Class of 2019
Mouayad Albonni, GHD'19
Mouayad Albonni graduated from the Economics Department at the American University of Beirut. He is from a town in the Qalamoun mountains north of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Arabic is Mouayad’s mother tongue, he is fluent in English, and can communicate fairly well in French. After receiving a high score in his Baccalaureate, he earned a scholarship to study Economics at the American University of Beirut. During his years as a student, he minored in political studies, volunteered with several organizations responding to the Syria refugee crisis in Lebanon, and did internships with institutes such as Carnegie Middle East Center and Issam Fares Institute. Working with an international aid agency such as Mercy Corps after graduation has provided Mouayad with a considerable amount of experience and knowledge with regards to the Syria conflict, and has allowed him to personally observe the often controversial operations of international and local aid agencies in a war-torn country. Studying international development will allow him to build a solid theoretical basis to become a professional and valuable element in constructing and implementing development projects in Syria and other countries. While in Washington DC, besides attending graduate courses, Mouayad wishes to build connections with students and experts in and outside Georgetown, and potentially participate in producing papers covering topics in development, hopefully under the supervision of some of the world’s most prominent development experts residing in Washington DC. After acquiring his Masters degree, Mouayad wishes to continue working with international organizations implementing international development programs.
Anne Buckley, GHD'19
Anne Buckley joins GHD after working in community development as a Peace Corps Volunteer for the past two years. Annie began as a Community Economic Development agent in Mali where she spent six months working with a women’s agribusiness cooperative. She continued her service in Comoros teaching high school English and working on conservation projects with the National Marine Park of Mohéli. Before joining Peace Corps, Annie graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude from University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014 with a B.A. in International Affairs. As an undergraduate she studied abroad in Spain and Argentina where she practiced her Spanish and discovered her love of traveling. Annie is conversational in local languages Bambara and Shikomori, and looks forward to continue to learn French during her time at Georgetown. Annie is interested in governance and development, as well as climate and environment.
Erin Collins, GHD'19
Erin Collins, a Buffalo, NY native and Georgetown University graduate, joins the GHD program after working in Malawi at the UN World Food Programme (WFP) for close to two years. Erin’s time at WFP Malawi, which began as part of a yearlong Princeton in Africa fellowship, helped to foster her deep interest in food and nutrition security as she saw firsthand how intricately connected access to food is to all aspects of development. Throughout her time at WFP, Erin worked as part of the Government Partnerships, Reports and Communications unit where she supported two consecutive emergency humanitarian responses, a refugee program, as well as development initiatives that included a school meals program, resilience-building activities, nutrition support and a program increasing market access for smallholder farmers within Malawi. Prior to her work in Malawi, Erin developed her initial interest in international development through involvement in education initiatives within a South African township with the nonprofit organization, One Heart Source. Before working internationally, Erin worked on advocacy and U.S. federal policy strategy at The Sheridan Group, a government relations firm that specializes in working with nonprofit organizations. Before that she interned in the U.S. Senate. Erin plans to specialize her GHD degree in Food, Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods and in the future hopes to continue working with foreign governments, particularly in African countries, to achieve food security and agriculture sustainability. Erin loves to read, write, travel and play soccer, especially in countries she has lived in or visited!
Tiago de Barros Cordeiro, GHD'19
Tiago Cordeiro, a Brazilian national, completed his undergraduate studies in International Affairs at the University of Brasilia and holds an MBA in Project Management from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation. From 2012 to 2017, he worked as a consultant and as an operations analyst at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Brazil office, contributing to the design and management of projects in the citizen security, environment and tourism sectors. For example, he collaborated in the design of a new public service in the state of Rio Grande do Sul that promotes educational and professional advancement for at-risk youth through the establishment of reference centers. At the IDB, Tiago was also responsible for promoting the use of Business Intelligence strategies and led the effort to establish performance indicators for the IDB’s local operations team. Previously, Tiago was the International Affairs Advisor of the Palmares Cultural Foundation, a federal agency that promotes Afro-Brazilian culture and defends the rights and territories of slave-descendant communities. Among other initiatives, he helped organize Brazil’s participation in the World Festival of Black Arts in Senegal. Tiago has also worked as an English teacher and Portuguese-English translator. He is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish and has working knowledge of French. As a student in the GHD Program, Tiago seeks to improve his understanding of the concepts and instruments used to analyze, design and implement sustainable and integrated public policies and results-driven projects. He hopes to continue working in international development and to play an increasingly influential role in the field.
