Board of Directors

Fernando Reimers

President of the Board

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Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative and of the International Education Policy Masters Program at Harvard University. An expert in the field of Global Education, his research and teaching focus on understanding how to educate children and youth so they can thrive in the 21st century. As part of the work of the Global Education Innovation Initiative he leads, he and his colleagues conduct applied research to support relevancy enhancing policy reform.

He serves on the board of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, where he chairs the Strategic Planning Committee which works with all public institutions of higher education in the State developing institutional strategies to enhance the relevance of their programs. He chairs the board of World Teach, a global education organization that offers recent college graduates the opportunity to be of service to K-12 students in the developing world. He also serves on the board of Laspau, two terms as Vice-chair, a Harvard affiliated organization whose mission is to strengthen institutions of higher education in Latin America. He serves on the boards of Teach for All, the Global Scholars Program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, Envoys, The Phalen Leadership Academies and the scholars advisory council of Facing History and Ourselves.

More information about his work here:

Michael Kremer


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Michael Kremer is the Gates Professor of Developing Societies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and a Presidential Faculty Fellowship, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Kremer’s recent research examines education and health in developing countries, immigration, and globalization. He and Rachel Glennerster have recently published Strong Medicine: Creating Incentives for Pharmaceutical Research on Neglected Diseases. He is a graduate of Harvard College, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Akhil Gupta


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Mr. Akhil Gupta is an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University. He is the former Chairman of Blackstone India, having started its operations in India. He was also the CEO-Corporate Development for Reliance Industries Limited, after starting its businesses in oil and gas, refining, and telecom. Mr. Gupta is one of the founding members of Asia Society India Chapter and a Partner in The Acumen Fund. He currently serves as a member of the Advisory Council of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford and the HKUST Business School. Mr. Gupta received his MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, which conferred on him the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004.

Scott Leland

Secretary of the Board

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Scott Leland is the Executive Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government, supporting the Center’s research programs, general administration, strategic planning, and day-to-day operations. Prior to joining M-RCBG, he was the Administrative Director of the Center for International Development at Harvard from 1998 to 2004 and manager of a workforce development project at the Education Development Center from 1996-1998, with programs in Peru, Namibia, and India. From 1992 to 1995, he worked as a Project Assistant with the Harvard Institute for International Development in Singapore where he taught courses in economics and policy analysis at the National University of Singapore. He has also worked as a Research Fellow with the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle, a Program Coordinator for Vision Health International in Costa Rica, and Regional Director for South America and the Caribbean with Amigos de las Americas based in Houston, traveling extensively through Latin America. He is a graduate of Stanford University and has a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School.

Susan Gianinno

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Susan Gianinno is Chairman, Publicis North America and Chairman, Publicis Academy where she oversees all Publicis North America operations. In addition to Susan’s responsibilities at Publicis, she was part of Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, and is current Co-Chair of the Advanced Leadership Coalition. Susan joined Publicis Groupe in 2003. She was previously Chairman and President of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Worldwide; and prior to that was CEO at J. Walter Thompson New York. She has been a Trustee at Boston College, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree, since 1991. She is Chairman Emeritus of The Advertising Council’s Board of Directors. Susan joined Advertising while working on her PH.D. at the University of Chicago. She also has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Northwestern University.

Jack Jennings

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Jack Jennings is the Executive Dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and oversees the School’s administrative functions including finance, development, communications and marketing, human resources, information technology, facility operations, enrollment and student services, and executive education. Jack also serves as the co-Chair of the Harvard University Administrative Council. Before assuming his current position, Jack served as HGSE’s the Chief Financial Officer. Jack is a retired U.S. Coast Guard Commander and participated in more than 3,000 search and rescue missions over the course of his career. His non-operational assignments included serving as a regional finance officer and as an Associate Professor in the Leadership and Management Department at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT where he taught courses in Strategic Management, Organizational Design and Behavior, Project Management, Accounting, and Nonprofit Management Controls. He earned an undergraduate degree in management and political science at the United States Coast Guard Academy and an M.B.A. from the College of William & Mary.

Charito Kruvant

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Charito Kruvant, MA is Founder and Board Chair of Creative Associates International, a global professional services firm that has worked in more than 85 countries for more than 40 years. Creative’s community engagement approach to development has led to improved education, civil society, governance, stabilization, and economic development for millions of people worldwide. In 2012, Charito received the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area’s Perdita Huston Human Rights Award for her exemplary role in educational and technical development, especially with women and girls, and for leading a life of public service. Born in Bolivia and raised in Argentina, she received an M.A. in early childhood development from the University of Maryland in College Park and a B.A. from Colegio Ward in Argentina.

