Andrew Baird is the President & CEO of the global hub of the Education For Employment Network (EFE-Global). Previously, Andrew was the Program Area Director, Workforce and Economic Development Group for RTI International, where he led a team of 130 employees and a $150 million portfolio. There, he provided leadership, strategic direction and technical support in workforce development, livelihoods, entrepreneurship, youth, and other areas closely related to EFE's work. Andrew brings to EFE more than twenty-five years of experience in advancing private sector-led strategies to create inclusive employment and livelihoods around the world - including in several countries where EFE operates. He co-founded the Global Center for Youth Employment, a membership-based organization devoted to developing collective solutions to the challenges of youth employment. Andrew is a skillful business development expert and has managed a number of long-term donor-funded projects. He has held leadership positions in a range of organizations in the field and home offices of RTI International, Making Cents International, Chemonics International, and the Peace Corps. Andrew holds a BA from The College of Wooster and an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Jasmine Nahhas di Florio has over 20 years of experience spanning the nonprofit, philanthropy, government and private sectors. Having joined EFE in 2005, she has worked closely with the organization’s Founder and Chairman since startup and is currently Senior Vice President for Strategy & Partnerships. Today, EFE is the leading youth employment and nonprofit job placement network in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, Jasmine ran programs for private donors in Afghanistan for Afghan Women Leaders Connect at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Arzu, a carpet social enterprise. Earlier in her career, Jasmine was a corporate attorney at the international law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, and she also served as an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Jasmine consulted the United Nations (UNFIP) on private-public sector partnerships. A Rhodes Scholar, Frank Knox Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, she is a graduate of the University of Alberta, Oxford University and Harvard Law School. She also completed the Columbia Business School's Social Enterprise Program Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals and currently serves on the board of the Middle East Children’s Institute. Jasmine’s expert commentary on economic opportunity, women’s empowerment and youth issues has been featured in The Financial Times, Forbes, Stanford Social Innovations Journal, and Finance Middle East, among others.
Salvatore Nigro leads EFE’s business development, partnership and programme management in Europe to support operations in the Middle East and North Africa. With over 19 years of experience in workforce development and strategic management, prior to joining EFE he was Director of the Advocacy Department of the Glocal Forum, where he contributed to one of the largest campaigns for youth and children in conflict areas: ‘We Are the Future’. He is used to negotiating, mediating and facilitating at the highest levels of national and international institutions. He has experience working with both governmental offices such as the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NGOs. He has advised governments, international organisations, and employment agencies in the Mediterranean on the development of youth employment policies and programmes. He holds an MBA, an MA in International Strategic and Military Studies, an MA in International Political Science and a BA in Political Science from LUISS University. He is Board Member of EUCC La Alcayna.
Amr Abdallah has over 20 years of experience working in the MENA region in senior roles in non-for-profit, public and private sector. Prior to joining EFE, Mr. Abdallah served as part of the MENA leadership team at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Before moving to the US, he taught Public Administration, Principles of Business Administration, Strategic Management and Business Policy at Egyptian and Arab Universities. He held several Senior Executive level positions in projects funded by international donor organizations like USAID, UNDP and is used to mediating and facilitating negotiations at the highest levels of national and international institutions. He has significant professional experience in designing, directing, implementing and evaluating public, private programs, and performing management-consulting services to government, public and private companies and institutions in the MENA region. Amr joined EFE in 2015.
Haneen Al-Rashdan leads EFE’s Network Education and Training department. Based in Amman, Jordan, she brings broad MENA region expertise and experience to the EFE Network, with over a decade of experience in the training and education sphere working with various international organizations. Haneen specializes in youth development, social innovation, governance, behavior change, resiliency and psychosocial support to design and carry out impactful trainings, develop data collection methodologies and instruments, conduct desk reviews, pilot testing and lead in training sessions, interviews, analysis and interpretation. Most recently, Haneen served as the Capacity Building Specialist with Blumont in a cross-boarder project for Syria, where she led the design of the training programs, implementation and quality assurance. Haneen holds a post graduate degree in Social Work from Columbia University.
