Secretary General Team

Lysa John - Secretary General
Lysa John has worked on issues of governance accountability and social justice since 1998. She most recently worked with Save the Children International as their global Campaigns and Advocacy Strategy Director, and previously served as Head of Outreach for the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Agenda (i.e. the UN's Sustainable Development Goals). Born in India, Lysa John spent the early part of her career working on grassroots-led advocacy and campaigns linked to urban poverty, governance and housing rights. During this time, she served as the National Coordinator at ‘Wada Na Todo Abhiyan’ (Don’t Break the Promise Campaign). Lysa has authored several reports, including assessments on the role and influence of emerging powers such as BRICS in international development. She has also contributed to publications such as Earthscan, Outlook India and the Guardian. She holds a Master’s degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Lysa previously served on CIVICUS' board of directors and is currently based between Nairobi and Johannesburg. She can be found on Twitter @lysajohn

Communications Team

Deborah Walter - Communication Manager
Deborah joined the CIVICUS team in 2015 as an interim communication manager.
Lerato Pagiwa - Communication Officer
Lerato joined the Civil Society Index team in 2010 and has been part of the outreach and communication team since then. Prior to joining CIVICUS, she worked as a programme officer on various projects related to south-south cooperation and Africa's development with NEPAD and the African Monitor. Lerato holds a BA degree in International Relations and Media Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand and a BA Honours degree in Development Studies from the University of South Africa.
Kgalalelo Gaebee - Communication Officer
Kgalalelo joined CIVICUS in May 2016 as a Communications Officer. With a background in Media Studies (MA degree from University of Witwatersrand), Kgalalelo has spent the past years at Media Monitoring Africa in her capacity as Project Coordinator. Kgalalelo has a special interest in social justice and human rights issues, particularly children's rights. She has taught media literacy skills  and the safe use of social media to young people at a variety of schools during her time with Media Monitoring Africa, as well as creating awareness and improved writing on human rights issues for journalists.
Matthew Reading-Smith - Senior Communication Officer- UN & Sustainable Development
Matthew is a British and US American citizen who joined CIVICUS on 1 October 2014. Matthew has over ten years of communication and policy experience for the United Nations, international NGOs and the mainstream media. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Matthew was responsible for communications and energy research at the partner organisation, Stakeholder Forum. In his other posts, Matthew has acted as a media liaison, web and graphic designer, film-maker and policy consultant. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and Political Science from Michigan State University and a Masters Degree in Environment, Politics and Globalisation from King's College of London. His dissertation focused on the legal challenges of aviation's inclusion into the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme.

