Staff and Board

 

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Polly Byers

Polly Byers

Executive Director

pbyers@cdacollaborative.org

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Kiely Barnard-Webster

Kiely Barnard-Webster

Program Manager

kbarnardwebster@cdacollaborative.org

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Grace Boone

Grace Boone

Project Associate

gboone@cdacollaborative.org

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Susan Brau

Susan Brau

Finance Manager

sbrau@cdacollaborative.org

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Sarah Cechvala

Sarah Cechvala

Senior Program Manager

scechvala@cdacollaborative.org

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Gabrielle Collins

Gabrielle Collins

Administrative Coordinator

gcollins@cdacollaborative.org

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Ben Miller

Ben Miller

Associate Director

bmiller@cdacollaborative.org

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Sweta Velpillay

Sweta Velpillay

Senior Advisor - Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding Effectiveness

svelpillay@cdacollaborative.org

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Board of Directors

Ruth Allen, Board Chair

Ruth Rhoads Allen joined CDA’s Board in 2017 after collaborating as an advisor, trainer, or consultant with CDA for over 15 years. Ruth brings her passion for fostering community resilience in the face of inevitable social, political, and environmental systems-level challenges, as well as her expertise in strategic organizational change processes. From 2004-2013 Ruth served in multiple positions at Mercy Corps, including leading the agency’s global technical portfolio as Director of Governance and Partnerships, and sat on Mercy Corps’ Leadership Council. As Founder of ViewFinder International in 2013, Ruth enjoys integration of governance, social inclusion, and peacebuilding through long-term engagements with INGOs and UN agencies. As Senior Advisor at Mercy Corps and in other consulting, Ruth focuses on strategic planning in sensitive environments. Ruth began her career in South Africa as an international observer for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and lived in Kenya while a Rotary Foundation Scholar at the University of Nairobi and researcher at Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai’s Greenbelt Movement. Ruth is a Department Instructor at Clark University’s International Development, Community, and Environment program and guest lecturers elsewhere. Ruth holds an MSc from the same department at Clark University and a BS in Geology/Environmental Sciences from Dickinson College.

Neil A. Levine, Board Vice-Chair

Neil A. Levine joined CDA’s Board in 2018. Neil retired from federal service in 2017 after 30 years in the Executive Branch and on Capitol Hill.  He taught Strategic Leadership at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Policy and taught at American University School of International Service.  While at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), he led the Center of Excellence for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (2014-17) and the Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (2008-13).  He is now a certified professional coach with over 20 years of experience in advising individuals and groups on setting the conditions for success.  Neil has a M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College (2008), a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University (1986) and a B.A. from Earlham College (1983).   In 2017, he received his Executive Coaching certification from the College of Executive Coaching.

Dan Connell, Board Member

Dan Connell is a researcher and writer whose primary focus over the past 40 years has been Eritrea. He is currently working on a book on refugees and migration routes for which he has interviewed more than 500 Eritreans in camps and communities in nineteen countries across five continents since 2014. Dan is a visiting scholar at Boston University’s African Studies Center and a retired senior lecturer in journalism and African studies at Simmons College. His reports and commentary on Africa were carried by the BBC, Reuters, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Financial Times, The Guardian, Le MondeWashington Post and other media, and he’s the author or editor of ten books. He is also the founder and former director of Grassroots International, the chair of the Cape Ann Forum, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Middle East Research and Information Project.

 

 

Sharon Flynn, Treasurer

Sharon Flynn brings to our Board more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing sustainability strategies with global multi-nationals in the mining, oil and gas, construction and forestry sectors. These organisations include Rio Tinto, Bechtel, and GrupoNueva, where Sharon developed social performance and social impact management approaches. Sharon also brings considerable experience with the not for profit sector in community development, biodiversity conservation and peace-building with organizations including the One Earth Future Foundation, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy, all dedicated to building local solutions. Sharon is currently the Executive Vice President and Head of External Affairs and Social Performance with OceanaGold. She holds a Master of International Relations and Management from the University of California, San Diego.

Jeannette Carneiro McLaughlin, Board Member

Jeannette Carneiro McLaughlin is a partner in the corporate department of Posternak Blankstein & Lund, LLP, a full-service law firm based in Boston. She serves in the role of outside general counsel to numerous global companies,managing strategic advice on corporate planning, corporate governance, and negotiations. She represents companies in a broad range of industries, including software, digital media and entertainment, mobile, consumer internet, clean tech, medical device, and healthcare services related to work in the US, Latin America, Asia, Europe and globally. Jeannette previously practiced law in London, where she specialized in international business law. She grew up in Kenya and holds BS and JD degrees from Northeastern University.