Dan Levy

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Lecturer in Public Policy and Faculty Chair of MPA Programs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, teaches courses in quantitative methods and program evaluation. He is currently directing impact evaluations of school construction programs in Burkina Faso and Niger. He was recently involved in the evaluation of conditional cash transfer programs in Jamaica, a technical assistance project to Mexico’s Social Development Ministry (Sedesol), the evaluation of an after-school program in the U.S., and a methodological review of studies comparing the use of various methods to estimate program impacts. He has served as a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, is a lab affiliate at the Poverty Action Lab (MIT), and has served as a consultant to several organizations including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Global Development Network (GDN). He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University, grew up in Venezuela, and is fluent in Spanish and French.

Shelly London

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Shelly London is the president of the Poses Family Foundation. She worked 18 years at AT&T primarily in marketing and communication. Before retiring in 2008, Shelly served eight years as vice president and chief communications officer at American Standard Companies. In 2009, Shelly was one of 14 inaugural fellows in Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative and while at Harvard, she began working with partners, students and professors to develop The Family Dinner Project. She graduated with highest distinction in journalism and earned an MBA, both from the University of Kansas. The Poses Family Foundation provides strategic analysis, pro-bono advising, incubation of large-scale initiatives and multi-year funding. Shelly led the team that helped create, a comprehensive digital resource for parents of children with learning and attention issues. Since its launch in late October 2014, has supported more than 25 million individuals, received more than $85 million in donated media from the Ad Council, won the Webby for best family/parenting website and received recognition from the White House.

Charlie MacCormack

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Dr. Charlie MacCormack is currently the Executive Chair of the Millennium Development Goal Health Alliance. He serves as Executive-in-Residence at Middlebury College, is the Senior Fellow for Private Development Assistance at InterAction and works with other international think tanks. From 1993 through 2011, Charlie was President of Save the Children, the world’s leading independent nonprofit organization serving children in need.

Earl Phalen

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Earl Phalen is the founder and CEO of Summer Advantage, a summer reading program that partners with school districts to provide quality summer learning programs for children in grades K-8, and the George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies, a network of K-8 blended learning charter schools. The Summer Advantage program is one of only two scientifically proven models in the country and has served more than 15,000 children in five states since its inception in 2009. Phalen founded Building Educated Leaders for Life, which operates after-school and summer education programs. He grew the organization from a community service project to a non-profit educating 15,000 children annually. In 1997, President Clinton awarded Phalen the President’s Service Award for his impact on the lives of children. He also is a Mind Trust and Ashoka Fellow; was awarded the Black Entertainment Television (BET) National Hero Award; and is a three-time recipient of Fast Company’s Social Capitalist Award. He has earned recognition in numerous national media outlets, including TIME Magazine, MSNBC’s Education Nation, Parent Magazine and Education Week. In 2014, the NCAA awarded him its Silver Anniversary award.

Steve Reifenberg

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Steve is the Executive Director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Previously he was the Program Director for the Chile Regional Office, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. Prior to his time in Chile, he was DRCLAS’s Executive Director of DRCLAS from 1996 – 2002. Steve Reifenberg is the former Program Director for Latin America of the Conflict Management Group (CMG), an international non-profit organization created from the Harvard Negotiation Project at the Harvard Law School. He served as the Director of the Edward S. Mason Program in Public Policy and Management, jointly administered by the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Institute for International Development from 1990 to 1993. In the early 1980s, he lived and worked for two years at a small orphanage in Santiago, Chile. From his experiences there he wrote the award winning “Santiago’s Children.” Steve is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government where he earned a Master in Public Policy. He also holds a Master in Print Journalism from Boston University and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.

Catherine Winnie

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Cathy Hutchison Winnie is an international educator with expertise developing study abroad and academic enrichment opportunities for students. Her extensive knowledge of foreign universities and academic programs arises from a career traversing Harvard, Smith, Yale, and the Rochester Institute of Technology where she led offices of international education as well as fellowships and honors programs. She is currently the Director of Education Abroad at SMU in Dallas, Texas. Cathy has studied, researched, and worked in France, Germany, and Colombia and speaks several languages. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and earned her doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan.

