2017 AILA International Fellowship

Dr. Kogila Balakrishnan is a leading expert in the field of technology offsets. She served as the under secretary at the Department for Defense Industry, Malaysian Ministry of Defense, where she spearheaded defense industry development and offsets programs. Balakrishnan has since taken up a full-time position as the director for client and business development (East Asia) at WMG, University of Warwick, United Kingdom. In this role, she identifies skills gaps for corporate clients and recommends educational programs to address this gap. Balakrishnan also teaches and supervises MSc and PhD students. Balakrishnan is also a visiting fellow at Cranfield University, U.K. Defense Academy, and an adjunct professor at the Malaysian National Defense University, Kuala Lumpur. Balakrishnan received a BA from the University of Malaya, has a LLB from the University of London, and graduated with an MA in strategy and diplomacy from the Malaysian National University. She obtained her PhD from the Defense College for Management and Technology, Cranfield University, U.K. Defense Academy. Balakrishnan’s passion is to make offsets work effectively for national technological, industrial, and economic development. In her free time (!), she loves to travel and learn about others' culture and history.

Michael Bermudez has worked in the field of international trade since 2001 for global professional services companies, boutique law firms, and private and public corporations. Bermudez is a cleared advisor to both the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative as a member of International Trade Advisory Committee 14, which focuses on customs matters and trade facilitation for U.S. exports. Within the Committee, he is co-chair of the Cuba Working Group. Bermudez received his Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and both an MA and JD from the University of Southern California. He is presently completing a Certificate in Multilateral Diplomacy through the United Nations Institute on Training and Research. Bermudez is fluent in Spanish and lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Sumeet Chander has led the Asia Pacific business for Evalueserve since 2001. Evalueserve is a global professional services firm that offers consulting, research, analytics, and data management services. In his current role, he manages teams based in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore. Before joining Evalueserve, Chander worked with another startup based in the U.K. for four years. Throughout his career, he has spent time in China, India, and the U.K. Chander holds a MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and a degree in statistics. He currently lives in Shanghai with his wife and two boys. In his free time, he likes to read books, keep abreast of global political affairs, and has recently started to rock climb indoors.

Dr. Ingeborg Denissen is a Dutch diplomat with 14 years of international policy experience who cares deeply about peace and security and development issues. She is currently the deputy head of the Political Section at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C., where her areas of focus are U.S.-Netherlands cooperation in the field of WMD counter-proliferation and threat reduction, and U.S. foreign policy towards Asia. Prior to this position, she was the deputy head of the Policy Planning Department in The Hague, where she focused on the implications of changes in global power relations and global governance for Dutch and European foreign policy. She has been working at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2003 and has served at the Netherlands embassies in Warsaw, Khartoum, and Addis Ababa. Ingeborg Denissen holds an MA in international relations from Amsterdam University and a PhD in the social sciences from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. For her PhD, she carried out field research in Mexico City and in Khartoum. Moreover, she has studied in Mexico, Sudan, France, Morocco, Costa Rica, and Germany. She is married with two children and loves going to the theater, museums, and concerts; practicing outdoor sports; and playing the guitar.

Dwight Greene is the senior privacy analyst for the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) within the National Protection and Programs Directorate. OBIM is the lead entity in the Department of Homeland Security for biometric identity management services across the government. He is the lead analyst and subject matter expert for information sharing with the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, DHS credentialing programs, and OBIM’s international information sharing initiatives. Previously, Greene was team lead for a healthcare software company, where he led a team of international consultants to customize electronic medical records and train hospital staff on medical record use and patient privacy. He holds a bachelor of science degree with a double major in political science and information systems from Florida State University and a JD from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Most recently Greene received the OBIM Customer Service Award in 2017 for his contributions involving client relations and international privacy compliance matters. He was originally born in the Caribbean and grew up in Florida. He currently resides in Maryland with his wife where he enjoys traveling, sports, and art.

