Please note: this page currently represents last years participants to illustrate the profile of leaders we are seeking.  We will replace this list with confirmed participants for the 2014 program.

Transnational NGO Leadership Institute 2013

 Ziad Abdel

Ziad AbdelZiad Abdel Tawab is the Deputy Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS).  He has been awarded a LLM degree from Notre Dame University in International Human Rights Law. He was also awarded a Master of Science degree in the theory and practice of human rights with a specialization in the history and philosophy of human rights law from Pierre Mendes France (Grenoble II) University in France. He has obtained two law degrees in Commercial Law from Paris I University, Pantheon Sorbonne, France and one in Egyptian law from Cairo University, Egypt.  Mr. Abdel Tawab served in several national and international research institutes and worked for the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Sudan stationed in Darfur (UNMIS) as a Human Rights Officer.   He has been working with CIHRS since 2008, first as an adviser to its international advocacy program before assuming his post as Deputy Director of the Institute in July 2011.    




 Roland Angerer

Roland AngererRoland Angerer is a Regional Director for Plan International.  In his 24 years of professional career in development, Roland Angerer has worked in all continents. Starting with advocacy and development education in his home country Austria, he joined the UNDP in El Salvador and Honduras and then switched to Africa where he he coordinated the programs of an Austrian NGO in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In 2001 he joined Plan as Country Director in Colombia and from 2006 - 2010, he headed the country operations of Plan International in India.  Since August 2010 he is responsible for the operations of Plan in 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean as Regional Director of the Americas.  His academic background – a PhD in Communication Science from the University of Salzburg/Austria and a Masters in Development Management from the Open University/UK – helped him to understand that development is a constant process of evolving attitudes, mindsets and choices for people and requires a continuous and firm rejection of all forms of injustice and discrimination. 


 Kathryn Bolles

kathryn2Kathryn Bolles is the Senior Director of Save the Children’s Emergency Health and Nutrition team, leading state of the art programs focused on resilience, response, and recovery post-disaster.  Ms. Bolles has implemented operations and led on-the-ground first response teams that have brought life-saving services to more than one million people impacted by humanitarian disasters such as the 1010 Haiti Earthquake, Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, the ongoing Horn of Africa emergency, and numerous other public health crises.  In her more than ten years with Save the Children, Ms. Bolles has worked in both development and emergency contexts largely focused on health and nutrition initiatives, and more recently has coordinated humanitarian education, protection, and water/sanitation efforts. In previous years, she co-led a multinational NGO and governmental coalition that developed a widely adopted preparedness initiative in advance of the emerging H1N1 pandemic, served as Executive Director of a child health and nutrition NGO programming in Haiti, and was the Head of Programs in a Tennessee-based HIV/AIDS organization. 

Franc Cortada

Franc CortadaFranc Cortada joined Oxfam International as Director of Global Programs in April 2011. Franc is responsible for supporting Oxfam's overall programme development and humanitarian work, across more than 90 countries, at local, national and international levels. Before joining Oxfam International, Franc led the International Program Department of Intermon Oxfam as Director, where he strengthened and scaled up Intermon Oxfam's humanitarian work, led a decentralisation process to country offices and pushed for greater program quality of all program work. Franc Cortada is Chartered Civil Engineer (specialised in Hydraulics and Energy) and has broad experience of program work, including periods in countries such diverse as Senegal, El Salvador, Rumania or Argentina. Franc has 2 Masters degree in Development Aid and Social Exclusion and Cultural Diversity respectively. Franc remains a committed to his roots as engineer, teaching on "Engineering in Emergencies" in several Spanish universities.



Lydia Alpízar Durán

 lydia duranLydia is a Costa Rican/Mexican feminist activist based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has been the Executive Director of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)  since 2007, and was the manager of AWID’s Where is the Money for Women’s Rights? and Building Feminist Movements and Organizations Strategic Initiatives from 2003-2006. Lydia is a sociologist by training and co-founder and advisor of ELIGE - Youth Network for Reproductive and Sexual Rights (Mexico). She was member of the International Council for Human Rights Policy (2004-2011). She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Global Fund for Women and of the Central American Women’s Fund. She is also a graduate from the Human Rights Advocacy Training Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University in NYC. Lydia has extensive experience in advocacy and training on women's human rights, particularly in violence against women, sexual rights and reproductive rights, financing for gender equality and women’s rights organizing, and movement building.   



Luma Hamdan

 lumaLuma Hamdan is the Executive Director of the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF), a membership association of foundations fostering dialogue, networking, learning and collaboration in order to strengthen the capacity of Arab Philanthropy. Ms. Hamdan’s formerly worked from 2001 to 2006 with the Economic Development Bureau for Arab Countries at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Ms. Hamdan was a Consultant responsible for promoting and modernizing intellectual property systems in Arab countries in addition to supporting the network of members and providing them with technical and legal assistance in intellectual property rights. Ms. Hamdan holds a Master of Business Studies (MBS) from the University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Public Administration and Political Science from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon.



