive Chairman, Qatar National Food Security Programme

Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya serves as the Executive Chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) and as a member of the Legislation Council of Qatar.  He has also served as Legal Advisor in the Office of the Heir Apparent at the Emiri Diwan.

In November 2008, His Highness the Heir Apparent (now Emir) of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani directed Al-Attiya to chair a cooperative effort to assess the food security issues facing Qatar.  Working with stakeholders and taskforce members from across the public and private sector, QNFSP presented initial findings and was mandated by Amiri Decree No. 45 of 2011 to “develop an integrated national plan for food security.” 

Under this mandate, QNFSP worked with stakeholders to develop a plan for a resilient national food system to enable sustainable growth and deliver a safe, healthy and affordable food supply for the people of Qatar. The Qatar National Food Security Plan was formally presented to the government and approved in July of 2013. As a part of developing this integrated national plan, QNFSP helped to coordinate the establishment of a multi-agency Food Safety Authority, an international Food Security in Dry Lands (FSDL) forum, and the Global Dry Lands Alliance (GDLA).

In addition to his role at QNFSP, Al-Attiya serves on the Board of Governors for the World Water Council and as Chairman of the Executive Organizing Sub-Committee for the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8).  Al-Attiya serves on numerous committees and boards including the State of Qatar’s Permanent Water Resource Committee and the Qatar 2022 National Legacy Committee

Upon completing his education in Qatar, Al-Attiya joined the Qatar Armed Forces as an Officer Cadet at which time he was accepted to and educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in the United Kingdom. Following graduation, he served with the elite Grenadier Guards in the UK and later with the Special Forces in Qatar.

Al-Attiya read law at Westminster University, and attended his LPC at BPP Law School in London. He has served at the Legal Directorate of the Armed Forces in Qatar and as a military lawyer.


September 20
Zaw Oo, Director of the Myanmar Development Resource Institute - Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD)

Myanmar Resource Development Institute, an independent think-tank dedicated to inclusive and sustainable development of Myanmar.  Previously, he was a lecturer at Chiang Mai University and he returned to Myanmar in 2011 to help the country’s transition after years of dedication to restoring democracy at home. He holds graduate degrees from Columbia University and American University in international development, finance and banking, and political economy.   He is also a member of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council of the Office of the President, and recently appointed as member of the Task Force on Public Service Performance Appraisal, which facilitates public feedbacks to support administrative reforms and other reform programs in Myanmar. He contributed to the development of Framework of Economic and Social Reform that guide a comprehensive set of reforms and development cooperation for 2012-15 as well as the country’s successful conclusion of Paris Club agreement in January 2013. He is recently appointed as National Coordinator for Myanmar Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative while serving as a principal advisor to tax reforms, SME development, civil service reform and decentralization.  He is a co-author of Assessing Cease-fire Accords in Burma. Washington, DC: East West Center, 2007 and Economic Development of Burma: A Vision and A Strategy, Sinagpore University Press (2000) and has contributed to many scholarly journals and news media. 


September 13
John Logan, Regional Program Director of the Strengthening Rural Youth Development though Enterprise (STRYDE) program

John Logan is the regional program director of the Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) program. STRYDE delivers a comprehensive package of services such as skills training, business development and mentoring to young people ages 18 to 30 in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Born in Nakuru, Kenya, Mr. Logan has worked for more than 30 years in the horticulture and beverage industry in East and Southern Africa. He has been an extension agent, private consultant and in a managerial capacity with small holder farmers, and international commercial corporations, such as Commonwealth Development Corporation and Tanganda Tea Company. He joined TechnoServe in 2008 as Coffee Initiative Director for Kenya. 



April 5
Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in India 

Lise Grande is the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in India.  Lise has worked for the United Nations since 1994, serving in Armenia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Haiti, Occupied Palestine, South Sudan, Sudan and Tajikistan.  Lise worked for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for seven years, and was involved in some of the United Nations’ largest humanitarian operations. She then served as Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia.  Following this assignment, Lise served for three years as Chief of the Integrated Office for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the DRC.  In her last assignment Lise served as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in South Sudan.


February 22
Melanie Mortimer, Executive Director; SIFMA

Melanie Mortimer is Executive Director of the SIFMA Foundation, which is dedicated to increasing financial education for individuals of all backgrounds. To date, the SIFMA Foundation has reached 14 million students across the country and around the world with essential life skills and academic enrichment, including through its acclaimed Stock Market Game program, InvestWrite national essay competition, and Capitol Hill Challenge program.

Prior to joining the SIFMA Foundation, Mortimer was Director of Global Philanthropy at Merrill Lynch. At Merrill Lynch, Mortimer managed global signature programs combining the firm’s financial, institutional and human capital to enhance the lives of young people from underserved communities. Key initiatives included: Investing Pays Off - financially literacy for 2 million youth in 70 countries; Global Ambassadors -  global economic, diplomatic, cultural and world affairs); Young Entrepreneurs (youth enterprise and entrepreneurship programs); Pacesetter Schools (programs to bring innovation, leadership and solutions to a global network of schools). Mortimer also managed the firm’s volunteer initiatives, grants to arts and cultural institutions, educational scholarship programs, and team-building community events for thousands of employee volunteers representing the firm’s businesses and regions.

Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, Mortimer led employee, shareholder and executive communications for the international business arm of multi-billion dollar trading firm Itochu Corporation in Japan. Prior to that, she served as Senior Editor at Tokyo Journal magazine, where she managed a team of researchers, writers, and editors and their contributions to the publication.  Mortimer began her professional career in Tokyo, conducting intercultural communications seminars for major firms and coordinating international executive training at ITOCHU Academy.


February 15
Jeannie Oakes, Director of Education Opportunity and Scholarship Programs, Ford Foundation

Jeannie Oakes is Ford's director of the Educational Opportunity and Scholarship programs. Her U.S. and global portfolio focuses on transforming the quality of secondary schools and helping students from poor and marginalized communities gain access to quality higher education. The foundation's education grant making also supports the next generation of researchers and public intellectuals whose scholarship will help inform public policy on issues of social justice.  Jeannie joined the Ford Foundation in 2008. Previously, she was Presidential Professor in Educational Equity at UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, where she directed UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access and the University of California's All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity. Jeannie's scholarship examines the impact of social policies on the educational opportunities and outcomes of low-income students of color. She is a member of the National Academy of Education.  She is the author of 20 scholarly books and monographs and more than 125 journal articles, book chapters and research reports. Her book, "Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality" (Yale University Press, 2005) has been honored as one of the 20th century's most influential books on education. She has also received many prestigious awards recognizing her academic distinction.  Jeannie has a Ph.D. in education from UCLA and holds a California certification as a secondary school English teacher.