Keigo Harada currently works as a IoT business planner in KDDI Corporation, a telecom carrier in Japan. In this position, he leads the IoT business planning department and creates new IoT services and products for enterprise customers. Prior to this, he worked as a system engineer in KDDI and created global networks and systems for enterprise customers from 1994 to 2003. Harada holds a master’s in electrical engineering from Kyoto University. In his free time, he loves to travel. He goes abroad three times a year for vacation, mainly in America, Europe and Asia.

Ken Hockycko is a commander in the United States Navy, currently serving as a legislative fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst. In this role, he advises the senator on all national security matters, particularly those involving nuclear deterrence, hybrid warfare, freedom of navigation, and counter-terrorism operations. Prior to Capitol Hill, Hockycko served in the Pentagon as the speechwriter to the Secretary of the Navy. As speechwriter, he drafted congressional testimony, speeches, opinion-editorials, and ceremonial remarks addressing foreign policy, emerging technologies, climate change, and human resource management as they pertained to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. A designated naval aviator, Hockycko has deployed overseas three times aboard U.S. aircraft carriers, piloting aircrafts on more than 80 combat missions. He holds a BS in economics from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, with studies in international relations and national security policy at Tufts and Harvard Universities. He is a member of the National Defense University’s Program for Emerging Leaders on Weapons of Mass Destruction and a volunteer admissions counselor for “Service to School,” a national nonprofit education consultancy for military veterans. Hockycko is married and has three children. In their “spare time,” he and his family enjoy outdoor activities such as running, wakeboarding, and just being with one another and friends.

Sascha Kummle works at Volkswagen Group in the department of Global Government Affairs. In this role, she is responsible for Volkswagen's political coordination in European countries. Kummle started her career at the Press and Information Office of the federal government in 2007 and joined a consultancy office for strategic public affairs from 2010 until 2012. She holds a master’s degree in international business and management. In her free time, Kummle enjoys sailing and attending cultural events.

Zack Kozawa is general manager of Kyocera Electronic Devices in AVX Corporation. He is currently based in Greenville, SC. Kozawa has served at Kyocera for 22 years in various roles. Kozawa is excited to join the cohort of AILA International Fellows. He looks forward to meeting everyone and exchanging opinions.

Takuya Marubayashi currently works as senior general manager of the Corporate Sales division in Kyocera Document Solutions, Inc. in Osaka, Japan. Prior to this position, he established the Kyocera Document Solutions Middle East's branch office in Dubai, UAE, as a general manager. From 2012 to 2016, he worked in Kyocera Document Solutions China Corporation in Shanghai as a general manager and contributed to the formation and stabilization of a new hybrid channel for printer and MFP. Marubayashi joined Kyocera in 1999 as a sales manager and has also worked in the Netherlands office, where he conducted the expansion of printer/MFP sales channels in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Russia. He graduated from University of Teacher Education Fukuoka in 1991. His personal principles, based on the Kyocera philosophy of “Altruistic Mind and Aim High,” will take him to a new level in his career. Marubayashi hopes to contribute to humanity and society through his efforts.

Derrick Nyirenda has a strong background in strategy and data science. He currently works as strategy director at WPP ScanGroup Kenya. In this role, he drives business and direction and thought leadership across the group. Prior to this, Nyirenda has worked as a digital strategist for clients such as Ford SA, Toyota SA, South African Tourism, Microsoft SA, and Safsin. He has worked extensively in South Africa, Kenya, and East Africa. Nyirenda is passionate about statistics!

Dr. Benjamin Olagboye has been a senior governance and democracy advisor at USAID-Côte d'Ivoire since 2011. Prior to joining USAID, he worked at the United Nations Operation and United Nations Development Program in Côte d'Ivoire for six years. He has also been a senior facilitator on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration; security sector reform; and election security, among other topics, at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center since 2008. Olagboye holds a PhD in political history and international relations.

