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Meet the Team

The objective of Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team is to support the World Bank's efforts to make societies more resilient to violence. This year's team is shown below.

Contact: Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention

The World Bank Group
1818 H Street NW
Washington DC, 20433
Fax. (202) 614-4208


Alexandre Marc
Alexandre Marc, a Lead Social Development Specialist, is coordinator of the Conflict, Crime and Violence team in the Social Development Department of the World Bank. From 1999 to 2004 he was sector Manager for Social Development for the Europe and Central Asia Region of the World Bank. In 2006-2007 he was Director of the Roma Education Fund, an International Foundation based in Budapest that supports the inclusion of Roma children and youth in education systems. During the nearly 15 years spent in the World Bank he has worked on local development, conflict and youth inclusion issues in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and East Asia. He holds a Doctorate from the Paris Institute of Political Science.
Ozong Agborsangaya-Fiteu
Ozong Agborsangaya-Fiteu works on governance, conflict and fragility. She has extensive experience working in fragile and conflict situations. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a Senior Program Manager for Freedom House where she managed the Africa programs. Ms. Agborsangaya-Fiteu also previously worked as a Director, Sub-Saharan Africa Program for Search for Common Ground where she contributed to the design and management of programs in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Cote D'Ivoire. She also worked at The Carter Center for many years on elections, human rights and rule of law programs in countries including Ethiopia, Mozambique and Liberia. There she also provided support to former President Jimmy Carter's mediation efforts in the Great Lakes region. She has a Bachelor's and a Masters Degree from Georgia State University in Political Science.
Erik Alda
Erik Alda is part of the World Development Report (WDR) 2011: Securing Development team. He also works on crime and violence prevention in the Conflict, Crime and Violence Team. He participates in the preparation of studies in Brazil, Kenya, and South Africa as part of a global study on crime and violence in poor urban communities. Erik has extensive experience in crime and violence prevention projects at the National, Municipal and Community levels. In addition, he has worked on these issues in various institutions including the Inter-American Development Bank and UN organizations.
Yonatan Yehdego Araya
Yonatan Yehdego Araya works on the Forced Displacement program. He is currently involved in analytical work on the impact of forced displacement and livelihoods issues and the creation of an information platform on forced displacement. His pre-World Bank experience includes working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Africa, conducting research on post-conflict peace-building activities, and working for a management consulting firm in Washington DC. He has degrees in law and international studies (with a focus on political economy, post-conflict peace-building and international peace operations). His research interests include conflict-induced forced displacement, conflict and fragility, peace-building, law and development, international peace operations, and human rights.
Kanishka Balasuriya
Kanishka Balasuriya is a public policy specialist with a research focus on public sector reforms. He is responsible for coordinating the consultation and outreach efforts of the flagship study of the World Bank’s Social Development Department on Societal Dynamics and Fragility. At present, Kanishka is also a PhD candidate at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, with a research focus on the stakeholder-environment of Public Sector reforms. Additionally, Kanishka is an attorney-at-law in Sri Lanka and has a MA in International Studies from Claremont Graduate University.
Asger Christensen
Asger Christensen works on the Forced Displacement program. His experience includes rural development in conflict and non-conflict settings as well as extensive work on application of Bank social safeguards policies primarily in South and East Asia. Between 1989 and 1993 he was Program Manager based in Peshawar for the Danish Refugee Council and designed and managed a rural rehabilitation program to assist Afghan refugees return to their villages in Eastern Afghanistan. From late 2002 till early 2005, he was the TTL for the National Solidarity Program in Afghanistan during the period when the program was developed and implementation on the ground took off. He holds the degree of Mag. Scient. in Social Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen.
Kury W. Cobham
Kury W. Cobham, an Operations Officer, is the Task Team Leader for the Global Fund for Youth Investment, a multi-donor trust fund established to improve the lives of marginalized young people through their increased economic advancement and social inclusion. Kury also manages the Social Development Civil Society Fund, an initiative providing support to civil society organization mandated to increase the civic engagement of marginalized and vulnerable people worldwide.