Irene M. Santiago, Board Member

Irene M. Santiago has been involved for more than 40 years in the quest for a just peace for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao, Philippines. Her range of involvement covers organizing in grassroots Moro communities for almost 10 years starting in 1977; engaging in continuous advocacy for women’s participation in peace processes; being a member of the Philippine Government peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from 2001-2004; and being the first chair of the government panel implementing the Bangsamoro peace agreement signed in 2014. Currently, as the Peace Adviser to the Davao City Mayor, she is providing technical advice as well as training to local people’s organizations and elected officials to broaden people’s participation in peacebuilding. A gender expert, she is focusing on ensuring women’s voices are heard and their capacities for peace strengthened.

David Whittlesey, Board Member

David Whittlesey is a Senior Advisor with Interpeace and founder of MaineStreams Finance. In the span of the past 30 years, David has worked as a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State as a Consular Officer and in the Bureau for Refugee Programs; as Head of the Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance Division and subsequently as Director for Strategic Planning and Human Resource Development at the International Organization for Migration (IOM); and as Director of Operations and Senior Advisor with Interpeace. Now living in Maine, he is focusing his attention more locally through serving in local town government and spearheading local development initiatives, while continuing to consult with Interpeace.

Advisory Council

Mary B. Anderson, Founder

Mary B. Anderson is the Founder and first Executive Director of CDA. An economist by training, Mary launched the Local Capacities for Peace Project in 1995 to learn more about the relationships between humanitarian and development assistance and conflict. The lessons of early research are captured in her book Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace — Or War (1999). The transformative ideas shaped many of the core principles of the evolving humanitarian agenda, research, and practical work in communities the world over. Twenty-five years later, the concept and methodology of “Do No Harm” and subsequent work are deeply part of the identity of humanitarian, development and peacebuilding work globally. The Reflecting on Peace Practice (RPP) project again applied CDA’s signature collaborative learning process to better understand and demonstrate the peacebuilding impacts of such measures, and how to increase their effectiveness. “Confronting War: Critical Lessons for Peace Practitioners” (2003) documents the findings. Similarly, Mary and colleagues initiated the Corporate Responsibility project, publishing Getting it Right (2009) as insights for businesses and to ensure that local communities are better (rather than worse) off as a result of their presence. Through the Listening Project, Mary and colleagues sought to understand the perspective of people on the receiving end of international assistance. The lessons and recommendations for transforming global processes for international assistance are the focus of Time to Listen (2012). In retirement, Mary serves on CDA’s Advisory Council as an inspiration for staff, board members, and supporters of aid and peacebuilding work.

Severine Autesserre

Severine is an award-winning researcher and author on war and peace, as well as a Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University (USA). She is an expert in peacebuilding, peacekeeping, international aid, and African civil wars, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is the author of the books Peaceland and The Trouble with the Congo, as well as numerous scholarly, policy, and news articles. [read more]

Ambassador Rick Barton

Co-director of Princeton’s Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiatives and Ullman Fellowships [read more]

Melanie Greenberg

Melanie Greenberg is Managing Director at Humanity United, overseeing the Peacebuilding & Conflict Transformation portfolio. In this role, Melanie develops, refines, and implements strategies to build peace and counter violent conflict. She also oversees HU’s office in Washington, DC. In her work on international conflict resolution, Melanie has helped design and facilitate public peace processes in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the Caucasus. She has taught advanced courses in international conflict resolution, multi-party conflict resolution, and negotiation at Stanford Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, and the Elliott School of George Washington University. She was lead editor and chapter author of the volume Words over War: Mediation and Arbitration to Prevent Deadly Conflict (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), and co-editor and chapter author of Civil Society, Peace and Power (Rowman & Litflefield, 2016). 

Elisabeth Kvitashvili

Independent International Development Advisor [read more]

Emma Leslie

Executive Director, Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies [read more]

 

Cully Lundgren

Cully is a Major Gifts Officer with Oxfam America. He has spent much of his career working with international development organizations focused on alleviating poverty and saving lives, including time with Mercy Corps and Save the Children.  [read more]

Rob Ricigliano

Rob Ricigliano is the Systems and Complexity coach at The Omidyar Group, where he supports and guides teams within organizations and initiatives in efforts to better understand and effectively engage with dynamic systems. The Systems Practice at The Omidyar Group is built on Rob’s pioneering work using systems and complexity tools in peacebuilding and social change. [read more]

Graeme Simpson

Graeme Simpson is the Director of Interpeace USA and Senior Adviser to the Director-General of Interpeace, a global peace-building organization headquartered in Geneva and working in 20 conflict and immediate post-conflict zones around the world. In September 2016, he was appointed by the UN Secretary General as the Lead Author on the UN Security Council-mandated “Progress Study” on Youth, Peace and Security, under UN SCR 2250 and served in this role until June 2018. [read more]

Lisa Williams

Head, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Team, Development Co-operation Directorate, OECD [read more]