Dr. Zeenat Patel is a public health physician from Canada with over 15 years of experience across a broad range of public health, clinical, and management functions, as well as diverse organizational settings. She is currently a senior technical advisor with John Snow Inc., working primarily on USAID’s Maternal & Child Survival Program (MCSP). MCSP is USAID’s program to introduce and support high-impact health interventions in high-priority countries with the goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation. In this role, she provides technical assistance for child health programming in multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, and Uganda), along with working with key partners to further the global child health agenda. In addition, since 2012 she has served on the Gavi Independent Review Committee (IRC). The Gavi IRC is responsible for conducting an independent and systematic review process of country proposals for vaccine support. Patel’s prior work experience includes serving as the regional medical officer and director of the Public Health Unit for Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Ontario Region. In addition, she has worked with the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific Regional Office as a clinical epidemiologist, providing technical expertise to countries in the region including China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Malaysia. Patel received a BSc (Honors) and MD from the University of Calgary, an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, an MBA from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and medical fellowships in family medicine and public health and preventive medicine from the University of Toronto.

Skye Perske currently serves as the project team director within the Center for Secure and Stable States at the international development company DAI. She is focused on ensuring excellence in DAI programming, thought leadership in countering violent extremism (CVE), and new business activities. Perske oversees DAI’s CVE project portfolio, including programs in Kenya and the Philippines. She brings to the Center 15 years of experience designing, implementing, monitoring, and leading development programs. Her work has focused on security issues in Afghanistan; the Middle East; and North, Central, and West Africa. Perske served as the chief of party on the AFRICOM-funded Trans-Sahara Security Symposium, a civil-military operations/relations training program in the Sahel. Her professional background also includes political risk analysis for Fortune 500 companies and other private sector clients. Perske’s particular area of technical interest is incorporating innovation and whole-of-government solutions in security sector reform training and curriculum development. Perske speaks Arabic, French, and Italian. She holds a BA in politics and language studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MA in Near Eastern studies from the University of Arizona. She volunteers at StreetWise Partners, which pairs business professionals with mentees who are unemployed/underemployed to provide them with the skills, resources, and networks they need to secure and maintain employment. In addition to volunteer work, her interests include travel, reading (particularly science fiction), and scuba diving.

Dr. Sharmaine Ramasamy joined the Office of the Minister-Counsellor Defense Science and Technology, Embassy of Australia, in Washington, D.C., as director, Defense and National Security Science and Technology in 2013. While with the Embassy of Australia, she was the Australian executive officer for The Technical Cooperation Program, the largest international defense science and technology agreement between the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Ramasamy also has experience working with the Joint Counter Threat Task Force and various intelligence agencies. Ramasamy joined the Government of Victoria as senior director, investment and operations, in 2016. She was formerly a senior defense scientist leading research in medical countermeasures against biological warfare agents with the Defense Science & Technology Group, Australian Government Department of Defense. Previously, she was posted to the Australian Federal Police and has also worked as director of corporate improvement projects, and as director of operations, analysis, and reachback. Ramasamy has deployed on multiple occasions to the Middle East and Southeast Asia in support of Australian Defense Force operations. She also is an honorary senior lecturer within the Department of Pharmacology, Monash University. A graduate from Monash University with a PhD in pharmacology, her greatest passions are traveling, learning about different cultures, meeting new people, and promoting STEM in the next generation.

Dr. Eugenia Saini is an agronomist and is passionate about agriculture, feeding people, and making life better for farmers. Saini has over twenty years of experience in strategic planning and has executed programs in international cooperation focused on agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean. She seeks to strengthen links among public and private organizations to improve farmers’ lives and strengthen food security. Saini is currently a fund administrator at the Inter-American Development Bank, where she co-leads the technical, financial, administrative, and legal support of the FONTAGRO program, which promotes agricultural innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Saini grew up in Argentina and has technical expertise in agriculture and food policy, climate change, irrigation, and economic and financial planning, among other areas.

