Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Bios of the Fellows

Past fellows in Liberia include:

Lincoln Ajoku

Lincoln Ajoku worked in the Ministry of Education.

Before joining the fellowship, Mr. Ajoku worked as a research consultant with the Henry L. Stimson Center, examining best practies in security sector reform in Africa. Additionally, he has served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme's Millennium Villages Project, helping to develop and implement a database for education, health and other statistical indicators. In the summer of 2008, as a fellow in the Education Pioneers program, Mr. Ajoku worked for the New York City Charter School Center, completing a policy paper on public financing for district schools and charter schools. Before attending graduate school, he taught fourth grade in Houston, Texas as a corps member in the Teach for America program. Mr. Ajoku received a Masters in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and his BA in Economics from the City College of New York.

Stephanie Altman

Stephanie Altman worked in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Prior to working in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ms. Altman was a Law Fellow at the Environmental Law Institute, where she worked as part of the Liberia Forest Initiative to inform the development of Liberia's new wildlife law and Forest Management Contract. Prior to her career as an attorney, Ms. Altman worked in West Africa for four years where she was a Field Team Leader working to assist refugees seeking admission to the United States Refugee Resettlement Program and served as an Agro-Forestry Extension Agent for the Peace Corps in Senegal. Ms. Altman graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School and received her BA from the University of Colorado.

Genevieve Barrow worked in the Ministry of Health

Ms. Barrow received a Masters in Biostatistics from the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh and is currently completing a Masters of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences with a Certificate in Evaluation of Public Health Promotion and Health Education. She is a public health professional and has worked as a statistician for the Epidemiology Data Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Barrow previously volunteered on a health needs and assessment program in the Kala Refugee Camp in Zambia where she conducted in person interviews, surveys and focus group discussions among women and girls. Her research interests include global health program design, implementation, and evaluation of global health programs, as well as health policy and international development.

Oona Burke worked at the Ministry of Commerce.

At the Ministry of Commerce, she primarily handled the implementation of marketing and public awareness campaigns around strategic commodities, facilitated export marketing and promotion projects, and managed the Ministry's conferences and exhibitions that engage the Liberian private sector. Ms. Burke handled an array of projects for the Ministry of Commerce including reporting in on the status of the Ministry's deliverables under Liberia's Poverty Reduction Strategy and served as primary liaison between the Minister and external organizations. Before serving as a fellow, Ms. Burke most recently worked as a Marketing and Sourcing Manger at GCC: Careers in Africa in London. She received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago.

Idella Cooper worked as a Special Assistant on Economic Affairs to Cllr. Philip A. Z. Banks, the Minister of Justice. At the Ministry of Justice, she worked on several high profile prosecution cases and sat as a proxy on the board of the Liberia Electricity Corporation. Ms. Cooper also worked on timber sales contracts and other concession agreements, mainly focused on agriculture. She worked closely with the National Investment Commission, the Forest Development Agency, and the European Union. Ms. Cooper also worked on immigration law reform and the development of a sexual gender based violence court for sex crimes.

Ms. Cooper most recently worked as an Immigration and Family Lawyer for the African Services Committee in New York City. Before joining the African Services Committee, Ms. Cooper worked on commercial litigation at Cox, Padmore, Skolnik and Shakarchy LLP. She received her JD from Fordham University and her BA in Political Science from Columbia University.

Vishal Gujadhur

Vishal Gujadhur served as special assistant to the Minister of Finance.

He comes to Liberia from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of International Affairs in Washington, DC. As a staff economist, he provided analysis and recommendations to Treasury officials on international economic policy, with a portfolio including China, the Philippines and Malaysia. Previously, he has worked in the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of UNDP Indonesia, at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and as a journalist in China. Vishal has a BA in economics from Wesleyan University and an MPA in International Development from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Eva Mappy Morgan
Eva Mappy Morgan

Eva Mappy Morgan serves as a Deputy Minister of Justice for Administration and Public Safety. She is working on several high profile prosecution cases, along with the Rule of Law initiative and issues surrounding adoption. Ms. Mappy Morgan also works on immigration law reform and the development of a sexual gender based violence court for sex crimes. She sits as a proxy on the board of the National Housing Authority and of the JFK Medical Center. She also works on sales contracts and other concessions agreements focused on agriculture and oil exploration.

