Our Team

Julia Roig

Julia Roig, President of PartnersGlobal, represents the next generation of leadership in the international development field as the President of one of the most preeminent global organizations dedicated to innovative solutions for democratic governance, social justice and peaceful change. PartnersGlobal (Partners) believes that good governance and change management are the underpinning of all development challenges and has a successful track record of building civil society and broad partnerships to effect democratic change. Julia provides technical and strategic leadership to the Partners Network, made up of 20 local civil society organizations (CSOs), “Partners Centers,” in Central and Eastern Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. Together with the Network, Partners is on the cutting edge of combatting closing civic space by delivering a Resiliency+ Framework to activists and CSOs in more than 11 countries. She is the main architect of a new initiative on Narratives for Peace, building a multi-sector platform for collaboration amongst professional peacebuilders and creative industry allies to engage more productively with narrative change globally.  Julia is currently spearheading the Horizons Project, a joint initiative with Humanity United that is working to improve the intersection of democracy promotion, social justice and peacebuilding in the US and globally.

Ms. Roig currently serves as the Board Chair of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. She serves on the Board of Advisors of the Corruption, Justice and Legitimacy Program of Tufts University, exploring the intersection of Social Norms and systems change to combat corruption. Julia is also an Advisor to NSquare, a network of innovators committed to ending the nuclear threat, as well as serving on the Advisory Board of Scripps College Laspa Leadership Center for Women in Leadership.

Julia is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer at conferences, universities, and public engagements. You can watch her TEDx Talk: We Can All Be Peacebuilders and check out her describing her approach to narrative change at a recent Ford Foundation event. She is a renowned author on topics such as philanthropy and narrative change, civil society resiliency and business for peace, amongst many others.

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 in 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. Ms. Roig received her J.D. from the George Washington School of Law and is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French.

Kyra Buchko
Co-Executive Director

Kyra’s journey with PartnersGlobal began in 2017 when she was tapped for her expertise in access to justice, rule of law, and human rights issues to advance Partners’ programs and local partner capacities. Over time, she took on diverse management roles and in January 2020 became Managing Director for Program Portfolios. In this capacity, Kyra provides strategic oversight and guidance on management and program implementation across all regions and thematic areas. In January 2021, she was named Co-Executive Director.

From 2014-19, Kyra served as Senior Technical Director of New Rule, LLC, providing technical assistance across the globe while involved in all aspects of the development and growth of a woman-owned small business. She has lived in South Asia and Eastern Europe, where she advised national human rights institutions, government agencies, and community-based organizations on capacity building and citizen services delivery. Kyra launched her development career as one of the initial directors of the American Bar Association’s overseas programming. She credits this experience with igniting her passion for justice for the underserved and opening her eyes to the reality that lasting change requires long-term commitment.

Kyra is a Double Hoya – a graduate of both Georgetown University Law Center and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. She and her husband have four children and two cats. When not traveling together (19 countries as of 2019), they play a lot of board games – very competitively – and everyone pretends to listen to Kyra pass down family lore.

Roselie Vasquez-Yetter
Co-Executive Director

Roselie joined PartnersGlobal in 2015 as Global Director for Civil Society. In this position, she played a dual role with a foot in both the regional teams and the technical support team. She provided strategic planning and oversight for the Latin America programs and played a leading role in advancing PartnersGlobal’s civil society resiliency programming and innovative Resiliency+ Framework, which offers tools and tactics to support organizations in navigating complexity and thriving in uncertainty. In 2021, Roselie was promoted to Co-Executive Director.

She began her career in Moscow as a PR manager on the first USAID public-private partnership promoting distance learning for staff of Russian-American joint ventures.  From there she spent several years working at the intersection of capacity-building, advocacy, and entrepreneurial skill-building, often in politically challenging and conflict-affected environments.  She has designed and led multiple projects, including as Country Director and Chief of Party for programs to build organizational sustainability and resiliency through soft diplomacy, social entrepreneurship, public-private partnerships, and alternative revenue generation in fragile and volatile states.  She has worked across Russia and Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Among her achievements, she created a sustainable civil society capacity building program in Central Asia, worked to empower women social entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia, and built a network of women’s health advocates across nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa. She also launched and led her own small business delivering last mile connectivity solutions for civil society organizations.

