Middle East & North Africa Staff

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Washington, D.C.


Angela Conway, Director of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Division, has 18 years of experience in international development and has worked on rule of law programming in 27 countries. Ms. Conway has led assessments and authored reports on legal system development throughout the Middle East,  North Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe. The MENA Division currently implements programs in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and has previously supported programs in Algeria, Iraq, Oman, Syria and Yemen. Prior to helping to establish the MENA Division in 2003, Ms. Conway worked with the ABA Central and Eastern Europe Law Initiative, an ABA ROLI predecessor organization, serving as the program director for Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, and as director of research. She holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas, and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and of the Kansas Bar. You can contact Ms. Conway at angela.conway@americanbar.org.


Niki Dasarathy, Program Manager, joined ABA ROLI’s Middle East & North Africa Division in October 2012. Ms. Dasarathy currently manages programming in Jordan and Turkey. Ms. Dasarathy was most recently an associate attorney representing labor unions in New York City on labor and employment-related matters. She has also served as a United Nations Development Program researcher in democratic governance and as an international human rights fellow for the Center for Constitutional Rights. Ms. Dasarathy’s international law experience includes working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and as an extern in the Office of the Co-Prosecutor at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. She holds a J.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a B.A. degree from the George Washington University in journalism. You can contact Niki Dasarathy at Nikila.Dasarathy@americanbar.org.


Susannah Klopf, Program Associate, joined ABA ROLI’s MENA Division in September 2013. She previously interned at the International Crisis Group, the International Rescue Committee and Capitol Hill. She received a B.A. degree, with dual majors in Near Eastern studies and government, from Cornell University in January 2013. You can contact Susannah Klopf at susannah.klopf@americanbar.org.


Milena Sanchez de Boado, Senior Advisor. Before joining ABA ROLI in 2012, she was a U.S. Supreme Court fellow at the Federal Judicial Center. She was one of four Supreme Court fellows selected competitively in a nation-wide competition. Prior to her fellowship, Ms. Sanchez de Boado worked at the World Bank for nearly ten years focusing on justice sector reform. This included working on lending and non-lending projects in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa. While at the World Bank, she worked with ministries of justice, judicial councils, judicial training institutes, bar associations and academia. Ms. Sanchez de Boado has a J.D degree and a master in public administration degree from Syracuse University’s College of Law and the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, respectively. Following law school, she worked for the United Nations Staff College in Turin, Italy; she also worked for the United Nations Development Program in Zimbabwe and the United Nations in New York.


Katherine Seifert, Senior Program Officer, joined ABA ROLI’s Middle East & North Africa Division in December 2011.  Ms. Seifert works on ABA ROLI’s Libya and Gulf Regional programs. Prior to joining ABA ROLI, she was an intern in the Languages and Regional Studies Department of the Middle East Institute and a mentor for the Georgetown University Center for Intercultural Exchange and Development’s MEPI student leaders program.  She earned her B.A. in Arabic and Middle East Studies from Bryn Mawr College. 


Olivera Stojanovic, Operations Manager, was most recently a program officer with University Research in Bethesda. She has also worked as a senior manager and project coordinator at Echo International and as an assistant to the director of the European Union Center at the University of Pittsburgh, while a graduate student there. Ms. Stojanovic has a B.A. degree in linguistics from the University of Belgrade and a master of public policy and management degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She speaks Serbian, English and Russian, and has basic skills in Bulgarian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Slovenian and Italian languages.

 

Bahrain


Carla Koffel, Program Director, Bahrain & UAE, worked with ABA ROLI in Tajikistan as a legal specialist before transitioning to her current position in Bahrain. Before joining ABA ROLI, Ms. Koffel worked predominantly on issues affecting women and children, including access to justice, juvenile justice sector reform, civil society development and trafficking in persons as country director in Tajikistan for the British non-profit organization Coram Children’s Legal Centre. She was previously assistant general counsel for the multi-national corporation Sodexo Limted in the UK and Republic of Ireland. She holds a master’s degree in international and community development, bachelor of laws and graduate diploma in applied finance.

