Draper Hills Fellows 2019 bios


Karine Ghazaryan is a civil society program coordinator at the Open Society Foundations-Armenia based in Yerevan. She has a strong educational background in paralegal studies and social sciences and over 10 years of experience in the fields of civil society and human rights.






Janaina Homerin is a Brazilian human rights activist driven by the advancement in public policy in the fields of public safety, criminal justice and rule of law. For the last six years Homerin has been in charge of managing the Criminal Justice Network in Brazil. The Network is a coalition of solid national civil society organizations that work for the promotion and effectiveness of fundamental rights standards in the criminal justice system by developing innovative advocacy strategies, field research, and awareness raising communication outputs to improve the rule of law in the country. She began her career in Mozambique, leading research on the state of the art of the national civil society 10 years after the civil war ended. This was followed by a post at the UNESCO Brasilia Office before joining the crime prevention and criminal justice program at the Liaison Office for Brazil and region of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Law from the University of Paris Nanterre and a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Fundação Getulio Vargas, with an exchange program at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs.  




Ateki Seta Caxton heads one Cameroon’s foremost youth think tanks on democratic governance and citizens’ participation, the Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All (NewSETA). NewSETA is a youth non-profit, promoting democratic governance and youth participation in Cameroon through research, capacity development and policy advocacy. Ateki is also a co-founder and the current Chair of the African Movement for Democracy (AMD), a network of activists and youth leaders dedicated to promoting democracy and building resilient democratic institutions in Africa. Under Caxton’s leadership the AMD has designed and led programing for emerging female leaders, election observations, and assessing relationships between the state and civil society in 5 countries. He served as a Hurford Youth Fellow at the World Movement for Democracy in 2016 during which he explored the intersection between technology and youth engagement in politics, and how online campaigns can be used as a tool to address legal reforms. Ateki was recently elected as member of the Advisory Board of the World Youth Movement for Democracy.




Fang Wang is senior duty editor and head of video content at FTChinese.com, the Chinese website published by the Financial Times and is based in Beijing. Fang joined the Financial Times in May 2003, and has worked in its New York, Hong Kong and London offices successively as web editor or multimedia producer, before she returned to her home country in 2009 to join the Chinese team. In her current role, she commissions original op-eds and organizes special reports on China’s development, transitions, and its relations with the external world. She conducts interviews with some of China’s leading intellectuals and think tanks, and regularly talks to rights activists, lawyers and foreign China watchers. Fang received her MA in business and economic reporting from New York University in 2003. She completed her BA in journalism from Fudan University in Shanghai in 1999.




Amr Gharbeia is the former Civil Liberties Director at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights building a career of linking Arabic content on the web with activism; and of helping civil society and the grass-roots in Egypt and elsewhere improve their privacy and use of technology for social change. He contributed to Arabizing content management systems and other software and to starting the Egyptian citizen journalism movement. He is one of the earliest bloggers in Egypt. Since the Arab uprisings, Gharbeia has focused on the juncture between technology, freedom and the law, and still considers himself a translator between these three domains. He coordinated a civil society effort advocating reforms in telecom regulation and freedom of information policies following the 2011 internet blackout in Egypt, and investigated surveillance and other digital threats by state actors. He speaks publicly on matters of technology and human rights, and is currently organizing and making available a knowledge base of Egypt's legislations since the end of the British Mandate in 1914 to use for the purpose of policy analysis and reform. 




Befekadu Hailu Techane is an Ethiopian author, human rights activist and blogger who is residing in Ethiopia. He is an editor for the Addis Maleda weekly newspaper and a coordinator for the Ethiopian Human Rights Project, a project dedicated to document and uncover rights violations in Ethiopia, as well as columnist on Duestche Welle Amharic service focusing on the issues of human rights and democratization. In May 2012, Techane co-founded Zone 9 Blogging and Activism Collective with 8 other rights activists. The Collective played a significant role in the current democratic development of Ethiopia in the form of awareness creation through the means of sociopolitical blogging and online campaigns. Zone 9 members were subjected to unfair detentions and trial that lasted for eighteen months. Their commitment to democracy was recognized by prestigious awards including the Committee to Protect Journalists International Press Freedom Award in 2015. Furthermore, Techane is also a winner of Burt Award for African Literature 2012 (Ethiopia).




