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Democracy and Governance Specialists

    Bertrand Mpigabahizi
    Associate, Democracy and Governance Practice

    Bertrand Mpigabahizi, the associate on the D&G practice team, is a recent graduate of The George Washington University, in which he majored in international politics and security policy; he is also a receipt of the David L. Boren Award. Bertrand has served as a research assistant at the Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP), Creative Associates International, The Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, and program assistant at the Peace Corps and American Red Cross. His technical interests include local governance and decentralization, rule of law and security sector reform, violence prevention, integrated governance, and institutional capacity building worldwide.

    Cameron Berkuti
    Chief of Party, Iraq

    Cameron Berkuti is a governance specialist who has managed public sector training and infrastructure projects for more than 35 years. As a civil engineer, Mr. Berkuti has designed and implemented high-impact and community infrastructure projects. He has also managed civil society strengthening, civic engagement, community development, local governance, capacity building, and public service delivery programs. Mr. Berkuti has previously trained national and local governments in the Middle East in public administration, project management, service delivery, and good governance. In his current capacity as the chief of party of the USAID-funded Governance Strengthening Project in Iraq, he is working to strengthen the institutional capacity of local governments and improve democratic oversight to empower reform-minded officials and facilitate local service delivery to disparate communities.

    Charles Abani
    Chief of Party, Nigeria

    Charles Abani is an experienced development practitioner with more than 20 years of experience in community development and governance, working with marginalized communities in sub-Saharan Africa to encourage dialogue and partnerships. With a background in cross-sector and integrated governance, Mr. Abani currently serves as chief of party of the Nigeria Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) program, which supports local civil society organizations and promotes transparency and good governance. He has previously worked with disenfranchised groups to overcome acute political and social problems and influence democratic reforms. Prior to leading SACE, Mr. Abani led a DFID-funded governance program that supported improved equitable access to quality basic services and accountability at the local level.

    Charles Nonga
    Chief of Party, Tanzania

    Charles Nonga has nearly two decades of experience designing, implementing, and assessing donor-funded projects for DFID, USAID, and others in Tanzania. He currently serves as chief of party of the Capacity Development for Partners of Accountability (Pamoja Twajenga) program, which builds local capacity of grantee groups in Tanzania. Mr. Nonga has technical expertise in integrated governance, which encompasses civil society strengthening, economic development, education and youth, gender equality and social inclusion, and health. He has previous experience collaborating with international non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, and other governmental institutions to strengthen accountability and political effectiveness. He previously served as a deputy chief of party for a basic education program in Tanzania.

    Christina Schultz
    Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

    Christina Schultz has 20 years of experience in conflict and post-conflict, democracy and governance, and human rights programming in Africa, Latin America, Afghanistan and the Middle East. This includes managing and supporting seven projects, funded by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, both in field and home offices. She possesses strategy development skills with experience in monitoring, evaluation and learning. Ms. Schultz is currently the director of three projects at Chemonics, including the Jordan Food Assistance Program and Mexico Human Rights Public Policy Activity. Ms. Schultz has worked for USAID, implementing partners, the United Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank, and various international and local NGOs. She holds a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree from UCLA in international economics.

    Christopher Scott
    Chief of Party, Ukraine

    Christopher Scott is a senior rule of law, public sector reform, and civil society expert with more than 20 years of international donor funded project management experience. He is currently chief of party for the USAID Ukraine Confidence Building Initiative. Previously, Mr. Scott served as chief of party for the Palestinian Authority Capacity Enhancement project and has been senior vice president of Chemonics’ Middle East region and, before that, senior vice president of the Project Development and Support division. Early in his career he served as senior advisor and chief of party in Belarus, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen. Prior to joining Chemonics, Mr. Scott was a USAID democracy team leader in Jordan. He holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and an undergraduate degree from Marquette University.