Egypt


Terence L. Blackburn, Country Director, Egypt. After receiving his J.D. degree from Columbia University, Mr. Blackburn worked as an assistant attorney general for the state of Ohio, as a law clerk for a United States federal court judge and as a corporate law associate for two law firms in New York. He later worked as a principal, vice president and general counsel of a real estate development and syndication firm. He then became a professor of corporate and international business law at Seton Hall University School of Law, and also served for two years as the founding and acting dean of the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University. During his tenure at Seton Hall, he was awarded a Fulbright professorship to teach at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. He left Seton Hall in 2000 to become dean and professor of law at Michigan State University College of Law. In 2007, he joined ABA ROLI and he has served as a legal education reform consultant in Amman, Jordan, and as the country director for both Morocco and Egypt. Between 2010 and 2012, he served first as founding dean and professor of law at the KIMEP University School of Law in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and then as vice president of academic affairs of that university. In 2012, he returned to Egypt as ABA ROLI’s country director.


Gregg B. Brelsford, Senior Legal Advisor, Egypt, joined ABA ROLI in November 2012.  Previously, he served as principal advisor of rule of law and intellectual property at Microsoft’s Cairo office.  Mr. Brelsford has more than 20 years’ experience in both transactional and trial practice. This included managing global legal affairs and intellectual property portfolios in public and privately held corporation and law firm settings, and interacting with entities in Asia, Europe, Mexico and South, Central and North America. He has practiced law in South Korea and the U.S., and has taught in Egypt, Estonia, Kosovo, Albania and the U.S. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Brelsford is qualified as a British solicitor and licensed to practice law in New York, California and Washington, D.C. Additionally, he holds and M.A. in public administration, and has led international non-governmental organizations and start-ups.


Dalia Salah El Din Sabet obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science and combined master’s degree in public and business administration from City University, Seattle, Washington. For 14 years, she worked with USAID projects where she held various positions. Also worked with AMIDEAST Egypt as a project manager for the Tourism & Hospitality Project. She’s been with ABA ROLI since 2011.


Awsam Essam Mitwally, Program Associate, has been with ABA ROLI’s Egypt office since 2011. Mr. Mitwally was raised between Egypt and the United States, and later attended Kaisar University, Daytona State College and University of Central Florida, where he earned a B.A. For eight years, he worked with the Darden Corporation for eight years.


Marco M. Soliman, Legal Consultant, Egypt, joined ABA ROLI in September 2013. Mr. Soliman previously served as an associate with an Egyptian law firm, as a legal advisor with a Kuwaiti law firm and as a legal assistant at the International Development Law Organization’s regional office in Cairo. He has also worked as a training coordinator in justice and police reform project in Yemen, participated in monitoring Egyptian parliamentary and presidential elections and assisted in drafting a training manual on monitoring presidential elections. He is a graduate of Cairo University Faculty of Law (English section) and has an LL.M. degree in international and comparative law from Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and an LL.M. degree in rule of law for development from Loyola University of Chicago’s School of Law.


Ghada Samir Sorial, Office and Financial Manager, has been with ABA ROLI since since January 2009. Prior, she worked as a training specialist for two USAID-funded projects. She also worked for USAID-Egypt and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, the latter for seven years. She holds a B.A. from the American University in Cairo.

Jordan

 


Maha Shomali, Country Director, Jordan, holds a B.A. in international relations and French from the College of Notre Dame and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. She worked as a prosecutor for the Office of the State’s Attorney and as a law clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, Maryland. In Jordan, she taught legal English at the Judicial Institute before joining ABA ROLI in 2004. You can contact Maha Shomali at mshomali@aba-mideast.org.

Libya


Kevin George, Country Director, Libya, joined ABA ROLI in 2010 as a country director in Liberia before transitioning to lead the office in Libya in 2012. His work has covered a wide variety of topics including increasing access to justice, judicial reform and legal profession reform. Prior to his tenure at ABA ROLI, he served as a country director in Vanuatu for the Peace Corps and as a legal advisor and special assistant to the president of the American Postal Workers Union. He holds an LL.M. degree in international and comparative law from the Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from Antioch University School of Law and a B.S. in Psychology and History from the University of Pittsburgh.