Nino Chichua serves as Chief Service Quality Officer at Georgia’s largest in country healthcare organization the Georgia Healthcare Group. Her focuses are on increasing quality and accessibility of healthcare services across Georgia. By fully transforming the healthcare service delivery philosophy, she supports the process of implementing healthcare reform. Previously, Chichua served as the CEO of Public Service Hall – the most innovative and disruptive reform – made in Georgia; reform that successfully tackled corruption, bureaucracy and appeared to be a role model of Good Governance globally. For 4 years Chichua was given an opportunity to fully implement her own vision of Public Service Delivery and dramatically transform the understanding of bureaucracy. Chichua is the author of a number of publications. Furthermore, she collaborates with universities and runs academic activities. Chichua received a Government Scholarship to study at the ESADE Business School and the SDA Bocconi School of Management, where she obtained a Global Executive Masters degree. She holds an MBA from the Tbilisi European School of Management.




Ruby Saakor Tetteh is a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Ghana with 15 years of experience in trade policy. Over the years, she has actively supported the design of policies, action plans and implementation of programs including Ghana's Trade and Industrial policies, which have significantly impacted positively on Ghana’s economy. She also led consultative processes for Ghana's Consumer Policy and has been part of a team of experts currently reviewing the Consumer Protection Bill that would change the face of consumer rights in Ghana. Ruby is passionate about sustainable development and social justice initiatives, human capital development, mentoring young leaders and giving back to the community. In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Hubert Humphrey Fellowship. During her fellowship at the University of Minnesota, she focused her work on Public Policy Analysis and Public Administration. Tetteh holds a joint Master's degree in Development Studies and Public Policy from the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague and Central European University, Budapest, respectively.




N. S. Nappinai, is a highly respected senior practitioner in the Supreme Court of India and Bombay High Court, pioneering the development of cyber laws in India. Her repertoire of cases handled as a litigator and practitioner, include cases pertaining to constitutional, criminal, cybercrime, IPR, corporate and commercial laws. She has undertaken transactions and litigations across multiple jurisdictions in her professional capacity. Nappinai serves as Advisor for Maharashtra Cyber – Policy and Investigation. Nappinai lends her expertise in cyberlaws in undertaking training and capacity building programs inter alia for judiciary (from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Countries and Indian Judiciary), Armed Forces, Police and Intelligence Agencies and Industry verticals. She is an alumna of the Chevening Cybersecurity Fellowship, UK and also of the International Visitors Leadership Program, of the Department of State, USA. Author of a seminal book on cyber laws titled “Technology Laws Decoded” Nappinai has completed her bachelors and Masters in Law from India and her Post Graduate Certification program on Cyber Governance, Policy and Cyber Security from Cranfield University, UK.




Shaili Chopra is an Indian journalist turned entrepreneur whose work is focused on championing real women and their stories across India. Chopra is the founder of SheThePeople.TV, which is India's only women's channel. SheThePeople.TV is a form of digital democracy where women get to choose, speak up, and set the agenda. Chopra uses the internet to spotlight issues of women's rights, their role in a democracy, and empower them in a digitally connected world. Chopra is the recipient of India's highest honor in journalism and counted among the top 50 most influential women in media in India and is a Vital Voices fellow. She holds a BA in Economics from Delhi University and a Masters diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai.  