Ashley joined EFE in 2015, offering a breadth of experience in the technology, conservation, education, and international development fields. Before joining EFE, she worked in corporate and foundation relations at The Nature Conservancy. Prior to that, she worked at Facebook, participating in the launch of the Arabic site. She also served as a faculty member at the Middlebury Arabic School and as an election observer with the Carter Center during Tunisia’s parliamentary elections in 2014. She has worked to advance young women’s employment in the MENA region, authoring the report, First Jobs for Young Women in the Middle East & North Africa: Expectations and Reality, produced by EFE in partnership with YouGov and Bayt.com. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures: Arabic from the University of California, Berkeley.
Elsabet Beyene is Director of Finance, Compliance and Administration of the global hub of the EFE Network. Elsa is an operations and financial and contract management professional with over twenty years of experience working in the international non-profit and for profit sectors in the areas of program operations, financial management and controls, contracts and grants management. She has worked in developing, managing and monitoring detailed and complex multi-years budgets of over $500 million, ensuring both financial and contractual compliance of organizations she worked at and projects she managed. She has experience working in various countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sudan. Elsa's professional beginnings was with Redd Baran (Norwegian Save the Children) in Sudan and Eritrea, and prior to joining EFE held the role of Financial Controller for a half a billion DoD/Air force contract in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Elsa has volunteered in various community organizations throughout the years, and held the position of chairperson for a community youth organization in Washington DC. Elsa holds a BA in Management and Legal Studies, a MA in Management with focus in Non-profit Management, and an MBA from University of Maryland University College. She is fluent in Arabic, Swahili, Tigrinya and Amharic.
Angelica joined EFE in October 2019 as Programme Assistant based in Madrid. Angelica brings a wide range of experience, both at headquarters and in the field in countries such as Italy, United States, Spain, as well as Bangladesh and Cambodia. She holds a BA in Psychology and Middle Eastern Languages and Literature from the University of Virginia. Angelica is fluent in English, French, Italian, and Spanish, and speaks basic Arabic.
Sergio has several years of experience in sales and customer services, having worked in many European countries, including in Spain and Italy, as well as the United Kingdom. He has helped medium and small companies develop new business plans and look for new business opportunities, build client relationships, and has carried out market assessments with a view to optimise new product sales. Before joining EFE, he was working at a social innovator Spanish startup focused on developing and managing a global surge roster for emergency response. He is also highly committed to helping others, having volunteered at NGOs in Italy, Lithuania and the UK, including “The Welcoming Ltd” (Edinburgh, UK), where he participated in learning projects for migrants. Sergio holds an MSc in International Business Management from the Heriot-Watt University of Edinburgh and an MA in International Project Management from the Sapienza University of Rome.
Senior programme manager specialised in international development cooperation, Dina Dandachli has over 15 years of programmatic, business development and fundraising experience at different non-profit organisations. She has held posts of progressive responsibility, leading and overseeing programmes and projects funded by public and private international, regional and local organisations and institutions. Born in Barcelona (Spain) of Lebanese descent, Dina lived and studied in Beirut for 9 years and is fluent in 5 languages, including Arabic, French, and English. She holds an MSc in Environmental Sciences, an MA in International Relations and African Studies, and advanced studies in Euro-Mediterranean Relations and International Development Cooperation. Prior to joining the EFE Network, she worked at international and non-profit organisations, including the World Leadership Alliance - Club de Madrid, UNDP Burkina Faso, Nantik Lum Foundation and the Autonomous University of Madrid.
Mary Eleanor “Mariel” Davis leads global communications at EFE and collaborates with the organization’s major corporate partners to implement initiatives that highlight the positive potential of youth in the Middle East and North Africa. Mariel joined the EFE team from Qatar, where she served as a consultant for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative and a Georgetown University - Qatar University Arabic language fellow. Previously, she coordinated development and public relations for the Arab American Association of New York and co-designed the first international exhibition at the US National Children's Museum. Currently based in Egypt, Mariel has also researched and worked in Yemen, Palestine, Qatar, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco. She received her Bachelor’s degree with high honors from Columbia University, and her Masters in Global Management with distinction from the London School of Economics. In 2013, she was named a Carnegie New Leader.
Tamara joined EFE in March 2017 to work as an intern while finishing her bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC) in Madrid. After graduation, she was formally hired as Project Assistant in EFE-Europe’s office. She focused her studies on political science and human rights, writing an undergraduate thesis on the institutional human rights violations suffered by African American citizens in United States. Prior to joining EFE, Tamara collaborated actively in volunteering programs organized by the URJC student associations that focused in assisting vulnerable groups and homeless people in Madrid.
