Cohort Five (2019)
Saira Najeeb Ahmed
Saira is a civil servant with more than twenty years of service to the federal government of Pakistan. While serving in the Economic Affairs Division and Finance Division of the Ministry of Finance, Saira has worked with the World Bank, DfID, CIDA, AusAid, USAID and other bilateral and multilateral development agencies on development projects in Pakistan.
She has experience of financial markets while working on Pakistan’s IPO’s at London Stock Exchange and Sukuk bonds launched by government of Pakistan. Saira has served on the boards of SAARC Development Fund, Pakistan Security Printing Corporation and the ECO Trade & Development Bank, Istanbul.
She has worked for more than ten years on trade policy, development and promotion during her assignments at the Ministry of Commerce and has also served on a diplomatic assignment as Economic and Trade Counsellor at Pakistan High Commission, London. She has experience of working with the power sector at the Water & Power Development Authority and currently serves as Director General, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority Pakistan. Saira completed her MSc in Finance and Financial Law from SOAS in 2009.
Leigh Crowley currently works as a Project Associate at the Government Outcomes (GO) Lab, an academic research centre within the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. The GO Lab’s research seeks to isolate the effects of impact bonds on tackling societies most complex and intractable social issues. His core responsibility is to support with the translation of the latest academic research into products that can be used by policymakers to inform their decision-making process.
Prior to joining the GO Lab, Leigh worked as a Business Development Officer for an international development consultancy specialising in social protection. In this role he coordinated the development of social policy intervention proposals in response to donor tenders.
Leigh’s research interest is the conception, causes and consequences of poverty. This includes poverty within UK as well as in low- and middle-income countries. He holds a MPA in International Development from the University of York, and a BA in Politics and International Development from the University of Kent.
Caroline Fazli is an independent development, education and social research consultant based in India. She has worked in research and programme coordination roles with NGOs—including Seva Mandir and Foundation for Advancement of Science—as well as working with a range of schools in India—from local community schools to international schools—to build institutional capacity and capability for learning and reflection.
Her experience includes directing an office working with youth coordinating empowerment initiatives at the grassroots; research for the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity; tutoring online graduate level courses related to social change with Lazos Learning Association; and working as a programme officer at the Office of Social and Economic Development at the Bahá’í World Centre (now the Bahá’í International Development Organization).
She holds an MA in Participation, Power and Social Change from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex. She is interested in exploring questions about how material, social and spiritual wellbeing relate and connect, and how inclusive process for collective generation of knowledge for development can be set in motion at all levels, from the grassroots up to spaces in which deliberation on policy occurs.
Laura Hilger is a commercial market researcher, specialising in strategic and evaluation research for the public sector. Having started in the commercial research world working with the likes of O2, Post Office and Phillips, she has since transitioned into a specialist in political, social and public sector research in the UK and abroad, with an emphasis on strategy, evaluation and research methodology.
She is currently an Associate Director at IFF Research, a specialist public sector research agency, working mainly in the area of (international) higher education, employment and skills, and equality. Her most recent work has included numerous insight strategy and programme evaluations for the British Council, as well as projects for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Department for Education, and the Government Equalities Office (GEO). She is method neutral, with equal interest and skill in quantitative, qualitative and secondary research methods, and has conducted research in over 30 countries globally, most recently Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Laura has a BA International Relations from the University of Sussex and an MSc Social Research Methods (Government) from the London School of Economics.
Javed Ahmed Malik
Javed Ahmed Malik was born in rural Punjab and has worked on social transformation programmes for the past 20 years in all four provinces of Pakistan as well as in South Sudan, Tanzania, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan with major development organizations and UN system. Based in Islamabad, he is now Pakistan Director of Democracy Reporting International, a Berlin based organisation working with the parliaments of emerging democracies to improve human rights.
Javed led DFID's largest £450M education programme in the world in Punjab for seven years (2009-16) while leading Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif's Education Reform roadmap along with partners like McKinsey & Company, the World Bank and Government of Punjab's department of Education, Finance and Planning and Developments with game changing results on ground. The Punjab Education Sector Programme became DFID’s flagship programme in the world to showcase a rapid transformational progress in a system of 54, 000 schools while bringing two million out-of-school children back to school and improving learning levels with major efficiency gains in the school management system, which has been praised by UK’s Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) and International Development Committee of the British parliament.