Ethel Sirengo is the Program Officer at the East African Community (EAC) Liaison Office to the African Union based in Ethiopia. She represents the East African Community at every forum organized by all Intergovernmental, Multilateral and Diplomatic Institutions in the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia headquarters; keeping the EAC fully and continuously informed of the activities of all institutions in all areas of International Cooperation. Areas of expertise include, Governance, Human rights, democracy and Peace and Security. She facilitates regular exchange of information between the African Union Commission and the EAC on continental activities, such as programs on Human rights, Governance, and other issues on Peace, Security, and stability of regional concern. She holds both a Master of Arts in Peace and Security in Africa from Addis Ababa University and a Master of for Business Administration from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute in Tanzania. 




Mohamad Najem is the executive director of the Beirut–based digital rights organization Social Media Exchange (SMEX), the Middle East and North Africa’s leading digital rights research and policy advocacy organization. His work includes local and regional advocacy campaigns, research on privacy, data protection, and freedom of expression. Najem organized “Bread & Net”, the first unconference in the Middle East and North Africa region that tackled topics related to technology and human rights. Najem’s career began in the humanitarian aid arena. Najem was a 2014 New America Foundation Fellow and an alumnus of the Arts, Sciences, and Technology University in Lebanon where he completed his Masters in Business Administration. 





Hinda Bouddane is a political and civil society activist dedicated to democracy reform, youth participation and women's rights and empowerment in Morocco. She also advocates for increased political participation for women. At present, Bouddane is the first Vice President of the elected Provincial Council of the city of Fez, Morocco in charge of Education projects and international co-operations. She is also working for Injaz Al Maghrib, an NGO that aims to promote social entrepreneurship in public schools and universities through its partnership with the Ministry of National Education vocational training, higher Education and Scientific Research. In previous years, Bouddane has worked with the United States Agency for International Development’s local governance program aimed at enhancing youth engagement in public affairs. She is an alumna of the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, USA. She holds a master degree in Project and program Management, International University of Rabat.




Khin Thazin Myint is a development professional with over 10 years of experience working in multinational institutions that promote economic development, good governance, and rule of law. At present, she is the country representative for the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD) in Myanmar with overall responsibility for the in-country portfolio. DIPD is the Danish public body dedicated to the strengthening of democratic culture, political parties and multi-party systems in developing countries. In this capacity, Myint designs and implements programs that aim to promote democratic values and the principles of the rule of law, the importance of the participation of women in politics, engaging the youth in political parties, the parties’ local anchoring, and dialogue platforms. Prior to her work with DIPD, she held various positions in an award-winning social business that designs products and services to help Myanmar rural families achieve their goals. Myint was a Fulbright student at University of Kentucky and holds a master’s degree in public policy. She is a member of the 2019 cohort of the Obama Foundation’s Leaders for the Asia-Pacific.




Ujwal Bahadur Thapa is a Nepali political leader campaigning to cultivate judicious (BibekSheel) citizens, an entrepreneurial society and a servant government in Nepal. He started the BibekSheel Nepali youth movement and political force that promotes liberal, democratic values and a deliberative, participatory democracy model that is alien in Nepal. He promotes values-based politics which ensures Nepali institutions are shaped by inclusive systems and leadership driven by moral courage. In 2017, under his leadership, his party supported the youngest candidate in the capital city, during Nepal's first local elections in 20 years. In late 2017, he led his party to the 5th position in their first federal election which was also Nepal’s first election after transitioning from an absolute monarchy to a federal democratic republic. Thapa is currently on a mission to unite democratic forces against extractive institutions and cultures in Nepal, focusing on principles of integrity, accountability, transparency and inclusiveness and he blogs his ideas at whynepal.com Thapa completed his BA in multimedia studies from Bennington College in the USA. 



Nicholas Ibekwe is an award-winning Nigerian investigative journalist. Ibekwe’s work involves exposing human rights violations, corruption, regulatory failure/inadequacies and official highhandedness. Ibekwe is the head of investigations at Nigeria’s foremost online newspaper, Premium Times. Premium Times is a well respected news source in Nigeria and the African continent noted for some of the best journalism on the continent since its inception in 2012. In 2011 Nicholas received the Chevening Scholarship for his work as a reporter in the former Next newspaper. He is a 2016 fellow of the World Press Fellowship and has won several local and international awards, such as the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting, and is a two-time finalist for the Forum for African Investigative Reporting Award for his excellent reporting. He was the lead reporter in the Premium Times coverage of the Panama and Paradise Papers leak. Nicholas has a BA in English Education from the Lagos State University and an MA in International Journalism from the City University, London.