Innovation Team

Alex Sadar - Chief Innovation Officer
Born into an Armenian ethnic minority family in Iran, Alex became an emigrant before his fifth birthday and moved to Germany after the Iranian revolution of 1979. Before permanently repatriating to Armenia, in 2002, Alex lived and worked in the United States where he lead a grassroots human rights organization, the Armenian National Committee Western Region. Whilst working at Counterpart,  Alex worked with local civil society groups from Honduras to Afghanistan, from Georgia to Egypt and Senegal to build the next generation of civil and political leaders globally. Alex can speak Farsi, German, Armenian, English and Spanish.
Cecily Rawlinson - Civil Society İnnovation Initiative (CSiI) Lead
Cecily Rawlinson is an Australian-British national who joined CIVICUS in June 2013. Cecily holds a Masters in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) and a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia. Cecily has lived in England, France, Thailand, Australia, Switzerland and is currently located at CIVICUS' HQ in Johannesburg. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Cecily began her career at the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Cecily has been involved with CISV International (a volunteer organisation that aims to create active citizens through educational programmes centred on cultural diversity) for many years, most notably as Regional Coordinator for Asia-Pacific and communications team leader. Cecily worked in the Secretary-General's Office on Governance and Youth, before transitioning to work on the Civil Society Innovation Initiative.
Jonathan Diab - Civil Society İnnovation Initiative (CSiI) Programme Officer
He recently moved back from Bangkok where he worked with the regional border management team at UNODC Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Jonathan’s education culminated in an MA in Global Governance degree from the Balsillie School of International Affairs. During his studies, Jonathan was awarded the Graduate Research Fellowship to conduct research on populist movements and present his policy recommendations to the IMF- World Bank Spring Meetings.
Mouna Ben Garga - Civil Society İnnovation Initiative (CSiI) Programme Officer
Mouna was born and raised in Tunisia and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy with a concentration in socio-economic development policies from George Mason University, Washington DC. She has extensive experience in community outreach, CSO development, local governance, gender and private sector development in North Africa, the Middle East and the United States of America. She has held programmatic positions with increasing levels of responsibility in both NGO and diaspora organizations, working with private, USG and other donor funding. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Mouna worked for Oxfam in Tunisia as Project Officer for governance and active citizenship programme and Counterpart International in the the MENA Program Associate. She also developed and implemented community outreach strategies for the first democratic parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014 as a Community Liaison for the Tunisian Independent High Authority for Elections in the U.S.A. As a citizen of the world, she believes that taking on a role where making a difference has become far more important than just choosing a career and therefore, she joined CIVICUS.
Jack Cornforth - MobLab Coordinator
Jack Cornforth joined CIVICUS in September 2014 to work on DataShift and is currently Coordinator of MobLab. Previously, he led Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future’s efforts to develop a Global Network of National Councils for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals e-Inventory initiative. He was also Assistant Editor of Outreach magazine and has authored a number of publications on topics ranging from sustainable development governance to deforestation and corporate sustainability reporting. Jack also continues to be involved in a number of local campaigns on housing and environmental issues. Jack holds a BA in IR & Politics from the University of Sheffield. A native Londoner, he works out of CIVICUS’ European Office.
Anna Avagyan – Capacity Development Lead
Anna is an international development professional with nearly 13 years of technical experience in working with and supporting civil society organizations and individual civic actors. She served in various management roles on projects in Armenia and Georgia as well as provided operational and technical support to different country offices around the world. Her main areas of expertise include assessing and building capacity of civil society organizations, grant management and monitoring and evaluation. Having also travelled to various country offices in Afghanistan, Egypt, Central Asia, South Asia, etc. and worked hand in hand with local country teams, Anna is very respectful to different cultures and enjoys working and spending time with her colleagues.
Hannah Wheatley - Citizen Generated Data Specialist
She has been the monitoring, evaluation and reporting consultant for the mHealth Tanzania Public-Private Partnership that has implemented the largest maternal, neonatal, child health text messaging service in Tanzania reaching over 1.3 million subscribers.  The organization is also expanding capacity to capture citizen-generated data on health facility performance.  Previously as the Program Manager for the Global Health Initiative at Yale University, she led the research team for evaluating Tanzania’s Medical Stores Department’s Last Mile Initiative.
Suhani Bhushan - Capacity Development Officer
Suhani is a Canadian citizen currently living in the Netherlands. She holds a Masters in Global Governance from the Balsille School of International Affairs and jointly worked for the Centre of International Governance Innovation as a Junior Research Fellow researching global mega trends. She joined CIVICUS in September 2014 working on International Civil Society Week, and then worked on the action/2015 campaign to support the global network working in solidarity against poverty, inequality and climate change. She now works on the Internatonal Networks Team as a Programme Officer for Sustainable Development, working mainly on the Action for Sustainable Development platform and the Leave No One Behind partnership.
Patricia Deniz - Research & Development Officer 
Patricia is a Spanish citizen who joined CIVICUS in August 2011 as a Research Officer and in October she became the Civil Society Index (CSI) Project Coordinator. With a background in political sciences, she holds a Masters Degree in Development Cooperation and a doctorate in International Relations by the University Complutense of Madrid.  Prior to joining CIVICUS, Patricia worked for more than 10 years in the field of development and civic participation for several Spanish NGOs, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in diverse countries in Central America and Africa. She speaks Spanish, English and French.
Elke Haas - LMS & Capacity Development Consultant
Elke originally comes from a Social Sciences background and holds an honours degree in B Social Sciences as well as a honours in Clinical Psychology and has worked as a social worker for organisations such as SOS Children’s Village and South African Blind Workers Organisation before moving into the Human Resources management field. She has extensive experience with international companies and most recently worked for Polysius, the SA division of ThyssenKrupp Engineering (Germany based) as well as Stewart Scott Engineers and Environmental Consultants (The Netherlands based) and we were lucky to steal her away from DORMA South Africa, part of the worldwide Dorma Group.
Merle Rutz - MEL&A Officer
Prior to joining CIVICUS, Merle worked with Accountable Now in Berlin from 2013 to 2017 where she managed the accountability reporting and vetting process among other areas. CIVICUS is one of currently 27 Members of Accountable Now. Merle has moreover gained work and internship experience at Transparency International Germany, the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Berlin, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in New York, the Goethe Institute in Bangkok and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London. She completed a B.A. in European Studies and a M.A. in Political Science, focusing on gender and development studies. When she's not working, Merle likes feminist literature, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine, cycling and art house cinema.