Javed studied at Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USA, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and School of Economics, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Javed is author of several independent reports and a book, ‘Transforming Villages (2018) How grassroots democracy can end rural poverty at a rapid pace’.
Kerri Manning is a Policy Analyst in Emergency Management at Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, the Federal Department responsible for keeping Canadians safe from a range of risks such as natural disasters, crime and terrorism. Over her career in Government, Kerri has worked with international, national and local partners to advance key emergency management files, including Ministerial and international priorities.
Kerri is currently the lead analyst on Canada’s first ever Federal Provincial and Territorial Strategy for Emergency Management in Canada, which charts a collaborative, whole-of-society roadmap to strengthening Canada’s ability to assess risks, prevent/mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
Tigere Muzenda is a seasoned banker with 24 years' experience in the financial sector. He works as an Investment Officer in the Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services department at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank.
He is based in Nairobi, Kenya, and covers all of the East African Community countries. Between 2012 and mid-2015, Tigere was stationed at the IFC office in Juba, South Sudan but relocated to Kenya following the civil war and continued insecurity in South Sudan. Prior to joining IFC in 2012, Tigere was employed for four years in Kenya as a Senior Investment Officer, Project Finance at the Trade and Development Bank, a development finance institution owned by member countries of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA). Before moving to Kenya in 2007, Tigere had worked for several banks in Zimbabwe moving up the ladder, ending up as Managing Director of Trust Financial Services, a deposit-taking and lending subsidiary of publicly-listed Trust Holdings Ltd.
Tigere graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics, as well as master’s in business administration. In July 2019, Tigere graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Master of Commerce degree in Development Finance.
A Ugandan national, Willy has spent a number of years working on security and risk management within the United Nations System. He is currently deployed as the Head of Security for the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) Syria Operation where he provides leadership and guidance to the security team to enable the implementation of WFP programmes in Syria including helping to deepen contextual understanding of the Syria crisis, and advising the WFP Country Management on risk management.
Prior to this assignment, he worked as the Regional Security Adviser for the WFP Regional Bureau in West and Central Africa, leading WFP Security teams in 19 countries including in the response to conflict related crises in Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon as well as the West Africa Ebola Viral Diseases crisis. He previously worked as a Security Analyst at WFP’s Headquarters in Rome, Italy; and as a Security Adviser for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Darfur and in Iraq as well as for the United Nations Department of Safety and Security in Uganda.
Willy graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Makerere University. He has a Master of Business Administration from Gulu University, an MA Peace and Conflict Studies from Makerere University and, a MSc Security and Risk Management from the University of Leicester.
Heidi is currently the Senior Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager (International Development) at the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This role involves leading on the monitoring, evaluation and learning needs of the Global Challenges Research Fund, a £1.5 billion fund by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses challenges faced by developing countries; and the Newton Fund, a £725 million fund by the UK government to develop science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and social welfare of partner countries.
Prior to this, Heidi was the Senior Evidence and Evaluation Manager (International Development) at UK Research and Innovation, similarly working the Global Challenges Research Fund. Before immigrating to the UK, Heidi was the Cambodia Programs Director at Oaktree, an Australian non-government organisation, where she oversaw the management and evaluation of Oaktree’s education programs in Cambodia. Heidi has a Master of Development Studies, specialising in evaluation, from the University of Melbourne.
Nidhi Sharma is a professional consultant in development evaluation, programme research, strategic planning and partnerships. A former United Nations Development Programme staff in New York, she has over 15 years of international work experience covering diverse themes, such as, poverty reduction, refugees' social protection, inclusive growth, private sector development, social policy related to women and child rights.
Since 2013, she has led numerous evaluations for various UN agencies, bi-lateral agencies and Governments in South-East Asia. In 2018, she wrote the global CSR policy, framework and implementation plan for a large multinational, and created a strategic plan for its corporate foundation aligned with SDGs. Earlier this year, she led an independent evaluation of a package of conditional cash transfer and psycho-social support programmes for a thousand families belonging to the bottom 40% income classification funded by the Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Nidhi is currently working for ILO Malaysia and conducting a needs assessment and mapping of existing services that reduce women migrant workers' vulnerability to abuse and exploitation. A citizen of India, Nidhi has a Masters degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University Bloomington, USA. She also holds professional accreditation in evaluation from Bern University, Switzerland.
