Senior Fellows

Dr. Daryl Collins is the CEO and Founder of Decodis, a social research firm that creates tech-led, customized data capture and analysis to elevate the voices of vulnerable populations. She is the author of the acclaimed Portfolios of the Poor and a pioneer working at the intersection of finance and human vulnerability. In the past two decades, Dr. Collins has built a broad portfolio of work with financial service providers, foundations, bilateral donors, and governments. Her work is grounded in a deep understanding of the financial lives of individuals through the execution of Financial Diaries studies in over 10 countries. Dr. Collins spent the last decade as Managing Director and CEO of BFA Global, a niche financial inclusion consulting practice. She holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis from New York University.


Dr. Kimberly Howe is a researcher concerned with the well-being of war-affected populations from a gendered perspective. She has been researching the Syrian civil war since 2013, including the development of Syrian civil society, and how war-affected civilians rely on social connection to adapt and cope with protracted conflict. She has explored the impact of external democracy promotion initiatives on the lives of Syrians, as well as the factors that support the rise of credible rebel governance. Most recently, Dr. Howe is studying the challenges and opportunities faced by adolescent girls in displacement in South Sudan and Northern Iraq, including the practice of early marriage. Her work has also focused on patterns of violence after the cessation of hostilities and peacebuilding initiatives, as well as the localization of aid in a variety of countries. Dr. Howe has received fellowships and awards from the United States Institute of Peace, Harvard Medical and Law Schools, and the Marie-Curie Sklodowska Action of the European Union. She is also a trained psychotherapist in trauma and brings this perspective to research design and engagement with participants. Dr. Howe is currently an Assistant Research Professor at the Friedman School and a Research Director on Conflict and Governance at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University.

Learn more about Dr. Howe’s work in her Senior Fellow Spotlight.

Joy Olson, Executive Director of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) from 2003-2016, is a leading expert on human rights and U.S. policy toward Latin America. Under Ms. Olson’s direction, WOLA pioneered new approaches to human rights advocacy, focusing on the underlying causes of injustice, inequality, and violence. Joy’s special expertise is in the area of military and security policy. She has been a longtime advocate for greater transparency of military programs in Latin America. She co-founded the Just the Facts project, which makes information about U.S. military policy in Latin America publicly accessible. For more than a decade, she has co-authored an annual study on trends in U.S. security assistance, including the recent report Waiting for Change.

Joy has testified before Congress on Latin America policy issues ranging from human rights in Mexico to drug policy to the problems of poverty and inequality in the region. She is a frequent commentator in the media, including CNN, CNN Español, the BBC, the Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, and an array of national and international news outlets.

Prior to joining WOLA, Joy directed the Latin America Working Group (LAWG), a coalition of sixty non-governmental organizations working to promote peaceful and just U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America. Her many accomplishments include leading NGO efforts to increase U.S. funding for Central American peace accords implementation and a successful advocacy effort to lift the ban on food and medicine sales to Cuba. In the 1980s she worked on immigration and refugees issues, and developed legislation to suspend the deportation of Salvadoran refugees from the United States.

Joy earned a Masters in Latin American Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, following two years’ work in community development in Honduras.

Learn more about Joy’s work in her Senior Fellow Spotlight.

Samer Saliba has 14 years of experience helping over 50 cities become more inclusive of migrant, displaced, and marginalized people. As the lead urban technical advisor at the International Rescue Committee, Samer worked directly with the cities of Amman, Athens, Milan, and Kampala, among others, to implement and institutionalize inclusive projects, policies, and plans within city government structures. Samer has produced countless knowledge products, publications, and practitioner resources and has fundraised tens of millions of USD to deliver programs in the cities most adversely impacted by migration, displacement, and conflict. These initiatives include area-based approaches to conflict and displacement in Maiduguri, multi-year programs to support the self-reliance of urban refugees in urban East Africa, peacebuilding programs between warring cities in Libya, and inclusive resilience strategies in several of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities.

A respected practitioner in the space, Samer has also played a key role in shifting power in humanitarian response from international to local actors. As the Director of City Practice of the Mayors Migration Council (MMC), Samer oversees MMC’s suite of technical assistance programming that supports city leaders in designing and implementing local policies, plans, and projects that address the needs of refugees and migrants. A key aspect of this direct support is identifying and unlocking technical and financial resources for cities from international humanitarian and development actors. In managing the MMC’s Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees, Samer grew the fund from a $1M seed investment to a $7.5M+ fund with a pipeline of over 25 city grantees directly supporting 25,000+ people across three thematic chapters.