Operations Team

Lindiwe Makhosazana Moyo – Financial Manager
Lindiwe is an accounting professional who joined CIVICUS in October 2007. She holds an accounting degree and a Chartered Institute of Secretaries (CIS) diploma. She worked as an accountant in the motor industry for six years before joining CIVICUS. She has strong managerial skills, is a detail oriented, efficient and organised professional, responsible for setting up and directing finance/accounting departments, system reviews, financial reporting and analysis.
Dawn Maphosa – Senior Assistant Accountant
Dawn is a South African citizen who joined CIVICUS in May 2008. She holds a Diploma in Bookkeeping from Boston City Campus. Prior to joining CIVICUS she worked for a NGO dealing with HIV/AIDS Education and Outreach, Health Promotion and Community Development. She is currently studying through the University of South Africa (UNISA) for a B.Com in Financial Management. She also has a major personal interest in taxation and economics.
Karen Botha – Operations Coordinator
Karen joined CIVICUS in October 2015 as the Operations Coordinator. Prior to this, she operated as the office manager for a top South African Speaker Bureau, where she dealt with operational and logistical aspects both internally and externally. Formerly Karen also worked both in the web development and event management arenas. Karen holds a diploma in web development from Knowledge*Network in Johannesburg, and is currently working towards a BA (HSSS) specialising in Psychology.
Marion Smith - Senior Human Resource Generalist

Marion holds qualifications in HR, Labour Law, Generic Management and project management. Marion comes with over 12 years’ experience in HR and specialises in performance management, strategy implementation, training & development and Industrial Relations. She has been fortunate to gain experience over the years in different industries, and eagerly shares her experience and skills acquired.

Shanna Hechter - Human Resource Generalist 

Shanna holds an Honours degree in Industrial Psychology and has previously fulfilled the roles of HR Manager in the retail and wholesale Industry. She is extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to join the team at CIVICUS and hopes to add value to the HR chain in a manner that will be beneficial to all.

Mthabisi Mpande - Assisitant Accountant
Mthabisi is an accounting professional who holds a degree in Bcompt: Accounting Science from University of South Africa. Prior to joining CIVICUS he worked for a national logistics company as an assistant accountant.
Murendeni Magara - Procurement Officer 
Murendeni joined the CIVICUS team in 2014 as an accounts clerk. He holds a Diploma in Technical Financial Accounting as well as a certificate in Payroll.
Marumo Molepo - Travel Liaison & Finance Administrator
Dorcas is and experiencede events and logistics coordinator with more than 12 years Customer Care experience, including international experience. She holds several short courses certificates from different South African institutions.
Sylvia Zikalala - Finance Clerk
Sylvia transitioned to the CIVICUS finance team in 2015 as a trainee in a Learning Objectives program which entails on the job training as well as external training/learning courses.
Michael Kwenaite - IT Officer
Michael - commonly known as Mika - holds a diploma in Information Technology (Support Services) from the Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. His first work experience was as a desktop support assistant and prior to that he did networking and cabling for three months. He joined CIVICUS as a network technician in November 2005.
Sinqobile Dube - Bookkeeper and facilities Officer
Sinqobile Dube joined CIVICUS in November 2008 as a Support Officer for the civil society Index (CSI) project. Sinqobile holds a Diploma in IT (Information Processing). Prior to joining CIVICUS, she  worked in various positions in the administration and technical industry (computer and telecoms). She is currently completing a B.Sc in Software Engineering.
Amanda Moloto Cacambile - IT Officer
Amanda joined as an IT Officer in April 2017. Amanda studied and graduated with BCom Degree in Information Systems at Northwest University. She previously worked as Technical Support Specialist for Acer Africa.