Kiersten DeHaven, GHD'19
Kiersten DeHaven attended the University of Notre Dame as a student-athlete majoring in Political Science and Spanish while rowing for the varsity women’s rowing team. She spent a summer studying abroad in Toledo, Spain and a summer volunteering at an inner city elementary school in Buenos Aires, Argentina through a service learning program organized by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns. After graduating from Notre Dame, Kiersten joined the Peace Corps and served as an English literacy volunteer in Western Samoa working primarily with at-risk students in her rural village on the island of Savaii. She discovered her passion for development work while writing grants and collaborating with her community on various projects. She facilitated the installation of an improved potable water system for her village’s school and the development of a creative learning center equipping the school community with computers, a library, and teaching materials. During her service, she served as budget and fundraising chairperson for the annual “Girls Lead Our World” conference bringing young women from across Samoa together for workshops on health, education and employment opportunities. After finishing her Peace Corps Service, she worked as a secondary school rowing coach in Hamilton, New Zealand. She is from Tampa, Florida and spent much of her childhood in Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica where she became fluent in Spanish. She joins the Global Human Development program with an interest in education and economic development.
Diana Durán Crespo, GHD'19
Diana Durán Crespo is originally from Quito, Ecuador but completed her undergraduate degree in International Economics in the University of Navarra, Spain. She joined GHD after working in the private sector for 8 years in Madrid, New York, and Quito. Diana has experience in finance, business and brand management. Regardless of her professional career and job responsibilities, she has always been enthusiastic to help others by leading many volunteer initiatives to improve the living standards of vulnerable people. For instance, during her working experience as Treasury Manager in Citibank, she was member of the Social Investment Committee of Citi Ecuador. She was leader of the project “Un Techo para mi país”, where she was responsible for the fundraising and construction of houses in rural areas in the South of Quito. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship. She participated as a volunteer in an Entrepreneurial Women’s Program to teach financial courses to disadvantaged women from urban zones of Quito to help them use their financial resources efficiently and make their businesses profitable. In 2015, she won the Startup Weekend Quito and launched a startup in touristic innovation in Quito to contribute to the global awareness, preservation of the ecosystems and local cultural identities, and stimulate economic growth. Her ambition is to serve and lead to improve people’s life and contribute to a real social and economic change worldwide.
Boyeoluwatito "Yinka" Fakoya, GHD'19
Boyeoluwatito "Yinka" Fakoya is passionate about access to quality education and the development and implementation of inclusive, evidence-based education policies. Prior to joining GHD she worked with The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre, where she conducted research on the Nigerian education sector and produced comprehensive reports to support ongoing development interventions. Through her work at TEP Centre she engaged with government and development partners to support the capacity and organizational growth of innovative education programs. Before joining TEP Centre, Yinka spent a year teaching French at a public school in Kaduna State as part of her National Youth Service. During that period she also volunteered with the Educating Nigerian Girls In New Enterprise (ENGINE) initiative, where she provided supplementary weekly STEM and life skills classes to 30 girls in rural Northern Nigeria. Yinka has also worked at LitLife Inc., New York and interned at Seva Mandir, Udaipur – experiences which have shaped her outlook and furthered her interest in international education. She graduated with honors from Amherst College in 2014, where she majored in Economics and Sociology and received a 5-College Certificate in International Relations. She is fluent in Yoruba and proficient in Spanish and French.