Ms. Mappy Morgan is an attorney with over a decade of legal, corporate and banking experience. She has been involved in performance improvement for several years and has extensive knowledge in facilitation, coaching, policy and training development. She also has lots of experience in research and organizational management, coupled with grant writing and capacity building amongst grassroots organizations. Ms. Mappy Morgan graduated from the University of Liberia with a BA in Political Science, and a Bachelor of Law from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia. She studied Insurance at the West African Insurance Institute and earned her Masters of Law from Harvard University.

Robtel Pailey
Robtel Pailey

As special
assistant for communications in the Ministry of State/Office of the President, Robtel Neajari Pailey was responsible for monitoring Goverment development agendas, especially related to the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, and developing a database. She performed other duties including speechwriting, managing the Executive website and studio for audio and video broadcasts, editing a weekly Executive e-newsletter, managing the content for the Executive Notes magazine, analyzing and summarizing relevant ministerial documents, liaising with news media, and attending Cabinet meetings and official meetings.

A published writer and activist, Ms. Pailey has appeared in Africa Today, Red Pepper Magazine, Pambazuka News, The Washington Informer, Clamor Magazine, Port of Harlem Magazine,, Global Woman, Liberian Analyst, Black Star News, Sea Breeze Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings, Mano Vision, and From the Slave Trade to Free Trade. She is Liberian and holds a Masters degree in African Studies from the University of Oxford, and undergraduate degrees in African Studies and English Literature from Howard University.

Timothy Paulus served as the Special Advisor to the Minister of youth and Sports on Youth Development issues. His portfolio included implementing a women's economic empowerment program, serving as the focal point for the Ministry with donors, and working with the Federation of Liberia Youth. He successfully initiated the first ever youth conference bringing together 350 Liberians and served as Coordinator for the National Adolescent Girls Working Group, among other things.

Mr. Paulus holds a Masters degree in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Timothy also obtained a Graduate certificate in International relations from the University of Oslo and an advanced certificate in Conflict Resolution from the European Peace University. He holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration. Timothy has extensive experience in supervision, coordination, logistics and administration. He remained in Liberia during the 14 years of war and worked with internally displaced persons, war-affected youth, and ex-combatants. Before studying at Notre dame, Mr. Paulus was nominated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to serve as Assistant Minister-Designate for Youth Services at the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Liberia.

Chelsea Payne served as a Special Advisor to the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks, on Rule of Law. Her work included policy and case management, a Sexual and Gender Based Violence Crimes Prosecution Unit, public awareness regarding justice issues, and reforming juvenile justice, the Human Rights Unit, the prison system and adoption law.


Chelsea Payne is a Rhodes Scholar and admitted Barrister and Solicitor from New Zealand. Ms. Payne has completed Masters degrees in Law and African Studies at the University of Oxford and is working towards a Doctorate in Politics. Previously, she has interned for the United Nations Development fund for Women in Liberia, the Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor, and worked as a Judge's clerk in the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

Belinda Richards

Belinda Richards is worked in the Bureau of Concessions, a specialist unit of the Ministry of Finance, where she is assisting with monitoring compliance of the non-fiscal terms of Liberia’s concession agreements as well as the Bureau’s ongoing activities.

Mrs. Richards is trained and qualified as a lawyer in Australia. She holds an LLM with a specialization in comparative corporate law and international trade regulation and practiced in a commercial firm advising private equity and financial services clients. More recently, Belinda worked at the Boston College Institute for Responsible Investment and the Harvard University Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. She has also worked with the Oxfam America Private Sector Team and World Resources Institute. In these roles she worked with leading multinational corporations and investors exploring the role of the private sector in sustainable development including research on non-financial reporting, investing in small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries, and strategic advice to a major US foundation on the role of the private sector as a development actor in Africa.

Benjamin Spatz
Benjamin Spatz

Benjamin J. Spatz served as a special assistant to the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Honorable Ambulai B. Johnson, Jr.

Mr. Spatz previously served as a special assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Liberia focusing on developing Liberia's foreign policy posture on issues of post-conflict reconstruction, bi-lateral and multi-lateral relations, donor coordination and the structure of the Ministry and Liberian Foreign Service. Mr. Spatz liaised on behalf of the Ministry with national and international stakeholders. Mr. Spatz is a graduate of Georgetown University's Master of Science in Foreign Service program and holds bachelor degrees cum laude in international studies and philosophy from the University of Washington. Previously, Mr. Spatz worked with Eurasia Group in the Middle East and Africa Practice Group. In the field, he has worked with CHF International in Darfur and with the United Nations Office for Project Services in Liberia where he served as a UN election observer. Mr. Spatz is a photojournalist and his award-winning photographs have appeared in national venues.