Bahey eldin Hassan

 Bahey HassanBahey eldin Hassan is the Co- founder and Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), an independent regional NGO ( CIHRS aims at promoting human rights and democracy in the Arab region, as well as disseminating human rights and advocating for them in the Arab region and before UN bodies through CIHRS office in Geneva. He is a founding member of the Egyptian organization for Human Rights (EOHR), and its Secretary General from 1988-1993.  Since 2005 he has served as a board member of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF).  Bahey is also, a journalist, lecturer, author and editor of several articles, papers and books on human rights and democratic transformation in the Arab region, and contextual challenges facing the human rights defenders and education, many of them were published in books.  His most recent publication is "The Human Rights Dilemma in Egypt: Political Will or Islam?" in "Beitraege zum Islamischen Recht" "Contributions to Islamic Law.”  



Remi Hemeryck

remi hemeryckRémi Hémeryck is an agricultural economist; he has been the executive manager of SOS SAHEL since 2002. He his married and his a father of three daughters

A native of Picardie Verte, he grew up on his family’s dairy farm on the fringes of Pays de Bray (France). He learned farming practices at a very young age. At 20 he set off to learn about farming at farms in United States. From 1987, he built up a field experience in Africa, Asia, and Europe to implement local development projects, and to train young farmers and help them become established. Rémi has played a key role improving the farming system in the grasslands of North West Cameroon. He has taken efforts to increase rice production in Casamance. His contribution to the linen industry in China has met with significant economic expansion. In 1995 he did a study on the economics of the Reblochon dairy industry as part of his specialisation in agricultural development. He joined SOS SAHEL in 1997, where he served first as technical director and is currently executive officer.

Beyond his expertise in agricultural economies in various regions in the world, Rémi is also in charge of identification and project management. He is responsible for developing skills and building capacities for the project managers. Rémi has supported and facilitated noteworthy achievements in more than 100 rural development projects in 12 countries in Africa, within more than 1000 local based organizations. He firmly believes that a common knowledge sharing platform and processes should exist between NGOs and farmers organizations around the world.


Nazrul Islam 

nazrul islam Nazrul Islam currently works with Relief International, a USA based INGO, as a Country Director for Bangladesh. He has more than 10 years of experience in project development and management in areas such as, livelihoods and entrepreneurship development, human rights, human trafficking and education in South, South East and Central Asia. He is an integral member of the Technical Assistance Department of RI that provides technical assistance to RI’s programs across the world. Nazrul holds a Bachelor and Master of Social Science with major in Government and Politics from Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh, and has also completed a postgraduate program in Development Studies from Massey University in New Zealand.





Inna Maksimenko

  Inna MaksimenkoMs. Inna Maksimenko has been working for more than ten years as a Head of NGO Support Unit and Senior Democracy and Governance Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development's Mission in Russia. She is responsible for design, procurement and management of the grant-making programs that aim to support development of the non-profit sector in Russia, and oversee implementation of the 12 programs in the civil society program portfolio that aim to advance NGO legal environment, NGO sector accountability and governance, community development and public advocacy, civic education and youth civic competences, and ethnic reconciliation. She assisted up to 10 Russian NGO networks, both thematic (social and labor rights, gender issues, human rights, NGO resource centers, tenants associations and business associations) and professional (NGO lawyers, NGO accountants) in setting up their organizational and governance structures, developing outreach and fundraising strategies. Ms. Maksimenko was born and raised in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. She earned a Master’s degree at the Faculty of Geography from Moscow State University, and completed MBA program at Kingston University, UK.  


Som Niroula

Som NiroulaSom Niroula is a Programme Officer, responsible for the Human Rights portfolio at Alliance for Social Dialogue (ASD). He provides strategic support to current human right grantees in Nepal and also oversees preparation of policy briefs on human right policies. He has a decade of experience working in the field of human rights and before his current position he worked at the South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu.  He holds Master of Arts in Peace Education from United Nations Mandated University for Peace (UPEACE), Costa Rica in 2007 and completed his Master of Arts in Anthropology from Tribhuvan University in 2002.




Bjarne Pedersen

bjarne pedersenBjarne Pedersen is the Global Director of the Partnerships and Empowerment division of Consumers International (CI). He is managing the CI regional offices across the world as well as working with the CI membership of 240 national organizations in more than 115 countries. Bjarne has been in the consumer movement for more than 12 years, and is and internationally recognized expert on consumer rights.  He has worked on issues ranging from access to essential services, sustainable consumption, financial inclusion and corporate social responsibility.  Bjarne is originally from Denmark, has worked and lived across the world, and is currently based in the CI office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He holds a Bachelor degree (DI) in human nutrition and adult education as well as a Master degree (DI) in international environmental issues. He currently sits on the UNFSS advisory board well as the UNEP advisory board on consumer information


