Class of 2007 Bios

Alisha Bjerregaard photo

Alisha Bjerregaard

Alisha Bjerregaard is a Schell Center Visiting Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School and human rights consultant. Her work focuses on advocating for women's rights and reproductive rights.

Prior to working as a consultant, Alisha was a Clinical Lecturer in Law and the clinical teaching fellow in the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School, where she supervised law students on a wide variety of human rights projects and co-taught the Lowenstein Clinic seminar.  Previously, Alisha was a Legal Adviser in the Africa Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She was based in Nairobi, Kenya and worked on advocacy and litigation strategies to advance reproductive rights in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.

Alisha has authored human rights reports documenting the impact of restrictive abortion laws in Kenya and Ireland and of mandatory pregnancy testing and expelling pregnant students from schools in Tanzania. She has also undertaken reproductive rights research and advocacy as a consultant for various organizations, including Amnesty International, Ipas, Women Enabled International and the World Health Organization.

Alisha received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. in International Relations from Brown University.

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Gidon Bromberg

Gidon Bromberg is Co-Founder and Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East, a regional organization started in 1994 that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists to promote sustainable development and advance peace efforts in the troubled Middle East. He has spearheaded the advocacy campaigns of the organization both in Israel and internationally and developed the cross-border community peace building program “Good Water Neighbors” that is seen as a model for other programs in conflict areas.

Gidon speaks regularly on water, peace, and security issues, including before the UN Security Council, Climate Summit, Munich Security Conference, at the UN Commission for Sustainable Development, the US House of Representatives, the European Parliament, and other high-level events. Gidon was named an ‘Environmental Hero’ by TIME Magazine, most recently received Stanford Law School Bright Award for the Environment and was, with his co-directors, awarded the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

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Mitsuru Claire Chino

Mitsuru "Claire" Chino is Managing Executive Officer of ITOCHU Corporation, a Fortune Global 500 company headquartered in Japan, and she is President & CEO of ITOCHU International Inc., a subsidiary of Itochu in New York, overseeing North America. Before assuming her position in New York, she was General Counsel of Itochu, and prior to that, a partner with an international law firm.

In 2013, she became the first female executive officer of any major trading company in Japan. Claire has received several recognitions, including from the World Economic Forum (Young Global Leader), Asia Society (Asia 21), the U.S. Japan Foundation (USJLP Fellow), and is a Smith Medalist. She has also been recognized in the legal community as a “Top 25 In-House Counsel in Asia” (Asia Legal Business), “Asia Pacific’s Innovative Lawyer” (Financial Times), and “FT Global General Counsel 30 (Financial Times), and has received a “Transformative Leader” award (Inside Counsel). The California Lawyers Association recognized her as the 8th Annual Warren M. Christopher International Lawyer of the Year in 2018.  

Claire is a graduate of Smith College and Cornell Law School, where she serves on the advisory board. She is a classically trained singer and gives solo performances from time to time, most recently at the Weill Carnegie Recital Hall.

Ketevan Chkhatarashvili photo

Ketevan Chkhatarashvili

Dr. Ketevan Chkhatarashvili is a public health expert, with more than 25 years’ experience of clinical, consulting, and managerial work. She also provides advise to non-profits on issues of management, policy, and program analysis.

Ketevan was previously President of Curatio International Foundation (CIF). Under her leadership, with its work on healthcare policy and systems issues, CIF has emerged as a leading organization in the post-Soviet region, delivering unbiased, high-quality research outputs and consulting services. Ketevan contributed to the organization’s geographical expansion and, as a result, CIF has continued to work on healthcare policy and systems issues in as many as 28 countries.
As a public health expert, she has extensive experience of working with the WHO, World Bank, UN agencies, USAID, The Global Fund, Side, and others. She has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health from the point of health systems and has provided consultancy services to the WHO European Regional Office on reproductive health and health systems issues.
Ketevan earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from the Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Mehmet GĂŒrcan DaimagĂŒler photo

Mehmet GĂŒrcan DaimagĂŒler

Dr. Mehmet GĂŒrcan DaimagĂŒler is a German-Turkish human rights and policy adviser lawyer based in Berlin and Bonn. Mehmet is also one of the leading political and cultural activists on German-Turkish issues and was the first German of Turkish descent to be elected to the national board of a German political party, the Free Democratic Party. An outspoken advocate for human rights in Germany, he founded the first political advocacy group for Turkish immigrants in Germany in 1994. He also spearheads inter-religious dialogue in Germany, bridging, in particular, the Muslim-Jewish divide.