    David Vaughn
    Chief of Party, Ukraine

    David Vaughn is a rule of law expert with nearly 25 years of judicial reform experience, including 18 years implementing USAID-funded rule of law and security sector reform projects in countries across Europe, Central Asia, Central and South America, and Africa. He is currently the chief of party on the USAID Fair, Accountable, Independent, and Responsible Judiciary (FAIR) program in Ukraine. His expertise includes legal reform, institutional capacity building, judicial ethics, and civil society strengthening. Since joining Chemonics in 1998, he has led several rule of law projects, such as the USAID Russian-American Judicial Partnership and Women’s Legal Rights Initiative (WLR) projects. Mr. Vaughn was previously the chief of party of an anti-corruption and rule of law program in Ukraine. Mr. Vaughn holds a J.D. from American University, and an M.A. in political science and B.A. in Russian from the University of Vermont.

    Eric Reading
    Executive Vice President

    Since Executive Vice President Eric Reading joined Chemonics in 1994, he has served in leadership roles in the both the field and the home office. As senior vice president he significantly expanded Chemonics work in the Middle East region and subsequently led the Afghanistan and Pakistan region. Prior to joining the executive team, he worked in Kosovo and Egypt as chief of party and technical advisor for institutional strengthening programs. Mr. Reading’s development technical experience crosses a range of sectors, including governance, infrastructure, economic development, financial services, and agriculture and he has significant experience in post-conflict recovery. In addition to overseeing the implementation of Chemonics development and transition work globally, he leads our internal systems strengthening. Mr. Reading holds an M.A. from Florida State University and is a PhD candidate in Governance and Globalization at Virginia Tech.

    Jennifer Burdett
    Director, Europe and Eurasia

    Jennifer Burdett has nearly 10 years of experience managing democracy and governance projects in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. She is a lawyer and human rights expert who specializes in judicial reform, anti-corruption, civil society strengthening, and refugee and migrant rights. Ms. Burdett has previous experience overseeing programs to improve the capacity of local courts, strengthen judicial and legal professionals, and increase government accountability and transparency. Ms. Burdett is currently a director in the Europe and Eurasia region of the company.

    Jennifer Swift-Morgan
    Director, West and Central Africa and Haiti

    Jennifer Swift-Morgan is and education and governance expert with more than 15 years of experience designing, managing, and evaluating integrated projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Her technical expertise includes decentralized public policy, teacher training, civil society strengthening, early grade reading human rights, community mobilization, and non-profit management. Ms. Swift-Morgan has previously worked at USAID, KfW Development Bank, National Democratic Institute (NDI), and InterAction. As a director in the West and Central Africa region, Ms. Swift-Morgan currently supports the USAID ACCELERE! Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also conducts political economic analyses and provides civic engagement, local governance, and public service delivery input for the Democracy and Governance Practice. Ms. Swift-Morgan holds a Ph.D. in international education development from Columbia Teacher’s College.

    John K. Johnson
    Director, Asia

    John Johnson is a legislative strengthening and parliamentary reform expert who has designed and implemented capacity building projects and training programs in over 40 countries. He has more than 25 years of experience directing programs for USAID, UNDP, World Bank Institute, Ford Foundation, SADC Parliamentary Forum, and others. Previously, Mr. Johnson worked at the University at Albany’s Center for International Development and the National Democratic Institute. He has also served as chief of party for a legislative strengthening project in Kenya and a governance program in Indonesia, both of which aimed to facilitate more inclusive, accountable, and evidence-based policies. Mr. Johnson is currently a democracy and governance director in Asia and provides technical assistance on proposals and projects worldwide. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University at Albany, an M.A. in political science, M.A. in African studies, and a B.A. in Government.

    Lainie Reisman
    Chief of Party, Mexico

    Lainie Reisman, currently the chief of party for the USAID Juntos para la Prevencion de la Violencia (Together Preventing Violence) in Mexico, has over 20 years of experience working on violence prevention programs, particularly with vulnerable youth. Ms. Reisman led the design of some of the first USAID programs focusing on gang violence in Central America. Sine 2009, she has been supporting youth programs in Africa and the Middle East, with a focus on the prevention of extremist affiliations. Ms. Reisman has worked with a range of bilateral and global organizations including USAID, UNDP, the European Union, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. She has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.A. from the London School of Economics.