February 1
Ellen Gustafson, Founder and Executive Director, 30 Project

Ellen Gustafson is a sustainable food system activist, innovator and social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the 30 Project, a think + do tank changing the conversation about the global food system by connecting hunger and obesity. She is also the creator of the ChangeDinner campaign and HealthClass2.0, which are helping individuals change the food system at dinner tables and in schools. Ellen previously Co-Founded of FEED Projects, LLC, a charitable company that creates good products that help feed the world, and is the Co-Founder and former Executive Director of FEED’s non-profit partner, the FEED Foundation. Under Ellen’s leadership FEED provided over 60 million school meals to children around the world. Ellen was also previously a US Spokesperson for the UN World Food Program, a terrorism research reporter in the ABC News Investigative Unit and a research associate for the Military Fellows at the Council on Foreign Relations. She has a BA in International Politics from Columbia University. 


January 25
Werner Schultink, Chief of Nutrition, UNICEF

Mr. Schultink joined UNICEF in April 1999 and has held a number of senior positions both at Headquarters in New York, where he was a Senior Nutrition Advisor, and in the India Country Office, where he led the Child Development and Nutrition Section. Before joining UNICEF, Mr. Schultink had extensive experience working with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation from 1990 to 1999. He served as a advisor on issues of curriculum development of post-graduate courses and research management in community nutrition.  He attended the Agricultural University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Human Nutrition in 1990. His doctoral research led him to Benin where he studied seasonal variations in the nutritional status and energy requirements of rural Beninese women.  Mr. Schultink has written extensively about nutrition issues in the developing world in both academic journals and specialized books. Mr. Schultink assumed his duties as Chief, Nutrition Section at UNICEF’s Programme Division in New York in June 2007. Mr. Schultink is a national of the Netherlands. In addition to his native Dutch, he is fluent in English, German and French and has a good knowledge of Indonesian.





December 7
Kevin C. Marinacci, President, Fabretto Children's Foundation

Kevin C. Marinacci is President of Fabretto Children’s Foundation, a not for profit with over fifty years of service to children and youth in Nicaragua. The foundation benefits more than ten thousand needy students and their families with programs in education, nutrition, community wellbeing and development. Kevin graduated with a degree in American Studies from Georgetown University in 1989 and began as a volunteer with the foundation in Managua. He has lived there since, with the exception of two years when he returned to his native Chicago, to receive his M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University in 1996. He and his wife, Manely have an eleven year old son, Nicolas.


November 26
Dr. Achim Dobermann, Deputy Director General of the International Rice Research Institute

Dr. Dobermann, Deputy Director General of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a soil scientist and agronomist with many years experience working in Asia, North America and Europe. He is recognized internationally as an authority on science and technology for food security and sustainable management of the world’s major cereal cropping systems. He has authored or co-authored over 250 scientific papers and two books on nutrients in rice and has received numerous awards from various academic, government and industry organizations.


November 11
David Weiss, President and CEO, Global Communities

David A. Weiss is President and CEO of CHF International. Weiss took on his current leadership role in October 2010, having previously served on CHF International’s Board of Trustees since 2002 and as Chairman of the Board from 2008-2010. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of InterAction, the largest alliance of US-based NGOs. Prior to joining CHF, Weiss was Senior Policy Advisor at the global law firm DLA Piper for 13 years, where he advised on international trade and policy and successfully represented major industries seeking improved access to foreign markets and redress from unfair foreign trade practices. This built upon his 18 year career in the Federal Government where Weiss began as Special Assistant to the Director of the Peace Corps, then joined the US Foreign Service.


October 12
Manmeet Kaur, Executive Director / Founder, City Health Works!

Manmeet is passionate about creating innovative, financially sustainable ways to improve people’s livelihoods and health.  She started building CHW! during her first year of Business School and recently worked with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on efforts to reduce hospital readmissions through a Medical Home pilot. Prior, she consulted for the Earth Institute’s Health Team on strategies to enhance the retention and financing of health workers at the Millennium Villages Project in Africa.  During her two years in India, she helped LabourNet, a job creation social venture, transition from a non-profit into a hybrid not-for-profit business and scale up to three cities in India.  Her passion for health was most nurtured during her time with Mamelani Projects, a Cape Town-based community health organization where she launched a small business development program focused on producing nutritious food for HIV-affected youth. She began her career as a labor rights advocate for undocumented workers in New York City.   Manmeet holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in History-Anthropology from Barnard College.  She was born and raised in New York, and lives with her husband and son in Harlem.


September 22
Belay Ejegu Begashaw, Director Columbia Global Center, Africa

Belay Ejigu Begashaw joined the Earth Institute at Columbia University in January 2009 as Senior Agriculture Policy Specialist for Eastern and Southern Africa. He became director of The MDG Centre in August 2009 and he also serves as associate director of the Earth Institute's Tropical Agriculture and Rural Development Program. Since January 2012, Dr. Begashaw serves as the Director of the new Columbia Global Center Africa, where the MDG Centre is now housed. He has over 20 years of experience in agriculture extension and rural development, ranging from a grass-roots development agent to the Minster of Agriculture for Ethiopia. During his tenure as Minister of Agriculture, Ethiopia established the coalition for food security strategy, the National Extension and Transformation Program, the Technical Vocational Education and Training Program, a strategy for commercializing smallholders agriculture and institutional reform of the agriculture knowledge system. Belay has also done extensive consulting work for several international organizations in the area of food security, poverty reduction and investment.

Belay earned his MPA degree from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, M.Sc. from University of Reading and a B.Sc. from Addis Ababa University, Almay College of Agriculture. He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural policy from Texas A&M University where he was a Borlaug Fellow. He has served as a member and chair of several boards of trustees with national and international mandates, including International Live Stock Research (ILRI), Almay University, Ethiopian Agriculture Research System, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, the National Drug Administration and the National Standard Organization. Belay is the father of three daughters and likes reading in his spare time.


