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 PartnersGlobal 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.
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.
Global Director for Civil Society
Roselie Vasquez-Yetter joined PartnersGlobal in March 2016, and currently serves as the Global Director for Civil Society. Ms. Vasquez-Yetter has 19 years of experience managing international development programs including 6 years of on the ground field work in developing countries. Her areas of expertise include: Needs Assessments; Program Management; Strategic Planning; Training of Trainers, Women’s Empowerment and Advocacy, Public Private Partnerships, Social Entrepreneurship and Programmatic ICT Integration. Ms. Vasquez-Yetter has designed and conducted detailed needs assessments to develop training plans for private sector corporations including Phillip Morris, Mars, Proctor and Gamble, Gillette and Johnson and Johnson as well as in the context of multilateral development programs funded by USAID, DOS, the World Bank, EBRD, TACIS and UNHCR. She has proven experience communicating with senior level government representatives in ministerial level positions including: Ministers of: Foreign Affairs, Economy and Finance, Health, Education and Telecommunications. She is equally at ease evaluating the opinions of civil society agencies down to the micro-level with rural village elders and utilizes participatory development methodologies in this context. Ms. Vasquez-Yetter is a practitioner of development having spent 6 years working in developing countries. Within this context she honed her diplomatic skills and utilized her academic experience with cross cultural communication to build trust with local government representatives.
She led a capacity building program for over 200 Central Asian NGOs how to plan, budget and manage their newly formed entities through a series of 18 training modules conducted through a rigorous training of trainers program. Ms. Vasquez-Yetter is also a qualified practitioner of adult training methodologies which she used extensively in her work for US West in Moscow from 1995-96. She worked with a team of Russian trainers to develop and design the training curriculum for over 12 business skills training courses for the Center for Business Skills Development, the first public-private partnership between USAID and US West Telecom. The Center was designed to utilize state-of-the-art distance learning technology to provide supplemental business management training to the employees of the top 150 businesses in Russia.
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.
Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa
Mr. Apikian joined Partners for Democratic Change in 2013 as Manager for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). He comes with extensive experience leading projects around women's empowerment, civic activism, institutional capacity-building, and civil society strengthening with major US and international partners. Prior to joining Partners, Mr. Apikian served as Program Officer for the MENA team at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), where he led transitional support programs in the Arabian Peninsula, including Yemen and NDI's field office in Sana'a. Earlier, he also worked at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) developing and managing projects on democratic governance and market-oriented economic reform in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and West Bank/Gaza. Mr. Apikian has worked alongside diplomats in Paris at the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA) as well as with policymakers in Brussels, conducting field studies on diplomatic and conceptual security arrangements with NATO and European Union institutions. He also worked closely with the Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights, producing cutting edge research on gender analysis of war and peacebuilding to foster innovative activism and address human rights abuses in post-conflict contexts. 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.
Deputy Director, Network Coordination/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, and now splits his time between the coordination and implementation of PDCI network-initiatives and Partners Operations. Specifically he managed Partners’ 20th Anniversary Innovations for Tomorrow Seminar Series and Conference, assisted in the establishment of the Centers in Yemen and Senegal, and managed programs in Senegal and with Partners’ Africa Institute for Security Sector Transformation. Additionally, Mr. Seneviratne worked 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 Master’s 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.
Deputy Director, Sub-Saharan Africa
As Deputy Director, Kehinde A. Togun manages Partners Global’s Sub-Saharan Africa portfolio of governance and security programs. Prior to joining Partners, he was a Senior Program Officer at the National Democratic Institute (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, Nigeria as they monitored the electoral process. He previously worked with the Kigali-based Imbuto Foundation, writing a guide for parents on how to talk to children about sex and conducting a national evaluation of the African First Ladies' Campaign, "Treat Every Child as Your Own."
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.
