CIVICUS Board of Directors

Anabel Cruz - Board Chair and Chair of the Executive Committee
Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo
Originally from Uruguay, Anabel has been working for the respect of Human Rights and strengthening of democracy for more than 30 years. In 1986, after several years of exile, she returned to Uruguay and founded with other colleagues the “Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo” (ICD), a CSO aimed to promoting citizen participation and strengthening civil society.

ICD has become a national and international reference in the field of supporting institutional building and capacities of CSOs, promoting NGO accountability and the enhancement of the role of civil society in public policies. ICD and Anabel were involved in the creation and promotion of CIVICUS from the inception of CIVICUS in 1993. Anabel is a well-known expert on civil society and citizen participation, she is the Vice Chair of the Core Humanitarian Standard Alliance and an active member of ISTR (International Society for Third-Sector Research).
Amitabh Behar - Vice Board Chair
National Foundation for India
Amitabh Behar is the Executive Director of the National Foundation for India (NFI), a philanthropic trust that supports civic action for promoting democracy and social justice. NFI was set up in 1992 as an Independent Indian grant making and fund raising institution by eminent Indians, in response to a long felt need to rejuvenate voluntary sector capacities to address problems of deep seated poverty and inequality.

He is currently the Global Co-Chair of GCAP (Global Call to Action against Poverty). GCAP has played a critical role in peoples’ mobilization and attracting attention of policy makers on issues of national government accountability, aid, debt and trade. The campaign over the years has been a key actor mobilizing and channelizing citizen’s energies for achieving MDGs and framing just post 2030 agenda. Amitabh was also a Steering Committee Member of the Beyond 2015. He also played an important role in shaping the action/2015 globally (including co-convening the global launch action group of action/2015) while anchoring the action/2015 campaign in India.

He is the Convener of the National Social Watch Coalition (NSWC) which works as the national coalition of Social Watch. Amitabh was also the convener of Wada Na Todo Abhiyaan (Don’t Break your promises campaign - one of the largest civil society campaigns for governance accountability in India) for Six years and played an instrumental role in building and shaping the campaign. As the Convener of WNTA, Amitabh led the process of Civil Society inputs into the 12th Five Year Plan. He continues to lead the SDG and agenda 2030 work of WNTA (which is also the national platform of civil society groups on MDGs/SDGs) and provided leadership to the development of a process for working towards a post MDG framework in India in partnership with UN and other stakeholders.

He is Member of Governing Board of several organizations including Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF); Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP); Advisory Board of Amnesty International in India; Centre for Budget and Governance and Accountability (CBGA), Delhi; Vani (Voluntary Action Network of India); Navsarjan Trust (is one the leading organization of the Dalit movement in India); Mobile Creches; and is the President of Yuva (It was one of the key anchors of the World Social Forum (WSF) held in Mumbai in 2004).

He was earlier the Executive Director of the National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS) and has worked with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Ford Foundation. As the Executive Director of NCAS, Amitabh led capacity building of individuals, activists, organizations and networks across India and South Asia.

Amitabh works on issues of Governance, civil society and philanthropy with a special focus on governance accountability and decentralized governance.

On Twitter @NFI_Delhi
Elisa Peter - Secretary of the board
Publish What You Pay
United Kingdom
Elisa was elected to the CIVICUS board in 2013 and has served as the Board's Secretary for the past 3 years. She is currently the Executive Director of Publish What You Pay, a coalition of more than 700 civil society organisations from across the world working together to push for transparency and accountability in the extractive industry sector (oil, gas, and mining). Publish What You Pay activists on the ground are being increasingly intimidated and are fighting to protect civil society space in their countries ranging from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe.

Elisa has 20 years of experience in international campaigning, grassroots movement building and high-level advocacy. She has worked and lived in central and north America, Europe and Russia. She witnessed the too often devastating impacts of large-scale resource exploitation on people and nature when living alongside indigenous communities in the arctic for five years - hence her long-standing interest in and passion for equitable and sustainable resource use.

Elisa also spent 6 years working for the United Nations as the Head of the UN’s Non-governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) in New York, advocating for and supporting civil society’s meaningful participation in the UN’s policy making processes. Most recently, she advised The Elders, a group of former Heads of State and Nobel Prize winners, on their political strategies related to peace and security, sustainable development, climate change and women’s rights .

On Twitter @ElisaPeter
Julia Sanchez - Treasurer & Chair of the Operations Committee
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
Julia Sanchez is a Canadian of Peruvian origin and currently President-CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC). Established in 1968, CCIC is the national coalition of the major Canadian civil society organizations working globally to achieve sustainable human development, end global poverty and promote justice and human dignity for all.

Julia came to this position in August 2011 with extensive experience in top‐level international development management, including many years working in the civil society sector in Latin America and Asia (Bolivia, Guatemala, Nepal and India). Julia is perfectly fluent in English, Spanish and French.

Central to her work has been building partnerships with and participating in/facilitating broad, multi-sectoral coalitions and networks with numerous Canadian and international partners and donors. She is recognized as a natural convener, and for her collaborative and constructive leadership approach.