After graduating from Nottingham University in 1991, Giles worked as a professional archaeologist for three years before gaining a commission in the Staffordshire Regiment. In this 19 year career he served on operations in Northern Ireland, Cyprus (United Nations), Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. After attending Staff College, he held a prestigious operations role in Headquarters 3 (United Kingdom) Division deploying to Iraq for the first time.
After his company command tour, with a second deployment to Iraq, Giles was appointed a senior instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst before deploying as the Military Assistant to the Deputy Commander of ISAF in Kabul. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel having commanded his Battalion in northern Germany and Afghanistan.
Giles worked for Help for Heroes for five years where he was responsible for the Tedworth House Recovery Centre and the delivery and development of services supporting wounded, injured and sick personnel, veterans and their families. In April 2018, he joined Wessex Archaeology as their Chief Strategy Officer. In this role he manages the Compliance, Quality, Human Resources, Communications and Marketing functions, and is developing long term diversification strategies for the Charity, including social prescribing heritage programmes.
Cohort Four (2018)
Ahmed Aref is an experienced Research and Policy Specialist with 12 years’ experience of working on interdisciplinary policy research, evidence-based policy development, impact assessment, advocacy and project management at national, regional and international levels. He currently works for the Qatar Foundation, and previous employers have included the UN Population Fund Arab States Regional Office; EU Program on Family and Child Rights and the Egyptian Prime Minister’s Office.
He earned his Master’s Degree in “International Studies – Development and Cooperation” from the Graduate School of International Studies, Korea University, in 2010. His research focuses on social policy, welfare and social protection, political economy, comparative politics, family policy, population and sustainable development. He also published policy-oriented papers on disability protection, education policy and practice, monitoring and evaluation under humanitarian circumstances and NGOs.
Ethar Eltinary is an independent policy design, development and innovation consultant. She has worked with the government of the UAE, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Leadership Development and a number of UN agencies in the MENA region. She began her career with Ernst & Young, has a Master’s degree in strategic human resource management, and is the owner of a start-up think tank addressing government innovation from a policy and design perspective.
Transferred to PhD in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences
Nicole DeSantis is a Programme Specialist and Policy Advisor at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York. She serves as the Coordinator of the Global Platform for the New York Declaration on Forests, a multi-stakeholder global partnership to end natural forest loss, protect and restore forests, and recognise the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to their lands and resources. She holds an MSc from the University of Oxford, School of Geography and the Environment.
James Georgalakis is Director of Communications and Impact at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, with overall leadership of the Institute’s policy engagement, research impact and communications strategies. James is also Director of the Impact Initiative for International Development Research, which seeks to maximise the impact of research funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for International Development Strategic Partnership.
Previous to joining IDS he spent a decade as an evidence based advocacy and policy communications practitioner in the NGO sector. His current work interests relate to exploring different modalities of knowledge brokerage and the social and interactive dynamics of evidence informed policy and practice.
Robert Maate is currently based in Tanzania, working for the International Monetary Fund as regional advisor. He has over ten years work experience, having previously worked for national governments and on establishment of a currency union among the East African Community member states. His graduate training in Uganda and the UK spans statistics, finance, economics and management.
Rabia Nusrat is a Regional Projects Manager for South Asia at International Alert, a UK-based peace building INGO. Rabia currently leads on Alert’s work in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The focus of her work over the past six years with Alert has been on engaging with the business sector on peace building, conflict-sensitive employment programmes, the role of diaspora social enterprises to support reconciliation efforts and conflict sensitive media reporting (with a focus on minority rights and religious extremism).
Before joining Alert, Rabia worked for British Asian Trust in London for three years, spearheading their work in Pakistan and managing their portfolio of education, health and livelihood projects in South Asia. She is an alumni of the University of Bath, and completed her MSc in International Policy Analysis in 2002.
Suren C. Tripathi
Suren Tripathi is a development professional with five years of experience in research, design, technical assistance and evaluation of international development programming. Currently based in Kenya, he has supported a range of stabilisation, state-building and peace-building interventions for Adam Smith International in Somalia since 2013. He is particularly interested in the political economy of state in fragile- and conflict-affected states and passionate about the role of ICT in improving government efficiency.
He has an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics, UK and a B.A. cum laude in Economics and Classics from Skidmore College, USA.