    Michael Geertson
    Director, Europe and Eurasia

    Currently a director in the Europe and Eurasia region, Michael Geertson is a democracy and governance and conflict mitigation specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the management and technical direction of USAID programs. He has led design and implementation teams in more than a dozen countries around the world. Prior to his current role, Mr. Geertson was responsible for home-office oversight of a project to help the Haitian government and communities recover from the January 2010 earthquake. Mr. Geertson also has experience on governance efforts in Honduras, Mongolia, and Uganda, as well as law and civil society reforms in Albania, Armenia, and West Bank and Gaza. Mr. Geertson holds an M.P.A. from Virginia Tech's Center for Public Administration.

    Michael McCullough
    Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

    Michael McCullough is an attorney and rule of law expert with over 20 years of experience working on programs in Latin America. Prior to joining Chemonics, Mr. McCullough served as the regional director for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Rule of Law Initiative in Latin America, where he supervised rule of law projects throughout the hemisphere focusing on issues including criminal justice reform, legal profession and legal education reform, and human rights. He has also previously served as a chief of party, deputy chief of party, and public defense specialist for USAID projects in Colombia and Bolivia, providing technical oversight for programs on areas including judicial reform, alternative dispute resolution, justice houses and justice centers, access to justice, and public defense strengthening.

    Noelle Veltze
    Chief of Party, Indonesia

    Noelle Veltzé has over 15 years of experience managing governance development projects throughout Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. She has additional experience providing democracy and governance input to institutional capacity building, public policy reform, and civil society strengthening projects in Indonesia and Nepal. As the current chief of party of the USAID/Program Representasi (ProRep) project in Jakarta, Indonesia, Ms. Veltzé oversees the development of “policy clusters,” encompassing decision-makers in the executive and legislative branches of government, local communities and civil society, and research and educational centers, across Indonesia in order to foster more inclusive, participatory, evidence-based, and effective legislative and policy making.

    Patrick Lohmeyer
    Senior Vice President, West and Central Africa and Haiti

    Patrick Lohmeyer is the senior vice president of Chemonics’ West and Central Africa and Haiti region. An international program management specialist, Mr. Lohmeyer has spent most of his career supporting USAID and MCC programs around the world. He has served in a variety of senior leadership positions in both home and field offices, including six years of experience as chief of party or deputy chief of party in Kazakhstan, Albania, and Georgia. He also previously served as the managing director of Chemonics’ Office of Business Conduct, overseeing the company’s global corporate ethics program. He has particular expertise in democracy and governance programs, as well as capacity-building activities. Mr. Lohmeyer joined Chemonics in 2003 and has led successful project management and business development teams company-wide. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Mary Washington College and a master’s degree in political science from George Mason University.

    Paula Cobo
    Chief of Party, Mexico

    Paula Cobo is a human rights and international development expert with more than 14 years of experience working with the public and private sector, academia, and civil society organizations in Mexico, Colombia, and Peru, including more than five years managing the USAID-funded Colombia Human Rights Program. She is currently the chief of party of the Mexico Human Rights Public Policy Activity. Ms. Cobo has previously worked with senior U.S. and host-government officials, including contributing strategy design and analysis on issues of protection and conflict prevention, as well as expertise in managing large international donor contracts in multiple countries. She also has advised and coordinated with governments at the local, state, and national level as well as with civil society organizations and the private sector on human rights and governance issues.

