Our partner-driven approach is exemplified by our talented and diverse team. The PartnersGlobal team brings the Partners Way to life, leading positive change and shaping sustainable peace from our Washington, DC office and around the globe.

Julia Roig President

Starting in 2008, Julia had the privilege of working as Executive Director for two years at PartnersGlobal under the mentorship of our founder Raymond Shonholtz.  She took over as President of the organization in 2010 upon his retirement and feels strongly about carrying on his legacy.  Her roots in Portland, Oregon are an important part of her identity, as well as the number of years she spent living and working in Bogota and Belgrade.

Julia has spent her entire career as a mediator, conflict resolver and peacebuilder and brings to the Partners Network a commitment to multi-lateralism, authentic partnership and building bridges with other networks and industries. Trained as a lawyer, she is a collaborative leader who drives the entrepreneurial spirit at PartnersGlobal to continue to grow and adapt as an organization.

Anyone who knows Julia well, knows she loves to bake cookies for her loved ones, will lead any group in song around the piano or campfire and has been accused of being a “pathological optimist.”

To access Julia’s full bio, please click here.

Sergey Nikolin Controller

Originally from Moscow, Sergey began work with PartnersGlobal in October 2013. In addition to a Masters in Accounting and Finance, he brings over 20 years of experience working with USAID in the politically sensitive context of Russia.

As Financial Controller, Sergey works to ensure the financial health of the organization. In this role he protects the company’s assets, improving efficiency in financial management and procurement, and coordinated on all the financial planning and reporting functions.

Originating from the north, he naturally loves winter sports like skiing, skating and hockey. However, his real hobby is gardening and planting flowers. Somehow, he manages to be a cat and dog lover.

Roselie Vazquez-Yetter Global Director For Civil Society

Roselie is Mexican-American born in Germany and raised in California. She made her way to DC initially for graduate school studying International Communications. After spending several years in Central Asia, being an independent consultant, and launching a small business, Roselie found her way to PartnersGlobal through a family friend.

In her dual role with a foot in both the regional teams and the technical support team, she is at the heart of providing strategic planning and oversight for the Latin America programs while also applying lessons learned from the civil society portfolio throughout the organization.  She takes the lead on our Civil Society global partnerships with a commitment to organizational resiliency and innovative partnerships in the sector.

Some of her past accomplishments include building a sustainable civil society capacity building program in Central Asia, empowering women social entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia, and building a network of women’s health advocates. Roselie also loves combining her love of theater, travel, and cross-cultural exchanges and previously founded a company called Wanderlust Theater Lab to provoke conversation and understanding.

Ahmed Gutan Director, Middle East And North Africa

Ahmed is a native of Iraq. He joined PartnersGlobal in 2012 coming from previous leadership positions at CIPE and Women for Women, and has a wealth of experience working with civil society and government partners throughout the region. He studied first in Baghdad and then at Oxford Brooks University.

As the MENA Director, Ahmed leads on supporting and expanding the Partners Network affiliates in the region, overseeing a growing team to ensure the successful implementation of programs, and engages with external stakeholders. Some of the projects he has led include enabling at-risk youth to transform conflict; justice and security dialogues; organizational capacity building; and, government transparency.

While traveling to new places is one of his favorite hobbies, he prefers spending time relaxing on a beach listening to the waves.

Jonathan Apikian Deputy Director, Middle East North Africa

Jonathan has been at PartnersGlobal since 2013 and is incredibly passionate about his work and the region. He oversees a wide range of projects in the MENA portfolio, working closely with our colleagues at Partners Yemen in particular. Jonathan tracks trends in peacebuilding, and provides guidance on conflict transformation project design. Jonathan brings a commitment to building and nurturing relationships, overcoming mistrusts, and incorporating process expertise in all his endeavors.

Jonathan has lived in seven countries on four continents, is a die-hard LA Lakers fan, an NPR enthusiast, plays sports as regularly as he can, and is a firm believer that exploring culture through food is vastly underrated.

Nilanka Seneviratne Deputy Director, Operations And Compliance

Nilanka grew up in Columbia, SC with parents and strong ties from Sri Lanka. He has the distinction of being the first DC-based employee after Partners moved from our original offices in San Francisco in 2007. He joined us right after graduating with an MPA from George Washington University, working closely with our founder Raymond Shonholtz to help grow that two-person office to the organization we are today.

