Staff

HQ Staff

Rupak Chattopadhyay [President and CEO] holds master’s degrees in economics and political science from the University of Ottawa and the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and did his doctoral work in political science at the University of Toronto. He was previously a member of the Consultative Group on the Study of Intergovernmental Relations and Dispute Resolution Mechanisms, Inter-State Council, Government of India. In 2004/5 he was Advisor to the Chairman of the Observer Research Foundation. Over the last decade he has contributed as an expert in support of political and constitutional reforms in Mexico, Myanmar, Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Yemen.  His edited/co-edited collections include, “Unity in Diversity: Learning from Each Other” (Viva Books 2008), “Dialogues on Diversity and Unity in Federal Countries” (MQUP 2009),  “Finance and Governance of Capital Cities in Federal System”, (MQUP 2009) and ‘Governance and Finance of Metropolitan Area in Federal Countries” (OUP 2013). Email: Chattopadhyay@forumfed.org

Charles Cloutier [Vice President] Over the past 20 years, Charles has worked for various international/community development organizations such as the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, Oxfam Canada and CUSO. He was also Regional Director in the Outaouais for Transcontinental Media where he was responsible for the publication of 7 weekly community newspapers. He was a founding member of the Franco Ontarian theatre La Nouvelle Scene and sits on the Board of a Credit Union. Charles is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and University of Laval where he earned his Chartered Accountant designation. He has run programs in Indonesia, Haiti and Tunisia. Email: cloutier@forumfed.org

Sheela Embounou [Head, Monitoring and Funder Relations] brings to the Forum over 20 years experience in program and financial management.  She is currently the Forum’s gender focal point and oversees the Forum’s programs in Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. She formerly oversaw the Forum’s support to the Nepal Constituent Assembly and Pakistan Senate. She was previously Senior Director for Finance and Operations at the Forum. Sheela Prior to joining the Forum she worked for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Republic of Congo, Ghana and Kenya.  She graduated from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth majoring in Human Geography. Email: embounou@forumfed.org

Felix Knüpling [Head, Programs] joined the Forum in 2007. He was appointed to his present position in 2011 and is currently based in Berlin, Germany. He oversees and manages Forum projects in Asia, and Europe also works on the Forum’s thematic programs. He has provided expert advice on federal reform in Yemen and Myanmar. Prior to joining the Forum, Felix worked for the German parliament – the Bundestag – and at the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO in Brussels. Felix holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Free University Berlin and a BA in International Relations from University of Kent. Felix has co-edited five books on federalism, among them Changing Federal Constitutions (with Arthur Benz; Opladen/Toronto 2012) and Benchmarking in Federal Systems (with Alan Fenna; Melbourne 2012). Email: knuepling@forumfed.org

Diana Chebenova [Head, Partnerships and Information] holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and an MA in Commerce from the University of Economics of Bratislava. She was previously Director for Research and Publications and Director for South America Programs and Partnerships. Prior to joining the Forum she worked at the Inter-American Agency for Co-operation and Development of the Organization of American States in Washington D.C. Diana speaks Slovak, English, Spanish, Russian, and some Portuguese and French. Email: chebenova@forumfed.org

Phillip Gonzalez [Director, Asia and Australia] has a Master’s degree in International Relations from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from La Trobe University, Australia. He leads the Forum’s engagement in Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines. Phillip has previously worked at the Canadian Foundation for the Americas as well as the Australian High Commission in Ottawa. He is fluent in English and Spanish. Email: gonzalez@forumfed.org

Oludare Austin Ayeni [Finance Officer] has over 20 years professional experience in banking, credit administration and accounting. He holds a diploma in Business Management (OND) and a diploma in Banking and Finance (HND) from Nigeria. He also has a diploma in Accounting and a post graduate certificate in Accounting and Information Technology (Canada). He has worked at the Commercial Bank (Credit Lyonnais) and the Universal Trust Bank, both in Nigeria; and several NGO’s in Canada as a finance clerk, general accountant, revenue accountant and project accountant. He speaks both English and Yoruba.Email: austinayeni@forumfed.org