September 18
Karen Poniachik, Director Columbia Global Center, Latin America

Karen Poniachik is Director of Columbia University’s Global Center for Latin America in Santiago, Chile. She was Chile’s Minister of Mining in 2006-2008, time during which she chaired the boards of directors of state-owned companies Codelco, Enap and Enami. From March 2006 to March 2007 she also served as Minister of Energy.

Ms. Poniachik was Chile’s Special Envoy to the OECD in charge of the country’s accession process to the Organization, which was successfully completed in January of 2010. Previously, she served as Executive Vice-President of the Foreign Investment Committee (2000-2006); and as Director of Business and Financial Programs at the Council of the Americas in New York (1995-2000).

Karen Poniachik graduated as a journalist from the Universidad Católica de Chile (1987) and holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York (1990).


September 15
Marise Espineli, Regional Director for Asia, IIRI

Marise Espineli is the Regional Director for Asia at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR). She holds a Master’s Degree in International and Intercultural Management, a Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Chemical Engineering. She has Thirty years of development experience in both rural development with international NGOs and with the Philippine government. She has completed assignments in Afghanistan the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Kenya, Uganda, China, India, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Laos.


September 8
Joel Negin, Senior Lecturer in International Public Health, University of Sydney

Joel Negin is Senior Lecturer in International Public Health at the University of Sydney and a Research Fellow at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy. He lectures on health systems, project management and health and development at the University of Sydney and guest lectures across Australia.  Joel’s research focuses on multi-sectoral development models, the HIV response, and health systems strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific.  He has worked in a number of countries including Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa and Zimbabwe on various health and development projects for UN agencies, government departments and academic institutions. He served as technical adviser to the National AIDS Control Council of Kenya and worked with Botswana’s National AIDS Coordinating Agency.


August 20
Dr. Saamdu Chetri, Director Gross National Happiness Centre Bhutan

Dr. Saamdu Chetri is director of the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan, a symbolic demonstration of sustainable development. It is a place for Bhutanese and foreign visitors alike to be taught how to practice the values of gross national happiness in their daily life, work, community, country and the wider world. 

Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a holistic and sustainable approach to development which balances between material and non-material values with the conviction that humans want to search for happiness. The objective of GNH is to achieve a balanced development in all facets of life which is essential to our happiness. The goal of GNH is happiness. One of several means to achieve this goal is sustainable economic growth.



April 27
Claire Starkey, President of FINTRAC

A creative strategist and communications specialist, Claire manages Fintrac’s organizational development and provides leadership on its global initiatives. She advises staff and partners on best practices in agricultural development and collaborates with them to ensure that income-generation, nutrition, gender mainstreaming, and local capacity-building activities are integrated into all field programs with a focus on results to guarantee impact on farmers and farm families. She has worked with private and public sector clients in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and is frequently invited to speak at international symposia on agricultural sustainability. Before joining Fintrac, Claire designed and implemented technical and marketing activities for commercial companies, international trade associations, NGOs, USAID, and other donors.


April 20
Roopal Shah, Co-Founder of Indicorps

Roopal Shah is a co-founder of Indicorps and Ahmedabad Ultimate. Inspired by Gandhi's notion "My Life is My Message," Indicorps strives to reconnect the Indian diaspora to India through grassroots service. Ahmedabad Ultimate uses ultimate frisbee to promote physical fitness, positive gender interactions, and life-skills through sports. As part of her commitment to the region, Roopal Shah recently accepted a six-month assignment with to assist with Ashoka’s Bangladesh relaunch.

Roopal also believes that the way forward should be informed by indigenous wisdom and native peoples’ reverence for nature. In 2011, Roopal co-led the Hawaii Kakou Mural project on Oahu; the Hawaii Kakou Mural project created a 10x64 foot art mural with strong indigenous messaging to influence the 2011 Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) talks in Honolulu. Roopal has a law degree from the University of Michigan and 8 years as a practicing lawyer (including a stint as a federal prosecutor in San Diego). Roopal is an avid surfer and has deep respect for the ocean and other forces larger than self.

March 30
Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International

Zainab Salbi is the founder of Women for Women International and served as the organization's CEO from 1993 to 2011. Women for Women International is a grassroots humanitarian and development organization helping women survivors of wars rebuild their lives. Since 1993, the organization has helped 316,000 women survivors of wars access social and economic opportunities through a program of rights awareness training, vocational skills education and access to income generating opportunities, thereby ultimately contributing to the political and economic health of their communities.

Zainab Salbi is the author of two books; a national bestseller "Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam” (with Laurie Becklund) that documents her life under Saddam Hussein’s rule and “The Other Side of War: Women's Stories of Survival and Hope." Her work has been featured in major media outlets, including 8 appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Zainab Salbi has been honored by Former President Bill Clinton for her work in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993 and was most recently nominated by Former President Clinton as one of the Harper’s Bazaar 21st Century Heroines to honor her actions, faith and determination in making a difference. She is the recipient of the 2010 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award and was named one of 22 members of the Clinton Global Initiative Lead program, which brings together a select group of accomplished young leaders to develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, among many others. Additionally, in 2011 Zainab Salbi was named one of the Top 100 Women: Activists and Campaigners by The Guardian and was highlighted as a Female Faith Heroine by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Also in 2011, Zainab Salbi was named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of the 100 Extraordinary Women who Shake the World and was identified by the Economist Intelligence Unit as one of the most inspirational women in the world. Zainab Salbi is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and is a member of the UN Secretary General’s Civil Society Advisory Group focusing on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Zainab Salbi has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University.


March 23
Jessica Robbins, PCI-Media Impact and the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA)

Jessica’s focus is on all islands all the time! Jessica supports the coordination of strategic communication initiatives that use Media Impact’s Entertainment-Education approach to stimulate behavior change around priority issues in Caribbean and other island regions. Jessica has a unique dual role that helps to advance the mission of the Global Island Partnership to promote action for island conservation and sustainable livelihoods. PCI Media Impact is please to co-fund this position with other partners.

Prior to joining PCI Media Impact and the Global Island Partnership in January 2011, Jessica spent three years working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre based in Suva, Fiji Islands. Her core experience is in knowledge management, specifically in implementing systems to improve the sharing of knowledge between the Pacific and small island states globally to enhance development effectiveness. Jessica is originally from the island state of Tasmania, Australia and has a strong drive towards conservation of islands, globally.