Nilanka has worn many hats within PartnersGlobal, but his current role includes overseeing operations, grants compliance and overall leadership for the smooth running of the office. Informally, Nilanka serves as the organization’s historian and continues to maintain strong relationships with all of the Partners Network members throughout the world.

In college Nilanka worked as a radio DJ and has held a number of different jobs, from selling rugs, to cooking, to working in a library. During his tenure with PartnersGlobal he was able to celebrate his 30th birthday in Dakar and his 35th in Bogota. He is also an enthusiastic soccer player.

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Alyson Lyons Deputy Director, Sub-Saharan Africa

Originally from New Jersey, Aly started working with PartnersGlobal in early 2015 as a project manager and has quickly stepped into leadership positions within the organization. After working for many years in a think tank environment focused on research and policy in Sub-Saharan Africa, Aly wanted to apply her program management, analytical and communications skills to a more hands-on approach to peacebuilding and development with in-country programming and partners.

At PartnersGlobal, Aly leads on Sub-Saharan Africa strategy and the growth of the Citizen Security Global Initiative. She plays an important role in cross-team collaboration within the organization, builds relationships with peer organizations and donors, and oversees the implementation of several large programs in SSA. Aly is inspired by the nuts and bolts of running an organization and supports the organizational development of the Partners Network members around the world.

In addition to being passionate about her work in the fields of conflict resolution and citizen security, Aly loves the arts, from singing to painting. She also loves the outdoors and any activity that will take her there, including hiking, swimming, and taking her dog Parker to the dog park.

Luis Gomez Chow Senior Management Consultant, Latin America and the Caribbean

Luis has been a part of the Partners Network since 2008, starting his career at our affiliate in Mexico City at the Centro de Colaboracion Civica where he served as a facilitator of complex citizen security dialogue processes. He joined the PartnersGlobal team in DC in February 2015, bringing to the organization a deep level of technical and regional expertise. He has experienced first-hand the power of dialogue and believes deeply in positive conflict transformation.

At PartnersGlobal, Luis oversees the management of the LAC portfolio, leads business development for the region, and maintains a close and productive engagement with regional allies and partners. He also leads the Closing Political Spaces Initiative which brings together practitioners, donors, and scholars to strategize on how to protect and enable the role of civil society.

In addition to his work at PartnersGlobal, Luis is an avid reader and chef.

Ian O’Neill Manager, Accounting and Human Resources

Ian is from Lockport, NY and started working with PartnersGlobal in July 2014. He is fascinated by the way that businesses work and the intricacies of each organizations operations.

At PartnersGlobal, Ian is in responsible for processing payments, managing benefits, assisting with audits, procedure writing, reviewing budgets, and overseeing subcontractor’s expenses per the Controllers approval.

Ian’s favorite place that he’s visited is Switzerland.

Maja Bedak Senior Program Associate, Sub-Saharan Africa

Originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Maja has been with PartnersGlobal since graduating from the University of Main in 2013. Before joining the organization, she worked with the Seeds for Peace International Camp.

Within PartnersGlobal Maja manages the daily operations of various anti-corruption and good governance projects together with our local partners in West Africa. Her position at PartnersGlobal provides her the opportunity to lend her talents as a creative problem solver, and she enjoys learning about new cooperative approaches to development challenges.

Outside of work, Maja is either in nature, exploring new places, or reading.

Edwina Lebbie Manyeh Program Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa

Edwina, originally from Freetown, Sierra Leone, joined PartnersGlobal in September 2015. She brings a wide array of experiences to the organization. She previously worked for The HALO Trust, a de-mining organization, where she conducted minefield and battle area clearance programs, risk education, and conducted strategic business development.

With the SSA team, she is responsible for the day-to-day program management of Partners’ security sector reform (SSR) initiatives in Guinea and supports new programming with a focus on citizen security and social entrepreneurship.

Edwina is an accomplished linguist and is a Foreign Language Area Studies Fellow at Ohio University, where she also completed her MA in International Studies. She is familiar with seven languages and fluent in three. In addition, Edwina is an avid thriftier and up-cycler.

