Ms. Roig is responsible for the overall strategic direction of Partners for Democratic Change, an international organization committed to building sustainable capacity to advance civil society, democratic institutions and a culture of change and conflict management worldwide. She is a team-oriented, collaborative manager who oversees the DC-based Partners team and provides technical and strategic leadership to the global network of 18 Partners affiliate Centers for Change and Conflict Management.
Ms. Roig is an attorney licensed in the state of Maryland with fifteen years of diverse international management experience. She is a substantive expert in Good Governance, Public Participation, Access to Justice and Conflict Resolution, and has provided systems design, strategic planning, cooperative advocacy, program management, community outreach and training throughout the world. Prior to joining Partners, Julia served for two years as the Country Director for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in Belgrade, Serbia. She is also a recognized expert on community justice and dispute resolution in Colombia having spent five years living and working from Bogota, promoting a national expansion of the Equity Conciliation and Justice Houses programs. Julia has specialized in the evaluation of international assistance programs and impact assessments, and has served as team leader for complex, multi-country evaluations in Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru and Senegal.
Prior to her international work, Julia served as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for both the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, and the D.C. Courts, acting as the main architect and promoter of new workplace dispute resolution services in both institutions. She previously served as the Chair of the International Section of the Association for Conflict Resolution and as a member of the Editorial Board of Conflict Resolution Quarterly. Ms. Roig received her J.D. from the George Washington School of Law and is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French.
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Oatley joined Partners for Democratic Change in September 2012 and assumes the large task of managing our expanding Washington DC office, taking the lead on supporting the program and operational teams, reviewing and managing our business development process, taking forward our strategic plan, and overseeing finance, communications, HR and operations.
He joins Partners from Search for Common Ground where he was part of the Senior Leadership Team responsible for leading on Design, Monitoring and Evaluation, institutional learning, business improvement projects, gender and peacebuilding and for managing the children and youth and leadership and training areas of work. He was also responsible for managing a number of externally funded projects including the development of the Learning Portal for Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding. He has worked in the field in Burundi, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Nepal.
With 13 years prior experience as an academic and over 9 years working for the UK government, Mr. Oatley has a rich background that complements the Mission and diverse work of Partners. He has worked at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office leading a team coordinating the development of the UK’s international sustainable development policies and implementation of UK commitments at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. He also held positions at the Strategy and Innovation Unit in the UK Department for Education and Employment developing and piloting new policies on social inclusion and at the Government Office for the South West (a regional arm of the central UK government) where he was Head of Organizational Development and Strategy.
Mr. Oatley has led change management programs involving organizational redesign, business process reviews, board development, and leadership development, and has developed and implemented new project and program management approaches. He brings over 13 years’ experience as a trainer and educator based at the University of the West of England, Bristol where he also undertook research and consultancy, including leading an innovative government funded initiative that developed two Distance Learning curricula in Evaluation and Project Cycle Management. He is a highly skilled facilitator, coach and mentor.
He holds a Master’s Degree in Geography from McMaster University (Canada), degree in Geography from Exeter University (UK), and a degree in Town and Country Planning from Bristol Polytechnic (UK). He has also completed courses on environmental sustainability, conflict mediation, leadership, management and team building.
Director, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe
Teresa Crawford is an experienced development professional with 16 years of extensive experience in over 30 countries working on issues as diverse as eradicating violence against women in war, disability rights and supporting the civic participation of marginalized groups. Since 2009 Teresa has led the Sub Saharan Africa and Europe team at Partners for Democratic Change where she has grown Partners portfolio of programs in Africa with a focus on improving governance, engaging citizens and transforming security. Teresa is the lead at Partners on work engaging the security sector on reform issues including democratic governance, accountability and improving performance. She has trained US military and foreign military leaders on civil/military engagement and advised US AFRICOM on the development of an NGO engagement strategy. From 2006 to 2009 she was the Director of the Advocacy and Leadership Center at the Institute for Sustainable Communities and built a robust training and capacity building program for civil society leaders with a focus on collaborative advocacy and transformational leadership. Teresa launched her career in Kosovo in 1998. She is a co-founder of IPKO, the first post-war Internet service provider in Kosovo. IPKO is now a multimillion dollar company and Teresa is the managing board member of IPKO Foundation, the first endowed local foundation in the region. Teresa is a skilled speaker, facilitator and trainer with a particular expertise on the use of technology for outreach, engagement and mobilization.