March 23
Sean Southey, PCI-Media Impact

Sean is deeply committed to community empowerment and using creative media to facilitate powerful social change. A resourceful manager with over 20 years of experience in the development and communications field, Sean comes to Media Impact from a multi-sector background including 12 years with the United Nations
Development Programme, 5 years with the Canadian government and 4 years working with international non- government organizations such as ICLEI (Secretary General) and Rare (Vice-President).

Sean is a dual Canadian and South African citizen and has lived and worked in over 70 countries. He holds a MSC from the London School of Economics and a BA in Economics from University of British Columbia, and has a wonderful daughter, Safia. 


February 17
Brenda Pearson, UN REACH

Brenda Pearson has designed and implemented donor assistance programs for the United Nations, USAID, World Bank and OSCE in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South Asia and the Balkans.  Ms. Pearson is an expert on governance, post-conflict stabilization operations, decentralization of public services and building multi-stakeholder partnerships and strategic alliances with government, civil society and donors.  Ms. Pearson served on the international technical teams that drafted the national Poverty Reduction Strategies for Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia in the early 2000s, which were closely linked to the establishment of the new Millennium Development agenda and goals.  She served as Advisor to the United States National Security Council's Task Forces for Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina and was a Sr. Congressional Research Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.  She is the author of two books on development assistance in the context of reducing inter-ethic and religious conflict, dozens of publications and presentations. She speaks English, Italian, Arabic and French.   She holds Masters’ degrees from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in economics and international relations and has completed doctoral research in area of governance and public policy studies at the University of Maastricht. 


February 10
Dr. Roy E. Brown, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Dr. Roy Brown has conducted field work in over 40 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. His career has primarily been devoted to medical research and field investigations in pediatrics. He has served as an advisor to universities and governments and has supervised students and junior faculty in various countries. He received his medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and also trained in public health and international health, both at the University of North Carolina and at London University. He currently co-teaches an elective course in the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health titled: International Maternal and Child Health and also serves as an advisory board member for the Carter Center’s Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative.


February 3
Merble Reagon, Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement

Merble is Executive Director of the Women’s Center for Education and Career Advancement in New York City. The Women’s Center was established as a program of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. in 1970 to meet the workforce development needs of women who had a marginal relationship to the paid work force and continues to help low-income women and their families achieve economic security. Ms. Reagon has worked for more than 35 years to create greater opportunities for low-wage workers in the business and public sectors. Her current work includes introduction and promotion of the groundbreaking Self-Sufficiency Standard for the City of New York and the enthusiastically welcomed web-based New York City Self-Sufficiency Calculator. These economic development tools have been distributed to and are being used by thousands of caseworkers and counselors at 300+ social service agencies across the five boroughs of New York City to calculate how much income it takes for families to live and work in the City. The Calculator screens working families’ eligibility for federal, state and city work supports and tax credits. Ms Reagon has held leadership positions with national, regional, state and local employment and training organizations. She has received numerous awards including the Ellen Lurie Award from the Community Service Society in recognition of her efforts on behalf of the poor, the Susan B. Anthony Award from NOW NYC and the Wiser Hero Award in 2003 from the Women’s Institute for Secure Economic Retirement. Her current community involvement gives her opportunities to “give back” to the City that has made her life so much richer and includes the following board memberships:  NYC Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Issues, Wider Opportunities for Women, New York State Defenders Association, the Justice Fund, Westbeth Artists Housing, the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, and the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund. She is a graduate of Smith College and the New York University School of Law.


January 27
Maha Bahamdoun, UN General Assembly

Maha Bahamdoun is a development professional with extensive experience in programme and policy design. Her career has covered South Asia, the Arab States and Africa. In addition to working at UNDP headquarters in Geneva and NY she served in Malawi as UNDP’s Country Director and in Nigeria as the Programme Director of the Democratic Governance for Development Programme. Her broad experience includes advocacy for the achievement of the MDGs, the design of strategies and initiatives to address livelihood and food security concerns for communities, including those emerging from conflict, addressing the poverty and environment nexus and adaptation to climate change. She has participated in large scale assessments of development results in countries such as Egypt and Syria. She was a member of the UN country team in Malawi that piloted the Delivering as One approach as part of the broader UN effort to make the UN more effective and efficient at the country level. She is currently Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development to the President of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly.





December 2
Garry Conille, Prime Minister of Haiti

Garry Conille served as Prime Minister of Haiti from September 2011 to February 2012. A gynecology and obstestirics specialist, Mr. Conille developed and implemented a primary care system for the poor in Haiti with the Haitian Association for the National Development from Jully 1994 to June 1998. Following this, Prime Minister Conille served as a project/program officer with the UNFPA in the United Nations from 1999 to 2002 and later as a technical advisor to Population Services International (PSI) Haiti. In 2006, Mr. Conille served as a technical advisor to the UN on the Millenium Development Goals. And in 2007 he returned to UNFPA as Chief Tecnical Advisor for the Africa Region and Global Program Coordinator for the security of inputs into reproductive health. After the earthquake in 2010, Mr. Conille was asked to serve as the Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Haiti.

Read more about Mr. Conille's visit to Columbia University. 


November 18
David R. Hirsch, World Vision

Dean R. Hirsch is the global ambassador of World Vision International (WVI). In this role, he represents new international President and CEO Kevin Jenkins and a global partnership committed to serving the human needs of the world’s poor, especially children. Last year, WVI raised US $2.6 billion to assist about 100 million people in 98 countries through its relief, development and advocacy programmes. Hirsch, who was WVI president from 1996 through September 2009, is now charged with representing the president and the partnership on internal boards and with UN agencies, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and major donors. A veteran of world trouble spots including Somalia and North Korea, Hirsch has worked extensively in disaster and post-conflict situations. He has helped set up famine relief in Ethiopia, AIDS prevention work in Africa and Asia, and peace building programmes in countries such as Bosnia, Rwanda and El Salvador. Prior to his appointment as WVI president in 1996, Hirsch served as chief operating officer, vice president for development and vice president for relief operations. He joined World Vision in 1976 as manager of computer operations. He holds a master of science degree from Indiana State University and a bachelor of arts and an honorary doctorate from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He was also awarded honorary doctorates from Pepperdine University (2006), Eastern University of Pennsylvania (2001) and Myongji University in Seoul, Korea (1999).


