Listed below are the public profiles for the 2012 class of Draper Hills Summer Fellows.
Laura Alonso (Argentina) | Astghik Gevorgyan (Armenia) | Selima Ahmad (Bangladesh) | Márlon Reis (Brazil) | Andrea Sanhueza (Chile) | Xia Guo (China) | Samah Mansur (Egypt) | Birtukan Midekssa (Ethiopia) | Natalie Tsnoriashvili (Georgia) | Anup John (India) | Charles Wanguhu (Kenya) | Mukhayo Parpieva (Kyrgyz Republic) | Abdulhafid Sidoun (Libya) | Herizal Hazri (Malaysia) | Daniel Ehighalua (Nigeria) | Ene Enonche (Nigeria) | Kamal Siddiqi (Pakistan) | Bashar AbuZarour (Palestine) | Olga Sidorovich (Russia) | Maja Piscevic (Serbia) | Wael Sawah (Syria) | Frank Rusa Nyakaana (Uganda) | Bassim Assuqair (Yemen) | Jestina Mukoko (Zimbabwe) | Farai Maguwu (Zimbabwe)
Laura Alonso is national representative of Argentina and was elected by the people of the city of Buenos Aires in 2009. She is a member of the Constitutional Affairs and the Foreign Affairs Committees. Before politics, Alonso was a prominent activist in the field of civil society. She served as executive director of Poder Ciudadano, the Argentine chapter of Transparency International. In 2008, Alonso became an Eisenhower Fellow and was honored by Vital Voices Global Partnership as an outstanding woman global leader. She is a 2000 British Chevening Scholar. In 1995 and 1998, Alonso participated in the U.S. Department of State’s cultural exchange program. Alonso has trained many civil society activists and organizations in Latin America and South-East Asia. Her opinions are usually published by national papers and mass media.
Astghik Gevorgyan is a senior development expert at the Financial System Development unit of the Central Bank (CB) of Armenia. She is responsible for initiation, design and implementation of innovative projects that promote institutional, administration and legal development in the financial sector of the economy. She provides recommendations and policy advice on new regulations, legislation, programs, and projects proposed by other governmental bodies when they relate to CB’s area of influence. Some of Gevorgyan's recent projects are the creation of the Pan-Armenian Development Bank, and the National Mortgage Refinancing Company Armenia, which provides affordable loans for young families and scientists. She is also CEO of the Small and Medium Business Credit Support, which identifies investors from abroad for financing emerging businesses in Armenia.
Gevorgyan received a BA and MA from the Yerevan State University in economics and successfully completed the international economics and business studies executive program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Selima Ahmad is president and founder of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI), which represents the interests and supports the initiatives of women entrepreneurs. As a successful businesswomen herself with long-standing experience in the private sector, Ahmad took the initiative to form a chamber of commerce devoted exclusively to facilitating the advancement of women entrepreneurs.
Drawing on her business experience and involvement with several trade organizations, Ahmad convinced and mobilized women entrepreneurs, the government, and development partners of the need to create the BWCCI. She has developed 3,000 women entrepreneurs by planning, designing and facilitating different programs. She supports these initiatives by providing training, business counseling, credit linkages, acting as guarantor, and lobbying government and policymakers on behalf of businesswomen across Bangladesh. Ahmed developed 300 grassroots women through training and access to information to ensure their active and increased participation in socio-economic and civil life.
Márlon Reis is a state judge in Maranhão, Brazil. He has been serving as electoral judge and president of the Brazilian Association of Electoral Judges and Prosecutors since 2007. In 2008, Judge Reis was the leader of the “Clean Elections Campaign” promoting a transparent electoral campaign that aimed to safeguard and nurture democracy through educating voters about issues of corruption of power. The Campaign carried out 1,500 hearings across Brazil. In part, due to the success of the campaign, Judge Reis was named one of the 100 most influential citizens in Brazil by Magazine A Época Review. In 2002, he helped enact legislation against political corruption “Lei da Ficha Limpa” and since then has worked at AMARRIBO, a Brazilian NGO affiliated with Transparency International.
Andrea Sanhueza was a fellow at the World Resources Institute from February-May 2012, where she worked with The Access Initiative to promote Latin American and Caribbean governments' commitment to start a regional convention on access to information, participation and justice after the third Earth Summit (called Río+20) held in Brazil in June 2012. Sanhueza is a founding member of The Access Initiative, which advocates for the implementation of access to information and participation on environmental issues.
Sanhueza has been an active civil society stakeholder in the Summit of the Americas process, which works to build regional cooperation among governments of the Western Hemisphere, and the Community of Democracies, a global movement to strengthen democratic norms and institutions worldwide. In 2009, Sanhueza drafted a strategy for the Organization of American States (OAS) to structure participation of civil society organizations in OAS activities. From 2001-2010, she served as the executive director of PARTICIPA, a Chilean NGO that works in the democracy field on issues of elections, transparency, access to information, and citizen participation.