Director, Middle East and North Africa
Mr. Gutan joined Partners in October 2012 and currently serves as the Director for Middle East and North Africa programs. A native of Iraq, Mr. Gutan comes to Partners with13 years of experience working on international development and democracy programs in Iraq, Jordan, and England, including more than four years working with emerging Iraqi civil society. At Partners he oversees projects that enable at-risk youth to transform conflict, improve dialogue over justice and security, and strengthen civil society organizations to advance citizen interests, improve transparency, and raise accountability at the national and local level.
Previously, Mr. Gutan was the Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa programs, a role he held from 2012 when he joined Partners until the Spring of 2014 when he became Director. Before Partners, Mr. Gutan was the Iraq Country Director for the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). Mr. Gutan also worked as a Program Development Manager for JumpStart International in Jordan and helped lead the assessment for Women for Women International’s micro-credit program in Iraq. Mr. Gutan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Baghdad University and a Master’s in International Business Economics from Oxford Brooks University in England.
John Guzman, Controller
Mr. Guzman joined Partners for Democratic Change in January 2011. As Financial Controller, Mr. Guzman is responsible for directing, coordinating, maintaining, and controlling the accounting system so that it properly reflects Partners’ financial position. In coordination with the President and Senior Management, he ensures that organizational policies and procedures are being followed. He assists in establishing major financial goals and objectives of the company and monitors their implementation as well as serves as a resource for all aspects of budgeting, accounting and auditing. Mr. Guzman is originally from Colombia, holds a CPA degree and a postgraduate degree in Corporate Finance. Prior to joining Partners, he worked for over 10 years in the field as a Financial Controller for some of USAID's largest contractors.
Lelia Mooney, Director, Latin America and the Caribbean
Ms. Mooney oversees Partners' programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, and works on the development of new cross-regional and multi stakeholder initiatives. She has over twenty years of experience designing, managing and evaluating complex governance, rule of law, gender and social inclusion, conflict management and transformation, extractive governance, multi-stakeholder engagement and local capacity development projects in Latin America, as well as in Africa and Asia. She has successfully led multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams in development, conflict and post-conflict contexts and facilitated local capacity development projects with government institutions, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector that achieved sustainability.
Prior to joining Partners, Ms. Mooney was the co-founder and Senior Director of the USAID funded Inter-American Democracy Network, with Asociacion Conciencia in Argentina, served as the Chief of Mission of the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) Governance project in Paraguay and was a Rule of Law, Gender and Capacity Building Specialist of the USAID funded Women’s Legal Rights Initiative, with Partners of the Americas in Washington, D.C.. She has been a consultant to the World Bank, the United States Institute of Peace Rule of Law Center (USIP), a number of USAID funded projects, and other private initiatives.
She holds leadership roles in the American Bar Association Section of International Law (ABASIL) where she previously served as the Rule of Law Officer and currently is the Diversity Officer. She is also a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Task Force on Sustainability. Ms. Mooney is the editor of “Promoting the Rule of Law: A Practitioner’s Guide to Key Issues and Development,” released by ABA Publishing. Ms. Mooney is a trained attorney from Argentina. She holds an LL.M. in Law in Development Studies from the University of Warwick Law School from the United Kingdom and an LL.M. from the Georgetown University Law Center in the US. She is a former International Research Fellow at the Kettering Foundation and a Fellow of the Global Salzburg Seminar. She speaks native Spanish, fluent English with an intermediate command of Portuguese and French.
Sergei Nikolin, Deputy Controller
Mr. Nikolin joined Partners in October 2013 as the Deputy Controller and assists in all day-to-day Controller functions and operations. He has 20 years of experience with USAID Russia, where he held various senior positions in the Office of Financial Management including Chief Accountant and Deputy Controller of USAID Russia, positions he held for over ten years. Working on a broad spectrum of financial matters and a complex portfolio of $250 million dollars, Mr. Nikolin helped guide program teams through the complexity of financial rules and regulations. In recognition of his leadership and contribution to USAID’s operations, he was awarded the individual Department of State Meritorious Honor Award. Mr. Nikolin holds an MBA in Finance from California State University, East Bay.
Jonathan Apikian, Senior Manager, Middle East and North Africa
Mr. Apikian joined Partners for Democratic Change in March 2013 as Manager for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). He comes with extensive experience managing grants and projects with major international donors. Prior to joining Partners, Mr. Apikian served as Program Officer for the MENA team at the National Democratic Institute, where he led programs in the Arabian Peninsula. He also worked at the Center for International Private Enterprise managing projects on democratic governance in Syria, Lebanon, and West Bank/Gaza. Mr. Apikian has worked alongside policymakers in Brussels, conducting field studies on diplomatic and conceptual security arrangements with NATO and the European Union. He holds an MPA in Public and Economic Policy from the London School of Economics and a B.A. (Honors) in International Relations from Tufts University. In addition to his native Amharic, he also speaks French, intermediate Arabic and Italian.