November 11
Ian Hopewood, UNICEF

Ian Hopewood's extensive development experience in programming, evaluation, policy analysis and advocacy mainly in the areas of health, education, social policy, child protection and poverty reduction has been acquired through more than thirty years of field assignments in Africa, Asia, and the Arab Gulf States.  He was a UNICEF Representative on three occasions – in Senegal, Guinea and Zambia and has been actively involved in aid effectiveness and UN reform processes, including implementation of the Paris Declaration, national poverty reduction strategies, MDG plans, and results based programming approaches.  As Chief of Evaluation at UNICEF HQ (1996-2000) he lead development of evaluation policies and procedures, and commissioned and/or coordinated major evaluations.  He is committed to improving evaluation practice and organizational learning, and  bridging the gap between research and action.


November 4
David Hursh, Earth Institute

David Hursh’s teaching and research aims to improve education by analyzing current educational policies and practices and engaging in projects to transform schooling. His current educational reform projects focus on education for environmental sustainability and teaching history to young children. During the past two summers, Hursh traveled to Kampala, Uganda, where he taught primary school students about environmental sustainability (energy) and environmental health (air and water pollution). During his most recent trip, he also visited the Millennium Village project in Ruhiira, southwest Uganda. He is currently a Visiting Research Scholar at the Earth Institute.

In some of his most recent writing, Hursh describes the connection between our current environmental crises (global warming, resource depletion, and toxins in our environment), with economic and educational policies (see his chapter, “Rethinking the State: Responding to the Economic, Educational and Environmental Crises” in Critical Civic Education: A Reader). He suggests that responding to these problems will require an integrated approach transforming how we think about governance, the economy, education, and the environment. His co-authored book (with Camille Martina), Teaching Environmental Health to Children: An Interdisciplinary Approach, was just published by Springer Press.

His previous book, High-Stakes Testing and the Decline of Teaching and Learning (Roman & Littlefield), examines the rise of high-stakes testing in states like Texas and New York, and at the federal level with No Child Left Behind within larger debates about the purposes of education and the nature of society. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


October 28
Barbara Magnoni, EA Consultants

Ms. Magnoni is the President of EA Consultants. An international development advisor with over 15 years of international finance and development experience, she has an extensive background in financial market financing and investments, having worked on Wall Street for seven years where she worked for Goldman, Sachs, Chase and BBVA as a fixed income research strategist, covering external and local financial and currency markets in Latin America. Since 2000 she has been working in economic development programs with a strong focus in Lain America. Much of Ms. Magnoni’s recent work has had a strong focus on understanding clients, their needs and their preferences and linking these into the development of products and programs to improve access to finance, markets and social protection for low income segments. She was lead analyst and trainer on a one year activity for Pro Mujer International that aimed to strengthen and centralize its current client information and feedback loop, the organization’s client culture, product development and credit risk management process through sophisticated quantitative and qualitative techniques. She also performed extensive analysis of the market and client needs in Nicaragua, where she worked closely with Banex, a former MSME financial institution. On this project, she performed data mining exercises, market segmentation work, and a study of client satisfaction and demand. She has designed microinsurance programs for a number of institutions, networks and government agencies including REDCAMIF (the Central American Microfinance Network); INISER (Nicaragua’s largest insurer) and most recently FOSIS (A Chilean government social protection program). In 2010, she co-authored an extensive study prepared for the IDB/FOMIN on the constraints to business growth for women microentrepreneurs. Ms. Magnoni holds a Masters degree from Columbia University in International Affairs. She is fluent in Spanish, English and Italian.


October 14
Shulamith Koenig, PDHRE

Shulamith Koenig is Founding President of PDHRE, the People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning.  This non-profit organization is working with educators, social justice groups, human rights experts, community leaders and the media to make learning about human rights as a way of life an on-going activity in all areas of learning and at all levels of society. In 2003, Koenig received the UN Prize in the field of Human Rights.

Koenig has worked tirelessly to author the United Nations Decade of Human Rights Education, and the International Year for Human Rights Learning, which have helped lead the process to strengthen democracy as a delivery system of human rights. For the last twenty years she has provided consultations and workshops with educators, civil society organizations working on economic and social justice, human rights advocates and community leaders in more than 60 countries.


October 7
Manuel Rodriguez-Becerra, Universidad de los Andes

Manuel Rodríguez-Becerra is Professor of Environmental Policy and Public Management at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and works as Senior International Consultant on issues of environmental policy. Previously, he was Academic Vice-President and Dean of the Faculties of Management and of Arts and Sciences at los Andes. He holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad de los Andes and a Master’s Degree in Management Studies from Oxford University.  Prof. Rodríguez was the very first Minister of Environment in Colombia (1994) and Chairman of INDERENA between 1990 and 1994. From 1996 to 1999 and from 2004 to 2005, he presided over the United Nations Forum on Forests and was a member of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development. Currently, he is a member of the World Bank’s Forest Adviser Council, an active advisor to the Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman of the International Finance Corporation, Chair of the National Environment Forum and representative of the ecological sector at the National Planning Council (2002-2010) in Colombia.


September 30
Dr. John D. Shilling, World Bank

John D. Shilling has spent his career promoting economic development and encouraging sustainability.  He earned his PhD in Economics from MIT in 1971, taught at Boston College, advised the Moroccan government in national planning, and worked nearly 30 years at the World Bank.  His work at the World Bank covered research into key development issues, developing national country planning models, managing country programs in North Africa and East Asia, and leading the World Bank’s efforts in the Brady Plan to assist highly indebted countries come through the debt crisis.  He laid the basis for the World Development Report program, helped Morocco reform its economy while resolving its debt problem, and authored Managing Capital Flows in East Asia (1996), which highlighted the issues that led to the Asian financial crisis in 1997.  Following the crisis, he led the Public Expenditure Review in Indonesia to help restructure the economy after the crisis.  He was the Secretary to the Policy and Operations Committees of the Managing Directors 1996-1998, and served on the Bank-Fund Coordinating Committee for financial sector reviews. 

Over his career,  Dr. Shilling has increasingly focused attention on achieving sustainable development and integrating the environment into development planning.  He headed the World Bank’s effort to create a new Environmental Strategy and launched the World Development Report on Sustainable Development for 2002/3.  He wrote the World Bank’s first evaluation of its environmental program in 2001 and was peer reviewer of the second evaluation that was completed in 2008. 

