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JR new pic 2Julia Roig
President

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.

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Nick Oatley
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.

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Ahmed Gutan
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.

Lelia MooneyLelia 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.

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Jonathan Apikian

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 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.

Paulina Ojeda

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

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, 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.

Kehinde Togun

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.

Luis

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).

Erin Cox

Erin Cox

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.

Elvira Felix

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.

Aly Lyons

Alyson Lyons

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.

Craig Phillips

Craig Phillips

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.

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Bisrat Woldemariam

Manager, 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.

Ian Oneill

Ian O'Neill

Associate, 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.

Bridget

Bridget O’Loughlin

Program Assistant, 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. 

Lauren

Lauren Mooney

Program Assistant, Executive Programs

Lauren Mooney joined Partners in June 2015 as the Program Assistant for Executive Programs. 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.

Oriana

Oriana LaVilla

Program Assistant, 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.

Taqwa

Taqwa Rushdan

Program Assistant, Middle East and North Africa

Ms. Rushdan is a Program Assistant for the Middle East and North Africa 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.

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2013 Annual Report from Partners & PDCI

Last year, the 20 members of PDCI worked with over 86,000 people to improve governance, resolve conflicts, develop vibrant civil society sectors, empower women, youth, and minorities, and promote sustainable development. In our Annual Report, we share stories of our impact across the globe.

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Amb. Mark Bellamy on the Escalation of Political Violence in Africa

From August 4th-6th, 40 heads of state from across Africa met in Washington DC for the Africa Leaders Summit, in which meetings and events focused on the economic importance of the continent. Here, Partners Board Member Amb. Mark Bellamy discusses the risks of political violence in the region amidst such economic growth.

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Youth as Peacemakers in Tribal Yemen

Supporting young men and women in Yemen to realize their potential as conflict mediators, advocates, and community leaders.

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