Senior Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe
Ms. Lyons joined Partners in May 2015 as the Manager of the Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe Program. She brings with her several years of experience in conflict resolution project management in the region. As manager, Aly oversees all aspects of the program’s security sector reform project in Guinea and provides support to all other projects. Prior to joining Partners, Aly was Program Associate for the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity, an initiative of the Africa Program at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In this role, Aly was responsible for managing several projects on issues of climate change, peacebuilding, US-Africa policy, and conflict resolution in Liberia. While there, she helped to establish and facilitated the Southern Voices Network, a group of 15 African research and policy institutes from across sub-Saharan Africa. She also developed and implemented the program’s communications strategy, resulting in the blog Africa Up Close, a leading source for African perspectives on issues facing the region. Additional areas of experience are gender mainstreaming in conflict resolution and negotiation practices, social innovation, corporate social responsibility, and health and education in Africa. Aly has a Master's degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in Washington, DC and a Bachelor's degree in International Affairs from Roger Williams University, Rhode Island.
Luis Gomez Chow
Senior Management Consultant, Latin America and the Caribbean
Mr. Gomez Chow manages Partners’ programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has several years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating multi stakeholder dialogue and consensus-building processes concerning human rights, access to justice, and human security policies. He is also an experienced facilitator and trainer. Prior to joining Partners, he was Program Director for Citizen Security at Centro de Colaboración Cívica, the Mexican affiliate center of the PDCI network, where he provided the strategic leadership for the Program and was in charge of a portfolio of projects covering issues like victims’ rights, enforced disappearances, juvenile justice, drug policy, and police reform. He holds a Master’s Degree in Crises, Emergency Interventions, and Development Actions from Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris, France) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations from Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (Mexico City).
Senior Manager, Accounting & Finance
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.
Manager, Middle East and North Africa
Ms. Cox joined Partners in April 2015 as a Manager on the Middle East and North Africa team. Most recently, she has been working with people and start-up organizations in the third-sector by providing organizational planning, proposal development, and market research. She spent a number of years with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), where she worked on a diverse range of portfolios throughout the broader Middle East and North Africa region that leveraged ICT and new media for development. Ms. Cox also held short-term positions with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and The Center for the National Interest, and is particularly interested in civil society, venture philanthropy, and aid effectiveness. She has conducted extensive research on labor informalization, gender relations, and alternative development models. Ms. Cox holds a BA in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Mary Washington, and a MSc in Globalization and Development from the School of Oriental and Africa Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Manager, 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.
Manager, Accounting and Human Resources
Ian O’Neill joined Partners in July 2014 as an Accounting and HR Associate. Originally from Buffalo, New York, he is a graduate of Niagara University, where he majored in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting and a minor in Fraud Examination and Economic Crime. He has assisted the finance team in implementing new procedures to improve office efficiency. In addition to filling the role as a Human Resources Associate, he completes daily accounting functions such as paying vendors and dispersing funds to various projects. Mr. O’Neill looks forward to continuing to assist Partners in all their endeavors.
Program Associate, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe
Ms. Bedak is a Program Associate with the Partners’ Sub-Saharan Africa team. She co-manages the Access Nigeria and Access Sierra Leone projects focused on anti-corruption efforts that aim to increase government accountability and transparency through multi-stakeholder engagement. She lived, studied and taught English in Egypt, Israel and Palestine. Ms. Bedak has also previously worked at the Seeds of Peace International Camp with young people and educators from the Middle East, South Asia and Europe living in conflict, in an effort to strengthen their relationships to encourage peaceful coexistence. With a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs, and minors in Anthropology and Economics, from the University of Maine, Ms. Bedak completed a yearlong senior thesis focusing on the US – Russian bilateral counterterrorism efforts. Ms. Bedak’s additional knowledge on issues pertaining to ethnic and religious tolerance, gender mainstreaming, and countering violent extremism uniquely contribute to her work at Partners. Ms. Bedak is fluent in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and has Arabic proficiency.
