Ms. Laila Abed has worked with the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) for the past 14 years. In her current role as International Relations and Fundraising Manager for the organization, her primary responsibilities include developing proposals and concept notes for donors, developing fundraising strategies, and developing monitoring and evaluation plans for various projects. PCDCR works to shore up social structures and promote democratic principles, peace and reconciliation, and increase civic participation. Ms. Abed is committed to the cause of preserving civic peace in the Palestinian Territories. She plans to improve her knowledge of human rights and conflict resolution methodologies and bolster her leadership skills during her fellowship year. She hopes the knowledge and leadership skills she gains during the Humphrey Fellowship will position her as an integral part of the next generation of leaders of PCDCR. Ms. Abed holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Communications Control and an MBA in Commerce/Business Administration from the Islamic University of Gaza.
International Fellows Alumni
Ms. Eman Alaghbari is a Reservoir Engineer at Petromasila. She has worked in the petroleum sector in Yemen since 2008, and was the first female reservoir engineer in the country. She is passionate about alleviating poverty in Yemen. In addition, Ms. Alaghbari is the founder of the Nature Conservation Initiative, which engages Yemeni youth interested in environmental protection. She also established Get Real, an organization focused on poverty reduction. The organization encourages entrepreneurship and vocational training among youth, and shares information about small business success with the public. Ms. Alaghbari holds a Master of Business Administration degree in management from the Lebanese International University and a Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Heriot-Watt University. Ms. Alaghbari wants to learn about public policy analysis during her fellowship year, and will use that knowledge to participate in reviewing economic policies in Yemen and improving them to suit the country’s economic development needs.
Mr. Bockarie-Konteh is the Director of Research, Planning and Knowledge Management at the Ministry of Youth Affairs in Sierra Leone. He has held similar positions in various government ministries during more than 10 years in the civil service. In his current role, Mr. Bockarie-Konteh ensures that the National Youth Policy and other complementary legal instruments are research-driven, properly planned and implemented in an environment that will support progressive institutional development and shared learning. Mr. Bockarie-Konteh holds undergraduate degrees in Business Studies, Entrepreneurship Studies, and Law from the University of Sierra Leone. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Development Management from the same institution. During his fellowship year, Mr. Bockarie-Konteh plans to deepen and expand his knowledge of policy formulation and implementation, advocacy, and the role of civil society in policy making.
Mr. Asmir Butkovic currently serves as the Head of Department of the Division of Informatics at the Police Support Agency in Sarajevo. In that role, Mr. Butkovic has developed various data collection and information technology tools to facilitate data integration and exchange of information among police agencies. He has been a lecturer at several universities, teaching database management systems, programming, algorithms and data structures, and software engineering. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Sarajevo. During his fellowship year, Mr. Butkovic plans to learn new skills in the field of Urban and Regional Planning, specifically in topics like predictive analytics, spatiotemporal data analysis, geographic information systems, public safety, smart cities, digital transformation of public services, digital rights, and cyber security. With this knowledge, he hopes to launch new urban innovation projects to improve living conditions, the safety and wellbeing of his community, data sharing, and crime analysis. Mr. Butkovic also plans to become more involved in academic teaching and research, preparing students to work on grand challenges.
Mr. Cristofer Correia is a political activist and was the Director-General of Citizen Participation in the National Assembly of Venezuela. His primary goal for the next five years is the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. He plans to use his time in the fellowship acquiring skills in governance strategies and policy making that can contribute to that goal. Mr. Correia has been involved in politics for many years. He was an elected member of the student movement of his university, where he organized the first-ever presidential debate in 2011. As a public servant, he works to engage citizens in the legislative agenda and encourage political participation. In 2021, Mr. Correia published “Inclusive Urban Renewal,” a book on addressing urban poverty through public policy. Mr. Correia holds a Master of Science degree in Public Policy from the University of Bristol. Through the Humphrey Fellowship, he aims to broaden his professional network and enhance his democracy-building knowledge and skills.
