MPP Cohort 2021-22

The Max Bell School is thrilled to introduce our 2021-22 Master of Public Policy class, made up of outstanding and diverse individuals from around the world. Meet the members of this year's cohort:




Muhammad Hamza Abbas

Previous degree: MSc, Economics, Quaid-i-Azam University; BA, Economics and Sociology, University of the Punjab

Nationality: Pakistani

Recent work experience: Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF Jordan; Social Policy Consultant, UNICEF Iraq; Research Fellow, ICRW

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Hamza is originally from Pakistan and worked in the development sector in his home country, the US; now, he has been working in the Middle East for more than four years. Hamza's combined academic and practical experience has provided him with key expertise and skills in monitoring and evaluation, conditional and unconditional cash transfers, social protection and policy, evidence-based policy advocacy, and quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Hamza is an aspiring public policy student eager to learn the complexities of the humanitarian field and work towards robust public policies for the collective well-being of those affected by the crisis.





Aiza Abid

Previous degree: BSc Honours, Kinesiology, McMaster University

Nationality: Canadian & American

Recent work experience: Founder, Aiza's Teddybear Foundation; Youth Ambassador, Plan International Canada

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Aiza Abid is a children’s rights advocate, passionate public speaker, Plan International Canada youth ambassador, and UNICEF’s Voices of Youth storyteller. After witnessing the generational effects of poverty at a young age and fueled by the urge to make meaningful volunteer activities accessible for all, she founded Aiza’s Teddybear Foundation. Since 2013, the non-profit organization has provided physical and emotional support to thousands of at-risk and under-resourced children across the globe. As a celebrated service-learning educator, Aiza aspires to lead a movement to help all children understand their basic human rights and freedoms through teaching peace, justice and healing.






Munjir Ahmed 

Previous degree: MSc, Economics, United International University; BBA, Finance, University of Dhaka

Nationality: Bangladeshi

Recent work experience: Social Protection Analyst, The World Bank Group

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Munjir Ahmed joined the World Bank’s Dhaka office right after his graduation from the University of Dhaka in 2015. He worked there as a Social Protection Analyst for more than 6 years. Over the years, he worked closely with government stakeholders and sector experts in devising and adjusting key national social safety net program features, such as targeting and service delivery improvements in line with international best practices. He has also been involved in several high-visibility research projects on international migration and youth unemployment which gained substantial traction among national policymakers. His passion for policy analysis stems from his early life experiences where he witnessed the struggles of his community during the aftermath of a massive cyclone that ravaged the entire coastal region of Bangladesh in 2007. Munjir also holds a Masters degree in Economics from United International University, Dhaka.







Previous degree: BCom, University of Delhi; Master of Business Economics, University of Delhi

Nationality: Indian

Recent work experience: Economist, Indian Securities Commission i.e. Securities and Exchange Board of India; Risk Management, KPMG

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Akriti is a policy professional with 10 years experience at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Indian securities commission. Her interests include Canadian financial markets, formulating economic and financial policy frameworks that promote financial markets stability, reducing systemic risk, and facilitating financial innovation. Her work spans a broad range of areas including financial stability, monitoring systemic risk, conducting regulatory impact assessment. She was an integral part of the WB-IMF-SEBI joint team which undertook the Financial Sector and Assessment Program for India. She is the co-author of a book “Banyan Tree to e-Trading” (released by the Prime Minister of India) capturing 150 years of the securities market in India. She has been instrumental in setting up SEBI Development Research Group, which encourages investor behaviour oriented research. She is passionate about animal welfare and advocacy having volunteering experience at the Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals, India.







Jainaba Beyai

Previous degree: BA, Sociology, History, and Equity Studies, University of Toronto

Nationality: Gambian

Recent work experience: Credential Examiner, World Education Services; Intern, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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Jainaba Beyai is originally from Serrekunda, Gambia, but grew up in several countries including the UK, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria and Canada. In 2013, she moved to Canada to complete her secondary education. She later graduated from the University of Toronto where she studied Sociology, History and Equity Studies. While in university, she interned for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2015 and 2016. Having lived in countries with different socioeconomic conditions, she developed an interest for economic development, educational and environmental policy. She is particularly interested in learning about how to use mixed methods to promote evidence-based policy making.





