Board of Directors

Julia Sanchez
CIVICUS Board Chair
Committee: Executive Committee & Observer role in all Board Committees

Julia has 25 years experience working on international development, humanitarian assistance and climate change. She is an economist by training (MA McGill) and has occupied program and organizational leadership positions in Canada and abroad. She is fluently trilingual (Eng, Fr and Sp) and has lived and worked in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and North America. She has also travelled for work in West and South Africa. Julia was until 2018 President-CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and participates in numerous boards and advisory bodies in Canada and internationally (including Communities of Democracy, ICNL and CIVICUS). She has been Treasurer of CIVICUS for the last 3 years. Julia is passionate about social justice and the environment. She most recently ran as a candidate in a Canadian federal by-election for the socio-democratic party there.
Amitabh Behar
CIVICUS Board Vice Chair
Committee: Executive Committee & Chair Membership Committee

Amitabh Behar is the CEO of Oxfam India and works on issues of civil society, particularly in global south; Governance; and human rights. He is one of the leading experts of People centered advocacy and has been involved with civil society campaigning, alliance building and networking in India and globally. He is currently the Vice chair of CIVICUS and was the Chair of Amnesty International India. Amitabh has earlier served as the Co-chair of Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and is a board member of Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF). Amitabh has been involved with building capacities of human rights defenders and activists for advocacy across South Asia and building a campaign on governance accountability from the social justice lens.
Guillermo Correa
Committee: Membership Committee

Guillermo Correa is cofounder 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 sector for the past 18 years, including 5 years with the Argentine Chapter of Transparency International. In 2006 he became fellow at the Kettering Foundation and has remained a collaborator. He was also the Executive Director of HelpArgentina- a US based nonprofit organization promoting philanthropy in Latin America. He has served in the CIVICUS Board since 2016 and was elected as Co-Chair of the Civil 20 during Argentina´s presidency of the G20 in 2018. Guillermo teaches in various universities in Argentina and around the world. He is a Political Scientist with a Masters degree in international Relations.
Patricia Lerner
Committee: Executive Committee & Chair of Operations Committee

Patricia J. Lerner is a political economist and former diplomat with over 25 years experience leading multicultural teams in the Sahel, the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as policy coordination with the EU on a range of issues including humanitarian assistance, post-conflict reconstruction, economic and social development, and democracy and human rights. Pat has been Senior Political Advisor with Greenpeace International since September 2008, serving as focal point for UN issues, as well as G7 and G20 processes. She has worked on the climate negotiations with a particular focus on climate finance, sustainable energy for all, Rio+20, the post-2015 development agenda, the SDGs and served on the Reference Group of Action2015. She co-leads Greenpeace International’s work on restrictions on civil society to act and serves on the Steering Group of the Vuka!Coalition for Action on Civic Space. The daughter of an American anthropologist father and French mother, Pat grew up in francophone West Africa, studied at Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts), the UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (Dakar, Senegal), the London School of Economics & Political Science (London) and the Victoria & Albert Museum of Design (London).
Serap Altinisik
Committee: Operations Committee (Primary) & Governance Committee

Serap, a passionate intersectional-feminist activist, is the Head of Office and EU Representative of Plan International. Previously, she held the position of Programme Director at the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) leading their Fundraising & Programme Strategy. Serap started as Fundraising and Policy Coordinator at EWL where she successfully led the 50/50 Campaign “No modern Democracy without Gender Equality” across Europe which aimed to achieve equal representation of women and men in decision-making and power positions within the EU institutions. Whilst at EWL she also Co-founded the EU Civil Society network (CSOs FPN) – an alliance of 30 international and European-wide organisations to collaborate on programme and fundraising issues. Serap is convinced that girls' and women’s rights can only become reality when young women’s power, young women activism and leadership are at the core of our endeavours for a just and equal world. Prior to her role at the EWL, she led the Campaign Unit at the European Network against Racism (ENAR) where she played a critical role in establishing the first European Foundation against Racism. She also spent several years as the Head of Domestic and Sexualised Violence Department and Head of Activists and City Groups for the largest women‘s rights organisation TERRE DES FEMMES in Germany, later leading on establishing and coordinating their representation in Berlin. A published author and scholar, Serap has written a book on the effects of domestic violence and also led the first study in Germany into implementation of favourable workplace policies for those experiencing domestic violence.
Betty Barkha
Committee: Membership Committee

Betty Barkha is from the Fiji Islands and she has been involved in development for over 10 years in Asia and the Pacific. She is currently the youngest serving member of the CIVICUS Board and the board of directors of the Association of Women in Development (AWID). She is an advisor with FRIDA Young Feminist Fund and a member of the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. She is also a passionate advocate on human rights, gender peace and security and climate action. Betty holds a Masters of Arts in Sociology and is currently pursuing a PhD at Monash University on the gendered impacts of climate change induced migration for Pacific island states.
Patricia Tatis
Committee: Operations Committee