Julia has designed and managed programs in humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, governance, democratic development, community-based economic development and campaigning on climate change. At CCIC, she has focused on promoting policy work in international cooperation, including on the enabling environment for civil society. She is the main spokesperson for the organization and represents the sector on multiple national and international forums. Currently she is on the boards/steering committees/advisory or strategy groups of: Imagine Canada, the North South Institute, CPDE, the Voices coalition, and the Americas Policy Group.

She holds two degrees from McGill University: a BA in Political Science and Economics (1985) and an MA in Economics (1996). Her specialization is in international and development economics.

On Twitter @JSanchezCCIC
Anne Firth Murray
Global Fund for Women
New Zealand
Anne Firth Murray, a New Zealander, was educated at the University of California and New York University. She has worked at the United Nations, taught in Hong Kong and Singapore, and been an editor with Oxford, Stanford, and Yale University presses. She currently teaches on international women's health and human rights and on love as a force for social justice at Stanford University. She directed the environment and international population programs of the Hewlett Foundation from 1978 to 1988. She is the Founding President of The Global Fund for Women, which provides funds internationally to seed, strengthen, and link groups committed to women's well-being. She founded the GFW and directed it from 1987 to 1996.

Ms. Murray serves on boards and councils of non-profit organizations, including the African Women's Development Fund, Commonwealth, Global Force for Healing, and Global Justice Center. She is the recipient of many awards and honours for women's health and philanthropy, and in 2005 she was nominated as one of a group of 1,000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her book on the early years of the Global Fund for Women is Paradigm Found: Leading and Managing for Positive Change. The 2nd edition of her more recent book on international women's health, From Outrage to Courage: The Unjust and Unhealthy Situation of Women in Poorer Countries and What They Are Doing About It, appeared in 2nd edition in May 2013.
Aya Chebbi
African Youth Movement
Aya is an award winning Pan-African Feminist activist and renowned blogger. She is well-known for her activism during Tunisia’s Revolution 2010-2011 that overthrew Ben Ali’s regime. Her blogs were published at Al-Jazeera, Open Democracy and Foresight-Africa. Beside her prominent online presence, she is the co-founder of the Voice of Women initiative (Feminist collective) and founding Chair of the African Youth Movement, building Africa's largest movement, through which she aims to bridge North Africa with the rest of the continent and Africa with the diaspora.

Aya has been changing the narrative about Tunisia, Africa and the Middle East through blogging, organizing, producing documentaries, curating programs and delivering talks at High Level events and international platforms including the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, the US Congress and TEDx. She is a consultant to the African Union and the United Nations, claiming the agenda of African women and youth at the center of regional and international discourse. Aya is a campaigner and member of multiple solidarity networks including Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Development Awareness Raising and Education Forum (DARE Forum), and International Center of Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC).

She previously worked at the refugee camps during 2011 Libya’s civil war and monitored 2012 Egyptian Presidential Elections. However, she was blacklisted and banned from entering Egypt since March 2014. In recognition to her achievements, Aya was named one of Africa's most Outstanding Young Women leaders in 2013 (Ghana) and won the Young Achiever of the year 2015 (South Africa). She is currently a Mo Ibrahim Scholar for an MA in African Studies at SOAS, university of London.

On Twitter @aya_chebbi
Guillermo Correa
Red Argentina para la Cooperación Internacional (RACI)
Guillermo Correa, co-founder and Executive Director of the Argentine Network for International Cooperation – RACI, the Argentine national platform of NGOs. He has been working in the civil society for 15 years –he is 35 years old now. He was for 5 years the Director of Institutional Development at the Argentine Chapter of Transparency International. He did a fellowship at the Kettering Foundation in the US and after that he founded the National Platform of NGOs in Argentina –RACI. He´s been the Executive Director since it was funded and also, since 2013 he´s been the Executive Director of Help Argentina – a US based foundation that allows international donors to identify and support high impact non-profits in Argentina promoting the culture of philanthropy in Latin America.

He has been involved with CIVICUS since 2011 and in 2014 he became part of the Steering Committee of AGNA – the Affinity Group of National Associations - CIVICUS, representing Latin America. I´ve been member of CIVICUS since 2011, and I was elected in 2014 to join AGNA representing Latin America. He is specialized in international cooperation for development, corporate social responsibility and fundraising. He´s been also teaching in several universities around the world, dedicated to the situation of NGOs and civil society in Latin America and the world. He speaks Spanish, English and French. He is political scientist and Masters in International Relations.

On Twitter @CorreaGuille
Jesse Chen
United States
Jesse Chen is a global civil society activist, technology strategist, and systems change agent with a background in strategy, community engagement, leadership, and organizational development. He has been involved in a variety of different civil society causes and on the board of several organizations over the last decade. His core focus and life’s work has been on empowering people to act individually and collectively for change in their communities and organizations, a mission embodied in his work with Powerline. In these urgent times, Jesse looks to elevate CIVICUS’ focus on membership engagement, strategic programs and partnerships, and global communications in order to help strengthen its capacity, solidarity, and impact.