Wassim Said is a Consultant at the Prime Minister’s Office of the United Arab Emirates, with extensive prior experience at federal and state government agencies in the Levant and the Gulf across various policy areas spanning green economy, trade, defence, food security, and sustainable development. He has major research interests in Government 2.0, citizen-centric delivery, agile government, social accountability, innovation-led public-sector reform, national performance; and policy-shaping, regulation and enforcement post-4IR and leveraging ICT to create public value. He holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor degree in Computer and Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut.
Cohort Three (2017)
Abdulaziz Alhammadi is an energy engineer with a particular interest in renewable power generation. His working experience is mostly in the private sector and in the United Arab Emirates, where he is a co-founder of the Emirates Environmental Services Center. He has an MSc in Energy Engineering from Aachen University in Germany and has also completed the executive development programme at London Business School.
Mohamed Al Sharhan
Mohamed Al Sharhan is a civil engineer and civil servant in the government of the United Arab Emirates. His professional responsibilities have included keeping the traffic flowing in Dubai. He has Master’s degrees in Engineering from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi as well as Leadership and Innovation from Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
Baljit Banga is Director of the London Black Women’s Project, a human rights-based feminist organisation addressing all forms of violence against women and girls. She has also studied and worked in Canada, Guatemala, Scotland and the USA, and has an MSc in Housing Planning and Policy from Herriot Watt University.
Philippe Clerc is Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Oxfam in the Middle East and North Africa. He has more than twenty years of experience working for a range of humanitarian agencies in the region (as well as in Nepal and Sub-Saharan Africa) including Médecins Sans Frontières and Amnesty International. He has Master’s degrees in Humanitarian Work and International Policy from the Universities of Aix en Provence and Staffordshire.
Shaun Finnetty is an independent management consultant and development evaluator based in Belize, Central America. His professional work has included performance measurement, human resource management and organisational governance, and he currently works at the Belize Social Investment Fund. He has an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK and an MA in Geography and Environmental Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada.
Silke Hofer is currently based in London, working as a Social Development and Evaluation Practitioner for International Organisations such as the United Nations and IFIs, and has more than a decade of work experience in evaluation, monitoring, research and project management. She has lived and worked in India, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Senegal, Austria, Croatia, Tajikistan, and the United States of America and is particularly interested in policies to influence behaviour change. She holds two Master’s degrees, one in Development Studies and one in German Literature, from the University of Vienna in Austria.
Cathy Kamau is a consultant, trainer and executive leadership administration professional based in Geneva. She has extensive UN experience, including working directly for the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and prior to that for the UN Special Envoy on Ebola. She founded and ran her own training and consultancy business in Kenya for five years, and has a Master’s degree in Leading Innovation and Change from York St John University.
Pensiri Kangvonkit is a consultant for the Asian Development Bank, based in Bangkok and working on financial inclusion. She has previously worked as an economist in the Bank of Thailand and as a policy analyst for the National Reform Council. She has an MS in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell and an MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge (UK).
Valentina Sommacal is a development specialist with experience in the management, sustainability and evaluation of projects in the fields of gender, private sector and value chain development, livelihoods and institution building. Currently consulting for FAO, previously she worked with international NGOs, the UN, and EU projects primarily in the MENA Region and Africa. She holds Master’s degrees in Banking from the University of Bologna and in Management of Development from the ILO International Training Centre of Turin (Italy).
Stephan Zimmermann is currently working for the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, based in Brussels. He has prior experience working as a policy officer with the European Commission, with ICF International and the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia. He has a Master's degree in International Development from the University of Bath.
Cohort Two (2016)
Majid Bin Ayed Al-Ayed
Majid Bin Ayed Al-Ayed is Head of Research and Studies at the National Center for Performance Measurement (ADAA) in Saudi Arabia. His primary responsibilities include preparing national performance reports and sectoral analysis studies, as well as engaging with stakeholders. His previous public sector position was Director General of Export Enablement and [acting] Director General of Exporters Development at the Saudi Export Development Authority.
The majority of his professional career, which has spanned more than twenty years, has been in the private sector, working in corporate communications, business strategy and development. He is also an entrepreneur advocate, and founder and managing partner of a water technology startup; in addition to working as the director of business development at an entrepreneurship foundation, which established the country's first private sector business accelerator. He holds an MBA in International Management from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Sooksiri Chamsuk is a Programme Officer for the UN's Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), based in Bangkok, and has more than fifteen years of experience working with the UN system (UN Development Programme and UNIDO). Her role is to help countries in South East Asia decouple environmental impacts from economic activities through the implementation of development projects in the areas of low carbon, chemicals management, and sustainable development.