Nilda Bullain
Committee: Governance Committee

Nilda Bullain is Vice President – Operations at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), where she supports ICNL’s global strategy, policies and institutional development. 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 in over 20 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. She has been active in civil society, human rights organizations and the women’s movement from a young age; she co-edited the first feminist journal in her native Hungary in 1990. Today, 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. Nilda graduated from the Faculty of Law at ELTE University, Budapest.
Lorenzo Marsili
Membership Committee

Lorenzo is a philosopher, social entrepreneur and political activist working for a future beyond the nation. He co-founded the transnational NGO European Alternatives in 2007 to promote citizenship rights across the European Union. With activities in over 18 countries, the organisation runs campaigns to empower activists, defend fundamental rights, and advocate for democratic reform. In 2013 he launched the European Media Initiative, gathering 200,000 signatures to demand an EU directive ensuring media freedom, transparency and the rights of media watchdogs. He has been a member of the CIVICUS Monitor advisory board for since 2016. He is an active public speaker and a media commentator internationally. His latest book is Citizens of Nowhere (Zed Books, 2018).

Nyaradzo Mashayamombe

Operations (Primary) & Membership

Ms Nyaradzo ‘Nyari’ Mashayamombe is  multi-award winner for her Human Rights work and is current Founding Executive Director of Tag a Life International Trust(TaLI) a Zimbabwean girls and young women’s rights Organisation. She is the Convener and Leader of Every Child In School - ECIS Campaign/Movement, a campaign for state funded basic education for the poor and is promoting sustainable development goal 4 on quality education. The ECIS campaign has bright about a change in laws and policies including the Education Amendment Act of 2019.  With her non profit, she has also promoted girls participation in leadership in all facets of their life as she curated the initiative Leadership Economic Mentorship Hubs - LEMHs programme, a leadership Programmes being run by her NGO TaLI.

She is a Current Girls Get Equal Campaign Champion, Former Girls not Brides Co-Coordinator Zimbabwe Chapter for 2 years, Philanthropist and Founder Identities Media Initiative Identities Media Holdings. She currently hosts two shows; Identities Umhlobo Zvatiri and Identities Conversations in-line. She an Advocacy Expert, Board Member of CIVICUS Alliance, Founding Member and Chair of Women’s Human Rights, Democracy, and Security by the International Forum for Democracy Renewal hosted by Forum 2000 and Former Board Member of the Community Solutions Programme, a Global Exchange of IREX funded by the US State Department, a Reagan Fascell Fellowship alumni. She is a Global Speaker. A United States State Department Elite Alumni after completing the Global Leadership Community Solutions Fellowship with Irex in the United States under Women Issues theme, Vital Voices Alumni, former National Coordinator for Girls Not Brides International, Former Board Member of Zimbabwe’s biggest Women’s Rights Coalition ‘Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe. She is a part time Musician, Poet and Social Commentator.

You can follow her on; 

Twitter; @nyarimash, @tagalife, 

@ Identitieszw @IdentitiesH

Facebook; as Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe/ Identities Media TV

Instagram: Nyarimash_Ids, Identities_media

Dr Daisy Owomugasho
Committee: : Executive Committee & Chair of Governance Committee

Dr. Owomugasho Daisy is the Regional Director, The Hunger Project (THP) – East African Region. She was previously a lecturer at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Daisy has considerable experience in the civil society sector, having served as Executive Director at the African Women’s Economic Policy Network and the Uganda Debt Network. She has also worked as a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), African Development Bank, InWent of Germany, Idasa of South Africa and International Budget Project. She has participated in several international conferences including the UN Conferences on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2017. Dr. Owomugasho holds a PhD in Economics from Makerere University in Uganda and a Masters Degree in Development Economics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and a B.A. Degree in Economics and Rural Economy from Makerere University.
Ziya Guliyev
Governance Committee

Ziya Guliyev hails from Azerbaijan. He holds a LL.M degree in International Human Rights Law. He has been active in the civil society space since 2006. Ziya established the Center for Legal Initiatives in 2009, with a focus on the protection of civil and political rights, human rights, education and advocacy. He founded the Baku Academy of Human Rights Law in 2016 – the first human rights education platform in Azerbaijan. Ziya is currently a Country Facilitator and a member of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and also serves on the expert panel of OSCE on freedom of association.

Maryam Al-Khawaja
Committee: Membership Committee

Maryam Al-Khawaja is a Bahraini Woman Human Rights Defender, Consultant and Trainer. Al-Khawaja serves on the Boards of International Service for Human Rights, CIVICUS, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and Urgent Action Fund. She previously served as the Europe Director and Interim Advocacy Director at Physicians for Human Rights, Co-Director for the Gulf Center for Human Rights and as Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. Al-Khawaja played an instrumental role in the democratic protests taking place in Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout in February 2011, which triggered a government response of widespread extra judicial killings, arrests, and torture. Due to her work, she has been subjected to assault, threats, defamation campaigns, imprisonment and an unfair trial. Over the past years, Al-Khawaja has emerged as a leading voice for human rights and political reform in Bahrain and the Gulf region. She has been influential in shaping official responses to the atrocities in Bahrain and the Gulf around the world by engaging with prominent European and American policymakers. Al-Khawaja has received numerous awards for her human rights work, including the Rafto Prize, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize along with her father and sister.