Laina Reynolds Levy, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Communications
Dr. Levy leads Partners global communications, digital engagement and knowledge-sharing efforts, including editing Partners' blog. In nearly 10 years of working with Partners, she has managed programs from Albania to Indonesia, trained staff and project beneficiaries in evaluation, conflict resolution, facilitation, and writing for social media. Previously, she worked as a conflict management trainer with civil society organizations in Southeast Europe (particularly in Kosovo) to strengthen the capacity of their staff and volunteers in peaceful approaches to dealing with conflict. She managed training and outreach programs at the Centre for Conflict Resolution, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford in the UK, and has also worked with William Ury at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. She holds a PhD and an MA in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford and a BA in Political Science from Sonoma State University in California.
Paulina Ojeda, Senior Manager, Business Development
Ms. Ojeda leads Partners’ business development initiatives, managing proposal coordination efforts, identifying new funding opportunities, sustaining partnerships and building Partners’ institutional knowledge capacities, particularly on youth and marginalized populations. Highly seasoned in designing and implementing multi-million dollar democracy and governance programs, Ms. Ojeda comes to Partners from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), where she was responsible for coordinating the start-up of IFES’ first large-scale, multi-donor non-USG funded project and launched IFES’ youth working group, providing strategic and technical guidance on youth programming. Previously, Ms. Ojeda worked with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), CARE-International, and the Organization for American States. A native of Ecuador, she has managed programs in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Pakistan. Ms. Ojeda has training and curriculum development experience in gender and elections, and participated in election observation missions in Guatemala, Perú, Thailand, Philippines, and El Salvador. She holds an MPA from the Maxwell School in Syracuse University and a BA in International Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Nilanka Seneviratne, Senior Manager, PDCI Coordinator/Operations
Mr. Seneviratne joined Partners in October of 2007 as an Administration and Development Associate and has played an integral part in the organization’s growth and development. During his tenure at Partners he has contributed to numerous proposals, and managed diverse projects including Partners’ 20th Anniversary Innovations for Tomorrow Seminar Series and Conference, he has also assisted in the establishment of the Centers in Yemen and Senegal. Currently he works on the Africa team managing programs in Senegal and with Partners’ Africa Institute for Security Sector Transformation. Additionally, Mr. Seneviratne works on organization-wide initiatives and activities including: managing Partners’ Washington, DC office, external communications and organizational consolidation. Prior to joining Partners he worked with the Public Sector Services Unit of the Cardno Emerging Markets Group as well as worked for the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka. He holds a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in International Budgeting and Analysis from the George Washington University, a BA in International Studies and a BS in Psychology.
Kehinde Togun, Senior Manager, Africa and Europe
Mr. Togun manages Partners’ sub-Saharan Africa programs. He has several years of experience implementing political party, governance, and civil society programs. Prior to joining Partners, he was a Senior Program Officer at NDI, with stints on the Eurasia, Middle East and North Africa, and Southern and East Africa teams. Mr. Togun also served as the Monitoring and Evaluation officer for NDI in Iraq; and during Nigeria’s 2011 elections, he trained and advised civil society in Delta state as they monitored the electoral process. He previously held the Julius Nyerere Fellowship at The Africa Society in Washington, D.C. and has worked with the Kigali-based Imbuto Foundation. At Imbuto, Mr. Togun wrote a guide for parents on how to talk to children about sex and conducted a national evaluation of the African First Ladies' Campaign, "Treat Every Child as Your Own." He earned an MPP from Georgetown University and received his BA in Political Science and Economics from Rutgers University.
Elvira Felix, Manager, Communications
Ms. Felix leads Partner’s global marketing and communications initiatives. As an innovative professional proficient in public relations, digital media marketing and research for local and international community development, she comes to Partners with several years of experience in public outreach, multimedia communications, print publications, and website management for diverse audiences. Previously, she worked within USAID as a Technical Researcher and Outreach Communications Specialist, where she assisted several divisions with research, training, and marketing outreach for various sectors, including: private-public and cooperative partnerships for development, women and girls initiatives, food security, the open government initiative, and development innovations within data, science and technology. Ms. Felix is passionate about capturing the universal human element in storytelling. She believes that sharing our stories of innovation, strength, perseverance and compassion is an essential source of inspiration for the creation of sustainable solutions in an interconnected global community. She holds a BS in Speech Communications and a minor in Latino Studies from Millersville University; she is also in progress to completing a MS in International Marketing Management.