Joana joined EFE in 2019 to manage EFE-Global programs in the UAE. Prior to joining EFE, Joana has accumulated seven years of work experience in the UAE, first as a Communication and PR Executive at GEMs Education, and later as the Regional Business Development Manager for an international company, at which she managed UAE operations. Joana relocated to the UAE from Syrian as the conflict there escalated. Prior to the move , she had assumed the position of Head of Marketing and Communications in one of the country’s leading banks. Joana has a degree in Business Management from Damascus University and an MBA from Edinburgh Business School. She speaks English, Arabic and Bulgarian fluently.
Brad Kushner has been the C.P.A. and controller of The Brookhill Group for 14 years.
Sarah Little joined EFE in 2009 as a program coordinator and has held several different positions on the team over the past eight years. Before joining EFE, Ms. Little worked for SOS Children’s Villages, a Washington, D.C.-based international non-profit organization, and for the Michigan State University Office of Study Abroad as a student adviser. She also interned for a non-profit, humanitarian organization called Secours Populaire Francais in Paris, France, where she worked mostly with French immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. Sarah holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with specializations in Muslim Studies and Western European Studies from Michigan State University.
Rita joined EFE in 2017 as an Evaluation and Learning Analyst. Previously, she worked as Research Manager at J-Pal in Mexico and as a Senior Research Assistant at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C. She has participated in several multi-country international development projects, being responsible for data management and analysis, and program and policy impact evaluation, including field work on the implementation of several randomized control trials. She has experience in a wide range of policy topics, from food security and technological adoption in agriculture, to labor markets and education, her main areas of interest. She holds a BA in Economics from Universidade de Vigo, an MA in Economic Analysis from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, and an MPP from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.
Ana Martiningui has fifteen years of experience in corporate communications and engagement, business development, project management, and research in the non-profit and private sectors. Before joining the EFE Network in 2016, she was Communications Chief and Publications Coordinator at the international think tank FRIDE, organisation she joined in 2004. During the same period, she also acted as Communications Advisor for several institutes, including Concordia21, DARA, ECFR, Toledo International Centre for Peace or the Global Observatory. Previously, she worked in the private sector at Globalia Corporation, one of the largest holdings of the travel and tourism industry. She holds an MA (Hons) in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews and an MA in International Relations and Communications from the University Complutense of Madrid. She is author and editor of various publications on communications, European foreign policy, youth unemployment and the Middle East and North of Africa.
Alex Merrill joined the EFE team in August 2017 as a Program Associate working with Gulf Programs. Before joining EFE, she worked in the Kogod Center for Business Communications at American University. Prior to her work at American University, she taught English at Lycée Alexandra David-Néel in Digne-les-bains, France. Alex also enjoys working as a French-English translator supporting a variety of projects. She holds a B.A. from Georgetown University with majors in French and Psychology and a minor in Arabic.
Dima Najim has over 13 years of experience working in the MENA region in senior NGO roles. Prior to joining EFE, Dima served as part of the World Wildlife Foundation - UAE fundraising team. Before moving to the UAE, she held the position of Chief Operations Officer of Relief International/MSME in Iraq, and in 2010 was part of the team assigned by AGFUND to establish the first microfinance bank in Syria, where she assumed the role of Operations Manager. Also, she was part of UNRWA's Microfinance Department management team. Dima has significant professional experience in women and youth empowerment and financial inclusion, in addition to her experience in partnership management, fundraising and operations management of NGOs. Born and raised in the MENA region, Dima holds a BA in accounting from Damascus University and a Master’s degree in finance from the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Sciences.
Valeria joined EFE-Europe as Development Associate in August 2018 after serving as the Development and Marketing Assistant at our New York City office. Italian-born and raised in Spain and Argentina, Valeria graduated Cum Laude from Columbia University with degrees in Human Rights and Psychology. As a student, Valeria focused her studies on data-driven political science, including conducting fieldwork in Caldas, Colombia, clarifying ways to facilitate the post-conflict reintegration of child soldiers into civil society . She served as International Student Representative on the university student council, and as Media Committee Chair for the Columbia Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought. Valeria held research assistantships in labs focusing on social and cultural studies within psychology and later interned in the Counseling Department of the World Food Programme. Before coming to EFE, Valeria worked as the Development Intern for a large non-profit organization that strives to protect the human rights of individuals with Down Syndrome in the United States.