Program Associate, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe
Ms. Lebbie joined Partners in September 2015 as a Program Coordinator with the Sub-Saharan Africa team to help manage projects in Guinea and assist with other projects throughout the region. Prior to joining Partners, Ms. Lebbie worked for the British Demining Agency, The HALO Trust, where she conducted minefield and battle area clearance programs, advanced mine risk education in post conflict communities and worked with national security forces to enhance physical and stockpile management practices. Additionally, she conducted strategic external relations and business development with government partners, business stakeholders, civil society and NGO organizations and the media, to secure financial support for a variety of minefield and battle area clearance programs. Ms. Lebbie also worked in the private sector in management at the Sherwin Williams Company. She grew up in Sierra Leone and has since spent time working and/or studying in Tanzania, Senegal, The Gambia, Cambodia, Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia, Angola and more recently Guinea. Ms. Lebbie completed an MA in International Studies with a focus on African Studies as a FLAS Fellow at Ohio University and hold a BA from Georgetown University in History, French and African Studies. Ms. Lebbie is an avid thriftier and upcycler, breathing new life into old treasures with a fresh coat of paint
Program Associate, Latin America and Caribbean
Bridget O’Loughlin is a Program Assistant at Partners for Democratic Change, providing support for the organization’s initiatives throughout the Latin American region. Before coming to Partners, Ms. O’Loughlin completed her Master’s in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University, where she focused on community-based solutions to violent crime in Latin American cities. She has studied, taught, and traveled extensively throughout the LAC region, most notably spending three months in Bogotá, Colombia completing field work in two of the city’s most violent barrios and ten months mentoring a group of truly inspiring youth as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Maracaibo, Venezuela. She enjoys travelling, gardening, cooking,yoga, and spending time with the world’s cutest and most wonderful cat.
Program Associate, Middle East and North Africa
Oriana LaVilla is a Program Assistant with the Middle East and North Africa team at Partners for Democratic Change. She comes to Partners from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), where she provided support to programs addressing civil society, good governance and youth and women’s empowerment in Central and Eastern Europe. She also spent time studying post-conflict transformation and peace building in the Balkans and conducted field research in Sarajevo and The Hague on the relationship between the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and State Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina with regard to outreach and transparency. In addition, she completed a yearlong senior thesis on the relationship between judicial capacity-building efforts and reconciliation in post-conflict societies. She speaks Italian and holds a BA in Politics and International Relations, with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies, from Scripps College.
Executive Program Assistant
Lauren Mooney joined Partners in June 2015 as Executive Program Assistant. As an undergraduate, she interned for two international development organizations, Meridian International Center and Atlas Corps, and for a refugee resettlement nonprofit in the city of Dayton. For two years Lauren also worked for the University’s Intensive English Program, where she facilitated dialogue groups and coordinated events to promote an inclusive campus environment. Lauren spent a semester in Lima, Peru, where she furthered her studies in international relations, improved her Spanish language skills, and interned at a local organization. Lauren was also involved in interfaith initiatives on campus and service-learning and community building programs in the city of Dayton. She graduated from the University of Dayton with a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Spanish.
Program Assistant, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe
Ms. Rushdan is a Program Assistant for the Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe programs at Partners for Democratic Change. She brings a number of professional experiences related to countering violent extremism, social entrepreneurship, democratic governance and capacity building for civil society organizations. She has worked with a number of non-profit organizations such Center for Civilians in Conflict where researched civilian casualties in conflict zones and civilian-armed group relations. She also worked the National Democratic Institute, where she supported programs in Yemen that focused on women’s political participation, constitutional reform, and addressing the grievances of disadvantaged groups. While at the Center for Religion and Diplomacy, Taqwa supported faith-based peacebuilding initiatives. Taqwa is passionate about inclusivity and equal access to political platforms for all segments of society. She holds a dual degree in Arabic Studies and Anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park with a minor in International Development and Conflict Management.