Julio A. Guzman is a Peruvian politician, President of the Partido Morado (The Purple Party), a centrist political organization, with 11,000 members and 158 political committees across the nation (80% of the national territory). He ran for President in the 2016 elections. Previously, Julio served as Vice Minister of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises and as Secretary General at the Office of the Prime Minister. Before public service, Julio worked for a decade at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, DC., as trade and integration economist. Julio has been an adjunct professor at both the University of Maryland and Georgetown University. Julio is a World Fellow at Yale University and received the Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship, awarded by the President of the University of Maryland to the most distinguished PhD Dissertation Prospectus across academic fields in 2008. He holds a PhD in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, a Master Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a bachelor degree in Economics from Universidad Catolica, Peru. 



Anna Dobrovolskaya, is a human rights activist based in Moscow, serving as the executive director of the Memorial Human Rights Center (MHRC). The Center is the biggest Russian human rights NGO, working to provide legal aid and consultation for refugees and asylum seekers, monitoring human rights violations in post-conflict zones and advocating for a human-rights based approach in fighting terrorism; as well as raising awareness about politically-motivated repression in Russia and maintains its own list of political prisoners. Dobrovolskaya’s areas of expertise include human rights education and awareness-raising activities and programs for young people and activists since 2008. She is a member of the Council of Europe pool of trainers and is a trainer for the International School for Human Rights and Civic Actions. Her work currently lies in NGO management and providing consultancy to various human rights groups and initiatives. Anna was the author of the first Russian play about the life of human rights defenders, which is being performed in Teatr.doc since 2017.




Rania Hadra, a Sudanese national, has been working with the United Nations in the humanitarian, development and political fields for the past 17 years in UNHQ, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Hadra has recently begun her assignment as the Senior Strategic Planner, in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General in New York. In Syria, she was responsible for coordinating UN poverty reduction, women and youth programs; and planning for the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. She raised over USD 30 million for a resilience joint program by 6 UN organizations. In Libya, she was part of the start-up team that established the UN Libya political office. In the Horn of Africa, she developed the Humanitarian Response Plan to the Ethiopia drought in 2016 costed at USD 1.4 billion.  Hadra holds an M.SC Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies – University of London (2001). She received her B.Sc. (Honors)in Economic and Social Studies from the University of Khartoum (1997).




Razan Rashidi is Leading advocate for human rights and humanitarian issues across the Middle East with a focus on Syria. More than a decade of experience working across humanitarian programming, culture led social change and advocacy campaigning. A Syrian based in Lebanon. A graduate of Damascus University and she holds a master degree in Global Media and Transitional Communications form the University of Goldsmiths, London.






Wiem Zarrouk is a Senior Advisor to the Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation in Tunisia, responsible for Business Environment reforms and International Cooperation programs for development projects. In 2017, Zarrouk was appointed to coordinate the government action to improve Tunisia’s Ranking in the World Bank Competitiveness Report - Doing Business. Under Zarrouk’s leadership Tunisia moved up by 8 places for the first time in 6 years. Zarrouk leads a team working on development in the regional level and nationally by harnessing the impact of International Cooperation in achieving development goals. She also works with private and public sector parties to engage them in Tunisia’s economic transition by identifying and conducting major economic reforms. Her role in development and administrative reform has earned her the position of a positive change agent in the Tunisian Democratic transition. Zarrouk is also Deputy General Secretary of ATUGE, a leading Tunisian Diaspora organization. In 2018, she co-Launched a social initiative ATUGE Egalité des Chances to support young talented students from poor areas seeking access to the labor market. Zarrouk holds an Engineering Masters Degree from the Ecole Publique d’Ingenierus Centre de Recherche in France.