Donna Duffett [Administrative Assistant] joined the Forum in 2015. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in History from Carleton University and has over 15 years of administrative experience. She has recently moved back to Ottawa from Qatar where she worked as an events administrator for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)  School of the Arts for seven years. Her other experiences include working as a project administrator on the TCCCS/Iris program and working as an office administration for various consulting firms.Email: duffett@forumfed.org

Fauziah Pruner [Finance Officer]  joined the Forum of Federations in January 2009 is responsible for corporate accounting and financial reporting. She is a Certified General Accountant and has extensive experience in both private and public sectors. Email: pruner@forumfed.org

Chris Randall [Network Manager-Contractor] is a computer engineer who has been with the Forum of Federations since August 1999. He does system design and user support for the Forum. His languages are English and French.Email: randall@forumfed.org

Liam Whittington [Project Officer] is a researcher and analyst who has held positions for policy research organisations in Washington DC, Vienna, and the UK. He has contributed to research and development projects in a range of countries operating in a variety of different policy areas, including education, security, local governance, international development, and civil service organisation, and has experience of conducting public spending reviews. Liam is a Research Fellow of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (Washington DC) and has published a number of articles on a range of international policy issues. He holds a First Class Honours degree in Medieval and Modern History from the University of Birmingham (UK), and an MA in International Relations from the University of Nottingham (UK).

Brazil Office

Constantino Cronemberger Mendes [Director, Brazil] is an economist specialized in public sector economy. He holds a doctorate in Economics from the University of Brasilia (UnB), Brazil. Constantino is a researcher at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) where the Forum Office is housed. He is the coordinator of the Federative Development Studies and general-coordinator of the IPEA’s Interdepartmental Working Group for the same subject. He has taught college classes in Brazil and performed as visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, USA. Constantino has published articles, chapters and books on federal governance, such as regional development policies, long-term territorial planning, public spending and local delivery of public services. His recent studies have recently been awarded the first place in a contest held by the Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management.

Burma/Myanmar Office

Htet Min Lwin [Director, Myanmar] is a former political analyst at Myanmar Egress, the Forum’s primary local partner organization in Burma/Myanmar. Previously he participated in various civil society organizations, setting up village libraries and he also worked as civic education trainer. He was the communication officer for the All Burma Students’ Union (Mandalay Division), an underground organization under the military regime. He has been involved in various political and social activities since 2009. He has also been a research associate in a local research institute since 2012 focusing on social and political reforms of Myanmar. Though trained as a medical doctor, he has post-graduate studies in governance, peace building and negotiations at the Central European University.

Ethiopia Office

Shawn Houlihan [Senior Director-Africa] has an MA in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a BA and Master of Development Economics from Dalhousie University. He spent five years in Ethiopia (1993-1998) in governance and civil service reform. He also has extensive experience in Sudan, for Canada and for the United National Development Programme. He worked as a consultant for the Canadian International Development Agency on matters of governance, capacity development and conflict management, including on the Middle East, Horn of Africa, Pan Africa and Southern Africa. Shawn is currently based in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Maeregu Habtemariam Kazentet [Director, East Africa Region].Maeregu studied agriculture at a diploma level and has a BA in Economics (Hons) from India and MA in International Development Planning and Management from Germany. He has served the government of Ethiopia from the lowest structure (Wereda) up to key positions at federal government level for more than 15 years. He was a State Minister of the Ministry of Federal Affairs where one of his main responsibilities was strengthening the federal system of government and managing conflicts within the nation. Maeregu was actively involved in organizing the 5th International Conference on Federalism in Ethiopia in 2010.

Martha Sahlou [Administration Officer] Has a BA in Business Management and Diploma in Computer Science and Accounting. Martha served as an Auditor, database Administrator, IT core staff member and trainer on Microsoft applications for the Office of Auditor General in Ethiopia. She was nominated by AFROSAI-E as a trainer of IT Audit for English speaking African countries and took IT Audit trainings in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa.  She also worked as Admin Assistant /Accountant position for ACE Project (CIDA funded Canadian project), and as Admin Assistant and Intranet Guru Team for Engender Health Ethiopia Office. She has been working as a Project Administrator for Forum’s Ethiopia Country Office.