Sanhueza obtained her BA in social work from the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile and her MA in human settlements and the environment from the Institute of Urban Studies of the same university. She also holds an MA in political science from the Universidad de Chile.
Xia Guo serves as team manager of SEE Foundation, the first Chinese environmental private foundation. SEE makes grants to lead and support the development of local environmental NGOs in China, promoting the sustainable development of China through the efforts of civil society. Guo has served at SEE for seven years, working with local donors, NGOs and the media. At present, her work is focused on grant-making in the field of anti-pollution, climate change, and NGO start-up. In 2008, Guo led a delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs to the U.S. to learn about philanthropy and environmental work. In addition, she worked as the coordinator of the SEE-TNC Eco-Award (2005, 2009, 2011), which has been the most influential environmental prize among Chinese civil society.
Samah Mansur has nine years of experience in the non-profit sector. She currently works as an officer of democracy and human rights for the Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development (ACT) organization in Cairo. She has participated in many conferences, workshops, fellowships and forums inside and abroad.
In 2006, Mansur was awarded a prize from the United Nations Development Fund for Women for the best research to fight violence against women entitled, “The Egyptian Society and Violence against Women.” In 2008, she participated in the International Conference on Domestic Violence in Denmark and she was selected by the Fulbright Commission to study public relations and media communications in the U.S. In 2010, she became the first Egyptian to receive the Chevening Fellowship for using democracy for peace at the University of Bradford in England.
Birtukan Midekssa is a former federal judge and leader of the pro-democracy opposition movement in Ethiopia. Hailed as the Aung San Suu Kyi of her country, she was sentenced to life in prison in 2005 after her party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, won an unprecedented number of seats in parliamentary elections. After 18 months in prison, she was pardoned following a series of high-level negotiations. Upon her release, she founded the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) and was elected its first chairperson. In 2008, she was rearrested for allegedly having violated the terms of her pardon and remained in prison for almost two more years. In 2010, she was shortlisted for the European Parliament’s 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Prior to entering politics, Midekssa served as a defense attorney and federal judge, rendering numerous court decisions in support of the rule of law and in defense of fundamental constitutional liberties.
Natalie Tsnoriashvili currently works as a senior staff attorney in the Department of Justice at the U.S. Embassy based in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. As a lawyer trained in criminal law, she manages criminal justice reform projects. The main focus of Tsnoriashvili's work is to promote a modern, progressive and transparent criminal justice system, together with an independent judiciary, and a responsible and professional prosecution and law enforcement entities. She works with the Embassy’s Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) to identify and implement individual projects in the criminal justice area, and advises the RLA on current Georgian legislation and practice.
Anup John is a superintendent of police assigned to the province of Kerala, India. In the seven years spent in the civil service, John has held various sensitive and challenging assignments, including: commissioner of police in Calicut City, superintendent of police in Kannur, and assistant inspector general of police in Kerala. In 2010, he was selected to be part of the elite British Chevening Gurukul Programme in Leadership and Excellence at the London School of Economics and Political Science. John believes that unfettered access to justice at the cutting edge of the criminal justice chain plays a critical role in people’s empowerment in democracies like India.
Charles Wanguhu has a strong governance and human rights background and currently heads the program department at the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG), a think tank with a focus on the structural causes of corruption. His main focus at AfriCOG is examining governance failures and regulation in both the public and private sectors.
Wanguhu earned his undergraduate degree in law LLB (Hons) at the University of Bedfordshire, and a masters of law LLM in international and commercial dispute resolution at the University of Westminster. His areas of interest include: business and human rights, corporate governance, corruption and governance, regulation, and technology.
Mukhayo Parpieva is a civil society development specialist with 15 years of experience. She has worked in Central Asia and the Middle East to strengthen capacity of local NGOs to become more effective advocates for peace, women's empowerment and good governance.
At present, Parpieva works in the Office of Transition Initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Kyrgyzstan as a mobile technology program manager. Her role is to work with government, media, and civil society to promote accountability and engagement with the public. The programs she leads use technology to deliver reliable and objective information to critical audiences on employment, health and government services.
Abdulhafid Sidoun has been working in law and legal consultancy at his private office in Tripoli for more than 10 years. In addition, he is an activist in the fields of human rights and democracy. During the revolution of 17th February 2011, Sidoun was arrested and put in Abu Salem prison, a political prison in Tripoli for more than five months where he was brutally tortured and treated disrespectfully. He was sentenced to death on September 1, but fortunately freed from the prison six days before the execution day.
In 2010, Sidoun participated in the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and held an internship at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in Washington, DC.