 Breza Race

Breza Race2Breza Race has been the program director at CANVAS (Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) since 2007, where she’s in charge of all the programs and projects. Together alongside the chairman of the organization, Slobodan Djinovic, and the executive director Srdja Popovic, she developed a postgraduate program entitled “Strategy and Methods of Nonviolent Social Change” at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade University. Additionally, she worked with Mr. Djinovic and Mr. Popovic on the development and publishing of the book “A Guide to Effective Nonviolent Struggle - CANVAS Core Curriculum.” Before working at CANVAS, she was employed at the Peoples Office of the President of Republic of Serbia as a project coordinator in the program “1000 Young Leaders of Serbia” and several other projects related to youth, volunteers and young activists from Serbia. She was part of the social movement OTPOR in Serbia, that helped to overthrow Dictator Slobodan Milosevic in the year 2000.  She earned a bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Political Science from Belgrade University and currently is working on her MA in “Political Analysis and Management” at the same faculty.




Alejandro Salas

 alejandro salas Alejandro has worked as Regional Director of the Americas Department at the Transparency International Secretariat since September 2008.  In his role he leads the coordination of the network of National Chapters in the Americas, where civil society partners from Canada to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, develop different interventions that range from awareness raising campaigns and research to citizen observatories and hotlines to report corruption. Alejandro joined TI as Programme Officer in September 2002, and worked part time as a Strategy and Development Manager in 2006-2007. Alejandro lived in Peru from 1998 to 2002 where he worked as a researcher and consultant at Instituto Apoyo, a local think tank specialized in institutional reforms and governance issues. From 1993 to 1996 he worked in various areas of the Mexican public sector, including the Secretary of Social Development and the Senate of the Republic. He was also a junior advisor in the 1994 presidential campaign in Mexico. Alejandro holds a degree in Political Science from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and a M.A. degree in Public Policy and Administration from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands.




Heather Simpson

Heather SimpsonHeather Simpson is the Senior Director of the Department of Education and Child Development at Save the Children.  At Save the Children, she is responsible for programming and advocacy to support children’s early development, basic education, and school health and nutrition in over 40 countries. Programs concentrate on marginalized children—those  affected by HIV/AIDS, wars and other catastrophes, migration, remote location, extreme poverty, as well as girls and ethnic minorities. She has over sixteen years of progressive professional experience in the United States government, non-profit, and private consulting sectors.  She has designed and managed medium and large-scale educational projects in Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and the United States, and served as the technical advisor for a range of social development interventions in educational development, improving learning outcomes, teacher professional development, youth empowerment, distance learning, agricultural extension, program evaluation, and applied research.  She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and coordinator in agricultural extension in Honduras.  She has in-country work experience in Bolivia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Malawi, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United States.  Ms. Simpson completed her undergraduate studies in anthropology at Yale University and completed her graduate studies in social foundations of education at the University of Virginia. 


Xiaogang Wei

 Xiaogang WeiXiaogang Wei was born and raised in Xinjiang, China.  

In Beijing he was drama teacher at various schools and universities and also successfully developed and implemented a program of drama workshops for different Beijing NGOs. He continues to volunteer for NGOs based in Beijing, and has been a consultant for UNICEF since 2005.

Since 2010, has been  the executive director of the NGO Beijing Gender Health Education Institute (BGHEI) which houses the webcast Queer Comrades.  Founded in 2002, it constitutes one of the first Chinese NGOs to focus on issues of gender, sexuality and sexual health, thus fulfilling a pioneering role in Chinese society.  Together with the BGHEI, he launched a series of groundbreaking events in China, including the China AIDS Walk, the China Rainbow Media Awards and the China LGBT Community Leader Conference. Xiaogang is an organizing member of the Beijing Queer Film Festival and a board member of the Beijing LGBT Centre.



 Wenjuan Zhang 

 Wenjuan ZhangMs. Wenjuan Zhang, attorney at law, is currently Deputy Director of the Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Center, Chief Program officer of the Beijing Zhicheng Migrant Workers’ Legal Aid and Research Center, and a member of the Managing Committee of the Zhicheng National Public Interest Law Network within which she is responsible for the Network’s research and international cooperation.  She also is a committee member of the Public Interest Law and Social Responsibility Committee of All China Lawyers’ Association, Vice Director of the Committee on Legal Aid and Public Interest Law of Beijing Lawyers’ Association, Secretary General of Rural Areas Rule at the Law Institute of the Beijing Law Society and Chief Executive Editor of the Chinese Lawyers and Children’s Rights Protection Journal. She was a visiting scholar at the Yale Law School researching the international role of Chinese NGOs in the first half year of2002. She also served as an expert member of the UNICEF/NWCCW Project of Implementing National Program of Action for Child Development in China (2006-2010) and is a member of the Advisory Committee for Human Trafficking Civil Legal Assistance Training and Leadership Project initiated by the American Bar Association (ABA).