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, & Communications. 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.
Ana Martiningui has seventeen years of experience in communications, public and corporate engagement, business development, fundraising, project design and management, and research in the non-profit and private sectors. She joined the EFE Network in 2016 managing business development and research in EFE-Europe, and became the organization's CEO in 2020. Prior, she was Communications Chief and Publications Coordinator at the international think tank FRIDE, organization 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. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yolanda Merayo joined EFE in 2020 as Finance Director. She has over twenty years of experience in financial management and control, contracts and grants management, and financial systems, specializing in the non-profit sector. She has worked in both public and private foundations, managing Spanish, European and international grants. Prior to joining the EFE Network, Yolanda also helped NGOs set up Enterprise Resource Planning (EPR) systems – Netsuite (Oracle) and Navision (Microsoft). She has a BA in Economics from the University of Valladolid, an MA in Communications Management from Cesma Business School, as well as several executive courses on NGO financial management.
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.
Beatriz joined EFE in May 2020, bringing in several years of experience in business development and programme management and implementation in the MENA region, with a special focus on international development cooperation. Prior to joining the EFE Network, she worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Algeria, where she managed several projects and acted as UNDP’s gender focal point. Under this capacity, she led projects focusing on increased women’s political, social and economic participation and economic empowerment. She also worked at the Economic and Commercial Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain in the UAE. At the beginning of her career, she did an internship at the European Commission in Belgium and volunteered at the University of Granada in Spain. Passionate about international politics and Islamic culture, Beatriz has extensive knowledge of the MENA region and speaks four languages – Spanish, English, French and Arabic. She also has some knowledge of different Arabic dialects and Persian. She holds a BA in Arabic Studies, Translation and Interpretation, an MA in International Relations and Diplomacy, and has undertaken two post-graduate courses, one in Arabic Translation and one International Development Cooperation.
Amira joined EFE in June 2020 as project assistant. Previously, she worked in the private sector and has done several internships focusing on market analyses, demographic profiling, consumer behaviour, search engine optimisation, marketing and communications, and finance support at a wide range of companies in Spain, including Borges International Group, and in Tunisia. Amira has recently completed an MBA dual degree in International Business and International Marketing from the EU Business School in Barcelona. She also has a certificate in Digital Business from the same university, and a BA in Managerial Accounting from the Institute of Business Studies (IHEC) in Tunisia. Originally from Tunisia, she speaks Arabic, French, and English.
Larissa is EFE's Global Brand & Communications Director. She is a trilingual professional with over 10 years of experience in the communications and digital world, that spans 3 countries, giving her a unique insight and understanding into the ever changing, fast paced digital world and the ability to handle global teams from different regions, be it as a client or as an agent. Larissa is a communications professional who is content focused with a passion for using deep-dive analytics, segmentation and data visualization to manage all operations of the digital landscape and enhance donor attraction and society awareness with a focus on maximizing livelihood and resilience. She’s forever in a perpetual test mode - constantly learning and evolving, a quality instilled in her by her academically inclined family who believe in the power of education as a tool to enhance societies. She further believes in investing in people; mentoring and coaching are key elements in creating best team synergies, operational efficiencies and capacity building which leads to the overall success of any project at hand. In her spare time, Larissa spends her time volunteering with different initiatives and supporting their fundraising efforts, which keeps her always open to different perspectives.