Herizal Hazri is a program director at the Asia Foundation's Malaysia office. He is responsible for program design and coordination for the foundation's programs in Malaysia. Prior to joining the foundation, Hazri served as a consultant with several think tanks and public policy consulting firms internationally, as well as domestically. He is known for his civil society development efforts in Malaysia, particularly in the area of human rights and democracy.
Hazri has worked in twelve Asian countries under the Asian Network for Free Elections to promote democratization efforts, namely in Indonesia, East Timor (now Timor Leste), Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Taiwan, and his home country, Malaysia. In 2004, Hazri managed the only International Election Observation Mission for the Afghanistan Presidential Election and deployed 45 long-term and short-term observers to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. This marked the first time an election observation team was allowed to observe an electoral process that was taking place in Iran.
Herizal holds a diploma in public administration, a BEc in development economics from the University of Malaya and an MSc in global politics from the University of London for which he was granted a British Chevening Scholarship.
Daniel Ehighalua is the director of the Nigerian Innocence Project, which engages with the broader international innocence movement in the United States. It seeks to articulate the problems of miscarriages of justice, wrongful conviction, access to justice and justice sector reform, within a broader human rights perspective.
Ehighalua had a brief spell practicing law in Nigeria before proceeding to the United Kingdom for further studies and work. Ehighalua practiced as a human rights and refugee lawyer with some of the leading franchised legal aid solicitors firms in England, appearing before domestic tribunals and superior courts in the United Kingdom. He lodged several human rights applications before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg– challenging decisions on removal, deportation and torture.
Between 2006 and 2008, Ehighalua concluded postgraduate studies courses in human rights law, international law and armed conflict at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. At the College of Law England and Wales, he obtained an international practice diploma in international human rights law and practice. In addition, he is an associate fellow with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law at the Faculty of Law, McGill University.
Ene Enonche is a founding board member and national coordinator of the Right To Information Initiative (R2K) Nigeria. R2K is a non-profit organization that promotes the right of citizens' to access officially held information at all levels of government institutions, and establishes legal standards for these rights in Nigeria. R2K’s was one of two organizations in Nigeria that advocated for the enactment of a Freedom of Information Law in Nigeria in 2011. Prior to joining the R2K, Enonche worked with the Freedom of Information Coalition, the Africa Freedom of Information Centre, and as a consultant with the Africa program of the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Kamal Siddiqi is the editor of The Express Tribune, a national English language daily newspaper published from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The paper is affiliated with The International Herald Tribune. Siddiqi has 23 years of experience in print journalism, reporting on politics and business issues for most of his career. Prior to his position at The Express Tribune, he was an editor reporting at The News and a lead writer for Daily Dawn. Earlier, he also worked for Dow Jones Newswires and The Asia Times. Siddiqi's passion is media training and he has invested a lot of time and effort in managing training programs at different levels for working journalists.
Siddiqi completed an MA in media and communications studies from the London School of Economics and an MA in mass communication from Karachi University. He currently teaches journalism as a visiting faculty at Karachi University.
Dr. Bashar AbuZarour is the director general for the Research and Development Directorate at the Palestine Capital Market Authority (PCMA). In this capacity, AbuZarour crafts research and policy papers which promote economic development and enhance corporate governance. In addition, he leads many capacity building projects and initiatives within PCMA, mainly those related to the regulatory framework in Palestine, including private pension and securities sector development. Previously, AbuZarour has served as a senior auditor in a number of prestigious organizations before working as an assistant professor in the finance department of Al-Najah National University. AbuZarour is an active member in technical and professional societies and has produced many publications, a selection of which have been published in international finance and economics magazines.
Since 1993, Olga Sidorovich has led an independent Moscow-based policy development, research, and educational organization in the field of constitutionalism and law. The Institute of Law and Public Policy (before 2001 - Center for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern and Central Europe), seeks to promote liberal and democratic values and the principles of the rule of law, pluralistic democracy, and full equality of individuals. Under Sidorovich's leadership in 2007, the Institute became a winner of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. For nearly two decades she has served as the editor-in-chief of the Russian legal and political journal Comparative Constitutional Review.
In 1998 Sidorovich obtained an MA in business administration in the public sector from the School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham. Between 1982 and 1992, she worked as a research fellow at the Institute for USA and Canadian Studies, which is part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as the Institute of Europe.
Maja Piscevic has over 20 years of experience in the legal field as a practicing attorney, as a consultant promoting institutional reform and economic development, and as a business leader in Belgrade. Piscevic is currently the executive director and board president of the Serbian Association of Managers, a professional association of business leaders. Previously, Piscevic worked at USAID as a senior business and legal specialist, where she designed, managed and implemented a project portfolio budgeted in excess of $50 million.