Daniel Cruden

Previous degree: Honours BA, History and Political Science, University of Canterbury; MA, History, Victoria University of Wellington

Nationality: New Zealander

Recent work experience: Senior Analyst, the New Zealand Treasury; Private Secretary, Office of Hon David Parker; Administration and Research Assistant, Ministry of Justice

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Daniel is a public servant from New Zealand with several years' experience. He completed his first degree in Christchurch, moving to Wellington to study for an MA in History.

Daniel began his career working on a review of New Zealand's constitution before eventually taking a graduate position with New Zealand's Treasury. He has worked on a range of issues there, including housing affordability, the budget process, and most recently monetary policy. He also spent a two-year secondment in the office of an Associate Minister of Finance.

In studying at the Max Bell School, Daniel is keen to broaden his perspective on public policy so that he can better contribute to meeting the post-COVID challenges facing New Zealand and the world.





Tenzin Dasel

Previous degree: Master of Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Honours Bachelor of Political Science, Delhi University

Nationality: Tibetan

Recent work experience: Intern, Student For Free Tibet, India

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Tenzin Dasel is of Tibetan origin born and raised in India as a refugee. She holds a Master's degree in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University. The dilemma of being a citizen to no nation and the struggle she faced as a refugee has led to her decision into pursuing MPP at McGill. Tenzin is a human rights activist and is also very passionate about environmental sustainability. She hopes to embark on a career path where she can contribute to effecting meaningful change to the world.





Phaedra de Saint-Rome

Previous degree: BA, Joint Honours in Political Science and History, McGill University; General Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Nationality: Canadian, Finnish

Recent work experience: Fellow, Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy; Governance & Outreach Officer, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation; Founder & Executive Director, So What Media Inc.

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Phaedra is a multilingual policy, research, and digital media professional who has been fortunate to call different countries “home” at various points in her life. Her personal experiences with different cultures and people, and her professional experiences in Canada’s Parliament, a variety of foundations, the United Nations, and her own digital media company, have developed in Phaedra a nuanced perspective of both the forest and the trees. As a dual Finnish-Canadian who attended international school, Phaedra is a global citizen in many senses of the word; she builds common ground with people based on shared values, interests, and understandings, and is driven by her keen sense of justice. Phaedra is eager to explore the challenges and opportunities of policymaking at the global level, and is particularly passionate about the fields of platform governance, algorithmic bias, use of surveillance technology, mis-/dis-information, the future of media, and everything in between.





Emma Durand

Previous degree: Bachelor in Politics and Government, Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris; BA, International Relations, the University of British Columbia

Nationality: French & Thai

Recent work experience: Intern, French Foreign Trade Advisors in Thailand (Comité Thaïlande des Conseillers du Commerce Extérieur de la France); Research Assistant, Department of Geography of UBC; Cultural Policy Intern, City of Le Havre (France)

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Originally from Bangkok, Thailand, Emma has grown up with an acute awareness of social inequalities in her home country. At seventeen, she moved to France to complete a Bachelor's degree in Politics and Government from Sciences Po Paris, with a particular focus on Asia.

To gain more perspective, she furthered her studies in Vancouver, BC, and obtained a Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction in International Relations from UBC. There, she developed a keen interest in Trade Policy and in Urban Innovation.

Combining her multicultural background and her language skills (French, Thai, English, Mandarin), Emma hopes to become a versatile leader in policy making, advocating for policies that masterfully blend social justice considerations with an economics-driven approach.

In her free time, you might find her on a community volleyball court, singing in a musical production, or humming along at a jazz bar.





Umer Farooq

Previous degree: PhD, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary

Nationality: Pakistani

Recent work experience: Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University

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Umer Farooq is originally from Abbottabad, KPK, Pakistan but moved to Canada in 2015 to pursue his PhD at University of Calgary. With a research background in renewable energy systems where he published more than twenty peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, Umer is now interested to knit together science and evidence-based policy for sustainable energy, economy and environment. Particularly, Umer is motivated to expand his knowledge in development of policy design for energy transition.