Ms. Nature Inger is a marketing professional who is active in feminist organizing and campaigning. She has worked in the fashion, entertainment and marketing sectors. Ms. Inger has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Films and Television from Limkokwing University in Botswana. She is an ardent advocate for ending gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, and has launched and promoted social media campaigns to raise awareness about these issues. Most notably, she launched the #everythreehours campaign to highlight the high incidence of rape in Botswana, which has the second highest rate in the world. Her mission is to change societal behaviors around gender, which she believes will lead to systemic change and improve the lives of women and other marginalized groups in Botswana. During the Humphrey fellowship, Ms. Inger plans to learn more about human rights advocacy and strategies for running effective social campaigns. Her goal is to use the knowledge she acquires to broaden and deepen her work to change national narratives and attitudes around gender-based violence, and drive systemic reform in Botswana.
Ms. Mariam Kayani is a civil servant in the Pakistan Administrative Service with nearly 14 years of experience in developing and implementing government policies, along with extensive experience in administration of local government. In her most recent position as Deputy Secretary in the Establishment Division of the Cabinet Secretariat, she managed administrative affairs and career progression policies and rules of civil service personnel, including the administrative service, police service, secretariat group, and office management group. Ms. Kayani is a qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, U.K. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Punjab, and a Master of Administrative Law and Policy from the University of Sydney. Ms. Kayani plans to learn more about public policy analysis, formulation, and implementation during her Fellowship, and intends to enhance her quantitative and qualitative analytical and research skills. With the knowledge and skills she acquires, she hopes to contribute to Pakistan’s Civil Service Reform Agenda by helping draft new policies and regulations for all levels of the civil service, including the provincial and local government.
Ms. Maja Markovic serves as a Program Coordinator with Juventas, an NGO that provides social care and services to vulnerable populations in Montenegro. As part of her work, she coordinates the implementation of projects, conducts policy analysis in the areas of social policy, youth activism, and human rights, and works to strengthen the capacity of NGOs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Montenegro. She also holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Birmingham. As a Humphrey Fellow, Ms. Markovic wants to deepen her knowledge of social policy, policy implementation, and social services delivery. She also wants to learn more about public-private partnerships, and how such partnerships boost resources and capacity in the social services field. With the knowledge she gains, Ms. Markovic plans to help local NGOs adopt more effective models of service delivery, evaluate their projects and programs for effectiveness, and develop partnerships with state agencies. She also plans to help decentralize the social care system in Montenegro.
Ms. Giovana Mendez was the Technical Director of Studies with the Statistical Analysis and Markets Unit of Ecuador’s Telecommunications Regulatory and Controls Agency. Ms. Mendez holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering from Escuela Politecnica del Ejercito. She also holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales. She believes in the power of technology to transform people’s lives and improve access to opportunities, and is dedicated to using her work to close the digital gap between women, afro Ecuadorians, and the general population. To that end, Ms. Mendez plans to learn more about how to design policies that effectively distribute the benefits of technology, and create economic opportunities for all. She will focus her learning on public policy analysis, formulation, and implementation. Ms. Mendez also wants to learn more about private-public partnerships and how they can be leveraged to boost the reach of the state and its policies. Additionally, she would like to deepen her knowledge of social policies aimed at eliminating structural inequalities.
Ms. Rishfa Rasheed is a Foreign Service Officer with over 17 years of experience in the service. In that time, she has served in various roles with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Missions abroad, as Counselor at the Maldives Mission to the UN in Geneva with a main focus on human rights, as well as Second Secretary of the Maldives High Commission in India. She also served as Director at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Nepal, where she oversaw the Social Affairs Division, focusing on women, children, youth, health and population. In her most recent role, she was Director at the United Nations Division, Multilateral Department of the Ministry, where she coordinated the Maldives engagement with the UN system. Ms. Rasheed’s various roles have given her expertise in multilateral relations, negotiation, management, and human rights. Ms. Rasheed holds a bachelor of Computer Applications, and has studied climate change and multilateral diplomacy. Ms. Rasheed plans to use her Fellowship year to improve her leadership skills and enhance her knowledge of human rights. Post Fellowship, she plans to remain with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and continue to contribute to the economic and social development of the Maldives.