Holding a master’s in international communications, Roselie approaches her work through a lens of strategic communications and entrepreneurial thinking.

Bisrat Yohannes
Senior Director, Finance

Bisrat Yohannes is the Deputy Chief Financial Officer at PartnersGlobal with a key role in financial management, financial forecasting and planning, development of relevant financial information, and timely financial reporting. He assists the CFO in developing internal control policies, guidelines, and procedures as well as establishing and maintaining an infrastructure that supports future stable growth and ensure that highest standards of financial integrity are being attained.

Before joining PartnersGlobal, Bisrat worked at Helen Keller International as program finance manager overseeing everyday program financial activities for multimillion-dollar programs funded by USAID and private foundations. He has extensive experience in all aspects of financial management ranging from simple accounting to complex financial management.

Bisrat holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting with more than 15 years of experience. Originally from Ethiopia, he enjoys reading books and playing/watching sport in his free time.

Bridget O’Loughlin
Director, Business Development

Bridget is a native of the Boston area and started working at PartnersGlobal in 2013 as an intern while pursuing her Master of Arts in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. She previously lived and worked in Maracaibo, Venezuela as a Fulbright Fellow.

As Director for Business Development, Bridget provides strategic leadership for Partners’ business development efforts. Her role includes developing and leading knowledge management processes, building and sustaining external partnerships, supporting new programmatic and funding opportunities, and coaching and mentoring team members and local partners. Bridget is an experienced trainer and facilitator in English and Spanish and leads PartnersGlobal’s Facilitating Accountability, Integrity, and Resilience approach, which supports local civil society and governments to jointly counter corruption and increase transparency in all aspects of governance. In addition to her official duties, Bridget takes pride in making Partners a better place to work and believes strongly in the power of teamwork, collaboration, and playfulness.

In her free time, she enjoys going on adventures, testing new and ever more elaborate recipes, and pretending that her cat and dog get along.

Edith Kardouni
Director, Human Resources & Talent Management

Originally from South Texas, Edith joined PartnersGlobal in August 2019 as the organization’s first Human Resources Leader. Edith received her BA in Political Science and Latin American Studies from Baylor University, and her MA in Public Administration in Human Resources Management and Legal/Judicial Administration from Texas State University. Prior to joining PartnersGlobal, Edith managed the Talent Management and Human Resources functions for large and mid-size corporations across the United States, Mexico, and Canada in industries including real estate, retail, and legal services.

As the organization’s Human Resources & Talent Management Director, Edith is responsible for leading senior leadership and management teams in reinforcing strong company culture, creating and leading employee engagement and development programs, and implementing reward and talent management strategies that support the achievement of PartnersGlobal’s mission. Edith’s other areas of responsibility include: talent acquisition, employee relations, health and welfare, safety, organization development and learning, and compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.

When not working, Edith enjoys spending time with her family, running and singing off-tuned karaoke. Edith is the proud wife of a U.S. Army Physical Therapist and in addition to having two fur babies, Kitty and Koko Kardouni, she is the proud aunt to three nephews and three nieces. In her spare time, Edith also enjoys mentoring up-and-coming HR professionals where she shares her knowledge and passion for people operations programs.

Luis Gomez Chow
Director, Global Initiatives

Luis has been part of the Partners Network since 2008, starting his career at our sister organization in Mexico, Centro de Colaboración Cívica (CCC), where he served as a facilitator for complex multi-stakeholder dialogue processes and Director for the Citizen Security and Human Rights portfolio. He joined the PartnersGlobal team in 2015, bringing to the organization a deep level of technical and regional expertise. He has experienced firsthand the power of dialogue and believes deeply in positive conflict transformation.

At PartnersGlobal, Luis oversees Partners’ Civil Society Resilience portfolio as well as the organization’s peacebuilding and democracy-building programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is one of the organization’s lead trainers and focal point persons for civil society capacity-building and conflict resolution, providing support to other regional teams and leading different global consultancies. He has a decade of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating multi stakeholder dialogue, negotiation, and consensus-building processes and platforms concerning human rights, access to justice, and human security policies and laws, as well as designing organizational change management processes and supporting civil society organizations to undertake those processes.