    Peggy Ochandarena
    Director, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

    Peggy Ochandarena has managed international development projects in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Ms. Ochandarena creates and reviews proposal and Activity monitoring, evaluation, and learning plans, develops baseline data collection plans, conducts data quality assessments, and leads project evaluations. She developed Chemonics’ policies and procedures for monitoring, evaluation, and learning and led the development of and data collection for Chemonics’ enterprise level project indicators. She created and delivered training for U.S. personnel in USAID missions and U.S. embassies on numerous topics, as well as for host country personnel and local partners. Ms. Ochandarena is also a justice and security sector specialist, with deep experience in designing and managing programs to strengthen the rule of law, security sector reform, and good governance. She has a master’s degree in social work and a law degree.

    Rebecca Brewington
    Director, East and Southern Africa

    Rebecca Brewington is a capacity building specialist with 15 years of experience in private and public sector capacity building in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. She leads institutional strengthening efforts, including designing qualitative and quantitative organizational assessment tools. Ms. Brewington currently is working on initiatives involving human and institutional capacity development and accountability. For seven years, she served as the deputy chief of party on a policy reform program in Jordan and a health sector reform program in the West Bank and Gaza. She led institutional capacity assessments and developed capacity improvement plans for more than 40 NGOs in Jordan, Egypt, West Bank, Uganda, and Georgia. Ms. Brewington is a Certified Performance Technologist with the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI).

    Ronald Glass
    Chief of Party, Dominican Republic

    Ronald Glass is a democratic governance expert with 23 years of experience designing and implementing USAID projects focusing on local capacity building and sustainable justice sector reform. Mr. Glass is currently the chief of party on the USAID Criminal Justice System Strengthened Program, which is improving the justice sector in the Dominican Republic. Mr. Glass has previously worked with civil society organizations, accountable government institutions, the private sector, and the independent media on rule of law and human rights issues in countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and Central and South Asia. He also has experience designing human rights and governance programs for USAID.

    Sharon Van Pelt
    Director, Democracy and Governance Practice

    Sharon Van Pelt brings 25 years of experience in policy dialogue, transparency, local governance, civil society, conflict and violence prevention, and peace building. In 2002 she received the USAID Meritorious Honor Award for advancing policy dialogue and reform on decentralization and transparency in a difficult political environment. Ms. Van Pelt has previously worked in Guatemala, Moldova, and Sri Lanka on policy reform as well as for USAID and UNDP, as well as chief of party for a civil society and media project in Moldova. She has also directed governance and peace building efforts worldwide, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. In 2012, she was designated as a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) from the International Society for Performance Improvement.

    Susan Kemp
    Manager, Democracy and Governance

    Susan Kemp is a democracy and governance and human rights professional with nearly 10 years of international development experience in areas such as elections, civil society strengthening, human rights, advocacy and legal reform, and gender integration. Ms. Kemp has worked with a number of international non-governmental organizations, including World Vision, the National Democratic Institute, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and Freedom House. She has previously worked on programs to equip women human rights defenders and combat gender-based violence in the Middle East and North Africa region. Ms. Kemp has conducted research on women and local executive office and use of technology for women’s political engagement, and developed training materials for gender integration across democracy and governance technical areas.

    Ted LeVasseur
    Director, West and Central Africa and Haiti

    Ted LeVasseur has 15 years of experience managing and implementing conflict, transition, civil society, legislative strengthening, good governance, election, and sustainable development programs internationally. Since 2002, he has led development programs in Angola, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda. Mr. LeVasseur has previously worked with DFID, USAID, and the U.S. State Department on initiatives collaborating with host country government officials on various governance procedures and regulations. Prior to his career in international development, Mr. LeVasseur worked in the U.S. political system.

    Todd Diamond
    Director, Middle East

    Todd Diamond is a democracy and governance specialist and crisis and conflict analyst with over 20 years of experience. He has worked in the Balkans, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America on a variety of programs involving civil society actors, government institutions, and reforms. Previously, Mr. Diamond was a journalist and has also worked at the United Nations. At Chemonics he also provides support and analysis to governance programs in the Middle East. Mr. Diamond studied at the University of California, Berkeley and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Mr. Diamond earned a graduate degree in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

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