After leaving the World Bank, he has worked with a number of environmental NGOs, including World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, The Carter Center, and the Millennium Institute, where he is currently the Chairman of the Board, to promote sustainable development and protect the environment.  He consults for UN agencies (including UNCTAD, UNDP and UNEP) and the World Bank, where he recently completed an intensive study on the Infrastructure-Environment Nexus for the Group of Evaluation Units of the major Development Banks.


September 23
Tom Arnold, Concern Worldwide

Tom Arnold is CEO of Concern Worldwide, Ireland’s largest humanitarian organization.  Concern focuses on helping the poorest people in the world’s poorest countries transform their lives.  Since he was appointed CEO of Concern in October, 2001, he has led the organization through a period of growth in budgets, operations, innovation and influence. During this time, he has also served as a Member of the Consortium Board of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, Vice-Chair of Trans Atlantic Food Aid Dialogue, Governor and Director of the Irish Times newspaper and a Member of the International Food Policy Research Institute’s 2020 Advisory Board.   Additionally, he was Chair of the European Food Security Group from 2005 to 2010, a Member of the Advisory Board for the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund from 2006 to 2009 and a Member of UN Millennium Project’s Hunger Task Force from 2003 to 2005.

Prior to his work at Concern, Tom was chief economist (1988 to 1993) and assistant secretary general (1993 to 2001) with the Irish Department of Agriculture and Food.  He led a major program that involved the certification of the department as an EU Paying Agency, responsible for accounting of €2 billion annually. Tom also has held various influential roles throughout his career including Administrator in the Directorate General for Agriculture in the European Commission, Agricultural advisor to the European Commission delegation to the Ivory Coast and Malawi, Chair of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Committee of Agriculture and Chair of EuronAid.

Tom holds a degree in agricultural economics from University College Dublin and has master’s degrees in business administration and strategic management from the Catholic University of Louvain and Trinity College Dublin, respectively.  He was one of a handful of distinguished Irish people to receive honorary doctorates from the National University of Ireland in 2009 and he also received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from University College Dublin.


September 9
Dr. Robert S. Ziegler, IRRI

Bob Ziegler is the chief executive officer (CEO) of IRRI. As CEO, he sets the Institute’s strategic direction. He is also a passionate spokesperson on a wide range of issues that affect rice growers and consumers worldwide. His professional life began in the early 1970s as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire.  His field positions have spanned Africa, Latin America, US, and Asia.  Bob has had a productive research career on diseases of rice that focused on host-plant resistance, pathogen and vector population genetics, and their interactions to develop durable resistance and sustainable disease management practices. As Bob's career moved increasingly towards research management his interests expanded to include broader crop management issues, the social forces shaping the agricultural environment, and finally the economic and political arena that frames food security and poverty issues. He has published over 100 scientific works in these areas and often serves as an expert resource on rice security in the regional and global media. Bob is also the founding chairman of the board of the IRRI Fund Singapore, an incorporated nonprofit charitable organization established to raise the profile of international rice research and generate funding for it. He also serves on the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board.



April 22
Wade Channell, USAID

Wade Channell, J.D., is a Senior Legal Reform Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development.  He currently works for the Economic Growth Office where he heads up much of the Agency’s thinking on business enabling environment issues as part of the Trade and Investment Team. After practicing international commercial law for eight years (in Brazil and New York), Wade began a series of downwardly mobile but highly rewarding career choices in international development.  He has spent the past 18 years working on economic development issues, especially where development and law intersect.  Wade has lived in Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Croatia (where he was president of AmCham) and Belgium, and has worked in more than 40 other countries, including Afghanistan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Pakistan and South Sudan.  He lives with his ridiculously gracious wife in Northern Virginia; together they have dragged their two daughters around the world before sending them off to college, where they now reside.


April 15
Lisa Dreier, World Economics Forum (WEF)

Lisa Dreier is Director of Food Security and Development Initiatives at the World Economic Forum USA in New York, where she works to strengthen public-private collaboration to improve global food sustainability. She manages the Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative and its Global Agenda Council on Food Security. Her previous assignments at the Forum included managing the Global Governance Initiative; co-founding the Business Alliance Against Chronic Hunger and Humanitarian Relief initiatives; contributing to the Financing for Development initiative; and authoring/co-authoring 5 reports on the role of the private sector in various aspects of development. She previously worked in concurrent positions as Manager of the UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force and Associate Director of the Tropical Agriculture Program at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Prior to that Lisa worked on a variety of sustainable development issues as a consultant to the North American Development Bank and the World Bank; as a staff member with the Environmental Defense Fund; as an advisor to NGOs in the U.S., South America and Asia; and as a journalist in the US and Asia. She holds an M.A. in Energy and Resources and an M.P.P. in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. from Bowdoin College. She has lived and worked in South America, South Asia, Africa, Europe and the USA.


February 18
Lucie Edwards, Unviersity of Waterloo

Lucie Edwards joined the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs in 1976 and retired in December 2009 as Chief Strategist and Head of its Office for Transformation. She is currently a candidate for a doctorate in Global Governance, specializing in science and environmental policy, at the University of Waterloo. Throughout her career she has specialized in planning and implementing Canadian development projects. Mrs. Edwards has also served as a consultant and adviser on rural development for a number of international organizations, notably within the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research. She served as Chair of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) from 1999 to 2003. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the African Centre for Insect Science (icipe). She is a graduate of Trent University (BA, history and economics) and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (Masters’ in Public Administration).


February 11
Stephan Bognar, Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation (MJP)

In his role as CEO, Bognar designs, implements and manages MJP’s global community and conservation portfolios. Before joining MJP, Bognar worked for both WildAid USA and WildAid Cambodia, an international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to fighting the illegal wildlife and timber trade. He worked as a field agent and international senior officer. Bognar started his international career at the United Nations (UNIDO) in Vienna, Austria in 1993. Following his work in Vienna, he spent over 10 years working as an environmental, health and safety consultant around the globe. He has a master's degree in International Law from the University of Vienna (Austria) and a bachelor's degree in Political Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 2001, Bognar continued his studies in Sustainable Development with a focus on conservation at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.