Emily Stanger

Emily Stanger worked as a Special Advisor to the Minister of Gender and Development on Policy, Programs, and Planning. Her portfolio included serving as a focal point in the Nike/World Bank Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls Project, planning a National Rural Women's Conference, and has helped develop the Ministry's three year PRS work plan, among other tasks.

Ms. Stanger comes to Liberia following her work advising Cherie Blair on sector needs and program feasibility for the new Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. Ms. Stanger recently completed her MPA in International Development at Harvard Kennedy School where she received the Jane Mansbridge Research Award for her policy analysis of women's role in the Liberian economy. During the summer of 2007, she interned for Minister Gayflor in the Ministry of Gender and Development in Liberia, and prior to her graduate studies, Ms. Stanger worked as a women's advocate at a domestic violence shelter in Texas. She has conducted research and volunteered in Ecuador, El Salvador, and Mexico and holds a bachelors degree in theology and economics from Boston College.

Norris Tweah
Norris Tweah

Norris Tweah is the chief of office staff and special assistant to the Minister of Information, Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh. His work focuses on writing project proposals, press releases, and attending meetings on behalf of the Minister. Mr. Tweah also helps develop communication strategies for the Liberian government and the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and supervises all employees in the Minister's office.

Mr. Tweah worked for the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL). Currently, he is a member of the board of directors at Able and Willing, an international foundation that builds schools in Congo-Kinshasa, and is chairing the organization's exploratory initiative for a micro-finance project to benefit urban women in Monrovia. He holds a BA in journalism and a MA in development administration from Western Michigan University. He received the Howard Wolpe African Field Research Award and the Zoa D. Shilling Award (twice) from Western Michigan University. Mr. Tweah also studied at the University of Liberia from 1995 to 1999.

Aqueelah Barrie
Aqueelah Barrie

Aqueelah Barrie worked with the General Administrator and senior management team at John F. Kennedy Hospital from February-September 2008. She was the Director of the Department of Social Welfare, and developed a new Department of Social Services from conception to implementation. The new department's focus was on the patient's medically related social, emotional, and financial needs. She was also on the admissions committee for the Nursing School and taught community health and sociology courses.

Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche served as a legal counsel in the Ministry of Finance from April 2008-April 2009.

Conor Hartman
Conor Hartman

Conor Hartman served as a special advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Honorable Ambulai B. Johnson, Jr. from June 2007-July 2008. The Ministry of Internal Affairs is responsible for the administration of local government from the county to the village level, urban planning and local development programs. Hartman worked with the Minister on issues including management reform in the central office, Liberia's decentralization policy and implementation planning, the Peacebuilding and Conflict Sensitive Working Group of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), and other issues as they surfaced.

Click here to read Mr. Hartman's report.

Dan Honig
Dan Honig

Dan Honig served as a special assistant to the Minister of Finance, the Honorable Antoinette Sayeh, from June 2007-July 2008. Mr. Honig's portfolio included helping to manage Liberia's Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Poverty Reduction Strategy process, funding agreements with international donors—bi-laterals, international financial institutions, the UN, and other policy initiatives. Mr. Honig assisted with advancing Liberia's debt relief process with international creditors, and performed other tasks as needed.

Click here to read Mr. Honig's final report.

Dan Hymowitz

Dan Hymowitz worked as a special assistant to Natty Davis, Minister of State without Portfolio and National Coordinator of the Liberia Reconstruction and Development Committee (LRDC); a donor coordination and policy planning unit in the Office of the President. He served as the LRDC representative to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Technical Support Team. He also worked closely with several nontraditional donors who are developing projects in Liberia.

Chara Itoka
Chara Itoka

Chara Itoka served as a special assistant to the Executive Director of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission, Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon Barnes from June 2007-December 2008. She assisted in the development of a mandate which broadened policy directives, protocols, standards and overall impact. She served as an advisor on the design of development, relief, rehabilitation, refugee, returnee and internally displaced persons (IDP) programs. Ms. Itoka worked to achieve effective networking, coordination of programs and operations, and promotion of joint programming with relevant partners. She also assisted the Program Officer in implementing the Commission's program activities of relief assistance.