Bridget O’Loughlin Senior Program Associate, Business Development

Bridget is a native of the Boston area and started working at Partners in 2013 as an intern pursuing her Masters’ of Arts in Latin American Studies at Georgetown. Bridget is a Latin Americanist and has studied in Ecuador and Colombia and spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

As the Senior Program Associate for Business Development, Bridget manages proposal coordination efforts, identifies new funding opportunities, and works to sustain external partnerships and build Partners’ institutional knowledge capacities. She also plays a key role mentoring and coaching beneficiary organizations in the Latin American region. In addition to her official duties, Bridget is also involved in making Partners a better place to work and believes strongly in teamwork, collaboration, and any excuse to celebrate with people.

She finds joy in yoga and cooking but mostly through hanging out with her tortoiseshell cat and (attempting to) take her for walks.

Oriana LaVilla Senior Program Associate, Middle East and North Africa

Before starting in January 2015 with PartnersGlobal, Oriana worked at the National Democratic Institute on the Central and Eastern Europe team. Oriana is from the other Washington and is a native of Seattle. Her passion and interests in conflict resolution and transitional justice drew her to PartnersGlobal.

As a Senior Program Associate, she helps manage the MENA portfolio with a focus on our capacity building initiatives in the Gulf, women’s empowerment programming and new and for business. She is also involved in pushing innovation through Partners Ideas, an internal program.

As part of her studies, she carried out field work and research in both Sarajevo and The Hague on transparency between the International Criminal Tribunal in Bosnia-Herzegovina. An avid lover of the outdoors, Oriana used to nationally compete in flat water sprint canoeing.

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Leigh McBain Program Assistant

Leigh McBain is a California native, having been raised in the Bay Area and completed her undergraduate degree in Southern California. Before moving to DC, Leigh worked for TASAAGA, a local grassroots organization in Uganda. She was responsible for managing microfinance programs in the Nakivale Refugee Camp and created the Kick HIV/AIDS soccer tournament.

At PartnersGlobal she works with the Executive Programs where she is responsible for office management, network coordination, and has successfully launched a new website for the organization. Additionally she splits her time with the Sub Saharan Africa team where she is responsible for backstopping programs in Nigeria.

Being from California, she misses the accessibility of outdoor activities when living in a city. She tries to spend as much time outside and finds solace on the soccer field.

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Jeffrey Zimmer Senior Technical Expert, Middle East & North Africa

Hailing from New Jersey, Jeffrey comes to PartnersGlobal after six years with the MENA team at The Solidarity Center, dedicating much of his career to workers’ rights. There, he helped spearhead the organization’s efforts on migrant worker and trade union rights in Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

At PartnersGlobal, Jeffrey leads programs in the region that are reducing conflict between internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their host communities in Iraq, as well as helping to build civic engagement across the religious and political spectrum in the Gulf.

Jeffrey is extremely passionate about his profession and lives by the principle that if you find something you love to do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. When he is not in the office, you will find Jeffrey listening to podcasts, catching up on his ever-growing reading list, and rooting on his favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings.

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Lauren Head Program Assistant, Middle East and North Africa

Lauren is from the Seattle-area, and has spent most of her life living and studying in the Pacific Northwest. She moved to DC after working for a leadership consulting firm to pursue her interests in supporting women and religious communities in peacebuilding. She was introduced to PartnersGlobal through her work as a fellow at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, where she had the opportunity to support collaborations with Partners Yemen on religious freedom education and interfaith dialogue.

In her role on the MENA team, Lauren provides financial and programmatic support for the Yemen, Iraq, and Bahrain portfolios. In line with her passion to keep women at the heart of building community resilience and opening spaces for dialogue, she incorporates gendered perspectives to our MENA programming and global security initiatives.

Her interests in peacebuilding and international development grew over time, from teaching refugees in western Thailand, to studying visual storytelling in northern India, to working with an indigenous NGO to address land conflicts in eastern Uganda.

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Andye Sanon Program Assistant, Sub Saharan Africa

Andye is originally from Haiti. She is the Program Assistant of the Sub-Saharan Africa team.

Her role encompasses providing administrative and financial support to facilitate the implementation of projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Before starting at Partners, Andye lived in the Netherlands where she completed a Master of Science in International Development at the University of Amsterdam. Prior to that, she worked, interned and conducted research in Ghana, NYC, Haiti, France and Senegal.

Andye is also an enthusiastic traveler and loves to share her cooking skills.

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