February 4
Anahi Ayala Iacucci, New Media Consultant

Anahi Ayala Iacucci graduated from SIPA in May 2010, and holds a BA in International Affairs and a Master in Human Rights from the University of Padova. Anahi has previously worked in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a human rights monitor for a joint Israeli-Palestinian NGO, in Nairobi-Kenya as a Refugee Officer, in Chiapas-Mexico as an International Observer and in Italy and the OPT as a journalist. More recently, Anahi has consulted for NGOs and international organizations on the use of the ICT4D, new technologies and crisis mapping. Clients include She previously advised UN OCHA Iraq Inter-Agency Information and Analysis Unit, the NGO Alliance Guinea, Internews Network in Kenya on the use of FrontlineSMS:Medic and PatientView for Health Workers in the slum of Korogocho in Nairobi, in addition to advising the local Internews office on the uses of the Ushahidi and FronlineSMS to create a network of Radio Station and independent journalist in Nairobi. Anahi is currently working on a comprehensive guide projects on the Ushahidi platform, and will be relocating soon in Kenya where she will be a ICT4D consultant for Internews Network covering Kenya, Chad, Sudan and DRC and also a Crowdsourcing and Information Specialists for the World Bank covering East Africa. In the spare time Anahi is the co-founder and volunteer Coordinator of the Standby task Force, and had worked on the Jan30Sudan Crowdmap platform, PakReport, a Ushahidi deployment to track needs related to the floods on Pakistan, the Yesi Australian crowdmap, and the U-Shahid Freedom House project to monitor elections in Egypt, the Tunisian Sidibundiz platform and has been the co-Director of the Ushahidi [email protected] project since its deployment in February 2010. Anahi blogs at and can be reached at [email protected]





December 10
Eric Pohlman, One Acre Fund

Eric is the Rwanda Country Director for One Acre Fund, and has been with One Acre since 2007. He studied at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and the University of Cheik Anti Diop in Dakar, Senegal. Eric began his work in development in Mbale, Uganda where he redesigned household biogas digesters for a Ugandan NGO. From 2004 - 2006, Eric served the Cameroonian village of Tourou as a Peace Corps Volunteer, where he and his counterpart started a local NGO that continues work today in well-construction and water sanitation. Eric founded the program in Rwanda.


December 3
Tatiana Wah, Earth Institute

Tatiana Wah directs the Haiti Policy Program at the Earth Institute, Columbia University and is the Development Policy Advisor to the Government of Haiti. Before joining the Earth Institute, she was a professor of urban policy and development at Milano Graduate School, the New School for Management and Urban Policy. She specializes in regional and local development planning and developing nations, with a focus on small developing nations development policy. She has worked in Haiti with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation as the Privatization Program Administrator for the Government of Haiti. She has consulted for Caspian Associates where she has worked on common national development vision planning for UAE and Caspian region states. She has published two books focusing on Haitian development issues: Haiti’s Development through Expatriate Reconnection: Conditions and Challenges and In Search of Consensus after 200 years: Haiti’s Social System Structure and Development Challenge. She currently lives in Haiti.


November 12
Jessica Fanzo, Bioversity International

Dr. Jessica Fanzo is a Senior Scientist for Nutrition at Bioversity International, one of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres in Rome Italy. Before coming to Bioversity, Jessica served as the Nutrition Coordinator for the Millennium Villages Project and the Nutrition Director for the Center for Global Health and Economic Development (CGHED) at The Earth Institute, Columbia University in New York City from 2007 to 2010. In 2009, she was also the Regional Nutrition Advisor for East and Southern Africa at the Millennium Development Goal Centre at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. From 2004 to 2007, Jessica was the Program Officer for Medical Research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focusing on HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Her PhD in Nutrition was completed in 2000 from the University of Arizona, and was a Stephen I Morse Immunology Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University until 2004.



April 23
Dr. Elizabeth King, Earth Institute

Dr. Elisabeth King (PhD, University of Toronto 2008) is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Earth Institute, associated with the Department of Political Science and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). She works on issues at the intersection of development, conflict and peacebuilding in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent projects in Rwanda and Liberia focus on examining how presumed social goods – such as education and development – may also contribute to conflict. Elisabeth also teaches an undergraduate study-abroad course in Kenya on conflict and peacebuilding in Africa.


April 9
Susan Blaustein, Millennium Cities Initiative

Dr. Susan M. Blaustein is co-director of the Millennium Cities Initiative and a director of the non-profit Millennium Promise. Prior to her work with the Earth Institute, Columbia University, she was a senior consultant and analyst with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank focused on conflict prevention, and with the Coalition for International Justice, a Washington-based NGO supporting the efforts of international criminal tribunals to prosecute gross human rights abusers in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, East Timor and Sierra Leone. Blaustein also reported on conflict, politics and economics from the Balkans and Southeast Asia for such publications as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Her doctorate is from Yale, she was a Junior Fellow at Harvard, she did graduate work at Brandeis University and the Conservatoire de Liege and she graduated from Pomona College. Blaustein is currently finishing a book about the Rwandan genocide.


February 12
Tony Barclay, Development Practitioners Forum

Tony Barclay teaches a course in SIPA’s MPA in Development Practice program that focuses on practical management skills for development professionals. For 30 years, Barclay served as a senior executive at DAI, an employee-owned international development consulting firm with 2,500 employees working in more than 50 countries. He joined DAI’s development consulting staff in 1977, moved into a senior management role in 1979, and served as CEO from 1999 until his retirement in January 2009.  With support from DAI, Barclay created an interactive knowledge-sharing tool for development practitioners that is now supported by the Earth Institute, housed on the Quora platform, and managed by a team of MDA-DP students. Barclay was honored as the Greater Washington DC Government Contractor Executive of the Year in 2008. He chairs the boards of the National Peace Corps Association and Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., an employee-owned public health research firm, and serves on several other company and nonprofit boards, including DAI’s.  He received a B.A. in History from Yale University in 1967, and an M.Phil. (1976) and Ph.D. (1977) in Applied Anthropology from Teachers College at Columbia University.


January 22
Rustom Masalawala, Millennium Promise

Rustom Masalawala is the Director of Business Development at Millennium Promise and a Research Associate at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He brings a combination of public/private sector experience to the challenges of advancing business development in the Millennium Villages Project. In his prior job Mr. Masalawala worked as the Health Portfolio Manager at Acumen Fund, a leading Social Venture Organization. He has also served as a consultant to a number of organizations working in the developing world.  Mr. Masalawala holds a Bachelors in Physics/Math from the University of Mumbai, a Masters in Computer Science from SUNY and a Diploma in Business Management from Xaviers University.