Networks Engagement Team

Amy Miller-Taylor - Chief Networks Officer
Amy is a US citizen with over ten years' experience working with non-governmental organisations. Internationally, she has conducted independent research on social justice policy in Scotland, served as a teacher with the Peace Corps Namibia, designed and managed health communications projects and worked with civil society organisations to promote democratic governance and accountability.

During her practicum for an MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, Amy worked with Search for Common Ground Liberia and studied the relationship between community radio and post-conflict development.

Before joining CIVICUS, Amy consulted with Population Services International and the Centre for HIV/AIDS Prevention Studies on knowledge management and HIV/AIDS communications. She continues to support HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa through her work as Vice President of Humanitarian Notes, a nonprofit organisation she co-founded in 2007 that uses music to promote social change.
Dorothée Guénéheux - CIVICUS Fellow
Dorothée is a French citizen who joined CIVICUS in April 2011 and holds a MSc in Political Sciences and International Law from the Institute of Political Sciences of Lyon, France, as well as a MSc in Humanitarian Law and Practice of International Solidarity from the Institute of Peace and Development Law (France/ Italy).
Prior to joining CIVICUS, Dorothée held various positions as a project manager and junior researcher in several research institutes in France and South Africa. Between others, she took part in research programmes on rights to housing and water in South Africa. She speaks French, English and Spanish, as well as some Portuguese. Her interests lie in climate change, environmental issues, political activism, education, and travels!
John Mang'ana - Network Engagement Consultant 
Originally from Kenya, he has been living in South Africa since 2002, with a short break in 2004, when he worked in India. He holds Masters Degrees in Forced Migration Studies and Business Administration from Wits University. He has worked in Consulting Services for a number of years, focusing mostly in M& E within the Public and Development Sector. However, he has also undertaken assignments in business advisory and corporate finance. He has more recently been involved in entrepreneurship in the downstream petroleum industry and baby-sitting. John is married to Benter and they have two children, Rachael 9 and JP 6. John's focus on the team is with proposals, grants, M & E and drafts on systems.
Aimi Zhou - Networks Liaison
Aimi has worked extensively on building the capacity of grassroots organizations and women’s rights groups to bring their local knowledge and experiences to the global level. Aimi was also part of a global mobilization effort to ensure that actions taken to raise ambition in international development processes to combat inequality, poverty, and climate change are amplified and mutually reinforcing. Most recently, Aimi worked with national and regional networks to impact climate change policies at the global level.
Elisa Novoa - Youth Engagement Officer
Elisa is a Colombian citizen who joined CIVICUS in January 2016 and holds a MA in International Cooperation and Development from Sciences Po Bordeaux and BA in International Relations from the University of Rosario (Bogota, Colombia). Prior to joining CIVICUS, Elisa was involved in local and national climate justice movements and worked with international think tank and organisations on democratic world governance and youth citizen participation. She speaks Spanish, English and French.
Tarryn Booysen : AGNA Community Building Assistant 
From Johannesburg, Tarryn joined CIVICUS in October 2016. She hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology from WITS University. She is passionate about women's rights and sexual rights and hopes to one day be part of making a significant difference, and has been involved with APC to end violence against women online.

Programmes Team

Mandeep Tiwana – Chief Programmes Officer
Mandeep specialises in legislation affecting the core civil society freedoms of expression, association and assembly. On joining CIVICUS in May 2008, he was engaged in advocacy to protect and expand civil society space globally, including through the completion of a comprehensive compendium of legal instruments and other intergovernmental commitments concerning core civil society rights. Previously, Mandeep advised the New Delhi Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross on due process guarantees for persons detained in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mandeep has a keen interest in human rights and comparative law and has also worked with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international NGO based in New Delhi, on campaigns related to criminal justice sector reform.

He has published a compilation of landmark Indian Supreme Court decisions and National Human Rights Commission guidelines on human rights and policing and has co-authored modules on human rights for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and a citizen's handbook explaining the mandate and practical functioning of human rights commissions in India.