Francine Fernandez, GHD'19
Francine Fernandez completed her undergraduate degree in Management with a minor in Enterprise Development and her graduate degree in Economics with a specialization in urban and regional development from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. As a student, she spent two years as a volunteer for a socially-oriented organization of the university which provides academic mentorship to public school children from disadvantaged communities through weekly tutoring sessions. She is passionate about education issues particularly in the context of developing countries, and joins the GHD program after having worked for the Development Indicators and Policy Research Division of the Asian Development Bank, where she helped produce the special chapter of the Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific, a flagship publication of the bank. She has also previously worked as a lecturer in the Economics department of the Ateneo de Manila University. An avid traveler born and raised in Manila, she hopes to be able to see as much of the Philippines’ 7,107 islands as she possibly can.
Danielle Fiorino, GHD'19
Danielle Fiorino has spent the last four years in various positions at The Mahindra Group, based in Mumbai, India, which is a 19 billion dollar international conglomerate spanning twenty different industries. Her positions included Internal Consulting, Deputy Manager in International Real Estate Sales, and Deputy Manager to the Chairman of the Mahindra Group. She spent her last year as a consultant for a Mahindra supported not-for-profit, the Naandi Foundation, creating new strategies to be implemented in Mumbai Public Schools that increased student learning levels and enhanced teacher skills through new training programs. Danielle graduated from the Huntsman Program at University of Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the College of Arts and Sciences. During her tenure at Penn, she minored in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and completed study abroad in Amman, Jordan. She also interned in New Delhi, India working on an ethics project with a small consulting firm called Milagrow and in Washington DC with Agora Partnerships supporting Latin American Impact Entrepreneurs. Her experience working for various not-for-profits, combined with her consulting work at Mahindra, inspired Danielle to embark on a career of service. Danielle is looking forward to using the business and cultural knowledge she has acquired through her time in India and the Middle East to innovate solutions benefitting the underserved. Danielle is fluent in French; highly proficient in Modern Standard Arabic, Palestinian Arabic, and Spanish; and conversational in Hindi.
Rebecca Heeb, GHD'19
Rebecca holds a B.A. from Smith College, where she majored in East Asian Languages and Literature. Her interest in international development stems from her experience volunteer teaching children in rural China for two summers during college. Upon graduation, Rebecca joined the Fulbright Program in South Korea and taught English as a Foreign Language to public high school students. She has since then become CELTA-certified. Rebecca has spent the last ten years working overseas in various professional capacities. She has substantial experience supporting non-formal education and community-supported initiatives serving local teachers and marginalized youth and women. Rebecca has assisted with the daily food security operations at Barli Development Institute, a vocational and spiritual training center for rural and tribal women in India. At Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa, she interviewed beneficiaries to conduct research to help develop a fuel-efficient cook stove micro-leasing project. As a student advisor, Rebecca has also coached and mentored young, minority community leaders in Myanmar at Thabyay Education Foundation. More recently, Rebecca has worked as a teacher trainer for the British Council’s EfECT Project in Myanmar and has trained and advised nearly 70 teacher educators at a government teachers college. Rebecca is excited to be joining the Global Human Development program this coming fall. She hopes to gain new skills in program development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Rebecca speaks Chinese, Korean, and Burmese. She is currently learning Haitian Creole.
Anna Khandros, GHD'19
Anna Khandros joins GHD after working with American Councils for International Education in Ukraine. Previously, she was a fellow with the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. in Washington DC, a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Tajikistan, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. Her interests in development in post-conflict societies, education in conflict zones, and refugee issues stem from her background and a study abroad semester in Beirut, Lebanon. Anna is an alumna of Brandeis University, where she earned a BA in Politics, and a double minor in Legal Studies and Peace and Conflict. She was born in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Joshua Kirton, GHD'19
Joshua Kirton, from the United Kingdom, joins GHD after six years working on humanitarian programs primarily in the Middle East and North Africa. He graduated from Queen Mary, the University of London in 2010 with a BA in Modern History. While at Queen Mary he took the opportunity to study Arabic at the University of Damascus in Syria. Since graduating, Josh has specialized in monitoring & evaluation, information management, and research in a range of contexts from sudden onset disasters in the Philippines and Vanuatu to the Syria Crisis context in Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Most recently Josh has been working as a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Manager with Danish Refugee Council. Based in Beirut, Lebanon, he was responsible for establishing a comprehensive M&E system for DRC’s Syria program, producing primary & secondary research to support the formulation of evidenced-based intervention strategies, and managing the rollout of a regional information management system in the MENA region. At GHD, Josh plans to specialize in development economics and quantitative analysis.