Luis earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico City and his Master of Arts in Development Studies with a specialization in Crises, Emergency Interventions, and Development Actions from Université Panthéon – Sorbonne in Paris.

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

Rasha Abdel Latif
Director, Middle East and North Africa and Civil Society Strengthening

Rasha started her journey with the Partners Network in 2009. She first worked at Partners-Jordan for around eight years and then later joined the PartnersGlobal team at the end of 2019 as the Director for Middle East and North Africa and Civil Society Strengthening.

Rasha found her passion supporting the development of local communities in early 2000. She has worked with civil society organizations and activists around the world to amplify their voices, increase citizen participation in decision-making processes, advocate for human rights, and innovate in creating solutions to social problems.

Rasha is a passionate catalyst for change. She believes she is alive to make a difference in this world and is constantly looking for an opportunity to do so. Outside of her work, Rasha enjoys dancing and teaching Levantine folkloric Dabkeh dance.

Deborah Mancini-Griffoli
Senior Program Manager, Africa Team

Deborah manages various projects in PartnersGlobal’s Africa portfolio. She works closely with donors, network members, and partners to increase access to justice, respect for human rights and protection for communities in need. 

Deborah has more than 15 years of experience in program management, business development, policy design, and training in the field of peacebuilding. She designed and managed projects funded by the governments of Canada, Switzerland, UK and US, private foundations, and companies. Her topics of expertise include conflict resolution, peacebuilding, violence prevention, youth empowerment, and protection including sexual and gender-based violence. Deborah also co-authored a number of training manuals and handbooks on peacebuilding topics. In the past, she worked and consulted for organizations such as Creative Learning, the United States Institute for Peace, Oxfam America, the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue and UNICEF. Deborah has an M.A. in History and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University.

Ali El Yassir
Program Manager, Middle East and North Africa

Ali El Yassir joined PartnersGlobal in June of 2020 as a Program Manager providing support to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) portfolio. As a Program Manager, Ali works with Partners‘ field teams in the Middle East to manage the implementation of programs focused on conflict stabilization and peacebuilding.

Ali comes to Partners with more than eight years of experience working on the MENA region. Prior to joining Partners, he was a Project Manager at ARK Group, a research and programming consultancy, where he led conflict stabilization, countering violent extremism, and governance projects in Syria and Lebanon. In addition to working closely with local civil society partners, he oversaw the research and analysis of in-country developments and conflict dynamics, as part of the projects he managed, for the purpose of informing project implementation and donor priorities. Prior to ARK, Ali researched and analyzed political and security developments in the Middle East region at a number of think tanks, including the United States Institute of Peace, the Middle East Institute, and Carnegie’s Middle East Center.

Ali received his master’s degree in international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the American University of Beirut.

Alexa Brand
Program Manager, Global Initiatives

Alexa is a Program Manager of the PartnersGlobal Civil Society Resilience portfolio, focusing on increasing the resilience of civil society organizations in closing civic spaces.

Before joining PartnersGlobal, Alexa was a Technical Specialist at IREX where she designed and led trainings pertaining to social inclusion, gender equality, trauma-informed care, and resilience and security for human rights defenders in closing and closed spaces. Alexa also managed human rights programs that focused on strengthening the resilience and security of LGBTQ+ and women human rights defenders in the MENA region, women’s rights advocates across the globe, anti-trafficking activists and journalists in Southeast Asia. Prior to IREX, Alexa was Director of Advancement at a Virginia-based NGO, Sudan Sunrise, in which she directed peacebuilding efforts and reconciliation projects in Sudan and South Sudan. Alexa also researched and analyzed security developments pertaining to refugee crises in the Middle East region, including at The Jerusalem Fund in Washington, D.C.

Alexa earned her Masters of Arts in Middle East and Islamic Studies from George Mason University and a Graduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Care from the University at Buffalo.

In addition to her work at PartnersGlobal, Alexa is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grappler, aspiring photographer, and lover of nature.

Matt Ciesielski
Program Manager, Middle East and North Africa

Matt Ciesielski joined PartnersGlobal in 2020 as a Program Manager on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) team. As Program Manager, Matt works directly with Partners team’s in Iraq and Yemen to manage the implementation of programs focused on social cohesion, rule of law, and women’s rights in the workplace.