Mandeep has also drafted two annual reports for the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and has worked on projects related to good governance and women's empowerment in India. He holds an LL.M in Law in Development from Warwick University, U.K. and completed his LL.B and B.A degrees at Panjab University, India.
Susan Wilding - Head of Gevena Office & Civic Space Initiative (CSpI) Project Manager
Susan Wilding is a South African citizen who joined CIVICUS in February 2013 as the Civic Space Initiative Project Manager. Susan's role at CIVICUS has since diversified to include other projects. Susan is also a member of the South African Forum for International Solidarity (SAFIS) and is involved with South African civil society in many ways. Susan holds her MA in Political Science, BA Hons in Politics and BA in Psychology from the University of Johannesburg and after starting her career in London in various government and private sector posts, moved back to South Africa to work in Public Affairs for a leading consultancy firm. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Susan was a diplomat for the South African government in the Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs unit. Susan Speaks Spanish and Afrikaans and basic French and is a published author.
Maria del Mata – Geneva Office Administrator
Maria comes with a wealth of admin, organisational, IT, and finance skills and will be working closely with Susan and the team in Geneva.
Renate Bloem - UN Representative ( Geneva)
Renate joined CIVICUS in 2009 as their permanent Representative and has since built up CIVICUS UN Office in Geneva, its Human Rights work and reputation to give voice to the voiceless, bringing people from countries where they are under threat and engaging in the widening of civil society and democratic space. She engages mainly in the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary and related mechanisms. Within her broad range of activities, she promotes the inclusion of more diverse CSOs, including from CIVICUS members and partners. 
In her previous position she was President of the Conference of NGOs, CoNGO, 2000-2007, during which she led CoNGO delegations to the World Conference against Racism, to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and organized Civil Society Forums in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Together with her CONGO Team she has been at the forefront of guiding, supporting and coordinating Civil Society in the process of the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva and Tunis).
Renate is a Swiss national born in Germany. She completed her studies in Medicine, Languages and Literature at the Universities of Bonn, Munich and New York and started her academic career by teaching at international schools and cultural institutions, before she engaged in NGO work. 
Jeffery Huffines - UN Representative (New York)
Jeffery Huffines joined CIVICUS in April 2009 to serve as Main Representative at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, is an international alliance working with organizations and individuals in more than 160 countries to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world. 
He is a Senior Advisor of the UN DESA NGO Major Group Organizing Partners having served as a global Organizing Partner 2011-2016 responsible for guiding multi-stakeholder engagement of NGOs in sustainable development activities for Rio+20 and the SDGs/2030 Agenda. Mr. Huffines was also Chair of the 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference on the theme “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda”, that took place at UN HQ, 27-29 August 2014, and was elected Chair of the NGO/DPI Executive Committee from 2007-2011. 
He had previously served as Main UN Representative for the U.S. Baha'i Community where he led a number of NGO initiatives as Co-Chair of the Faith and Ethics Network for the International Criminal Court (FENICC); Chair of the UN Association/USA’s New York Council of Organizations; President of the Committee of Religious NGOs; and co-founder of the Tripartite Forum on International Cooperation for Peace.
David E. Kode - Advocacy & Campaigns Lead
Originally from Cameroon, David joined CIVICUS initially as a policy analyst in the Secretary General's Office.  He was later appointed as a Programme Support Officer and Coordinator for the CIVICUS Affinity Group of National Associations (AGNA). He is now a Senior Policy and Research Officer with the Policy and Research Unit. Prior to joining CIVICUS, he worked with UNICEF South Africa in the Office of the Deputy Representative. David holds a Bachelor's degree in History and Political Science from the University of Buea, Cameroon and a Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Ine van Severen - EENA & Civic Space Research Officer
Ine Van Severen joined CIVICUS in May 2013 as a Research Officer.  She holds a Master Degree in Political Sciences and a Masters Degree in Conflic and Development Studies from the University of Gent. Ine has several years of experience in research and policy advisoy roles in the non-profit sector, and conducted research in the area of capacity development and aid effectiveness for the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Sara Katrine Brandt - Crisis Response Fund & Campaigns Coordinator
Sara leads the Crisis Response Fund at CIVICUS supporting embattled civil society organisations to conduct advocacy activities countering civic space restrictions. Sara is a Danish citizen who prior to joining CIVICUS worked in Egypt for 2,5 years as the International Advocacy Advisor for Center for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance in Cairo. In the past, she has worked for Amnesty International, KVINFO, the Danish Refugee Council and the Danish Ministry of Immigration. She holds a master's degree in political science from University of Copenhagen. Since 2003, Sara has held various volunteer positions in the global youth exchange organisation, Youth For Understanding, and has since 2013 been a board member of its European umbrella organisation based in Brussels.
Inés M. Pousadela - Research Specialist
Inés is an associate researcher at the Institute of Communication and Development (ICD) in Uruguay and a researcher for OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism in Argentina. She holds a PhD in Political Science (UB), a Master’s Degree in Economic Sociology (IDAES-UNSAM), a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science (UBA, Argentina). In addition to her credentials in the field of the Social Sciences, she is proud of having recently obtained two Photography degrees from Montgomery College (MD, USA). For the past few years she has alternated academic research in Latin American Studies at American University (CLALS), Brown University (BIARI Program), Georgetown University (CLAS) and the University of Maryland (LASC), and independent political consultancy with NGOs and international organizations (CIVICUS, IDB, UNDP). She has produced several books, chapters and articles on political representation, mobilization, participation and accountability, as well as resources for civil society practitioners in Latin America. 
Teldah Mawarire - Programmes Management Forum and Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator 
Teldah has been in the editorial field for the past 15 years and was working until recently as the Africa editor for the prestigious Mail and Guardian newspaper. She is keen to carry over her experience in journalism to the development/human rights field. Amongst the numerous journalism courses Teldah completed with international institutes she holds a BA in Communication Science and an Honours Degree in Developmental Studies from UNISA.
Tor Hodenfield - UN Advisor & Vuka! Coalition Secretariat Coordinator 