Deslie Billich, Legal Profession Advisor, Libya, has more than 30 years of legal experience, focusing on criminal and civil justice systems, and in particular, international crimes as well as strategic plans for justice and security sectors. She has worked on programs in criminal and civil law in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia, focusing on rule of law, human rights and sexual and labor trafficking. Ms. Billich has an LL.B. degree from the University of Adelaide. She speaks English, French and Italian.

 

Tina Burjaliani, Judicial Advisor, Libya, is the former first deputy minister of justice for Georgia, a post she held for seven years. Prior to joining public service, she did human rights work, focusing on women’s rights. She is now a consultant, providing advice and expertise to governments in Eastern Europe, and central and Southeast Asia. Ms. Burjaliani holds an LL.M. degree from American University, and a J.D. degree from Ivane Javakhishvili State University of Tbilisi.

Morocco


Omar Badawi, Country Director, Morocco, most recently served as senior advisor for ABA ROLI’s Middle East and North Africa Division. He has managed rule of law programs in Algeria, Bahrain, UAE, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, Egypt and Libya. Mr. Badawi previously practiced law representing employers in labor relations and employment law matters before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. He received a J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, an M.A. from McGill University and a B.S. from Concordia University.

Regional Program


Aline Matta, Senior Regional Advisor, has practiced law in Australia and the United States and provided technical legal assistance in the Middle East and North Africa. This work has included performing research to support of Eritrea’s claim in the arbitration of a territorial dispute with Yemen; providing legal advice to the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department in relation to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations; and supporting justice sector rehabilitation in southern Iraq. Ms. Matta holds an LL.M. in international legal studies from New York University and an LL.B. from the Queensland University of Technology. Ms. Matta joined the ABA in 2005 and has served as a deputy regional director for gender programs and as co-director on several Iraq programs.You can contact Aline Matta at aline.matta@americanbar.org.

Tunisia


Catherine Dwyer, Country Director, Tunisia, has worked with ABA ROLI as regional director to Central Asia. She has served as a professor of law at Michigan State University and other universities across the globe, including the Odessa State University Institute of International Economics, and the University of International Business and Economics and the Foreign Affairs University, both in Beijing, China. She also spent 20 years as a corporate transactional lawyer on Wall Street and as general counsel of a publicly traded company. She holds an LL.M. degree in European business law from the Pallas Consortium, a J.D. from the Boston University School of Law, and an M.B.A. and a B.A. from Columbia University.

Turkey


Paul Simonett, Country Director, Turkey, has worked with ABA ROLI in Azerbaijan, the Philippines, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Libya. Previously, Mr. Simonett served as senior rule of law advisor for USAID in Jakarta, Indonesia, and supervised technical assistance programs on court reform, anti-corruption and human trafficking. Mr. Simonett practiced law in the United States and also served as an assistant attorney general in the Federated States of Micronesia. He holds a J.D. degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Lisa LeSage, Senior Legal Education Specialist, joined ABA ROLI’s Istanbul office in 2011. She is a former associate dean at Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon, where she founded and directed the Small Business Legal Clinic, directed the externship program and career services office, and taught trial advocacy and legal ethics. In 2010, she was selected as a Fulbright scholar to Chile and has served as a consultant to several law schools there. She has extensive experience in domestic and international program development, training, advocacy, access to justice issues, immigrants’ rights and civil rights. She has authored numerous articles and held leadership positions in nonprofits and bar organizations. She started her career as a legal aid farmworker attorney and, for many years, was a partner in a firm litigating civil rights and immigrants’ rights cases in state and federal courts. She is a member of the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal District Court of Oregon and the Oregon State Bar. She is fluent in Spanish and can speak some French and German.

UAE


Carla Koffel, Program Director, Bahrain & UAE, worked with ABA ROLI in Tajikistan as a legal specialist before transitioning to her current position in Bahrain. Before joining ABA ROLI, Ms. Koffel worked predominantly on issues affecting women and children, including access to justice, juvenile justice sector reform, civil society development and trafficking in persons as country director in Tajikistan for the British non-profit organization Coram Children’s Legal Centre. She was previously assistant general counsel for the multi-national corporation Sodexo Limted in the UK and Republic of Ireland. She holds a master’s degree in international and community development, bachelor of laws and graduate diploma in applied finance.

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