Nicholas Opiyo is a civil rights attorney, civil society activist,  and the founder of Chapter Four Uganda, a civil rights organization based out of Kampala, Uganda. Chapter Four Uganda provides pro bono legal representation to the most vulnerable and marginalized persons, public interest litigation, research and advocacy services in defense of civil and political rights. In 2017, he won the German Africa Prize for defending civil rights and political freedom in Uganda. In 2016, he received the highest commendation of the Board of Supervisors of the City of San Francisco and a recognition from the Senate of the State of California for his dedication to the defense of human rights and effort to achieve equality for the LGBTQ+ community. In 2015, he won the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism by Human Rights Watch for his legal work and activism. Nicholas serves a member of the Steering Committee of the Word Movement for Democracy and has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Center for African Studies.




Natalie Sedletska is a Ukrainian investigative television journalist and editor who works in the anticorruption field. At present, Natalie works as the chief editor and host of the investigative program “Schemes” - a television project which she founded in 2014 with the support of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, financed by the US Congress that operates in 22 countries where free press is banned by the government or not fully established. “Schemes” is broadcasted by the Ukrainian public broadcaster on a weekly basis. Team of investigative journalists led by Sedletska are exposing high-level political corruption and abuse of power by Ukrainian authorities. In 2015 she went undercover as part of a British Channel 4 television documentary, "From Russia With Cash". The film became an important element of the recent anti-money laundering campaign in the UK. In 2014 Sedletska also participated as an investigator in the YanukovychLeaks project - the project was awarded with the Global Shining Light Award in Norway in 2015 - an international award in the field of investigative journalism.




Shakhrukh Irnazarov is the Head of the German Development Bank's (KfW) Office in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. KfW promotes and supports programs and projects in developing and emerging economies worldwide. Irnazarov works closely with the governments of Germany and Uzbekistan in identifying, implementing and monitoring investment projects in health and banking sectors in Uzbekistan. He facilitates intergovernmental talks and participates in multiple million-dollar sovereign loan negotiations. He is responsible for cooperation with international financial institutions, such as World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. In 2013 he was a visiting scholar at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Irnazarov holds an MA in International and Development Economics from the University of Applied Sciences Berlin and an MA in Political Communications from City, University of London.




David Smolansky is a Venezuelan emerging political leader living in exile since 2017. He works on regional security, democracy and human rights issues with a specific focus on Venezuelan migrants and refugees. Currently, Smolansky works at the Organization of American States (OAS) as the Coordinator of the Working Group for Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees. The OAS is the oldest regional organization with a mandate to promote security, human rights, democracy and development in the Americas. Smolansky co-founded and is currently Deputy Secretary General of Voluntad Popular, a major opposition political party. In 2013 he was elected as the youngest mayor in Venezuela, and in 2017 the Venezuelan regime illegally removed him from office and ordered his arrest after leading non-violent protests against the dictatorship. He fled the country after spending 35 days in hiding. Smolansky completed his BA in Journalism from the Andres Bello Catholic University, and his MA in Political Science from the Simon Bolivar University, both in Venezuela. He is also an alumnus of the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program at Georgetown University.



Joseph Poliszuk is a three-time finalist of the Latin American Prize for Investigative Journalism and is co-founder of Armando.info. He has published investigations about corruption and trafficking of minerals, as well as finding landmines in Venezuelan territory, which earned Poliszuk the recognition of Amnesty International.  He worked at the newspapers El Universal and El Nacional, where he made special coverage of events such as Hurricane Jeanne in Haiti and the massacre of La Paragua, in southern Venezuela. He has a diploma from Tecnológico de Monterrey, in Mexico, has collaborated with El País in Spain, where he was a fellow. He is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), with which he coordinated the Venezuelan team of the Panama Papers. This year he was awarded the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University.