Benjamin Lavin, GHD'19
Benjamin Lavin is attending GHD after serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa for the previous three years. He facilitated data collection, analysis and research as a MEL Assistant at ABMS/PSI on the USAID Sanitation Services Delivery project in his last year. Prior to ABMS/PSI, Benjamin collaborated with a local trash collection agency to advance their financial management and business strategy. He concurrently served as the Benin Against Malaria MRE Officer, overseeing and assessing bed net distribution data. Benjamin digitally streamlined bed net distributions by designing and co-creating an Android application, increasing quality and effective reporting. He also authored reports for the Beninese Ministry of Health and enhanced Volunteer malaria projects. In 2014, he interned with Mano a Mano International, a Bolivia-focused NGO based in St. Paul. Benjamin analyzed Bolivian census data and effective school design and development practices. Benjamin studied economics and statistics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He also studied economics and Indian political history at the University of Hyderabad, India for a semester. Benjamin is passionate about evaluating programs thoroughly to measure their successes and failures and to understand how they can be improved. He is particularly interested in using technology such as GIS maps and mobile data collection to improve program effectiveness. In his free time, Benjamin enjoys playing soccer and contemplating the difficulty of finding real New York pizza.
Alden LeClair, GHD'19
Alden LeClair graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a BSFS in International Politics with a concentration in International Security, and a Certificate in African Studies. While an undergrad, he undertook his senior thesis research on the colonial-era history of land, migration, and identity in Eastern Congo. After graduation, Alden joined Centennial Group International, a small international development consulting firm in Washington, DC, as a Project & Research Associate. There, he works with several former World Bank and IMF executives on advisory projects for a number of clients around the world including development banks, international institutions, developing country governments, and bilateral development agencies. Recently, he has worked on projects for the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Government of Niger, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Aga Khan University (AKU). Concurrently, he has supported Centennial’s sister organization, the Emerging Markets Forum (EMF), a non-profit think tank which brings together heads of state and government, development practitioners, and private sector leaders to discuss major issues facing emerging markets. Through EMF, he has organized and staffed numerous global conferences, including recently in Abidjan, Washington, and Paris. Alden is originally from New Hampshire, speaks French, and is looking forward to pursuing research and work on development in fragile and conflict-affected states, particularly in Africa.
Amina Mendez Acosta, GHD'19
Coming from a poor rural village in the Philippines from a family which earned a gross income of USD 4 a day, Amina has experienced firsthand the desperation and hopelessness of poverty. Her family broke through the classic tale of generational poverty through a microfinance loan her mother availed to start a small business and, a college scholarship which first sent her to University of the Philippines Diliman and eventually to Ohio Wesleyan University to finish an undergraduate degree in Mathematics (Summa Cum Laude). After graduation, she worked as an advocate of financial inclusion, social performance and education for the youth through her work as Corporate Planning Manager at ASKI, the Philippine MFI which first gave her mother a microfinance loan and, as co-founder of Linang Kabataan, an NGO promoting educational assistance for poor youth. Her five-year experience as policy and program developer in the institution and her previous experience as a beneficiary of the initiative taught her the importance of access to financial services such as loans, savings, insurance, and remittance, and non-financial support including financial education, entrepreneurship and livelihood trainings in enabling an environment where the marginalized can help themselves out of poverty. She sees her role in the next ten years as an innovator, catalyst, and capacity builder for the Philippine development sector focusing on financial inclusion, and joins GHD to further explore the role of social enterprises, food security, and rural livelihood in promoting equitable socio-economic growth for the country.