Meron Girma [Administration Assistant] has a BA in Economics from Alpha University and is currently studying for her MA in Social Work at Indragandi University, India. Meron has about three years of experiences in both international and local NGO such as EngenderHealth and PHE Ethiopia respectively. She joined the Forum’s Ethiopia Office as Admin Assistance, and assists in planning and organizing activities of the Office.

Endale Girma [Facilitator] has a Diploma in Auto-mechanics and close to ten years of work experience. He renders safe and timely transportation services and assists with logistical tasks at the Forum’s Ethiopia Country Office.

Nepal Office

Sagar Manandhar [Program Manager-Consultant] manages the Forum’s Nepal’s country office. He holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is currently completing a Masters in Economics and a Bachelor in Law from the Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Before coming to the Forum, Sagar was in investment banking and credit administration in Nepal.

Yemen Office

Muaamar Batawil [Senior Advisor, Yemen] is the Forum’s local program officer in Yemen and helps the Forum implement its project “Supporting the National Dialogue Conference and the Consolidation of Democracy in Yemen”, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Government of Canada. Muaamar is originally from Hadramout, Yemen, and received a Bachelor of Arts (Cum laude) with a double major in political science and international relations from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. He is fluent in Arabic and English.

Advisor

Clive Grace is former Chair of CIPFA’s International Board and a former Member of the UN Habitat Advisory Board for the UK. Dr. Grace is an Honorary Research Fellow in international public services at Cardiff Business School. He is Chair of the Shared Services Centre company of the UK Research Councils, and of the Board of BT Wales, and he is the Senior Independent Director on the Board of Nominet.  He was formerly Chair of the Local Better Regulation Office (2007-2012), Chair of Supporta plc (2007-2010), Director-General of the Audit Commission in Wales and Deputy Auditor-General (2002-2005) and Chief Executive of Torfaen County Borough Council (1995-2002). He was made an OBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list.

Fatima Guerreiro is a Fiscal Auditor of the Ministry of Finance of the State of Bahia, Brazil. She holds a Masters (LLM) in International Economic Law from Warwick University, UK, a Certificate in Tax Law from the Federal University of Bahia and a BA in Law from the Catholic University of Salvador, Brazil. Fatima manages the Fiscal Forum of the Brazilian States (FFEB), an organization of the ministries of finances of the Brazilian states that seeks to strengthen inter-governmental relations and improve fiscal federalism in Brazil. She co-ordinates the program of studies of FFEB supported by the Federal School of Public Finance Administration. Fatima also led a process which concluded with an agreement of technical co-operation between the Brazilian States and the Forum of Federations. She also worked on the conception of Brazilian states tax legislation and on the design of theoretical basis on fiscal issues for the Brazilian States. Fatima’s work is conducted with or in parallel to CONFAZ – Council of Ministers of Finance of the States, a body in charge of tax policies.

Leila Haououi-Khouni is assistant Professor of Environmental and Macro Economics at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Universite de Tunis (ISG). She holds a Masters degree in Economic Sciences from the University of Tunis. Her doctoral work on « Les déterminants du choix d’un régime de change dans les pays émergents » was done at the Université Lumière, Lyon2 and co-directed by J. P ALLEGRET (Lyon2) and Mr AYADI (Université de Tunis). Leila is a member of a team piloting a partnership project “Responsible entrepreneurship” between the German Cooperation (GIZ) and the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (ISG). She worked with the United Nations Volunteer Program in Africa.

André Juneauis a fellow at the Queen’s University Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, and was previously director there from 2010 to 2013. He is also a fellow with the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal and the president-elect of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. He was previously Canada’s board member at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He served as assistant deputy minister in immigration, in health, and in intergovernmental relations. He was appointed to the deputy minister level in 2000 as a deputy secretary to the Cabinet for operations. From 2002 to 2006, he served as the first deputy minister of infrastructure, and starting in 2004, infrastructure and communities.