As a systemic thinker and organizational strategist, Jesse looks to challenge CIVICUS and its membership to rise to the issues that we face and work collectively to strengthen civil society and democracy around the world. Additionally, Jesse plans to bring a millennial perspective with technology and strategy expertise to the board. He has recently been involved in the World Citizens Movement global conferences, the DEEEP Explorers program, the action/2015 campaign, and several progressive causes in the United States including, most recently, a major US presidential campaign as a community organizer.. These learning experiences provided him with lessons that he shared in a TED talk entitled “Redefining Democracy for People’s Power,” which challenges people and organizations to think differently about community engagement in between elections. In his free time, Jesse enjoys spending time with family and friends, working out, cooking, philosophy, and politics.

On Twitter @PowerlineApp
Joanna Kerr
Joanna Kerr is the Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada, which captures people’s imaginations and influences decision-makers to protect the environment through non-violent creative confrontation. A lifelong feminist and activist, Joanna previously served as the first female Chief Executive of ActionAid International, a global federation based in South Africa working in 45 countries for a world free from poverty and injustice. There, she led an organization-wide strategy that put climate resilient sustainable agriculture and women’s rights at the core of its work. Before that, she led the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, transforming it into one of the most significant global conveners and feminist campaigners, for which she was awarded a leadership prize from the Sigrid Rausing Trust. Joanna has held senior positions with Oxfam Canada—where she spearheaded its women and climate campaign—and the North-South Institute, as a women’s rights researcher. She currently serves on the Board of CIVICUS and is the Chair for the MATCH International Women’s Fund.

On Twitter @joannadkerr
Nilda Bullain
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
Born in socialist Hungary and spending childhood years in La-Paz, Bolivia, Nilda developed a passion for freedom and social change at an early age.  She attended meetings of the opposition in the living room of their home in Budapest, and travelled to help Roma communities in far corners of Hungary before she was 18.  At the change of the political system she was involved in human rights organizations and the nascent women’s movement; she co-edited the first feminist journal in Hungary.  Her path led her to get a legal education and work with civil society organizations, recognizing the vital importance of both the rule of law and a free civil society to democracy.

Currently, Nilda is Vice President – Operations at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), working hard every day to counter the worldwide trend of restrictions against civil society.  She is leading ICNL’s work in international advocacy, including development cooperation, Agenda 2030 and the Open Government Partnership. Prior to joining ICNL in Washington, DC, she was Executive Director of the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law and worked directly on legal reform for civil society in over 20 countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Nilda is an internationally recognized leader, having served as Chair of the Civil Society Advisory Committee to the UNDP Administrator and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, among others. Today, she still believes in the strength of citizens to bring about much needed positive social change.

On Twitter @Nbullain
Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi
Nigeria Network of NGOs
Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi is the Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) and for many years been an internationally respected authority on the growth of civil society, campaigning and advocacy particularly as they concern development on the African continent. Prior to joining NNNGO, he worked with UNICEF as the Global Coordinator for the UNICEF Rural Voices of Youth Initiative. He has over 10 years of experience as a senior policy analyst and strategist on addressing diverse development challenges of the African policy landscape primarily in the fields of economic development, institutional analysis, and communications for development and public sector reforms.

He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Civil Society Pillar of the Community of Democracy. From 2004 onwards Oyebisi has headed successively series of portfolios of activities on development policy, civil society strengthening and participatory governance.  He serves and has served on the Board of many companies and civil society organisations including Society for Family and Social Protection in Nigeria. Oyebisi a World Citizen is a Fellow, ICNL Global Forum 2015.

On Twitter @oyebisi
Pauline Wanja Kamau
Living in a Shanty Town
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Pauline leads Future First Global in Kenya. She joined Civicus Board in 2013 bringing experience of working with young people in education, youth employment and governance. She’s worked with Action Aid’s Youth Network (Activista), the World Bank Institutes’ Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network and World Youth Alliance. She has a particular interest in working with underprivileged youth from slums, where she grew up. She co-founded Living in a Shanty Town_a network whose aim is create a platform to raise the aspirations of young people in slums and to continually explore opportunities that enable them transcends the circumstance they are born into.

Pauline has a degree in law (LLB) from Moi University, is an Acumen East Africa Fellow and an Ashoka Youth Venture Mentor. She hopes her presence in the board will provide an important lens when trying to understand collective responsibilities in perpetuating hope and exploring ways in which we can provide continual opportunities for young people to change the trajectory of their lives and that of their communities.

On Twitter @paulinewanja
Xu Bin
Common Language
Xu Bin is the Director of Common Language, the first and largest lesbian women NGO in China. She comes from the Chinese Feminists movement and over the years has contributed tremendously across the board to CSO development in China, beyond just gender specific issues. She is the partner of choice for many NGOs, INGOs and international organizations in China and is well respected by everyone.

Xu Bin has the capacity, vision and experience to play this role. She will be able to provide a general overview of the civil society situation in China and broader Asia, while also contributing thematically on many gender-related and equity/rights related issues that are so important in today's Asia. She is a good leader, speaks good English and is used to this type of role.


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