As a co-plaintiff, he represented several relatives of victims of a neo-Nazi terrorist cell (the National Socialist Underground) at trial in Munich as well as survivors of the Shoa in a number of trials against former SS-concentration camp guards. He also is an adjunct professor and teaches human rights to senior police officers at the "Hochschule fĂŒr Wirtschaft und Recht“ Berlin. He is author of several books on politics and law. He appears regularly in the media aww an expert for human rights and criminal law. As a speaker he participated in 300+ conferences both national and internationally.

DONG Qian photo


DONG Qian is a journalist and former anchorwoman for CCTV in China. For a decade and a half, she has anchored a number of high-profile programs, including News Probe, Oriental Horizon, and People in the News. From 2003 to 2006, she anchored the landmark CCTV Forum, a television commentary program that addressed some of the most significant and sensitive issues in Chinese politics and society.


Nicolas "Nico" Ducoté

Nicolas "Nico" DucotĂ© has dedicated the last 20 years to strengthening civil society and democratic institutions in Argentina. After participating in and leading several NGOs, he co-founded CIPPEC (the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth) in 2000 and turned it into Argentina’s premier independent public policy research organization and one of Latin America's top think tanks. His professional contributions have spearheaded national initiatives to improve access to education, healthcare, and justice. Working with the Ministry of Education, Nico helped pass landmark education reform laws in 2005-06 and facilitated state-level education reform in several districts.

He later became involved in politics, serving as Mayor of the Municipality of Pilar, his hometown, with a population of about 500,000 neighbors. As Mayor he reduced infant mortality by more than 30% in three years, he built over 150 km of new roads and sidewalks, and expanded education by opening a new school every 6 months and increasing opportunities for over 5000 children of all educational levels and engaging 2000 adults to return to the class to finish their school degrees.

Nico has also led a highly successful effort to make politicians and government officials more accountable for their actions, promoting political reform at the local level and establishing the country’s first Budget Watchdog and first and only fully public Congressional Directory.


Muluemebet "Mulu" Chekol Hunegnaw

Muluemebet "Mulu" Chekol Hunegnaw is the Vice President for Strategy and Measurement at HIAS, a refugee assistance organization guided by its Jewish values. She is responsible for providing leadership in strategic planning, articulation of organization-wide strategic framework, and instituting a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system for its international and U.S. programs and to monitor organizational performance.

Mulu has over 20 years of leadership experience in international development and recently served as the Senior Director for Save the Children’s Global Monitoring and Evaluation and Knowledge Management department. Prior to that, Mulu served as Director of Programs for Africa Region, Director of South Sudan and Somaliland Country Offices and Regional Advisor for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at Save the Children. Mulu has also worked for the US Agency for International Development as the Mission’s Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor working closely with various U.S. Government partner organizations.

Mulu began her career with the Ministry of Mines and Energy of the Government of Ethiopia and has contributed to the development of Ethiopia’s National Energy Policy and National Energy Master Plan with a focus on the household sector and the role of women in energy development in Ethiopia. She has also served as a board member and member of advisory council for local non-government organizations.

Mulu has an MA in Development Economics from University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

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Verena Knaus

Verena Knaus is the Global Lead on Migration and Displacement at UNICEF in Switzerland. She previously held a position of senior policy advisor at UNICEF in Brussels. Before this, Verena co-founded the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a policy-oriented think tank active in the Balkans, Turkey, and the Caucasus. There, she spearheaded empirical research and policy campaigns on issues ranging from women’s rights to visa liberalization, political Islam and post-war recovery. She helped develop ESI's unique methodology, combining labor-intensive data collection with real-time, policy-oriented advocacy.