Josue Niyonsingiza, GHD'19
Josue Niyonsingiza was born and raised in Rwanda. He graduated with a degree in Applied Chemistry from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. He fluently speaks English, French and Kinyarwanda, and a little bit of Swahili. He is passionate about education of vulnerable people, global health, environmental/climate change and rural livelihoods. Josue has worked with Global Communities, and CHAI in Rwanda. While working with Global Communities he was responsible for tracking vulnerable youth progress in their pursuit in vocational education and training programs, he also organized and offered Career and Life Management Trainings to youth graduating from vocational trainings. At GHD, Josue intends to concentrate on the contribution of the environment and health towards a sustainable economic development for vulnerable communities.
Rachel Norris, GHD'19
Rachel Norris graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Special Education. As an undergraduate, she worked abroad at La Casa de mi Padre in San Salvador, El Salvador and at Romanian Christian Enterprises in Arad, Romania coordinating services for orphans with special needs. After graduation, Rachel joined the Peace Corps and served as an English Language and Community Development Facilitator on the island of Vava’u in Tonga. While there, she established a school-wide literacy program and instituted a community health initiative focused on increased nutrition, hygiene, and exercise. She also partnered with local NGOs to develop a children’s environmental program for ocean cleanup and trash disposal. Upon completion of her service, Rachel joined USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance providing famine and drought relief to the Horn of Africa. Rachel is a DC native and is passionate about refugee assistance, gender equality, and working with victims of gender based violence.
Hannah Peterson, GHD'19
Hannah Peterson joins the Global Human Development Program after working in international development for five years. After graduating with a B.A in Economics and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, she moved to Nicaragua for one year to work as a Program Director for a community development non-profit called Manna Project International. As a Program Director, Hannah implemented a range of education, health and economic development programs in communities in Managua. These programs included a beginner’s English course, a women’s nutrition and exercise class, a micro-loan program for local entrepreneurs and a child sponsorship program in Managua’s municipal trash dump. After her first year in Nicaragua, Hannah realized her passion for international development and extended her stay in Nicaragua to become the Volunteer Coordinator for a local non-profit called Fabretto Children’s Foundation. Fabretto serves families in 9 regions of the country through education and nutrition programs. As the Volunteer Coordinator, Hannah worked alongside urban and rural communities to design and lead projects for over 400 long and short term volunteers. After three years in Nicaragua, Hannah moved to Washington DC to work for the USAID contractor, DAI. In her two years at the company, she managed public finance and workforce development projects in El Salvador. While at GHD, Hannah aspires to enrich her passion for education and sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America.
Gayatri Pillai, GHD'19
Gayatri’s initial foray into the development space began with two years spent working in an impoverished community in Chennai as a Fellow at Teach for India, where she was responsible for leading a classroom of 25 low-income students towards academic and social success. The experience provided her with a micro-perspective of the educational landscape in India and she obtained a deeper understanding of the challenges facing reform in the sector. The desire to gain a greater breadth of perspective on how development challenges vary across countries and contexts led her to Singapore-based impact investment firm IIX (Impact Investment Exchange). At IIX, Gayatri focused primarily on conducting impact assessments for high-impact enterprises across multiple sectors (including healthcare, clean energy, sustainable agriculture, fair-trade and education) and spanning South and Southeast Asia. Her work enabled enterprises to effectively understand, quantify and communicate the social and environmental impact they generate, facilitating capital raise, business optimization, and impact maximization. She was also involved with research and advisory projects providing actionable recommendations and solutions to government agencies, non-profits and corporations (including Rockefeller Foundation, Oxfam, and USAID) looking to enhance, scale and sustain their social impact. Gayatri is interested in exploring cross-sectoral approaches to sustainable development and is keen to hone her program design, development and implementation skills at Georgetown. Gayatri speaks English, Hindi, Tamil and a smattering of Spanish. She graduated from Singapore Management University (SMU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Political Science.