Advisory Council

Yumi Kawana

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Yumi Kuwana is the founder and president of Global Citizens Initiative, which she founded in 2012 to provide effective global education for all citizens (in public, private and charter schools), and to create an educational platform that contributes towards a better and more peaceful world. She was inspired to found Global Citizens Initiative by her own personal experience growing up in Japan and the United States. Mrs. Kuwana authored the research-based discussion paper Nurturing Our Next Generation of Global Citizens, with input from academics and thought leaders from the Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Education, Harvard College, Phillips Exeter Academy, Hackley School, and her community in Tokyo and the greater New York area. Previously, Mrs. Kuwana worked on Wall Street for 24 years including founding Cook Pine Capital LLC with her husband, a Wall Street veteran as well. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Adriana González Rios

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Adriana González Rios’ rich experiences span across Mexico and the United States: in government, think tanks, private universities and international agencies. She is an entrepreneur, published author, standardized test and curriculum designer, higher education admission consultant, and an examination coach. Adriana is the co-founder and Executive Director of Scholastica Prep, an educational consulting firm that guides Spanish-speaking applicants through the competitive postgraduate admission processes of top universities around the world. Additionally, Adriana designed a test prep methodology that takes into account a Spanish-speaking background and the cultural barriers that Latin Americans face when preparing for Standardized testing. She is co-author of Estrategia integral para ser admitido a posgrados competitivos and is a graduate of the Master of International Education Policy from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.

Helen Claire Sievers

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Helen Claire Sievers was Executive Director of WorldTeach from 2001 – 2016, with sabbaticals as the Academic Dean at the new Asian University for Women, in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and as founding Executive Director of the “El Sistema” USA program at New England Conservatory, patterned after the program developed in Venezuela using classical music to help bring kids out of poverty. She spent 18 years living in the Marshall Islands where she was a high school principal, a hospital administrator, a community court judge, and the director of a handicraft co-op. Previously Helen Claire taught astronomy at Wellesley and Bentley Colleges. Helen Claire is a graduate of Wellesley College and has a M.S. in physics from Brigham Young University.

Yi Wang

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Yi Wang works with Harvard faculty across the university’s many schools and departments, as well as with academic partners and other supporters in China, to strengthen Harvard’s engagement with China. A native of China and a 1995 graduate of Harvard College (AB in Physics and Astrophysics), Yi has spent his professional career in the United States, Canada, and China. Launching his career at McKinsey & Company in 1995 in Toronto, he was elected a Partner in 2006 while working in McKinsey’s Shanghai Office. Before joining the HCS, Yi spent three years as a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs in Beijing, where he built Goldman’s China onshore Asset Management business from scratch at Beijing Gao Hua Securities. In his spare time, Yi has devoted himself to education, helping to found and then serving as Vice Chair of the Board for United World College’s new campus in Changshu, China.

Ebonya Washington

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Ebonya is the Henry Kohn Assistant Professor of Economics and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale. She received her Ph.D. in Economics, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her BA with honors in Public Policy from Brown. Previously she was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Economics at Harvard University. Ebonya is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She has written on the political representation and efficacy of marginalized groups and on the financial behavior of low income Americans.

Steve Zimmerman

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Steve Zimmerman has more than 35 years of senior and executive-level experience in non-profit management. An accountant and economist by training, he has held numerous headquarters and overseas positions within several large non-profit organizations, including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Program Vice-President. In recent years, he has focused on managing organizational growth, including strategic planning, and on the development and expansion of programs supported by both traditional and non-traditional donors and investors. Throughout his career, he has served in more than a dozen long-term overseas positions, including most recently in Mongolia and China. Steve has worked for Mercy Corps, Room to Read, Save the Children, AFS Intercultural Programs, and the Medical and Health Research Association of New York City, and is currently the Regional Business Manager for Lutheran Community Services Northwest. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California, and has also studies at the University of Tunis in Tunisia and the University of Grenoble in France.

US Headquarters Staff

Mitra Shavarini

Executive Director

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Mitra brings to WorldTeach an eclectic array of international and educational experiences. She holds a doctorate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and has taught at Brandeis University for nearly ten years. Among her publications, Desert Roots, chronicles her parents’ journey to the States from Iran (and then back home again). At WorldTeach she is a honorary volunteer, a quest to serve that she attempted to complete back in 1987 when she was accepted into its inaugural Kenya volunteer program but ultimately unable to fulfill due to her refugee status at the time.