Rebecca Shrimpton is currently the counsellor defense strategic policy in the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C. She joined the Australian Department of Defense as a graduate in 2001. She has spent most of her career in strategic and international policy divisions, including in the Pacific branch, UN, Middle East and Africa branch, strategic assessments and long-range planning, and strategic wargaming and deliberate planning. In 2014, Shrimpton led the MH17 defense policy task force throughout the Australian Government’s operations in Ukraine. She moved on to head the Iraq task force as the Australian government committed to operations in Iraq and later Syria prior to posting to Washington. In 2008, Shrimpton established Australia’s Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Center of Excellence (later re-named the Australian Civil-Military Center) and managed the stabilization operations program at the center. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia. Shrimpton is married and has two sons, Seamus and Mikey. The family spends as much time as possible at the beach, swimming and surfing. She and her sons are learning martial arts together.

Amir Tejpar has spent the past eleven years at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) as program officer for Asia, providing project oversight and technical assistance to local partners and government agencies. He successfully implemented a $434 million program in the Philippines, supporting reforms and investments to modernize and bring efficiencies to the country’s tax collection agency, reducing transportation costs through road rehabilitation, and expanding and improving small-scale, community-driven development projects. Prior to joining MCC, Tejpar worked at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), where he managed the Bank’s North American outreach strategy, focusing on increasing awareness of ADB’s project and policy initiatives in Asia and the Pacific. Previously, he worked in public relations at Aga Khan Foundation USA, where he assisted in the design and implementation of a database management system for the foundation’s grants. Tejpar is a graduate of the University of South Florida and holds a BA in political science and a master’s degree in public administration.

Andy Yee is a technology policy expert. He is currently a public policy director for Visa in greater China, handling policy issues related to digital payments, economic growth, and financial inclusion. Prior to Visa, he served for four years as a public policy analyst for Google in the Asia Pacific. Earlier in his career, he held permanent and visiting roles in public institutions and investment banks, including the Hong Kong government, the European Union Delegation to China, UBS, and Crédit Agricole. He is a University College London Centre for Blockchain Technologies Research Fellow. He is a published author on politics, technology, and Asia. His works have appeared in academic and policy journals including the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, Global Asia and Internet Policy Review, and the media including Nikkei Asian Review, South China Morning Post and Asia Sentinel. To date, his writing has been mentioned by publications such as The New York Times, the Guardian and IMF magazine Finance & Development. He holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in information engineering from the University of Cambridge, and a master’s degree in Pacific Asian studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. While at Cambridge, he spent a year on exchange at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He speaks Mandarin, English, Japanese, and Cantonese.

Alison Yost is the senior communications manager for New America's Open Technology Institute (OTI), where she directs strategic communications planning, media relations, social media, and other communications activities. Yost joined OTI from the SEEP Network, an association of international development practitioner organizations, where she served as senior manager for member affairs and global communications. She managed SEEP’s outreach projects, including website design and development, media relations, social media strategy, and conference planning. She previously worked at the Stimson Center, an international security think tank, in their external relations team, where she oversaw the organization’s website redesign and executed events for former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, among others. She has experience at a variety of other NGOs located in Washington and abroad. Yost holds an MA in international communications and a BA in international studies from American University. She is interested in exploring how technology has changed—and continues to change—the way we share and understand messages, and in particular, how to communicate effectively across cultures, languages, and experiences.

Silverio Zebral-Filho heads the government innovation unit at the Organization of American States (OAS) and is an adjunct lecturer on governance innovation at the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C. Before joining the OAS, he was a development economist at the Brazilian Development Bank, an executive coordinator of the Center for Studies on State Reform at Getulio Vargas Foundation and a research associate at Genesis Institute at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In these capacities, he has led more than 60 technical and political missions in support of several national and regional-level governments in Latin America and the Caribbean on economic development, democratic governance, public-private partnerships, government innovation, and policy reform. Zebral has also served as senior advisor for corporations and business community in Brazil, where he was seated at the International Affairs Committee at Rio de Janeiro’s Industrial Federation and American Chamber of Commerce. Zebral holds a MPS degree in political management from GWU and an MA in development studies from The Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Zebral is a Brazilian-Italian citizen and lives in Washington, D.C.