Kyung-hoo Roh, GHD'19
Kyung-hoo Roh joined the GHD program after working eight years in humanitarian aid and rural community development with Good Neighbors International, an international development non-profit organization based in South Korea. During the eight years, Kyung-hoo has directed country programs in Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, and spearheaded the emergency response and rehabilitation operations in response to the devastating earthquakes that occurred in Haiti in 2010 and Nepal in 2015. The earthquake response that he led in Nepal reached more than ten thousand affected families near the epicenter to assist them primarily with their emergency shelter, public health, and child psycho-social needs. Prior to the earthquake response, Kyung-hoo directed the Saemaul Zero Hunger Communities (SZHC) project, an integrated community rehabilitation and development project funded by the South Korean government and jointly implemented with the World Food Program; SZHC addressed the protracted food security issues in the remote villages in the Far Western region of Nepal. Kyung-hoo is broadly interested in the various issues related with humanitarian emergencies: effectiveness of emergency response programs, community resilience and disaster preparedness, mental health of trauma victims, and the use of ICT in emergency situations. Kyung-hoo was born and raised in South Korea, and spent the formative years of high school in the United States. He graduated from Yonsei University with a MSW from the Graduate School of Social Welfare and from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies with a BA in English Language and a minor in Political Science.
Susana Rojas-Quico, GHD'19
Susana "Susie" Rojas-Quico has a strong interest in the development of the foreign assistance budget, specifically relating to humanitarian assistance, food security, human rights, and democracy and governance programs. Her previous experience at USAID, both in the Office of the Assistant Administrator within the Management Bureau and most recently in the Office of Food for Peace, has exposed her to the multiple dimensions, different government players, and regulations associated with the implementation of certain funds at USAID. While enrolled at Georgetown’s Global Human Development Program (GHD), Susie looks forward to pursuing the Refugees and Emergencies Certificate, developing a stronger quantitative foundation to help gain a better understanding of the budget formulation and execution process, and learn how to translate her summer field experience into quantifiable data for future endeavors. Prior to joining GHD, Susie also worked as a member of President Barack Obama’s Administration at The White House Council on Environmental Quality and for former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). She graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in International Relations and Anthropology. She is fluent in Spanish and has limited working proficiency of Mandarin, after studying abroad and later becoming a foreign language teacher in China. After completing the GHD program, Susie hopes to continue working in the public sector, gain further field experience and become involved in the foreign assistance budget negotiations. She is passionate about helping the most marginalized people in the developing world and hopes to make a change at the global level.
Jacqueline Rojas, GHD'19
Jacqueline Rojas graduated from Florida State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and political science. During her undergraduate career, she was selected as a 2014 Boren Scholar to study Portuguese in Mozambique. Before beginning her formal language studies, Jacqueline also volunteered at Livro Aberto, a small nonprofit and library center dedicated to cultivating literacy throughout Maputo’s marginalized communities. Upon graduating, Jacqueline served as UNICEF USA’s 2016 Community Engagement Fellow in Miami, FL, where she engaged more than 4,500 constituents in South Florida’s community on issues of global concern and UNICEF’s life-saving work for children. Her role included local partnership development, program implementation of UNICEF USA initiatives like TeachUNICEF and the End Trafficking Project, and organizing advocacy efforts in the region. The combination of these experiences spurred her interest in social inclusion and the effectiveness of development policies, especially as it relates to children’s development. Jacqueline most recently completed a Fulbright research grant to Portugal, where she studied the impact of Portuguese development cooperation policy, particularly in Portuguese-speaking African countries, like Mozambique. Additionally, she supported the Fulbright Portugal’s outreach activities to Portuguese students and represented the commission at the 2017 Fulbright Seminar on the E.U. and NATO. Besides Portuguese, Jacqueline speaks Spanish and French. While in the GHD program, she plans to further develop her quantitative analysis skills and gain a deeper understanding of global development challenges.