Eva Ng

Finance Director

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Eva grew up in Hong Kong and Boston, with an extensive academic background in Biology. She worked in research for some number of years in Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Biotech startup in Seattle, and on a genome project in Germany and France, as well as held various roles in the Harvard University Economics Department. Switching gears from the laboratories, she now oversees the finances of international development in action at WorldTeach. When not counting debits and credits, Eva loves movies, cooking, drawing, and has been known to participate in community theater, especially as roles of any animal possible.

Elizabeth Blanco

Learning and Professional Development Director

FSM Chuuk ’13, American Samoa FD ’14
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Liz grew up along the United States Pacific coast in California. After completing her undergraduate studies in the Golden State, she spent time living, learning, and working in Micronesia and Polynesia. She has since moved to the US Northeast where she spends ¾ of the year trying to stay warm. She holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Northeastern University. Yet, Liz’s biggest accomplishment is the (self-awarded) Best Auntie in the Universe award, won seventeen years in a row.

Jay Forrester

Program Manager

China ’09, China FD ’16, ’17
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A Florida native, Jay has spent the majority of his time in the U.S. on the East Coast. After university, he volunteered with WorldTeach in rural Hunan, China and then remained in Hunan to work, grow, and explore. Jay returned to the States for graduate school before heading aboard again to work as one of WorldTeach’s Field Directors. The past year, he took some time to travel throughout Central Asia and teach in Jordan but has now returned to work full-time in Boston. Jay is passionate about increasing access to education and aside from liking to wander also enjoys playing boardgames, pretending he can cook, and spending quality time with people.

Juergen Burghardt

Human Resources/Payroll Administrator

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Juergen, a Boston native, grew up in the close-knit, and diverse neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.
As a young man, his parents engendered within him a volunteer spirit which has grown into a
lifetime of leadership through both professional and voluntary pursuits. In addition to his years of voluntary accounting/auditing management for semi-annual conferences, he brings the experience of over thirty years of professional financial management with the once Boston-based advertising and design firm, MediaConcepts. Juergen loves walking along Carson Beach in South Boston with his wife.

Field Staff

Rebeca Izquierdo

American Samoa

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Rebeca was raised in the beautiful hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the East Coast. After graduating with a communications degree from the University of South Carolina, she moved to South Korea to teach English as a Foreign Language and work with youth refugee integration. This experience sparked her passion for international education. Before joining WorldTeach, Rebeca worked with Peace Corps in the rural, rivering communities of Guyana, South America promoting education and community development. Her free time is spent hiking, exploring any book that is close by and fostering her love of food and music.

Rafaela Rolim


Brazilian Experience
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Rafaela has been working in the field of cultural exchange since 2006 and started Brazilian Experience due to her passion for Brazil and for travelling the world and learning new cultures. It all started when she was an international student herself in the US during High School and then worked and studied in France and Spain, experiences that have shaped her life. In the past years, she has visited over 25 different countries in four different continents for work and leisure, and enjoys collecting magnets of all the cities she visits, a reminder of what enchants her in her work.

Stephanie Wallace


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Stephanie hails from the small Midwest town of Roberts, Illinois. She lived and studied in Guatemala and France before completing her Bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University. She taught English as a Second Language in South Korea for one year and holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Washington University in St. Louis. After serving in Peace Corps Samoa for two years, she moved to Washington D.C. to work at the Department of Justice. Stephanie spends her evenings performing at poetry slams and rooting on her Chicago Cubs.

Elizabeth Paiva


Ecuador Year ’15
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Elizabeth holds a degree in Modern Latin American History from UC Berkeley, and after having visited Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and Mexico as an undergraduate, she was ready to move to Latin America after graduation. She served as a volunteer with WorldTeach Ecuador, teaching English at a public university in Quito. Shortly after finishing her volunteer year she returned to serve as Assistant Field Director. Elizabeth loves speaking Spanish, eating Ecuadorian food, and spending time in Quito’s parks with her Ecuadorian husband and adopted dog.