In 2011, Piscevic launched the largest regional event since the fallout of former Yugoslavia, the “Summit 100 Business Leaders of Southeast Europe,” which gathered business and political elite of the region together with the highest representatives from international organizations. She often speaks in public and regularly writes articles in the press addressing different political and economic issues.
Wael Sawah is a researcher and advisor at The Syrian League for Citizenship, an NGO that works to heighten the principles of citizenship, democracy, and human rights in Syria. He has written dozens of research papers both in Arabic and English for international and regional institutions. He is also a regular columnist at Al Hayatnewspaperin London. Sawah has worked as a political analyst at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus.
Sawah is a member of the Annual Middle East Legal Studies Seminar at Yale Law School, a founding member of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, a founding member of the Arab Rationalists League in Paris, editor of Al Awan website, and co-author of Issues of Secularism in the Levant and A Tale Entitled Syria.
Frank Rusa Nyakaana
Frank Nyakaana Rusa is a lawyer with extensive experience in governance and electoral processes. Rusa has served as a state attorney with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions in Uganda; and as a principle legal advisor to the Uganda Electoral Commission. Rusa currently works as a Program Manager in charge of civic engagement and electoral integrity at the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) in Uganda. The DGF is a multi-donor basket fund dedicated to support state and non-state initiatives by Ugandans to deepen democracy, increase access to justice, protect human rights and promote public accountability.
His work involves managing projects or programs with a range of state actors involved in promoting good governance and electoral democracy. These include the Uganda’s Electoral Commission, the Parliament of Uganda and all Political Parties represented in Parliament. As DGF program manager, Rusa also manages partnerships with civil society organizations, which promote more pluralistic, representative and accountable governance based on democratic values, institutions and processes in Uganda.
Rusa has spearheaded partner initiatives to demand for electoral reforms; and built civil society coalitions to ensure effective observance of elections by civil society organizations. He is also behind a successful CSO initiative to mobilize citizens to register to vote. This initiative is currently mobilizing eligible Ugandans to turn up and vote.
Rusa has also worked with political parties to enhance their institutional development and inter-party dialogue processes; and worked with Parliament to strengthen its oversight role. He has also been engaged in other broader civic engagement efforts on a wide range of public policy issues.
Since 2005, Bassim Assuqair has been involved in the development industry in a variety of roles, from working as a civil researcher to carrying out training projects on developmental issues. Currently, Assuqair works as a civic engagement specialist within the team of the Office of Transition Initiative (OTI) at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Yemen. In this capacity, he assesses the needs of the youth sector and supervises grant-making to empower and support youth development. Prior to that Assuqair worked as a project officer in the training and organizational support unit of the Social Fund for Development (SFD), an organization that works to support national, social and economic development plans for poverty reduction in Yemen.
Assuqair is also a member of the Association of Rural Youth Volunteers, an organization that gathers over 2600 youth - both male and female- from across Yemen to enhance and strengthen the capacity of rural youth socially, economically and politically. In 2010, Assuqair participated in the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Jestina M. Mukoko
Jestina Mukoko is the national director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), a non-profit organization that monitors and documents political violence in Zimbabwe. She is the 2009 Laureate of the City of Weimar (Germany) Human Rights Prize and 2010 honoree of the U.S. Secretary of State International Women of Courage Award. For her human rights work, commitment and perseverance, Mukoko was admitted to the French Legion of Honour in 2011. Under her leadership, the ZPP has won several local and international accolades and is the 2010 recipient of the French Republic Human Rights Prize.
In 2008, Mukoko and her organization were on the receiving end of state sponsored violence when she and two other colleagues were abducted and kept incommunicado for three weeks before being released to face a trumped-up charge of attempting to overthrow a constitutionally-elected government.
Mukoko holds a BS in politics and administration from the University of Zimbabwe. She is the 2010 fellow at the Oak Institute at Colby College in Maine and a fellow of the Leadership for the Environment and Development (LEAD) program.
Farai Maguwu is the founding director of the Center for Research and Development (CRD), a leading organization working on improved governance of natural resources in Zimbabwe. He has conducted extensive research and documentation on human rights abuses and illicit trade in diamonds in Zimbabwe. CRD also conducts civic education in rural Zimbabwe aimed at promoting freedom of expression, assembly and association.
In 2011 Maguwu was arrested for his human rights work, charged and detained for 40 days by the Zimbabwean government. In November 2011, Human Rights Watch honored him with the prestigious Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, the highest honor bestowed on an individual by Human Rights Watch.
Maguwu is a PhD candidate at the School of Developmental Studies, University of Kwazulu Natal. He holds an MA in peace and conflict studies from the European University Center for Peace Studies in Austria and an MA in peace and governance from Africa University where he also obtained his BA in education.