Elizabeth Fraser


Elizabeth Fraser

Previous degree: Honours BA, Environmental Studies, Carleton University

Nationality: Canadian

Recent work experience: Junior Research Officer, Canada Revenue Agency; Professor Assistant, Carleton University

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Elizabeth completed her BA in Environmental Studies (Honours) from Carleton University in 2021. While completing her degree, Elizabeth founded the CarletonU Green Party Club and served as President for four years. She was the Green Party of Canada candidate for the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock in the 2019 federal election and has worked for the Canada Revenue Agency in Consultations and Stakeholder Engagement for the past two and a half years. Through her experiences, Elizabeth realized her passion for public policy for its capacity to effect change. Her policy interests are centered around the environment, Indigenous issues, and social equity. In her future career, she aspires to champion policies that are inclusive, sustainable, and responsible.





Fanuel Gebremeskel

Degree: LLB, Mekelle University School of Law

Nationality: Ethiopian

Recent work experience: Research Consultant, Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD); Assistant Lecturer of Law, Mekelle University School of Law; Counselor of Law (Volunteer), Mekelle University Legal Aid Center

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Fanuel Gebremeskel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Mekelle University in Tigray, Ethiopia. After law school, he served as a full time Assistant-Lecturer at Mekelle University School of Law. He is also a research consultant at a civil society organization - Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD). In his free time, he has been volunteering at the Mekelle University Legal Aid Center, in which he helped in writing pleadings, gave legal consultancy, and appeared in a court of law on behalf of several clients. Fanuel is interested in justice policy, NGO administration, management, and leadership. He is specifically passionate about the role of NGOs in reducing inequalities through driving justice policy reforms. During his studies at the Max Bell School, he hopes to empower himself with public policy analysis tools, which will ultimately enable him achieve reform in the justice system.





Sugandha Gupta

Previous degree: MSc, Economics, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research; Honours BA, Economics, University of Delhi

Nationality: Indian

Recent work experience: Senior Program Associate- Citizen-Centric Smart Governance Program, National Institute of Urban Affairs; Senior Consultant- National Mission on Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India; Young Professional, Higher Education Division of Planning Commission, Government of India

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Sugandha is a professional with over ten years of experience in development, coordination and implementation of various government policies and programs at the national level in India. In her career, she has worked for a wide range of institutions such as government ministries, policy think tanks, federal and state agencies and several research organizations in the field of higher education, urban e-governance and rural development. During her career journey, she has been mentored and also worked with several distinguished members from politics, senior policy planners and academic administrators of global reputation. Passionate about contributing to a system of fair and accountable governance where policies are evidence-based, just and representative, she intends to create a positive impact to the Canadian ecosystem and world at a large. With this purpose, she is now spending full 11 months at Max Bell School to further fine tune her previous learnings with the global best practices in policy making. During this time, she also aims to do research with the Max Bell School community to generate futuristic leadership ideas in the policy field.





Nimmi Hamid

Previous degree: BA, Economics, Sarah Lawrence College

Nationality: Bangladeshi

Recent work experience: Policy Analyst, BRAC

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Nimmi Hamid is a development practitioner with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit sector. Her professional expertise includes strategic planning, policy research, program development, and partnerships management. She is academically trained in economics and has worked in both the Global North and South. Over the years, through working with international organizations, NGOs and government agencies, Nimmi has developed a strong interest in politics of representation and social policy formulation, evidence-driven policy advocacy, and execution.





Michelle J. Hui

Previous degree: BCom, Finance,  John Molson School of Business, Concordia University

Nationality: Canadian

Recent work experience: City Councilor, City of Brossard; International Trade Manager, National Bank of Canada; Board Member of Young Chinese Professional Association (YCPA)

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Michelle Hui is the first Chinese-descent (and youngest) city councillor to be elected in the municipality of Brossard, Quebec. As an elected official, she holds deeply the importance of improving the quality of life for her community with the focus of environmental issues, sustainable urban planning and economic development. As a new mother, Michelle looks forward to bringing policy changes to provide a more equitable and inclusive society.