Her doctoral thesis seeks to untangle correlations between carbon emission reduction, climate mitigation finance and development outcomes in Asia region- with Sri Lanka and Viet Nam as a case study. She holds a Masters in Energy Technology for Sustainable Development from the University of Salford.
Giorgia Iacopini is Senior Researcher and Consultant at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London; she is experienced in research and evaluating a wide range of public policy issues. She holds two Masters: one in Social and Political Theory, and another in Political Studies and International Relations.
Christine Mwangi is Director of Executive Education at the Strathmore Institute for Public Policy and Governance in Nairobi. She is a chartered accountant who also holds a Masters in Public Administration from the City University of New York.
Margaret Rose Attorney at law, was called to the bar in 1995 and qualified to practice across the English-speaking Caribbean. A specialist in public procurement and co-founder of the Caribbean Procurement Institute, she holds a Master of Laws from the University of the West Indies. In 2016, she gave a TEDx talk on Why Buying Matters.
Ali Salman is a think tank professional based in Kuala Lumpur. Currently, he is CEO of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and Islam and Liberty Network, Malaysia. Earlier, he founded and successfully ran the Policy Research Institute of Market Economy in Islamabad. He has worked also at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, Institute of Economic Affairs, London and Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan. He holds three Masters: one in Economics from Boston University, a second in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, and an MBA from Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad.
Mohamed Youssef possesses 17 years of experience in small business and enterprise promotion programmes in Egypt, both for public and private sector organisations, including responsibility for a programme to replace 100,000 old taxis across the country. He is currently leading the work on international development assignments with both international organisations and the Government. A founding partner and Vice-Chairman of an Economic and Financial Consulting firm, he holds a Masters in International Development from the University of Bath.
Cohort One (2015)
Transferred to PhD in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences
Seung-Jin Baek is a South Korean economist specialising in development economics and policy. He has worked at various United Nations economic and social commissions (including ESCWA, ECA and ECLAC), contributing to knowledge production for the provision of evidence-based advisory services to member states on development plans, strategies, and macro-frameworks. His theoretical and empirical research activities have involved the field of political economy of inequality and technology, and sustainable development.
Fletcher Chilumpha is a country technical advisor for the UN Capital Development Fund in Malawi. His role is to help build a more inclusive financial sector in the country by promoting a better policy environment, strengthening infrastructure, and building the capacity of financial service providers. Fletcher is interested in researching whether shifting from cash to digital payment systems in Malawi and other developing countries can contribute to inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.
Jeff Farrar is Chair of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston Area Health Trust and former Chief Constable of Gwent Police. His wide experience of leadership and policymaking in England, Wales and Westminster includes being a Non-Executive Director on the Welsh Government Board and having been Chair of Welsh Government Effective Services for Vulnerable People Board. Jeff is interested in conducting research on system wide approaches across the public services and developing the concept of ‘One Public Service’.
Andrew Fyfe is Head of Evaluation at the UN Capital Development Fund and based in New York. He is responsible for external evaluations, for embedding evaluation within the programme cycle and for developing new evaluation tools - including for better measurement of policy performance. Andrew is interested in how academic research can be made operational in the day-to-day policies and practices of international development organisations, particularly in the area of evaluation.
Susan Godt is a recently retired senior programme specialist for Canada’s International Development Research Centre based in Nairobi (currently in Ottawa). She has been a development worker in sub-Saharan Africa for most of the past 38 years with experience of working on equitable health systems strengthening, women’s development, HIV prevention and rights-based programmes. Susan is interested in critically researching Sustainable Development Goal financing mechanisms and the consequences for the governance of basic service delivery.
Njahira Mary Karanja
Njahira Mary Karanja worked for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime until recently and was involved with advocacy on rule of law matters including transnational crime such as illicit drug and human trafficking, terrorism, wildlife crime, among others. She will soon be joining the Judiciary in Kenya. She wishes to research the historical thinking and experiences that have shaped international policy, in particular narcotic and psychoactive drug policy. She will be seeking to understand whether the international drug control conventions have been sufficient to meet the multiple social, economic and security challenges presented by the world drug problem.