Cohort Four (2018)

Ahmed Aref

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. Ahmed currently works for the Qatar Foundation. 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 & 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 Eltinay

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.

Nicole DeSantis

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

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. 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

Currently based in Tanzania, working for the International Monetary Fund as regional advisor. 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

Regional Projects Manager for South Asia at International Alert, a UK-based peacebuilding 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 peacebuilding, 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

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

Consultant at the Prime Minister’s Office of the United Arab Emirates, with an 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. Major research interest 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

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 cofounder 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

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

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

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

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

Currently based in New York, working for the United Nations system, she has more than 10 years of work experience in evaluation, monitoring, research and project management. She has lived and worked in India, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Senegal, Austria, Croatia and Tajikistan, 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

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

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).

Wilfred Opobo

Programme Development Advisor for the Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development (ACORD) in South Sudan, having previously been their Director of Programmes in Uganda. He has Master’s degrees in International Relations from Makerere University and in International Development from the University of Bath.

Valentina Sommacal

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

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

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

Programme Officer for the UN's Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), based in Bangkok, and has 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. She is interested in incorporating a theory of institutions and institutional change into the analysis of low carbon and chemicals management policies. She holds a Masters in Energy Technology for Sustainable Development from the University of Salford.

Giorgia Iacopini

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.

Déborah Itriago

Political Analyst for Oxfam Intermón, based in Washington DC and specialising in the analysis of rent settlements linked to extractive industries. She holds a Masters in Economic Development from the University of Madrid.

Christine Mwangi

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

A think tank professional based in Kuala Lumpur. Currently, he is CEO of Istanbul Network for Liberty and Research Director at IDEAS 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)

Seung-Jin Baek

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

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

Chief Constable of Gwent Police. His wide experience of leadership and policy making in Wales and Westminster includes having been Chair of Welsh Government Effective Services for Vulnerable People Board. Jeff is interested in conducting research on performance management across the public services as well as developing the concept of 'One Public Service'.

Andrew Fyfe

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.

Susan Godt

A senior program officer for the Canadian International Development Research Centre and based in Nairobi. She has been a development worker in sub-Saharan Africa for most of the past 34 years with experience of working on women's development, HIV prevention and rights-based programmes. Susan is interested in critically researching international donors’ preoccupation with achieving immediate and measurable results at scale: a paradigm that appears to neglect context, complexity and lessons learned over many years.

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.