Incoming Members 2021 - 2023

Vandita Morarka
Vandita Morarka (she/her), is a 26-year-old queer human rights activist, lawyer, facilitator and strategist from India. She holds an MA Hons. in Public Policy and is a qualified lawyer. Vandita has worked with multiple stakeholders to co-design interventions that have impacted the lives of 10,00,000+ people. She currently serves as the CEO of One Future Collective, a feminist youth led organisation she founded to answer a collective need for refocusing on social justice over social service. Her motivation to serve on the CIVICUS Board arises from a personal drive to see the world shift not just through tokenistic efforts but through a dismantling of structures of oppression that is people powered. Vandita believes CIVICUS can lead change within civil society to make it more diverse, inclusive and equitable, and advocate for such change in the spaces that we occupy, and she would like to be a part of guiding that process
Mario Roset
Mario co-founded Civic House, an international non-profit organization as a result of +12 years of working to strengthen Civic Society and understanding that lowering entry barriers to new innovators and leaders is a key factor. As CEO, he works closely with a team of 60 full-time professionals in 4 different countries where they have a mission to provide funding, innovation, strategic advice, infrastructure, global alliances and a vibrant community of social leaders and social start-ups. Their goal is to lead a real change in Latin American inequalitarian societies. Furthermore, organisations and initiatives that Mario has co-founded or lead as Executive Director have trained +40,000 people in Latin America, leveraged civic society’s impact through innovation and technology implementations to about 2,000 non-profits, helped +1,500 non-profits to raise +$45 million dollars, reduced tons of pounds of food waste and distributed among social kitchens, received +2 millions of dollars in grants and international cooperation (Hewlett Foundation, Omidyar Network,, etc) and supported 7 different social start-ups and helped them to scale, create their own sustainability models and become self-sustainable. In addition, Mario is President of the Non-Profit Technology Civil Association in Mexico, an organisation with the accreditation of Institutionality and Transparency from CEMEFI. He is also a member of the executive committees of Fundación Casa Cívica Colombia and Res Non Verba Asociación Civil in Argentina. With his more than 12 years of experience in technology and civil society, he has travelled through Latin America and his networks and achievements prove a young profile with a trajectory and drive to carry out the transformation that we want to see in civil society. Mario is also a benchmark in innovation and technology issues and has promoted the digital transformation of thousands of social organisations in the region as well as conceptualised and promoted spaces for horizontal collaboration.
Sonia Kwami
Sonia Kwami is a Campaigner and leader in development practice, who is passionate about working with and inspiring diverse groups of people to become change agents and challenge the injustices in society. She is currently the Africa Campaigns Director for the ONE Campaign. Over the past eighteen years she has successfully managed campaigns (online and offline) and supported CSOs and teams in over 60 countries particularly in the global south (Africa, Asia, South America, Caribbean and Pacific) through various roles in ONE, Oxfam, Walk Free and GCAP after a building a strong foundation at the national level in Ghana. Sonia also passionate about mobilizating, equipping and inspiring Activists and young people to demand accountability and change from their governments and duty bearers. She also possesses first-hand experience in co-creating various initiatives, leading, organizing and actively participating in CSO engagements at high level meetings at for a such as: G7/8 and 20 Summits, AU and UN lobby meetings, World bank / IMF meetings and various engagements around MDGs and SDGs etc. Sonia is a professional teacher by training and holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and an MA in Democracy, Governance Law and Development from the University of Cape Coast. She serves on three NGO Boards including, Board Chair of Challenging Heights, is a non-profit, Non-governmental Organization in Ghana that works to protect children’s rights and end child trafficking.
Ana Addobbati

Ana is a professional with over 11 years’ experience in creating strategies and executing programs in the use of data, technology and innovation for incorporating inclusion and diversity in organisations. She is the Executive Director, Social Good Brasil, an NGO that fosters the use of technology and data for social change. She founded Women Friendly (, an initiative that promotes education and protocols against sexual harassment at the workplace and has impacted around 90 thousand people in different cities in Brazil, Mexico, USA and Uruguay. She has also managed a digital business accelerator that supports feminist leaders in independent media to pivot their media outlets to digital platforms. Ana is a member of DIGNA, a global group that tracks and promotes successful cases of Inclusion and Diversity within organisations. She is also an Ambassador of the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, which collects data to demonstrate the human rights situation in Brazil. Ana was recently invited as a Gender Specialist by Data Pop Alliance to support a data research on Domestic Violence in Brazil and also supported Colombia and Mexico on this. She is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and English.