Naveen Kumar Kanwadia

Previous degree: Honours BA LLB, Law and Humanities, National Law University Delhi

Nationality: Indian

Recent work experience: Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs, The Walt Disney Company India

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Naveen Kanwadia graduated from India's premier law school, National Law University, Delhi, in 2015 and joined Star India Pvt. Ltd. (subsidiary of Walt Disney Co. India) immediately thereafter. In his six years at Disney, he handled public policy, communications and strategic litigation initiatives on diverse areas related to media and technology including satellite communications, copyright, privacy/data protection and content regulation. In 2018, he was seconded to the Office of Chairman where he gained experience in corporate strategy and leadership. Being interested in the confluence of technology, society and geopolitics, Naveen seeks to establish himself as a thought leader in the area to advance democratically acceptable solutions for policy, regulatory and legislative issues arising due to the ongoing rapid technological evolution.





Kerry Kittson

Previous degree:  BSc, Kinesiology, Queen's University; MSc, Physical Therapy, Queen's University

Nationality: Canadian

Recent work experience: COVID-19 Team Coordinator and Case Manager - Ontario Ministry of Health; Director of Enterprise Solutions - Phzio Telehealth; Practice and Policy Coordinator, Canadian Physiotherapy Association

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Kerry Kittson is a registered physiotherapist with leadership experience in the health care field. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Kerry recently worked as a COVID-19 Team Coordinator and Case Manager for the Ontario Ministry of Health. In her experience working for the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Kerry led, implemented and evaluated the electronic outcome measurement initiative, one of the organization’s key strategic priorities. In her role as Director of Enterprise Solutions of Phzio Telehealth, Kerry engaged with stakeholders and contributed to the development and execution of eHealth deliverables. By pursuing a Master of Public Policy, Kerry aims to work in health policy, using outcome measures to drive effective policy development and decision-making.





Jason Kreutz

Previous degree: BSc, Psychology, University of Alberta

Nationality: Canadian

Recent work experience: Study Coordinator, Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence, University of Alberta; Indigenous Health Intern, Royal Alexandra Hospital Indigenous Wellness Clinic; Behavioral Interventionist, Centre for Autism Services Alberta

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Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Jason Kreutz recently graduated with a BSc. Specialization in Psychology from the University of Alberta while also receiving certificates in Interdisciplinary Leadership and Sustainability. With extensive community-based leadership and research experience across multiple disciplines, Jason is passionate about utilizing evidence-based policy to uplift and empower communities. His professional interests lie at the intersection of economic, education, and health policy. Jason's investment in these policy areas is rooted in his desire to spur systemic change and create inclusive institutions that better meet the needs of underserved and marginalized communities.






Munesuishe Mafusire

Previous degree: BA, Political Science, McGill University

Nationality: Zimbabwean

Recent work experience: Project Lead, Mastercard Foundation; Strategy and Policy Intern, Canada Africa Chamber of Business; Adminstrative Assistant, Arts Internship Office of McGill University

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 Munesuishe (Mune) Mafusire is a Zimbabwean national and has lived in over six countries. This diverse experience has made him more adept at working with and across different cultural contexts. Mune's experience in policy advocacy has strengthened his research and communications skills, while fostering an entrepreneurial mindset. As a recent graduate from McGill University's Political Science program, he has developed a keen interest in the complexities of the policy-process for African countries, whether in local or global contexts. Mune hopes to gain deeper insights on the continent's geopolitical issues and how to address them from a policy perspective.





Tooba Malik

Previous degree: BA, Political Science and Public Administration, University of Ottawa

Nationality: Pakistani, Canadian

Recent work experience: Policy Analyst, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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Tooba has lived in Ottawa for the last several years, where she has fostered interest in the design and implementation of policies and programs, through her work at the federal department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). At IRCC, she has contributed to various projects most recently in the sphere of economic immigration. Through this work, combined with her previous exposure to a range of government portfolios, she has seen the complex dynamics of policy development, and the positive impact effected by public policy. Through the MPP program, she is keen to delve further into the various aspects of policy development, and gain the tools to effectively address new and emerging public policy challenges.





Shweta Menon

Previous degree: BSc, Chemistry, University of Delhi

Nationality: Indian

Recent work experience: Research Associate, Office of Shri V. Vijayasai Reddy, Rajya Sabha, Member of Parliament; Senior Sub-Editor cum Reporter, Newsline Publications Pvt. Ltd.