With a background in peacebuilding, social cohesion, and supporting local civil society organizations, Matt comes to Partners with more than eight years of experience working on the MENA region. Most recently, he served as Senior Program Specialist on the Middle East team at the United States Institute of Peace, where he spent more than four years working on peacebuilding efforts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen and contributed to USIP’s efforts to inform U.S. and international policy in the region.

Having spent more than two years living and working in Morocco, Jordan, and Jerusalem, Matt worked hand-in-hand with local organizations and field offices to support citizen engagement and grassroots peacebuilding. He supported youth civil society organizations from across the MENA region with ACTED in Jordan and worked with Search for Common Ground on evaluating peacebuilding efforts between Israelis and Palestinians. While living in Morocco, he also taught English to students of all ages at AMIDEAST. He earned his master’s degree in Middle East Studies from George Washington University and holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University.

Originally from New Jersey, Matt likes to play guitar, go to concerts, read, and explore new countries and cultures.

Jeffsky Poincy
Program Manager, Africa

Jeffsky Poincy joined PartnersGlobal in August of 2021 as a Program Manager for the Africa portfolio. As a Program Manager, Jeffsky works with local implementing partners and Partners Network members based in the region on projects in accountable governance, civil society strengthening, and peacebuilding.

Jeffsky comes to PartnersGlobal with a rich background in project management and diverse technical expertise. He has over seven years of experience in economic development, strategic planning, program management, and policy development across public, private, and NGO sectors. He has worked for organizations such as Plan International, the Haitian Ministry of Tourism, and the Haitian Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Civic Action. In addition, he is the Founder of BUSY (Business-driven Solutions for Youth), a Haitian-based economic development organization whose mission is to promote and foster economic empowerment of marginalized youth in Haiti.

Jeffsky has a Master of International Development Policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, focusing on Governance and Economic Development. He also obtained a master’s degree in International Project Management and a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management from the People’s Friendship University of Russia. He is fluent in English, French, Haitian Creole, and Russian. In addition to his work at Partners, Jeffsky is a passionate and committed advocate for social justice.

Alex Thomas
Senior Program Associate, Middle East and North Africa

Alex Thomas joined PartnersGlobal in 2020 as a Senior Program Associate providing support to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) portfolio. With experience in the private, nonprofit, U.S. government consulting and Middle East-based civil society sectors, Alex brings 7+ years of experience in finance and operations to Partners.

Prior to Partners, Alex was in Jordan, where she was most-recently a David L. Boren Fellow and interned with Arab Renaissance for Democracy in Development (ARDD). In Palestine, Alex contributed to a cooperative’s work in environmental peacebuilding, conducting team-based rapid appraisal on the development- and peacebuilding-related motivations of Palestinians and Israelis cooperating on a water-food-energy nexus project in the West Bank. In DC, Alex most recently served as a Senior Operations Analyst on E3/Sentinel’s GSA FEDSIM contract and, prior, was the Finance and Operations Associate at the Meyer Foundation, where she contributed to internalizing the Foundation’s racial equity strategic plan.

Alex earned her graduate degree in International Affairs, U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security towards the Middle East, from American University’s School of International Service, and she holds an undergraduate degree in Finance from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Originally from Georgia, Alex likes to read, write, and bike around DC, searching for the perfect spot to hammock with a good book.

Maliza Bonane
Senior Program Associate, Africa

In April 2021, Maliza F. Bonane joined PartnersGlobal as a Senior Program Associate within the Africa team. She has had the opportunity to build a diverse portfolio that ranges from democracy development while working in various nonprofits and intergovernmental organizations to intelligence as a linguist and analyst with the United States government.

Prior to joining PartnersGlobal, she worked as an Intelligence Analyst for the United States Government while also managing a local nonprofit, AEPUD, which she founded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The organization’s mission statement is to engage marginalized citizens and young adults in ascertaining their civic rights and holding their congressional representatives accountable. The organization also promotes women’s financial independence through the creation of cooperatives and the facilitation of agrobusiness initiatives.