From 2008-2009 Verena advised the former prime minister and mayor of the divided city of Mitrovica, and in summer 2010 she joined Kosovo's Ministry for European Integration as a strategy advisor. She also helped produce the award-winning documentary film series, "Balkan Express: Return to Europe," seen by more than 2 million viewers, and co-authored the first English-language guidebook dedicated to Kosovo.


Maria "Masha" Lisitsyna

Maria "Masha" Lisitsyna is a Senior Managing Legal Officer for Criminal Justice at the Open Society Justice Initiative. She focuses on criminal justice reforms as well as litigation and advocacy on improving protection from torture in Eurasia, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia.

Previously, Maria was a researcher for Human Rights Watch, working on civil and political rights in Turkmenistan and the rights of migrant workers in Russia and Kazakhstan. She is the founder and former president of the Youth Human Rights Group, a prominent Kyrgyz NGO specializing in human rights monitoring and education.

In 2005, she served as a member of Kyrgyzstan’s Constitutional Council, the body convened to work on constitutional amendments. In 2009, Maria was honored as one of the Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum. 

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Brian LoBue

Brian LoBue is Co-Founder and Director of Kokoa Kamili Ltd. in Tanzania. Kokoa Kamili is a social enterprise focused on providing the highest quality Tanzanian organic cocoa to premium chocolate manufacturers while paying local farmers the highest prices for their cocoa.

Previously, he was manager of the Enterprise Development Unit with TechnoServe in Tanzania where he worked with a team of local business consultants and food technologists to sustainably increase the profits of medium-sized food processors and improve the quality of their products. Prior to TechnoServe, Brian was a Senior Consultant in the Management Consulting practice at BearingPoint, Inc. in McLean, Virginia.

Before attending the Yale School of Management, Brian worked as a consultant at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. and served as an environmental volunteer with the Peace Corps in Tanzania.

Penny Low photo

Penny Low

Penny Low was first elected to the Parliament of Singapore in 2001 as one of the youngest female MPs. Over the 15 years, she has chaired the Government Parliamentary Committee for the Ministry of Information, Communication, and the Arts, and has had oversight over the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of National Development, and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.

A passionate advocate for social entrepreneurship, in 2006 Penny founded Social Innovation Park Ltd., an award-winning non-profit organization advocating for and supporting social innovation globally via projects, forums and TV documentaries. Penny a has extensive experience in the wealth management industry and has co-founded several technology-based ventures. She currently advises and mentors C-suite, and leads technology innovations.

She has been honored by the World Economic Forum as a founding New Asia Leader, a founding Young Global Leader and a founding Curator of the Global Shapers Community. She is also a Lien Fellow at Nanyang Technological University and and Global Salzburg Seminar Fellow.

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Marlene Malahoo Forte

Marlene Malahoo Forte is Attorney General for the government of Jamaica. An advocate for fundamental reform of Jamaica's justice system and for improved conditions of service for judges and legal officers, as a judge, she brought an exceptional level of efficiency to the courts in which she presided. As a prosecutor, she was a powerful voice for the victims of crime, with an enviable win rate of over 98% in both trial and appellate courts.

Marlene was appointed to Jamaica's Parliament as a Government Senator on July 15, 2009 and simultaneously as State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; positions she held until January 2012. She was reappointed to the Senate in 2012, on the Opposition side.

As State Minister, she led numerous international delegations on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, including at Heads of Government/States Summits. She successfully negotiated tough issues impacting terms of development assistance and international co-operation on behalf of the Caribbean Community and the African, Caribbean & Pacific Group.

Exposed to decision-making at the highest levels, Marlene has been recognized internationally, regionally, and nationally as a professional woman of excellence, whose exercise of leadership makes a positive difference. Named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010 and Top Young Person for the West Indies by Junior Chamber International, she is a past chairman of the Women's Leadership Initiative, a committee of United Way of Jamaica.

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Denis Mizne

Denis Mizne heads the private foundation established by global entrepreneur Jorge Paulo Lemann to increase the quality of public education in Brazil. He is also chairman of the board of Instituto Sou da Paz and serves on other boards in the areas of education, human rights and public safety.

