Board of Directors
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.
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.
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).
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. His core focus and life’s work has been on empowering people to act individually and collectively for change, a mission embodied in his work with Powerline. In these urgent times, Jesse remains focused on membership engagement, strategic programs and partnerships, and global communications in order to help strengthen 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, Bernie Sanders’ campaign, and several progressive causes in the United States. 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.
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.