Araba Sapara-Grant, GHD'19
Araba Sapara-Grant completed her undergraduate degree at Syracuse University where she majored in International Relations, with a focus on global development. Following graduation, Araba began her career at Pan African Capital Group (PACG), where she worked as an Executive Assistant to the CEO and was first exposed to the role of private sector engagement in economic development. Following her time at PACG, Araba completed an internship with Africare Tanzania, an experience that informed her passion for food security and nutrition. In her capacity as a Programs and Administration Assistant, Araba took a leadership role in developing the country office’s first communications strategy, contributed research and technical writing to funding proposals, and oversaw the planning and execution of a financial compliance training for Africare’s local implementation partners. Following her return from Tanzania, Araba began working with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) as a Junior Associate for the Agriculture for Nutrition Global Program. At GAIN, Araba provided programmatic support to a portfolio of projects in West and East Africa working to strengthen the agricultural value chain in order to make nutritious foods more affordable and accessible for low-income populations. During her time at GAIN, Araba provided support in communications and knowledge management, as well as quality control for deliverables under GAIN’s USAID portfolio. At Georgetown, Araba hopes to strengthen her quantitative skills and technical understanding of agricultural value chains, as well as the role of the private sector and digital innovations in strengthening urban food systems. Araba exercises her passion for food justice and health equity domestically by volunteering with organizations such as the Capital Area Food Bank, DC Greens and the YMCA. She is proficient in French and looks forward to returning to Tanzania to strengthen her Kiswahili.
Benjamin Simmons-Telep, GHD'19
Ben Simmons-Telep joins the GHD program after three years working for Connecticut based social enterprise incubator, reSET Social Enterprise Trust. As the Director of Programs at reSET, Ben lead a team that designed and delivered a number of high impact entrepreneurial programs, including a nationally awarded accelerator that is associated with the creation of over 200 jobs and 5.5 million dollars of private investment. While at reSET, he also managed a regional seed funding competition that has awarded a quarter of a million dollars in funding to early-stage social ventures, and built a social enterprise internship program that has attracted undergraduate applicants from around the world. Prior to reSET, Ben worked in Peru where he assisted local chapters of Rotary International to manage several humanitarian aid projects. In 2012, he founded and orchestrated his own aid project that raised over $8,000 to procure and deliver school supplies to impoverished Andean communities. Ben received his B.A. from the University of Connecticut, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in Economics and International Relations and a minor in Human Rights. Ben is excited to continue to explore the intersection between social innovation and global development, and hopes to contribute to the the next chapter of thought leadership within the field.
Amit Smotrich, GHD'19
Amit Smotrich completed her undergraduate degree in International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She has since been working in international advocacy on a variety of political and development issues. Amit started her career supporting community engagement programs to promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for J Street. She then served as Campaign Coordinator for American Jewish World Service where she helped launch their advocacy campaign focused on ending gender-based violence, violence against LGBT people, and ending early and forced child marriage. Amit led campaign strategy in ten states and helped to launch a yearlong fellowship that trained key opinion leaders on international development issues and the role of advocacy. Most recently, Amit worked at InterAction, a coalition of US-based humanitarian and development non-profits, and led efforts to fund and improve US food security and global health programs. She helped pass the Global Food Security Act in 2016 and worked with inter-agency officials on the US Global Water Strategy. Amit looks forward to strengthening her understanding of food security and water security management in developing communities while at Georgetown and beyond.
Muzabel Welongo, GHD'19
Muzabel Welongo is a Congolese young man living in exile in Kenya since 2010. Having spent the last 21 years living as a refugee in his country the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and now in Kenya, Muzabel completed his primary and secondary education exile. In 2014, he completed an online Diploma in Liberal Studies from Regis University (Colorado), offered through Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL). Muzabel recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, minoring in Political Science at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), in Nairobi. With the ability to speak English, French and Swahili, Muzabel has a strong interest in being an international social change actor, focusing his career on enabling refugees and other displaced people to become self-sustaining individuals and communities everywhere in the world. Muzabel is the Founder and Executive Director of Solidarity & Advocacy with Vulnerable Individuals in Crisis (SAVIC), a refugee-run NGO he founded in 2010 to promote education, economic independence and reproductive health among young people in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Since 2012, his organization SAVIC has been able to provide functional literacy, communicative English lessons, and vocational skills to more than 3,000 refugees, as well as provided information on Sexual and Reproductive Health to more than 8,000 adolescents girls and boys in Kakuma. His work among refugees has been instrumental in promoting education for all, while helping create greater spaces for integration of girls in education, promoting socio-economic self-reliance and reducing unintended pregnancies among young women.