Before joining the Foundation, Denis was founder and Executive Director of Instituto Sou da Paz, a leading Brazilian NGOs focused on violence prevention. He has contributed to the approval of the "Disarmament Statute," one of the most modern pieces of legislation to control the use of guns. After being enacted, the law helped reduce homicides for the first time in decades in the country – thousands of lives have been saved.

By developing several crime prevention projects with young people in the most violent places in Sao Paulo, and working to improve the work of the police and criminal justice systems, Sou da Paz has helped more than a million people. Its work has been recognized as one of the reasons why the city of Sao Paulo was able to reduce by 80% its homicide rate in the last decade.

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Sharmila Nebhrajani

Sharmila Nebhrajani has had a varied career that spans medicine, business, and the media. She currently serves as Chairman of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and is responsible for producing evidence-based guidance to support the clinical and cost effectiveness of medical interventions in the UK’s National Health Service.

She was previously Chief Executive at Wilton Park, an executive agency of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office convening international dialogues for senior policy makers from around the world involved in tackling the most pressing issues in global affairs. She also spent 15 years at the BBC, latterly as  Chief Operating Officer for BBC Future Media & Technology. She was honored as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen for services to medical research.

Sharmila served on the board of the UK’s Medical Research Council, was Chairman of the Human Tissue Authority regulating live organ donation, and served for over a decade as Deputy Chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority dealing with some of the most challenging bioethical issues in assisted reproduction including the ethics of the creation of human/animal hybrids, pre-implantation genetic screening of embryos, and payment for gamete donation. She is a regular contributor to the media on medical research and science policy issues in the UK.

Sharmila currently serves on several boards as a Non-Executive Director in both for-profit organizations and NGOs across the financial services, pensions, utilities and health sectors.

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David Scales

David Scales is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine with research interests in global health, placebo studies, and medical communication and interpretation. He is also Co-Founder and Advisor for Health4Palestine, a community health worker program for Palestinian refugees and serves on the board of Questscope, an NGO focused on education and mentorship for vulnerable populations in Syria and Jordan. David is also Chief Medical Officer for Critica, an NGO studying the best ways to combat scientific and medical misinformation online.

David has a PhD in Sociology and an MD, both from Yale University.

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Huzir Sulaiman

Huzir Sulaiman works across different media, art forms, and genres telling stories that allow people to access complex ideas in simple, personal, human ways. A celebrated Malaysian-born playwright, his plays include the internationally acclaimed satire Atomic Jaya (1998), which asks what would happen if Malaysia decided to build an atomic bomb, and the award-winning The Weight of Silk on Skin (2011), a meditation on women, beauty, love and loss.

He heads Studio Wong Huzir, a creative consultancy, and is a Joint Artistic Director of Checkpoint Theatre, which the Financial Times (UK) called “a repository of much of [Singapore’s] best stage talent.” Huzir also writes for film, television and newspapers, and teaches playwriting at the National University of Singapore. He also publishes POSKOD.SG, the acclaimed online magazine about Singapore society.

As a creative consultant, he has worked as the Creative Director of the observation deck on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and has completed a history of Temasek Holdings, an investment arm of the Singapore government.

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Ashraf Swelam

Ashraf Swelam is the Director General of the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA) and the Founding Director of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development. He is the former President of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centers (IAPTC) (2017-2018) and the African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA). He is also the former co-Chairman of the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Training Group (IDDRTG) (2017-2019).

Before joining the Cairo Center in 2013, Ashraf served as the Lead Counsel to the Constitutional Committee (the Committee of 50) that drafted the Egyptian Constitution. On leave from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) from 2008-2013, Ashraf was a Senior Policy Advisor to one of the leading presidential candidates (2011-12), and the editor and lead author of his presidential platform. He also held senior leadership positions with business NGOs in Egypt, including Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the Egyptian National Competitiveness Council (2012) and Director General of Egypt’s International Economic Forum (2009-2011).

A career diplomat for more than twenty years, Ashraf's expertise covers a wide range of issues and regions, including peace and security, development, international economy, international cooperation, African affairs and Egyptian-American relations.