Before working on migration and humanitarian issues, Samer served for seven years as an urban planner, directly working with at-risk communities in bolstering the resilience of New York City and cities throughout the Northeast United States. A Boston son of Lebanese immigrant parents, Samer has a BA in Urban Studies from Boston University, a Master of Urban Planning from NYU Wagner School of Public Service and is currently a PhD student at The New School.

Learn more about Samer’s work in his Senior Fellow Spotlight. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.pngJayshree Venkatesan, Senior Director for Responsible Finance and Consumer Protection at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, is a financial sector specialist, with over 15 years of experience in financial inclusion spanning investments and consulting. Her geographical expertise spans India, East and West Africa, South East Asia and the Balkans, with immersive experience in India, Cambodia and Albania. The focus of her work during this time has been on building institutional systems and processes to cater to the financial needs of vulnerable customers while placing customers at the heart of this change. She was one of the founding members of IFMR Mezzanine Finance in 2009, a company within IFMR Trust (now called Dvara Trust), which provided mezzanine funding as an instrument for responsible growth of small and not for profit microfinance institutions. In 2014, she was awarded the Chevening Fellowship for Leadership and Excellence by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 2015, she published a policy report on the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana program based on primary research, supported by a fellowship awarded by the Hindu Center for Politics and Public Policy, India. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. Between 2018 and 2020, she was an independent director on the board of Centrum Microfinance Private Limited, guiding the organization through a period of growth and acquisition. She originally started her career in banking at ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank in India in 2005.

Besides her master’s degree in international affairs from the Fletcher School, she has an MBA from Management Development Institute, Gurgaon and an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Mumbai University. She has also previously consulted with global think tanks and international organizations including the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and JICA. She has taught at the Boulder Institute of Microfinance and Fletcher’s GBA program, where she taught “Decision Analysis for Business.”

Learn more about Jayshree’s work in her Senior Fellow Spotlight.

Past Senior Policy Fellows


Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church is a scholar-practitioner with a lifelong interest in governance processes that have run amuck. She has significant experience working on issues related to peacebuilding, governance, accountability and learning across the Balkans and West and East Africa. For fifteen years, Cheyanne taught program design, monitoring and evaluation in fragile contexts at the Fletcher School. Prior to that she was the Director of Evaluation for Search for Common Ground and Director of Policy at INCORE.  As part of her consulting practice, she has had the privilege of working in an advisory capacity with a range of organizations such as ABA/ROLI, CDA, ICRC, IDRC, UN Peacebuilding Fund and the US State Department. She can be commonly found in the Canadian Rockies with her fierce daughters and gem of a husband.


George Baaré is a former World Bank social development practitioner and current Partner in Nordic Consulting Group Denmark. He is a human security practitioner at the interface between diplomacy and peace processes and related development programming, reviews, and evaluations. He has worked extensively on gender and masculinities in post-conflict reconstruction, including reintegration of ex-combatants, women, peace and security agendas, and refugee-host relations, with a specific focus on urban refugees. His current assignment focuses on fragility and resilience analysis and programming in sub-Saharan Africa. He is active in the Inner Development Goals initiative and is one of the founders of Leir’s Program in Human Security and Inner Development (PHUSID).




Dr. Nahid Bhadelia is the founding director of BU Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research and an associate director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), a state-of-the-art maximum containment research facility at BU. She is a board-certified infectious diseases physician and an internationally recognized leader in highly communicable and emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) with clinical, field, academic, and policy experience in pandemic preparedness and response.

Over the last decade, Dr. Bhadelia designed and served as the medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit (SPU), a medical unit designed to care for patients with highly communicable diseases, and a state designated Ebola Treatment Center. She has prior and ongoing experience in health system response to pathogens such as H1N1, Zika, Lassa fever, Marburg virus disease, and COVID-19 at the state, national, and global levels, including medical countermeasure evaluation, diagnostic positioning, infection control policy development, and healthcare worker training. Dr. Bhadelia serves on state, national, and interagency groups focused on biodefense priority setting, development of clinical care guidelines, and medical countermeasures research. She has served as a subject matter expert to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense (DoD), and World Bank.

Dr. Bhadelia has experience with direct patient care, outbreak response, and medical countermeasures research during multiple Ebola virus disease outbreaks in West and East Africa. During the West African Ebola epidemic, she served as a clinician in several Ebola treatment units, working with the World Health Organization and Partners in Health. She currently serves as medical lead of a DoD-funded viral hemorrhagic fever research group in Uganda, entitled Joint Mobile Emerging Disease Intervention Clinical Capability (JMEDICC) program. Dr. Bhadelia codirects the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center–funded research training program in Liberia, entitled Boston University and University of Liberia Emerging and Epidemic Virus Research (BULEEVR). Her research focuses on global health security, as well as identification of safe and effective clinical interventions and infection control measures related to viral hemorrhagic fevers and other emerging infectious diseases.