December 11
Matt Berg, Millennium Villages Project

Matt Berg is a technology practitioner with over 10 years experience living and working in Africa. Matt currently serves as the ICT Coordinator for the Millennium Villages Project based out of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is responsible for overseeing the design and implementation of ICT activities across the fourteen Millennium Villages sites in Africa. Prior to joining MVP, Matthew was the Director of the Geekcorps’ Mali Program, a USAID funded project aimed at improving access to information to rural areas of Mali. With his local Malian staff and international volunteers, Matt oversaw programs that involved bringing innovative ICT services to rural villages, via the Last Mile Initiative, supporting community radio stations and developing innovative appropriate technologies ranging from low cost wifi networking systems to an offline version of Wikipedia. Matt also served as a Geekcorps’ Volunteer in Senegal after getting his MBA from Thunderbird. A recovering web developer, Matt is actively engaged in the development of RapidSMS platform, which MVP is currently piloting to monitor for malnutrition and malaria in children in Kenya.


December 4
Sonila Cook, Dalberg Global Development Advisors

Sonila is a Partner in Dalberg's New York office and leads Dalberg's Energy and Environment practice. She advises leading multilateral organizations, government agencies, companies and NGOs in the areas of strategy, organizational effectiveness, and public-private partnerships. Her experience spans a broad range of development topics including energy and environment, humanitarian assistance, governance, and economic development. Prior to joining Dalberg, Sonila worked for McKinsey & Company, where she served organizations in the financial, non-profit and media sectors. She holds an MBA from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Harvard University.


November 20
Antony Bugg-Levine, Rockefeller Foundation

Antony Bugg-Levine joined the Rockefeller Foundation in New York in January 2007. Among other responsibilities, he leads the Foundations Initiative on Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing that seeks to help catalyze an efficient industry that can deploy investment capital to complement philanthropy in solving social challenges at scale. Prior to joining Rockefeller, he served as the Country Director of the international NGO TechnoServe in Nairobi, Kenya where he helped to design and implement business solutions to rural poverty focused on smallholder farmer economic integration and consulting to medium-scale enterprises. Earlier in his career, as a consultant with McKinsey, he focused in financial services and healthcare. A native of South Africa, he served in the late 1990s as the communications director at the South African Human Rights Commission and as a speechwriter and media strategist for the African National Congress's 1999 election campaign. He is an associate adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School where he teaches Business Innovations in International Development. Bugg-Levine is a graduate of Yale College and earned an MPA focused on Economic Development from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School.


November 13
Michael Landau, MAP International

Mr. Landau is a global entrepreneur who has built a portfolio of successful ventures in real estate, mortgage banking, information and communication technologies, and advanced banking solutions. He also serves as Chairman of MAP Internationals sister company, MAPcash, a new-model debit card issuer for consumers in emerging markets. Mr. Landau is a former board member of Regalian PLC, and has a longstanding strategic alliance with Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC), the world's largest philatelic agency. He received his bachelor's degree from the London School of Economics and a master's degree in real estate developmentand finance from New York University. He received his law degree from Yeshiva University's Cardoza School of Law and is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.


October 30
Lan Xue, Tsinghua University

Dr. Lan Xue is a professor and Dean of the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University. His teaching and research interests include Science & Technology, innovation policy, and crisis management. Dr. Xue has a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and taught at the George Washington University before returning back to China in 1996. He has served as a consultant for the World Bank, APEC and other international organizations, and acted as a policy adviser for many Chinese government agencies. He currently serves as a Vice President of the China Association of Public Administration, Vice President of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology Policy, and Vice Chairman of the National Steering Committee for MPA Education. He is also a member of the Visiting Committee for Harvard Kennedy School, a member of the international advisory board for UNU-MERIT, Vice Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Catastrophic Risks of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and a member of the Board of Governors.


October 16
Steven Wisman, Millennium Villages Project

Steven Wisman is the Director of Operations for the Millennium Villages Project. Working in collaboration with Millennium Promise's key partners for this sustainable development initiative - Columbia University's Earth Institute (EI) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) - his responsibilities include management oversight, operational support, and partnership development services for the project's local management teams. Previously, Mr. Wisman worked for two international nongovernmental organizations, OICI and IFESH, over a 22-year period in a variety of positions. During this time, 11 years were spent based in South Africa (2001-2002), Liberia (1998-2000), and Sierra Leone (1989-1995). Mr. Wisman has a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a concentration in International Economics and Development, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Claremont McKenna College. He was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Agadez, Niger.


October 2
C.J. Jones, The MDG Centre

Dr. CJ Jones is Country Manager for GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). She has lived and worked in east and southern Africa since 1989. During this time, CJ has held a variety of high-level private sector positions including technical consultant to privatization in Zambia, lead local consultant for the privatization of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, founder director of the Lusaka Stock Exchange, founder director of African Plantations Corporation, and director of several Zambian commercial banks. CJ also established her own investment company and developed a reputation for management of businesses and business opportunities at the cutting edge of African industry, raising considerable amounts of new foreign investment capital in the process. An Australian citizen, CJ received her professional qualifications at both Sydney University and Wollongong University. CJ is also a qualified educator with postgraduate qualifications in Education as well as Administration and Finance


October 9
Leigh Winowiecki, Earth Institute

Leigh Winowiecki is a postdoctoral fellow with the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the link between soil formation and biogeochemical cycling of plant nutrients in agricultural landscapes. She received her Ph.D. in soil science jointly from the University of Idaho and CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza) in Turrialba, Costa Rica. At the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program, where she is working with Drs. Pedro Sanchez and Cheryl Palm, Dr. Winowiecki will contribute to the African Soil Information Service (AfSIS) project, which will digitally map and predict imperative soil properties of 18.1 million square kilometers of sub-Saharan Africa.


September 25
Masahisa Kogure, Table for Two International

Masa Kogure is the founder and President of TABLE FOR TWO International, a Japanese organization that promotes public health on a global scale by simultaneously addressing hunger in the developing world, and obesity and other lifestyle-related health issues in the developed world. Kogure is the author of "Connecting the World With Twenty Yen," a hands-on guide to social entrepreneurship in Japan and globally. He received a Bachelor’s in Engineering from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan and a Masters of Engineering from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. As an engineer, Kogure conducted research within the medical field, including the investigation of a new type of artificial heart valve.