Tor is an American and British citizen. He holds degrees in human rights from American University, Washington DC, and University College London (UCL). Tor helps coordinate CIVICUS’ multilateral advocacy, including at the UN Human Rights Council, UN General Assembly and Universal Period Review. Tor also coordinates the Secretariat for the Vuka! Coalition for civic action, a global civil society coalition aimed at protecting and promoting civic space. In addition, he conducts strategic research on a range of issues, including freedom of assembly and the right to protest. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Tor worked as an advisor to a human rights monitoring group in the Horn of Africa. He has also worked for the Legal Resource Center, a Ghana-based human rights organization and as a research assistant to a U.K Parliamentarian.

Andrew Firmin - Editor
Prior to starting with CIVICUS on a full-time basis, Andrew worked for several years as a freelance consultant, as part of which he wrote and edited a number of CIVICUS policy and research publications, particularly the annual State of Civil Society Report. He has also freelanced with Restless Development, the Commonwealth Foundation and the International Law and Policy Institute, among others. Andrew worked previously with CIVICUS as, variously, Research Manager, Convening Manager and Communications Manager, and before then as Programme Manager for Culture with the Commonwealth Foundation. Andrew is a British citizen and holds an MA in International Relations from Malmö University, Sweden.
Cathal Gilbert - Civic Space Research Lead
Cathal began working in the civil society and human rights space in 2006, first as Project Officer with the EC Civil Society Fund in Ethiopia, then as a Governance Advisor with the EU Delegation in Lusaka. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Cathal worked as project director with Freedom House in Southern Africa. He has conducted extensive reseach on civic space, rule of law and human rights issues in Africa and globally and is currently leading the development of the CIVICUS Monitor, our new initiative to capture civic space developments in real time. Follow @gilbertcathal on Twitter. 
Dominic Perera - Civic Space Research Officer
Dominic Perera  is a UK citizen who joined CIVICUS in September 2013. With an academic background in Political and Social sciences, he holds a BA in Politics and Sociology and an MA in Terrorism, Insurgency and International Security from the University of Leeds. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Dominic was an ardent pro-peace activist amongst Sri Lankan diaspora communities living in London. After co-founding and running a community based dialogue group in 2010, he has organised and facilitated numerous peacebuilding dialogue workshops with civil society activists, governmental bodies and parliamentarians. 
Whilst previously working at the peacebuilding INGO International Alert, Dominic carried out extensive research into the political dynamics of transnational activism within and between diaspora communities. Dominic has a passion for coordinating citizen activism that transcends national boundaries to promote a peaceful and equitable global society.
Marianna Belalba Barreto - Civic Space Research Officer
Originally from Venezuela, Marianna holds a law degree from Andrés Bello Catholic University and an LLM in International Human Rights from University of Notre Dame. Marianna worked at a human rights organization in Caracas for 5 years on issues regarding freedom of expression and access to information and also have worked in civil society organizations in Mexico and South Africa, specially in issues regarding civil and political rights.