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Shweta Menon is from India and has worked as a Research Associate with a Member of Parliament where she has actively contributed in giving suggestions to improve the policies of India. With a work experience of over 4 years, Shweta has been closely involved with the stakeholders of the policy-making process in India. As a journalist for both broadcast and print media she has travelled the length and breadth of India, reporting the injustices faced by people due to the inordinate delays of the Justice Delivery System. It was only when one of her published stories led to a real change in a victim’s life did she decide to be more closely associated with policy-making in order to benefit people at the grassroots level. She hopes to contribute positively in the intervening space of artificial intelligence and public policies.





Caroline Merner

Previous degree: BA, Sustainability and International Development, Dalhousie University

Nationality: Canadian

Recent work experience: Engagement Specialist, Canadian Institute for Climate Choices; Engagement Director, Youth4Nature; Physical Sciences Officer, Environment and Climate Change Canada

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Caroline Merner is a climate, nature and youth advocate. As a graduate in Sustainability and International Development from Dalhousie University, Caroline’s thesis focused on effective communication on climate change. After graduating, Caroline co-founded Climate Guides, a non-profit that mobilizes youth in climate action through mentorship programs. She also helped launch and led the fundraising for Youth4Nature, a network of over 5,000 young people with grant funding of over $1 million. Over the past five years, Caroline has worked on public engagement in climate action and conservation through academic institutions, government, and nonprofits, including the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, the University of British Columbia, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ocean Wise, and Parks Canada. Caroline begins her Master's in public policy at McGill University this year as a McCall MacBain scholar. She speaks English, French and Spanish and hopes to learn Slovak. Outside of her work, she loves dogs, cycling, mountains and the ocean.





Zola Mirenge

Previous degree: BA, Economics, Skidmore College

Nationality: Rwandese

Recent work experience: Research Intern, South Bridge Group

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Zola Keza Mirenge is from Kigali, Rwanda. Zola recently completed her undergraduate degree in Economics at Skidmore College in upstate New York and pursued a one-month internship as a research intern in the summer before enrolling to the Max Bell School program. Zola is passionate about developmental economics, particularly issues that concern women's financial empowerment in Africa. Zola is excited to learn about the appropriate mechanisms to create sustainable economic growth policies, specifically trade and taxation policies.





Juma Omala

Previous degree: BSc, Community Resource Management, Kenyatta University

Nationality: Kenyan

Recent work experience: Program Manager, Hakijamii

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Juma Omala hails from Siaya, Western Kenya. With a background in community resource management and public health, he has experience working with civil society organizations in Kenya, advocating for legal frameworks that advance the economic and social rights of marginalized communities, specifically the right to health. Omala is the Founder of BoldStep Initiative, a non-profit connecting women and youth to economic and earning opportunities, and equipping them with skills they need to run successful businesses and/or gain meaningful employment. His long-term aspiration is to enable communities to engage meaningfully in governance processes to tackle issues that affect their lives. Juma's aim in studying public policy at Max Bell School is due to his interest in building support for and effecting change in health-related policies and legislation, especially in resource-constrained settings.






Nandini Paliwal

Previous degree: MBA, Human Resource Management and Marketing, Aligarh Muslim University; BA, Economics, Psychology, and English Literature, University of Lucknow.

Nationality: Indian

 Recent work experience: Deputy Director Senior, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Department of Personnel, Government of India; Director, Prime Ministers Office, Government of India

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A liberal arts graduate by education and a career bureaucrat by training and profession, Nandini's seventeen years of leadership experience in the Indian Administrative Service has helped her gain considerable expertise in public administration and governance, especially in social and urban sectors and training and capacity building. As a member of the faculty and a master trainer at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration ,the premier apex training institution of the Government of India, she focuses on design and delivery of numerous training and capacity building programs for the civil servants of India. During her long career in the civil services, she has worked with a wide spectrum of stakeholders including non-governmental actors to implement government policies and drive policy formulation. In her future career she hopes to contribute towards finding public policy solutions at national and global level.