Ms. Christina Ruhinda is the Executive Director of the Tanzania Network of Legal Aid Providers (TANLAP), where she oversees the operations and fundraising of the organization, and acts as its spokesperson. TANLAP works to build its members’ capacities to engage with the government, create awareness around critical legal and human rights issues, and advocate for the rights of citizens, especially those that are vulnerable and marginalized. Ms. Ruhinda holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Tumaini University in Dar es Salaam, and a Master of Science degree in Leadership and Governance from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. During her fellowship year, Ms. Ruhinda plans to enhance her expertise in human rights advocacy and protection. She wants to learn how to strategically promote local human rights agendas at the international level, and explore strategies to expand access to justice and improve the rule of law in Tanzania.
Ms. Ira Singhal is the Deputy Commissioner, Revenue, in Delhi Government. She ranked first in the extremely prestigious and competitive Indian Civil Services Exam in 2014. As the National Brand Ambassador for various ministries, her role is to help accelerate India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) performance, and ensure the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized populations. Over the years, Ms. Singhal has worked in this capacity to address the plight of the 22 percent of Indians living in poverty, focusing on women-headed households, persons with disabilities, transgender people, and other marginalized groups. She was the first person to provide employment for transgender people in a government office, giving them visibility and paving the way to wider societal acceptance. Ms. Singhal is dedicated to designing SDG-based policies that provide more economic opportunities for the poor and marginalized. She hopes that the fellowship will equip her with tools to design policies with a human development lens, and give her an international perspective on developmental challenges facing her country. Ms. Singhal holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering, an MBA from the University of Delhi, and a Masters of Public Policy from J.N. University.
Ms. Dounia Benslimane currently works as an independent culture consultant in Casablanca, Morocco. Prior to this role, she was a founder and served first as the Executive Director and then as the Head of Partnership and Development for Racines Association, a non-profit that aimed to boost development and democracy through culture and cultural programming. The organization was dissolved by the Moroccan government because of its work to promote democracy. A trained medical professional, Ms. Benslimane has committed her career to development and democracy-building and plans to use her time as a Humphrey Fellow to improve her capacity and skills in this area. She hopes to engage with professionals in the human rights field, and learn innovative and unconventional models for advocating for human rights and social justice. Alongside her many years of professional experience, Ms. Benslimane holds a medical degree from Hassan II University of Casablanca, and an associate degree in Cultural Project Management from Marcel Hicter Association in Brussels, Belgium.
Mr. Danish Ali Bhutto has worked at the Parliament of Pakistan for over 7 years on parliamentary research, speech writing, program management and human rights. During that time, he has provided research and speech writing services to the office of the Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan, and Women Parliamentary Caucus, where his work on gender-sensitive and rights issues resulted in national policy. In his current role as, he manages the Project Management Unit and Youth Civic Engagement Program of the National Assembly of Pakistan. Mr. Bhutto is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Parliamentarian, The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s quarterly journal of parliaments. Mr. Bhutto holds an MBA from Sukkur IBA University and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He also studied Advanced Policy and Leadership at the University of Cambridge’s Moller Center in 2018. Mr. Bhutto plans to improve his advocacy, research, and human rights knowledge and skills with a view to use them to achieve better policy results for women and youth issues in Pakistan.
Ms. Kayanna Burke holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies in Barbados. She currently works as an Establishment Officer in the Policy, Planning, and Administration Division of the Ministry of Finance of St. Vincent & the Grenadines. In this role, Ms. Burke is responsible for researching and reporting on all aspects of public finance, policy and strategic planning, human resource development and good governance, with special emphasis on personal expenditure policy. She plans to build her knowledge in the area of public finance management, public expenditure and budgeting during her fellowship year. Post fellowship, Ms. Burke plans to leverage her knowledge and skills in these areas to help the ministry effectively implement policies to achieve its goal of ensuring economic development and security.