Ashraf is a Distinguished Humphrey Fellow (2020), a Munich Young Leader (2012) and a visiting lecturer of Foreign Policy at the American University of Cairo (AUC). His articles appeared in Egyptian and international journals and newspapers, most notably the Financial Times (UK), the Yale Journal for International Affairs (USA), The Cairo Journal of Global Affairs (Egypt), the Global Policy Journal (UK), Die Zeit and SĂŒddeutsche Zeitung (Germany). He holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from Cairo University and an LLM in International Economic Law from Warwick University (1999).


Ernest "Duga" Titanji

Ernest "Duga" Titanji is a founding member and senior partner of the Duga & Co. Law Firm, and president of the Cameroon Bar Association Human Rights Commission and Training Commission. He also serves as a senior lecturer in law at the University of Yaoundé and consults for the World Bank.

As chairman of the National Human Rights Observatory, Duga works fearlessly to remedy human rights abuses in Cameroon. He is particularly focused on cases of child abuse and violation of the rights of girls, and has defended men charged with homosexual acts. His law firm is the first in Cameroon to launch a pro bono practice for those unable to foot legal bills, with services provided for criminal and human rights cases.

As president of the U.S. International Visitors Program Alumni, Duga helped to train independent election observers in preparation for the October 2004 presidential elections in Cameroon. In addition to his training activities at the Cameroon Bar, as an expert with "Avocats Sans Frontiers," Duga helped train lawyers of the East Africa Law Society on human rights litigation in the Great Lakes region of Africa in 2012, and members of the Uganda Law Society on pro bono lawyers as actors of social development in 2013.

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Erin Walsh

Erin Walsh is a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she researched ways to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of urban infrastructure systems in the face of major disruptions by natural hazards, both episodic and lasting.

Prior to coming to Yale, Erin worked as a consultant in energy and defense-related areas. A native of Washington, D.C., she received her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton and her Master's degree in environmental management from Yale.

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Amit Wanchoo

Amit Wanchoo is Managing Director of Eaton Laboratories, the first pharmaceutical manufacturing unit of Kashmir actively involved in low cost healthcare. He is also the CEO of Space Communications, 1st Events, Sports and Film shoot Management Company of Jammu and Kashmir. He blends health and entertainment in healing, supporting, and providing employment to the people of Kashmir. Born and raised there, Amit has been actively engaged in social activism, entrepreneurship development, reviving art, culture, heritage, and tourism in the region.

Amit was the President and Founder of the Rotary Club of Kashmir, which has contributed to various health and literacy initiatives. Amit also runs a documentary film company which has produced award winning films. He is the Founder Chairman of H.N.Wanchoo Trust, which runs Free Night Ambulance Service in Kashmir valley.

Amit has received various fellowships, including a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, Commonwealth Fellow, SIP Fellow, Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Gurukul Fellow, Young Entrepreneur Award, and a Fellowship in Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

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Victor YUAN

Victor YUAN is the founder and chairman of the board of Horizon Research Consultancy Group, China’s leading public opinion and polling organization, which was founded in 1992. He has over 20 years of experience in marketing, sociological research, policy analysis, and management consulting. His dedication to socially oriented polling work has successfully led to encouraging increased NGO services for homeless people, HIV/AIDS prevention programs, migrant workers, and factory workers.

Victor has published more than 400 research reports, papers, books, and translation works on law, economics, sociology, politic science, and culture. He also specializes in the areas of social group culture, branding, and empirical methodology of design for marketing strategy and public policy.

Victor also oversees annual assessments of public officials in China and, since 2006, has been leading an international effort to enhance the transparency of the Chinese government. He serves as president of the Beijing Consulting Association, vice president for China Marketing Research Association, representative of the Association of Management Consulting Firms in China, and is an adjunct professor for Tsinghua, Nankai, and Southwest Jiaotong universities.

Victor also serves as a long-term and strategic consultant for renowned multinational and domestic media and corporations both in China and abroad. He is a highly recognized public figure nationwide and is a frequent speaker on areas of market research, consulting, strategy, and social trends in China. He has been a television anchor of the business TV show “Brainstorming” for two years in Shanghai. The show was recently rated as the number one business TV talk show in Chinese in Asia by a Singaporean-based Asian TV Festival.