Maliza holds a BA in International Relations and French from the University of Virginia, as well as two Masters, one in Corporate Finance from the University of Buckingham and the other in Conflict Analysis and Resolutions from George Mason University.  She fluently speaks French, Spanish, Lingala, Swahili, and Portuguese, which has allowed to work as a linguistic specialist and consultant with short-term projects in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

For fun and pleasure, she truly enjoys dancing, writing poems, compiling and analyzing various news on a particular political subject to later brief her circle of friends and family, spending time with her two beautiful daughters, and then finding a way to escape from it all in a country where she can blend in yet remain unknown.

Leonora Smart-Abbey
Senior Associate, Business Development

Originally from Accra, Ghana, Leonora moved to the U.S after a Master’s in Economic Policy, for a further graduate study on international relations. Before joining PartnersGlobal, Leonora worked with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale (GIZ) GmbH, an implementing agency commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in Accra, supporting diverse projects on migration and reintegration, governance, and sustainable development with procurement, contracting and communications. She then worked temporarily on economic affairs with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at the UNCTAD Office of the Secretary-General in New York supporting with inter-governmental negotiations, knowledge management, ECOSOC Youth Forum and external communications, and also supported local NGO through consultancy on project facilitation and management to promote gender economic empowerment of women in Ghana.

As a Senior Business Development Associate, Leonora coordinates the business development and proposal life cycle for all U.S. Federal funded bids and assists with organizational knowledge management. She supports with procurement, contract developments and policies, and works diversely with Partners project teams and affiliate centers to assist with business forecasting and preparation.

Outside of work, Leonora serves as an organizing committee member to an international group of women in international organizations, and as a volunteer for youth development. For fun and relaxation, she can be found sightseeing, watching movies, attending concerts, or singing along to 70s’and 80s’ music.

Assita Diallo
Senior Associate, Finance

Born and raised in West Africa, Assita started working with PartnersGlobal in early 2018. Before Partners, Assita lived in Paris, France where she completed her Master’s degree in Financial Management and worked with Aviva France. Prior to this, Assita lived in Bamako, Mali where she attained her Bachelor’s degree in Management.

She is responsible for providing administrative and financial support to the Africa team, ensuring smooth and timely flow of work. She also supports Partners West Africa Centers in Senegal and Nigeria as well as PartnersGlobal’s subgrantees in Guinea, Senegal and Burkina Faso

Assita finds joy in reading and cooking, but mostly in spending time with her two handsome sons. They particularly enjoy taking trips to the library.

Yu Chen
Senior Associate, Finance

Yu Chen was born and raised in China and moved to the Unites States when she was 18. Before joining PartnersGlobal in 2017, she worked for Citrin Cooperman, Meridian International Center, and Citibank where she was responsible for audit, finance, accounting, banking, and grant management functions. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Economics from George Washington University, and she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Financial Economics at Johns Hopkins University.

As a Senior Finance Associate, Yu is responsible for multiple diverse and complex financial duties including cash flow management, grant financial management, budget development, and billability management. She also provides financial leadership and oversight for the financial aspects of multiple programs by providing financial statements and interpreting financial information to cross-functional teams while recommending further courses of action. She oversees month-end closing process of the programs under her management and is responsible for quarter-end and year-end accounting adjustments. She also supports audit preparation and provides capacity building, coaching, and mentoring to junior finance staff and local partners by developing learning activities and materials.

She is passionate about contemporary art, electronic music, and fashion. She published two books about Chinese culture and art when she was 16. Outside of work, Yu can be found at the hidden galleries and boutiques in Georgetown.

Sarah Iwamoto
Assistant, Finance

Born in Japan and raised in Jakarta, Sarah earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Accounting from Gallaudet University. Prior to joining PartnersGlobal in September 2019, she interned with Schwarz Financial Services LLC as a Tax Preparer with DeafTax.com. She also spent a semester earning several credit hours towards a Master of Science in Accounting from American University.

At PartnersGlobal, Sarah is responsible for providing administrative and financial management support to the senior leadership and program teams. This includes processing payments, checks, and wire transfers in a timely manner, performing accounting analysis and reconciliations, maintaining physical and electronic filing systems, participating in the monthly and yearly closing processes, and conducting general administrative functions.

In Sarah’s free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, visiting the various art museums in Washington DC, and spending time with her husband and friends.