Brian Reagor leads EFE’s US Philanthropy efforts to support EFE’s Global Hubs and the operations of the EFE Network in the Middle East and Africa. He joins EFE with the unique experience of having been both an international educator and nonprofit development director in the US. Having spent the first eight years of his career working on educational programming in the Middle East and Africa, Brian has experienced firsthand the innumerable benefits of job skills training and a great education. Working with local youth in classrooms in Kuwait and Oman also inspired a lasting passion for the MENA region and its people. Following his international postings, Brian transitioned into grants and partnership management where he has spent the past five years working for a variety of US-based nonprofits, most recently serving as a Program Development Director in New York City. He holds an MA in Economic Development from the Patterson School of International Commerce and Diplomacy (UK) and a BA in Middle Eastern History and Islamic Societies from Boston College.
Hillary has several years of experience working in communications and finance for organizations in the Washington, DC area. Prior to joining EFE, Hillary worked for two years as the Management and Finance Coordinator for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC News). Hillary earned her bachelor's degree in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University, and during her academic tenure she studied abroad at City University London. As a Red Cross Volunteer and a Global Ambassador in her free time, Hillary mentors international students to provide helpful resources and opportunities.
Joolan Saroor joined EFE as Program Associate after completing her Master’s degree in Public Health and Humanitarian Assistance at Columbia University. Her thesis examined the conflict in Yemen and its impact on gender inequality, arguing for a gender-sensitive humanitarian action to empower Yemeni women and girls. Joolan has several years of dynamic and varied professional experiences in international development and humanitarian assistance. Most recently, Joolan worked as a Humanitarian Analyst at Adalah Yemen where she monitored the complex emergency in Yemen. While at Columbia University, Joolan worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the CPC Learning Network where she helped on USAID and QFI funded projects relating to the protection and resilience of displaced communities in Colombia as well as assessing psychosocial support for Arab refugees relocated in the United States. Joolan holds dual B.S. from Virginia Tech with majors in Biology and Biochemistry. During her free time, Joolan enjoys cooking, running, writing poems, painting, and yoga. Originally from Yemen, she is bilingual in Arabic and English, and speaks Spanish.
Mrs. Tabanera has 20 years of experience in management and finance, both in the private and the NGO sectors, having worked in multi-lingual national and international environments. At EuropEFE, Mrs. Tabanera manages large-scale budgets for several grants as well as the organization’s general finances. Prior to joining the EFE Network, she worked as Finance, HR and Operations Manager for a British financial consultancy firm in New York. She has also held positions at Citigroup in London and Oxford University. Mrs. Tabanera has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Salamanca in Spain, a Diploma in Forensic Accounting from the New York University, and an MA in Strategic Planning and Development Projects from IPADE in Spain.
Ignacio joined EFE in September 2019 to perform administrative and financial tasks. Previously, he worked for several organisations in the education sector. Among other projects, Ignacio participated in the “Women’s Knowledge International” project led by Fundación Cultura de Paz and a Spanish Red Cross project to benefit children at risk of social exclusion. He has a degree in Social Work from UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid) and an MA in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Agustin Perez Vilaplana has more than 27 years of experience in operations, technology and project management in Citibank, working as Senior Country Operations Officer in 8 different countries in Latin America, the United States and Europe. Prior to joining the EFE Network, his last position was Senior Vice President in charge of Latin American Account Services for Corporate Clients out of Bogota, Colombia. Mr. Perez Vilaplana also run his own consultancy company, focusing on human resources and operations in Spain, Morocco and Chile.
Abbey brings more than three years of experience in designing and implementing programming for youth as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Southern Morocco. Her accomplishments in this role include increasing attendance of girls at the local youth center by 60%, securing two USAID grants to fund local projects aimed to educate youth on healthy lifestyle and inclusion projects, delivering a 2-day Training of Trainers to educate other PCVs and their local counterparts on working with people with disabilities, and organizing an inclusive week-long camp for youth with and without special needs. Abbey holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a minor in International Business from American University and is fluent in Moroccan Arabic.