Behzad Larry


Voygr Expeditions
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Behzad is an adventurer, entrepreneur, and professional with a decade of experience running ventures and development programs in South Asia, Eastern Africa, and the United States. He has worked in partnership with the private sector and state and national governments in India and Africa in the fields of waste management, public infrastructure, environmental policy, education policy, and livelihood development. Originally from Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, India, he is a keen trekker, outdoorsman, and professional photographer.

Vanessa King

Marshall Islands

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After completing her teaching degree from Multnomah University, Vanessa taught high school English in Tanzania before returning to her hometown to oversee educational and recreational programming with Portland Parks and Recreation. Most recently she served as a Peace Corps volunteer on an outer island of Tonga where she collaborated with community partners and governmental agencies to develop health and educational programs. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, she can be found enjoying the great outdoors rain or shine, and always without an umbrella.

Boubker Mazoz


Neighborhood Association IDMAJ
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Boubker Mazoz has over 40 years of experience in exchanges between Morocco and the United States in the fields of education, culture, business and intercultural learning. From 1979 to 2010 he worked for the US Department of State as resource manager, Library Director and Public Affairs Specialist with the Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy section of the US Embassy in Morocco. Mazoz has initiated and organized an impressive number of programs and exchanges for individuals, groups and institutions representing different backgrounds and fields of interest. Aside from his former official positions at the US Department of State and the Moroccan Government, he has been heavily involved in NGO and non-profit work. He founded, initiated and is an active member of numerous organizations and associations, including as a member of the International Executive Board of Directors of Sister Cities International in Washington DC and as a current member of its Honorary Board, and President/Founder of Sister Cities Africa – People to People Diplomacy, in charge of promoting sister cities partnerships in the Arab Maghreb and Francophone Africa. He is the founder & president of Neighborhoods Association IDMAJ, of Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Moroccan American Circle (MAC), the Moroccan Intellectual Association (AIM) and Morocco Association of Sister Cities International, as well as a founding member of Rotary Club Californie and Hermitage. In addition, Mazoz is the CEO of the Sidi Moumen Cultural Center and Ain Borja Community Center, which he founded in 2006 and 2013.

Damaris Darling


Namibia ‘12, ’13, Namibia SPC ’15
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Damaris is originally from Vermont, internationally described as a very small state in the Northeast corner of the United States. After several years working in Boston, she decided to drop everything and live her dream of living and giving abroad by joining WorldTeach as a volunteer in Namibia in 2012. She loved the experience so much that she extended for a second year in 2013, later serving as the Summer Program Coordinator in 2015, and then Namibia Field Director in 2016. She loves the cold Namibian coastline, feels like she is always on safari, and dotes on her Boston Terrier, from Boston, now living with her in Namibia!

Ganga Ram Gautam


Tribhuvan University
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Ganga Ram Gautam, an Associate Professor at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu and Brookings Institute 2016 Echidna Scholar, runs the WorldTeach summer program in Nepal. Besides teaching, supervising research and evaluating student work, Ganga also designs training packages and prepares trainers for the teacher education program of the Ministry of Education. Ganga is the past president of the Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association, NELTA, which he co-founded in 1992. With NELTA he often collaborates with the Ministry of Education, the US Embassy, the British Council and other national and international ELT associations sponsoring training and other conferences throughout Nepal.

Peter Fenton

South Africa

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Having graduated with a B.SC. in Marine Geology, Peter has been in involved with education since 1982, when he started two community schools in rural Zululand. He subsequently taught for eight years in the South Peninsula and spent eight years managing the non-profit organization The Education Resources Network in Cape Town Teachers’ Centre. The past eight years, Peter has been a Chief Education Specialist in one of nine South African provincial education departments where he manages the Lifeskills and HIV/AIDS programs, serving 1,500 schools and almost 1 million children. He is also a registered tour guide and has been active in a number of community-based organizations that serve the Masiphumelele, Ocean View, and Fish Hoek communities on the South Peninsula.

Melissa Rossi


Teacher Quality Support
Chile Head Teacher ’16
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Born in New York and raised in California, Melissa graduated with a B.A. in Intercultural Child Development (minors in Spanish and Psychology) and shortly after graduation moved to Panama as a Peace Corps volunteer. Melissa continued living abroad in Colombia and then Brazil to learn Portuguese. After heading the WorldTeach Chile program in 2016, Melissa continues with WorldTeach as the Thailand field director (2017-present). Given her passion for travel and languages, Melissa is ecstatic to live in and explore South East Asia while spending her free time teaching yoga and trying new fruit.

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