She has publications in Nature, Science, New England Journal of Medicine and other prestigious journals, as well as in press including The Atlantic and Time magazines. Her work has been featured documentaries by National Geographic as well as NOVA. She is an NBC/MSNBC Medical contributor.

Dr. Radha Rajkotia is the Chief Research and Policy Officer at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). She is an experienced humanitarian and economic development professional, who combines expertise in strategy, operations, management, research, policy, and partnership development. She has worked in over 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. She previously spent eleven years working at the International Rescue Committee, where she led the Economic Recovery and Development sector. At IPA, Dr. Rajkotia focuses on building a policy-relevant global research agenda and in turn, promoting the use of evidence in policies that aim to reduce poverty.  She sits on the board of the Cash Learning Partnership (CALP) and the Center for Economic Opportunity, a US-based community development financial institution that specializes in loan products for refugees and low-income migrants. She also sits on the Board of Trustees for Asphaleia, a UK-based charity focused on the care and advancement of refugee and migrant youth. Dr. Rajkotia completed her postgraduate education at the University of Sussex, with a PhD in Refugee Studies (Geography), an MA in Migration Studies, and an MSc in Social Research Methods. She completed her Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science from the University of Birmingham.

Matt Waldman specializes in high-level diplomacy and mediation in armed conflict. He is Special Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Director of the Center for Empathy in International Affairs, and an Associate Fellow of Chatham House – The Royal Institute of International Affairs. He has previously served as an advisor to: the UN Special Representative for Somalia (2016-2018), the UN Special Envoy for Syria (2014-2015) and the UN Special Representative for Afghanistan (2011-2012). He has also undertaken mediation work in the Middle East and Africa as a Senior Advisor at the European Institute of Peace and Special Advisor to Inter Mediate. Matt worked in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2012, and was based in Beirut between 2014 and 2018 to work on the Syria conflict.

Matt was previously a Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in Harvard University’s Kennedy School (2012-2014), which involved research on empathy and foreign policymaking, delivering lectures and publishing articles. He was also a Fellow at Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights and a Visiting Fellow at Clare College, Cambridge University.

Matt was Oxfam International’s Head of Policy in Afghanistan (2006-2009) and Co-Director of the Chatham House Opportunity in Crisis initiative on Afghanistan. He has also held senior foreign affairs positions in the UK and European parliaments. Originally, Matt trained as a UK lawyer with Norton Rose Fulbright and holds a master’s degree in human rights from the London School of Economics.

Matt’s publication is War and Peace in Somalia involving numerous conflict specialists was endorsed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Abdul Mohammed serves as Chief of Staff and Senior Political Advisor of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for Sudan and South Sudan, chaired by former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki. He was previously the Acting Director of UNAMID’s Political Department and Chairperson of the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation. He also served as UNICEF’s Representative to the African Union.

Abdul was the founder and Executive Director of the Inter-Africa Group, a centre for dialogue on humanitarian, peace, and development issues in the Horn of Africa. Abdul has worked in various capacities for the World Council of Churches/Church World Service and served as Director of Relief and Emergencies for the Sudan Council of Churches. He has also been an advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia on peace and reconciliation issues in the Horn of Africa. Over the last twenty-five years Abdul has worked in Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya.

While at Fletcher, Abdul Mohammed assisted faculty involved in the Building State Legitimacy project, and gave a public lecture to Fletcher students on mediation practices and current conflicts in Africa.

Dr. Vladimir Zhagora is a retired senior officer from the UN Department of Political Affairs. He has an extensive background in mediation, having participated in the negotiations on the settlement of crises in South Africa, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Darfur, between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and in Sudan, including within Eastern Sudan and between Northern and Southern Sudan. From 2002‐2003, he served as Senior Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), and from 2004‐2005 as the Regional Coordinator, Chief of Staff, and Senior Political Adviser for the United Nations Advance Mission/United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNAMIS and UNMIS). Dr. Zhagora holds a BA degree in the Humanities from Minsk State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages and a PhD in Political Science/Philosophy from Belarusian State University in Minsk.

Dr. Zhagora worked with faculty on the Building State Legitimacy project, and gave a public lecture to students on the changing patterns of mediation practices in Africa.