Nekose Wills, Manager, Middle East and North Africa
Ms. Wills has over a decade of health and human rights experience with various non-profit organizations in the Washington, DC area. Her areas of expertise include program planning and implementation, small grants and organizational management, and communications, writing, and editing. For several years, she served as the Deputy Director of Free the Slaves, an international NGO dedicated to eradicating modern day slavery. Ms. Wills is a committed women’s rights activist, with a lengthy work and volunteer history supporting a number of women’s health organizations. Some of her key positions include serving as the Health Information Manager at the National Women’s Health Network and a Financial Manager at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Ms. Wills brings her skills, spirit, and enthusiasm to Partner’s Middle East and North Africa team. She manages the Support for Training, Advocacy and Network Development program in the Gulf region and is responsible for producing communication materials. She holds bachelor’s degrees in media studies and women’s studies from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in Women’s Health from Suffolk University.
Hugh O'Donnell, Senior Associate, Africa and Europe
Mr. O’Donnell is a Senior Associate with the Europe and Africa teams, and supports the development of new programming with a focus on governance and security sector reform. He began with Partners in 2011, working on a number of security sector reform initiatives in the office of our African affiliate, Partners Senegal. He returned to West Africa in 2012, supporting Partners’ programming in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Mr. O'Donnell holds an MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Denver.
Craig Phillips, Senior Associate, Middle East and North Africa
Mr. Phillips joined Partners’ Middle East and North Africa team in 2013 as Senior Associate, supporting an array of new programming throughout the region. With a diverse background in grass-roots community building and outreach, research and writing, as well as communications and new media, Craig brings a unique skill set to the MENA team. He has experience in public and non-profit sectors, and has conducted trainings and led dialogues. Mr. Phillips has lived and studied in India and Egypt, and participated in fellowships in Poland and South Africa. With his academic background in Islamic studies, Mr. Phillips has a specialization in the religious dimensions of society and politics of the Muslim world. Craig is an enthusiast of language (Arabic, Farsi & Urdu), world music, and global creative expression.
Maria Saleh, Program Associate, Middle East and North Africa
Ms. Saleh is a Program Associate for Middle East and North Africa and provides program support and financial management to projects in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, and Yemen. Prior to joining Partners, Ms. Saleh worked as a Project Manager on the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) project at Management Systems International in Washington. She has also worked in Russia and the USA at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Ms. Saleh holds an MA in International Affairs from Washington University in Saint Louis and a BS in Business Administration from the Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics, and Informatics. In 2012, she published Spiral into the Arab Spring: The Surprising Rise of Yemeni Women as a chapter in Carnegie's World in Their Hands: Ideas from the Next Generation.
Matt Schwab, Associate, Executive Programs
Mr. Schwab provides support to the wide array of projects administered by Partners for Democratic Change. He works extensively to coordinate events and organize social outreach. Prior to joining Partners, Mr. Schwab worked with World Learning in Washington, DC. He has extensive experience in Latin America, having worked at CIPPEC, the leading think tank in Argentina. Additionally, he spent time working in Honduras on public health initiatives through the Global Brigades organization. Mr. Schwab holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and is fluent in Spanish.
Bisrat Woldemariam, Finance Associate
Mr. Woldemariam joined Partners for Democratic Change in January 2014 as a Finance Associate. He comes with more than 10 years of experience working with both private and nonprofit organizations in different areas of finance and accounting. In addition to the day-to-day financial functions, Mr. Woldemariam is also responsible for reviewing and writing internal policies on finance and internal controls, reviewing and monitoring fiscal year budgets for multiple awards, and for providing training to sub-awardees and centers in financial reporting and compliance. Prior to joining Partners, Mr. Woldemariam served as Financial Analyst at FHI360 where he was responsible for monthly reporting and analysis related to Awards and Grants, reviewing and analyzing budget and cost variance, and creating financial reports for upper management review to support key decisions. He graduated from Unity University (Ethiopia) with a B.A. in Accounting.
Laura Reid, Program Assistant, Middle East and North Africa
Ms. Reid is a Program Assistant with the Middle East and North Africa team, backstopping projects across the MENA region and contributing to outreach and new business development. She came to Partners from Freedom House, where she provided program support to the Middle East and North Africa department and assisted in advocacy efforts. Ms. Reid has extensive experience in the MENA region, having lived and worked in Egypt and Morocco with AMIDEAST and Legacy International respectively. Additionally, in 2012, she spent a year in Cairo studying Arabic as a Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellow. Ms. Reid holds a BA in both Middle East Languages & Civilizations and Urban Studies from Northwestern University, and she speaks Egyptian Arabic.