Pangying Peng

Previous degree: BA, Diplomacy, National Chengchi (Governance) University

Nationality: Taiwanese

Recent work experience: Assistant Director, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada (De facto Embassy of Taiwan to Canada); Officer, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan; Governance Intern, CARE International secretariat, Geneva, Switzerland

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Pangying is a Taiwanese diplomat currently posted in Ottawa, Canada. With his experience of facing foreign disinformation operations on Facebook during elections in Taiwan, and his professional experience of promoting the exchange on digital democracy between Taiwan and Canada, Pangying is interested in the global debate on the politico-economic implications of emerging technologies and keen to find the ways of fostering our democracy through digital policies in the post-truth era. Pangying aims to delve into the interplay of media, technology and democracy, especially its geopolitical implications. He is also keen to learn about developing data-driven policies so as to bring more scientific perspectives to public policy debates.






Juan Roa

Previous degree: MA, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Sorbonne Université; Honours BA, Philosophy, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Nationality: Colombian

Recent work experience: Behavior Change Advisor, Bogota's Department of Transportation; Senior Researcher and Designer, Corpovisionarios; Philosophy and Photography Instructor, Universidad del Rosario

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Juan Roa is from Bogota, Colombia. He has a background in philosophy, academic and applied research for social change. Juan is passionate about public innovation, education, and peacebuilding. Specifically, he wants to use behavioral science and policy-making to tackle inequality and violence in Colombia and the Global South. Juan is also a writer of children's literature, a hip-hop nerd, and a photographer.





Ian Rockwell

Previous degree: BA, Political Science, Amherst College

Nationality: American

Recent work experience: Government Relations Manager, District Policy Group at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath; Legislative Correspondent, Senator Bernie Sanders

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Ian Rockwell is originally from Jericho, Vermont, USA, having moved to Washington, DC to work in the United States Senate in 2014. Most recently, he worked as a Government Relations Manager for the District Policy Group at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, also in Washington. Ian's background is in political science, U.S. government, and international relations. At the Max Bell School, Ian seeks to learn more about Canadian government and global institutions, and hopes to learn how best to apply lessons learned in international settings at the level of domestic public policy.





Paola Salas Paredes

Previous degree: BA, Political Science, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Nationality: America & Panamanian

Recent work experience: Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, Union of Concerned Scientists; Outreach Specialist, City of Charlottesville Office of Human Rights

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Paola Salas Paredes is originally from Panama City, Panama, but has lived in the United States, Germany and Morocco. With a background in Political Science, Community Organizing, International Affairs and Science Policy, Paola is interested in advancing the capacity of the Global South through strengthening democratic institutions and reducing inequality through the vehicle of science policy and diplomacy. Paola is Fluent in Spanish, English and French.





Raúl Scorza

Previous degree: BA, International Relations, University of British Columbia

Nationality: Mexican

Recent work experience: Community Outreach/Communications Coordinator, Horizons of Friendship

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Born and raised in Mexico, Raúl moved to Canada and completed his studies in International Relations at UBC. After graduating, he became the Community Outreach/Communications Coordinator for the international non-profit Horizons of Friendship in Cobourg, Ontario. As part of a multiyear, multi-million dollar project funded by Global Affairs Canada to strengthen maternal, newborn and child health in Guatemala, Raúl led numerous public engagement initiatives. These involved health providers, youth, the general public and First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. Through the MPP program, Raúl is enthusiastic to learn more about the complexities behind the policy process. He plans to apply these lessons to international development and environmental challenges, all while incorporating principles of equity and justice.





Shabbir Shawkut

Previous degree: Master of Development Studies, East West University; Bachelor of Business Administration. North South University

Nationality: Bangladeshi

Recent work experience: Technical Advisor (Capacity Building and Public Private Dialogue), The Asia Foundation; Senior Program Officer, The Asia Foundation; Program Officer, The Asia Foundation

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Shabbir has spent eight years at The Asia Foundation (in their Bangladesh offices) in five different roles and successfully implemented various socially and religiously sensitive development projects. During his tenure as a Technical Advisor, he maintained well-coordinated relations with the Central Bank of Bangladesh, civil society organizations, media, and relevant ministries to facilitate policy improvements to women's access to finance. He is trained in policy advocacy by MDF-Vietnam and successfully led the policy component of a large-scale women's economic empowerment (WEE) project where he attempted to ease policy barriers of rural women entrepreneurs. His work arena includes women's empowerment, religious tolerance, gender mainstreaming, labour rights, tech-based community solutions, and social justice for people with disabilities. He is an awardee of The Asia Foundation's presidential award, and there he also served as a member of its global DEI steering committee. Shabbir is a travel enthusiast and loves to explore diverse cultural practices to remain free from ethnocentric mindsets.