Ms. Amedeea Enache holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, and two master’s degrees in Cybernetic, Statistics and Economic Informatics, and Anthropology from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies and the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, respectively. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Estuar Foundation, an NGO that provides social and advocacy services to adults with mental health disabilities. During her Fellowship period, Ms. Enache plans to engage with organizations working toward full social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. She hopes to learn innovative mechanisms and models to deliver social services to persons with mental health disabilities in Romania.
Ms. María Hernández holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Universidad Central de Venezuela and a certificate in Impact Evaluation of Public Policies and Programs from Universidad Católica de Chile. As one of many people who needed to flee the country, she moved to Chile, where has been leading projects in a social enterprise to build capacity, and to offer parenting support services at the national and local government level.
During her fellowship year, Ms. Hernández wants to learn more about economics, population, public policy, strategic communication, project and data management. She plans to use this knowledge to decrease the violence epidemic in Venezuela, which has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Ms. Hernández is passionate about the Global and Social Policy fields, with special emphasis in primary violence prevention, and its intersection with gender and children/adolescent development. She has also volunteered with organizations that work in underserved communities to foster social cohesion. She hopes to be an agent of change and contribute to democracy building in Venezuela.
Ms. Nadiia Iusupova works at the Office of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. She works in various areas and on various issues, including multilateral cooperation, peacebuilding, international relations, and human rights. Ms. Iusupova’s goal is to incorporate a human rights approach to policy making in Kyrgyzstan. Specifically, she wants to promote minority rights, ensure religious tolerance, interfaith dialogue, multicultural education, gender issues, and build principles of a common civil identity in Kyrgyzstan. During her Fellowship, Ms. Iusupova plans to learn more about policy analysis, human rights, and best practices for building civic engagement and national unity. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Management from Higher College, and Economy and Agrarian Production Management from Kyrgyz Agrarian Academy. Ms. Iusupova also holds a master’s degree in Political Science from Kobe University in Japan.
Mr. Mushtaq Malla holds a master’s degree in Social Work and a bachelor’s degree in Science from the University of Kashmir. Originally from Kashmir, Mr. Malla currently works as Superintendent with the Jammu and Kashmir Department of Prisons. In this capacity, he is responsible for the overall management of the prison, including discipline, security, protection of rights, rehabilitation, and reintegration. Prior to his work with the prison, Mr. Malla worked for many years in the areas of child protection and mental health counseling with organizations like Doctors Without Borders, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, and Action Aid – India. As a Humphrey Fellow, he plans to gain more theoretical knowledge about human rights, as well as practical knowledge about the protection of prisoner’s rights, rehabilitation, and reintegration. Since Mr. Malla works primarily with young offenders, he plans to focus his time on learning about ways to address issues specific to that population, and models to rehabilitate them.
Ms. Sol Purita is the Legal Secretary at the National Attorney General’s Office in Buenos Aires. She is the youngest person to occupy this position and is currently responsible for coordinating the upcoming implementation of a new legal system established by the country’s most recent Criminal Procedure Code. Ms. Purita is tasked with coordinating the activities of various offices and actors in the justice administration system to transition from an inquisitorial legal system to an accusatorial one. During her time in the United States, she plans to interact with counterpart offices in the United States to learn about the management of criminal litigation and the different pillars of the criminal justice system. Ms. Purita also plans to learn more about how the various levels of the criminal justice system work and interact with each other in a federal system. Ultimately, she hopes that what she learns during the Fellowship year will equip her with the expertise to formulate policies to effectively implement her country’s new criminal code and build a fair and equitable criminal justice system. Ms. Purita holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Universidad Catolica Argentina, and a Law degree from Universidad Argentina de la Empresa.