Vincent L. Fruchart
Vincent L. Fruchart is an Institutional Development Specialist working as a Consultant for the World Bank. His work has been focused mostly on providing process and methodological support to governments for the preparation and the monitoring and evaluation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers in fragile and conflict-affected countries, as well as in a study on PRSP in conflict-affected countries. He is currently managing a one year intervention in Côte d'Ivoire to provide support to the national PRSP team. He is also part of a team in charge of a Governance Diagnostic in Côte d'Ivoire, as well as participating to an Action-Research program on urban violence prevention in that country. Vincent Fruchart has an interdisciplinary Ph.D. (political science and economics) from the University of Maryland, and has had a previous career in journalism. He is also trained in change/organizational management practice.
Niels Harild
Niels Harild leads the Forced Displacement program. He is an economist with 30 years of experience in conflict, fragility, transition, peace and state-building work. During many of these years he has had specific focus on displacement issues and has experience and interest in conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction, displacement/reintegration, governance capacity building and community development, interagency collaboration, and partnership development. He has worked in different continents, mainly in conflict zones, with the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and the World Bank.
Akiko Ishii
Akiko Ishii, an Operations Officer, is working on youth in the conflict, crime, and violence environment, of which she specializes in youth inclusion. She is also a Knowledge Management Coordinator for the Global Fund for Youth Investment (GFYI), a multi-donor trust fund established to improve the lives of marginalized young people through their increased economic advancement and social inclusion.
Elizabeth Johnston
Elizabeth Johnston is a consultant specialized on crime prevention and urban security. She will be providing strategic and operational support on urban violence prevention activities, both for the anchor’s Crime, Conflict and Violence team and for the Latin American and Caribbean region. Before joining the Bank in July 2010, she was Deputy Director of the European Forum for Urban Security, a network of municipalities, where she has been working with local and regional authorities, in Europe and beyond, providing technical assistance, supporting the establishment of partnerships with national governments, and working with European Union and international institutions. She holds a political science BA from Yale University and a Masters in urban development from Universite Paris-Marne la Vallee.
Megumi Makisaka
Megumi Makisaka coordinates the development of the work on gender-based violence and has authored the Social Development Note on human trafficking. She also works with the Social Dimensions of Climate Change team on the study about climate change and conflict particularly in the area of gender and migration. Before joining the World Bank, Megumi worked for Polaris Project, an NGO combating human trafficking in the United States and abroad.
Steve Miller
Steve Miller is a social scientist specializing in urban violence prevention. He currently coordinates an urban violence prevention pilot program in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire. He also manages the Conflict, Crime and Violence Working Group and writes the Conflict, Crime and Violence Newsletter. He has a background in anthropology and mediation and previously worked as an anthropologist for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and made ethnographic films for Discovery Channel in Indonesia and Ethiopia. He studied Anthropology and Development at the London School of Economics.
Christine Agnes Nabaloga
Christine Agnes Nabaloga is a consultant working on the Forced Displacement program. She is currently researching on cross-border area displacement resulting from the Chad/Darfur/Central African Republic regional conflict. Before joining the World Bank, she worked for UNHCR in South Sudan on integration and recovery of returning populations from exile in neighbouring countries. She has experience and interest in gender and income generation particularly in situations of vulnerability and recovery. She has worked on programs related to Gender and/or Conflict within the UN system (UNESCO, UNAIDS, IFAD) and on consulting assignments for DANIDA, in Africa and Asia. She has Master Degrees from L’Université de Besançon, France and University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Yaa Oppong
Yaa Oppong, a Senior Social Development Specialist, is the Program Manager and Task Team Leader for the Global Public Private Partnership for Youth Investment (GPYI). The GPYI aims to support the development and implementation of innovations to expand opportunities for youth in developing countries by bringing together a range of stakeholders including international and civil society organizations, foundations and the private sector. She also provides strategic guidance and inputs into the Department’s work program on “youth” more broadly. Yaa joined the World Bank in 2003 as a Young Professional and spent 4 years in the Middle East and North Africa Region working in Bank Operations where she also coordinated the Social Developments work program on youth inclusion. She holds a Doctorate in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Benjamin Petrini