André Lecours is full Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. His main research interests are Canadian politics, European politics, nationalism (with a focus on Quebec, Scotland, Flanders, Catalonia and the Basque country) and federalism. He is the editor of New Institutionalism. Theory and Analysis published by the University of Toronto Press in 2005, the author of Basque Nationalism and the Spanish State (University of Nevada Press, 2007), and the co-author (with Daniel Béland) of Nationalism and Social Policy. The Politics of Territorial Solidarity (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Francis Kok-Wah Loh was Professor of Politics in Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang until his retirement in 2012. He has been a Visiting Scholar/Research Fellow at Monash and Melbourne Universities in Australia, in Kyoto University, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He has consulted for the UNDP, the UNRISD and the Penang State Government. He has been associated with the Forum since 2005: his involvement includes contributing articles to two volumes of the Global Dialogue on Federalism; facilitating the ‘South and Southeast Asian Regional Meeting on Service Delivery’ in Penang (28-30 Nov 2012); and conducting workshops on federalism, devolution and good governance in Burma (2012-15). He has authored or edited several books and articles. Francis is also president of Aliran, a multiethnic human rights organisation based in Penang.  He received his PhD in Political Science and Southeast Asian Studies from Cornell University (1980).

David Parks was formerly project manager for Mexico at the Forum. He has an MA in international development. He has extensive experience supporting the Mexican Senate and state governments on issues around service delivery and environmental politics. Before joining the Forum, he worked in Mexico, developed alternative energy projects in Cuba and also worked with fair trade coffee producers in Central America. David is currently an independent consultant with extensive experience in federalism and decentralization in Albania, Libya, Myanmar and Yemen.

Roberta Ryan is Associate Professor from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Director of the UTS Centre for Local Government and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. She is a leading policy, program evaluation and stakeholder engagement practitioner and social researcher with over 30 years’ experience in government across Australia and internationally. Roberta has designed and undertaken a range of complex government and non-government policy advisory and applied policy projects. An expert in intergovernmental relations, she has worked in Pakistan, Indonesia, Nepal, PNG and other Pacific countries. She is well known for developing new approaches to the application of research to policy, service and governance implementation and reviews, evaluation, community engagement, stakeholder management, sustainability, social and strategic planning.

Rekha Saxena teaches at the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. She has published over eleven books. Her recent publications include: Varieties of Federal Governance: Major Contemporary Models, Foundation: Cambridge University Press, India (2010), Mapping Canadian Federalism for India, Konark (2002), Situating Federalism: Mechanisms of Intergovernmental Relations in Canada and India, Manohar (2006), India at the Polls: Parliamentary Elections in the Federal Phase, Orient Longman (2003), Indian Politics: Constitutional Design and Institutional Functioning, Prentice Hall India (2011), Federalizing India in the Age of Globalization, Primus (2013), Indian Judiciary :the changing Landscape, Manohar (2007) and Indian Parliament: The Changing Landscape, Manohar (2014).

Leslie Seidle previously held a number of senior positions in the Government of Canada, including director general of Strategic Policy and Research, Intergovernmental Affairs in the Privy Council Office (1996-2002). He was the senior research coordinator for the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing (1990-91). He is the author of Rethinking the Delivery of Public Services to Citizens (1995) and numerous articles on electoral reform, citizen participation, constitutional reform, public management and political finance. Dr. Seidle has edited/co-edited 13 books, including Immigrant Integration in Federal Countries (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012) and Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada (IRPP, 2007).

Sandeep Shastri  is the Pro Vice Chancellor of Jain University and Director of its Centre for Research  in Social Science and Education (CERSSE).  Earlier he was on the Faculty of the Department  of Political Science, Bangalore University  (1984-2003) and headed the  Social Science Research Centre and Teacher Training Academy of the Jain Group of Institutions (2003-2009). He is currently the National Coordinator of the Lokniti Network a group of scholars involved in Survey based Election Studies in India. He was a Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar (1993), Participant in the International Visitor (IV) Program (1995), Shastri Indo-Canadian Fellow (1999), Ford Foundation South-South Fellow (2001), Adjunct Professor, University of California, Berkeley in 2006 and 2013.