Montajima Tasnim

Previous degree: BSS, Economics, BRAC University

Nationality: Bangladeshi

Recent work experience: Research Associate, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development

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Montajima is from Dhaka, Bangladesh. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with distinction in 2015 from BRAC University. She served as a researcher at BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) since 2016. While working for BIGD, she has carried out rigorous, multi-method research on various issues relating to policy and program implementation. During her work at a research institute, Montajima found a significant gap between research and policymaking. Policies in Bangladesh appeared to be more driven by politics rather than evidence, and policymakers more by their own political incentives than public demands. Montajima believes that public policy should be designed and implemented in response to citizen needs and demands. At this point of her research career, Montajima eagerly desires to acquire necessary knowledge and skills so that she can combine her research experience with public policy perspective and contribute to inclusive and effective policy formulation and implementation.





Pragya Tikku

Previous degree: BSc, Human Development. University of Delhi; MSc, Human Development and Childhood Studies, University of Delhi

Nationality: Indian

Recent work experience: Consultant, Intergovernmental Processes and Women, Peace and Security, UN Women India; Consultant, Budget Work, National Foundation for India (NFI); Programme Associate, India Alliance for Child Rights (IACR)

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Pragya Tikku is a development professional from New Delhi, India. With a background in academic research, advocacy and programme management, her expertise lies in the advancement of programmes and policies for women and children. More recently, in her role as a consultant for UN Women India, she contributed to the development of programme strategies and provide substantive support in the area of Intergovernmental Processes, COVID-19 response and recovery, Inter-Agency Coordination & Women, Peace, Security (WPS). Her past experience includes working with non-governmental organizations on the issues of budget and gender responsive budgeting, women’s empowerment, and children’s rights, in concurrence with multiple and diverse stakeholders. With the Masters in Public Policy, she is looking forward to further her current understanding of gender and human rights in South Asia, specifically India, to learn about appropriate and efficient ways to tackle policy issues related to the rights of women and children, and learn about mainstreaming gender considerations through the WPS mandate.


Sumaya Ugas


Sumaya Ugas

Previous degree: BA, Criminology, Carleton University

Nationality: Somali Canadian

Recent work experience: Policy Analyst, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizens Canada; Settlement Outreach Coordinator, Ottawa Immigration Services Organization; Resident and Community Facilitator, Toronto Community Housing





Jaclyn Victor

Previous degree: BA, Political Science, University of Calgary; BA, History, University of Calgary

Nationality: Canadian & Polish

Recent work experience: Naval Warfare Officer, Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve); Content Intern, Jerry

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Hailing from Manitoba, Jaclyn Victor is a proud Winnipegger but has been lucky enough to also live in Calgary, AB, and now Montreal, QC. She has been serving with the Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve) since 2017 as a Naval Warfare Officer where she's worked in administrative and technical settings, gaining practical experience in a variety of environments. Jaclyn graduated from the University of Calgary with both a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Her policy interests are vast, ranging from Canadian Arctic policy to LGBTQ2 discrimination to environmental management. By studying public policy, she looks forward to deepening her understanding of various social, economic, and political factors in order to effectively contribute to decision-making in Canada.





Stephanie Scarlett

Previous degree: BA, Environmental Studies and Biology, University of Ottawa

Nationality: Canadian

Recent work experience: Policy Advisor, Parks Canada Agency; Governance Strategist, Parks Canada Agency

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Stephanie is a graduate from the University of Ottawa in Environmental Studies and Biology. Since graduation in 2017, Stephanie has developed her career in the public service at the Parks Canada Agency. Her work has taken her to national parks and historic sites across the country, including the Canadian Arctic. In various roles at Parks Canada, Stephanie expanded her background in communications, public consultation and corporate governance. She has worked along side and collaboratively with national stakeholders and indigenous partners on programs related to external relations and visitor experience. Stephanie aspires to contribute to meaningful change in Canada's protected areas management by developing policy and nature-based solutions to environmental challenges such a biodiversity loss and climate change.



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