Benjamin Petrini is a social scientist specializing in armed conflict and terrorism. He is part of the core team for the global study on "Societal Dynamics and Fragility." His current assignments also include a mapping study of areas socially and politically vulnerable to conflict, violence and climate change, and analytical work on displacement in the Europe and Central Asia region. He is the author of the Datasets on Violence. Benjamin supports the work on conflict analysis, forced displacement, poverty reduction in conflict-affected countries, protection of land for IDPs in Colombia, as well as co-organized an international conference at the World Bank on violence prevention (April 2009). He holds Masters degrees from Universita’ degli Studi Roma Tre and from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Margarita Puerto Gomez
Margarita Puerto Gomez works on the Forced Displacement program. She has extensive experience working on law and gender at the national and the international level. In 2008, she conducted a study on the legal, social, and economic conditions of International Displaced Persons in Gulu, Northern Uganda (2008). In addition, this study explored the donors and government responses to vulnerable groups such as children, youth and widows affected by protracted conflicts. Her current work includes the assessment of lessons learned on livelihoods restoration in forced displacement situations as well as the impacts and mitigation of displacement. She also collaborates with her team in providing operational support to country and sector teams working in countries affected by conflict-induced displacement. She holds a law degree, and two master degrees, one in development studies from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, and another on international development from George Washington University.
Michelle Rebosio
Michelle Rebosio is a social scientist specialized in conflict-sensitive approaches to development, civil society engagement and youth reintegration programs. Her current work includes developing guidance for engaging civil society in fragile and conflict-affected states. She is also working with transport sector teams across all regions to develop recommendations for conflict-sensitive transport operations. Michelle has worked in Africa, Europe, Central Asia, East Asia and Latin America. She holds degrees from Universitat Jaume I and from Harvard University.
Shonali Sardesai
Shonali Sardesai is a Senior Social Scientist specializing in conflict analysis, poverty reduction in conflict countries, political analysis and displacement. At the World Bank since 2001, she develops conflict tools for analysis at the macro-level and in operations; supports preparation of poverty assessments and participation strategies in conflict contexts; supports operations focusing on IDPs, and conducts research on a range of conflict issues. During her 8 years at the World Bank, she has worked on Africa, South Asia and East Asia. Currently, she is involved in the global displacement program, developing a conflict filter for operations in Sri Lanka, revising the country social analysis and conflict analysis, and supporting the political analysis of decentralization study in Sri Lanka. She has a Doctorate in Political Science.
Per E. Wam
Per E. Wam is a Senior Social Scientist focusing on understanding the drivers and dynamics of violent conflict as a basis for design of effective development initiatives in fragile and conflict-affected countries. He has a doctorate degree in Development Sociology from the University of Oslo, Norway. Per Wam has for the last seven years been leading the development of conflict analysis tools for country and program levels and implementation of analyses in several countries. He is the team leader of a program to develop a diagnostic and action framework for governance reform in fragile and conflict-affected countries as well as of a study of transport policies and operations in conflict and recovery settings. Per Wam is currently on a long-term assignment in Ethiopia.
Alys Willman
Alys Willman is a Social Development Specialist specializing in gender, illicit economies and violence prevention. She is part of the core team for the departmental flagship "Societal Dynamics and Fragility," the action research study of violence prevention pilots in Kenya and Cote d'Ivoire, and the global study of urban crime and violence, for which she leads the research in Haiti. She also leads the Social Development department's work on the initiative, "Strengthening Citizenship Through Upgrading Informal Settlements," for which she is preparing a case study of urban upgrading in Rio de Janeiro. Ms. Willman holds a PhD from The New School University, and has published two books and various articles on illicit economies, gender and violence prevention.

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