United States

Leadership

Brian Smith

Brian Smith is the Vice President of Finance and Operations at Promundo.

He previously worked as the Vice President of Operations at CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity) in Washington D.C. Brian held leadership roles at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., where he was instrumental in its growth from a small garage theatre to the national epicenter of challenging new plays. Before joining CHANGE, Brian served as Chief Administrative Officer for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (UUCA). Brian holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from George Mason University and is pursuing his MBA at the University of Maryland Global Campus.

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Gary Barker

Gary Barker, PhD, is a leading global voice in engaging men and boys in advancing gender equality and positive masculinities. He is the CEO and co-founder of Promundo-US, which has worked more than 10 years in nearly 40 countries.  He is also co-founder of Instituto Promundo in Brazil, which began work on healthy masculinities and male allyship more than 20 years ago. Gary is co-founder of MenCare, a global campaign working in more than 50 countries to promote men’s involvement as caregivers, and co-founder of MenEngage, a global alliance of more than 700 NGOs. He co-created and leads the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), the largest-ever survey of men’s attitudes and behaviors related to violence, fatherhood, and gender equality. He is a co-author of the 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 State of the World's Fathers reports. He has advised the UN, the World Bank, numerous national governments, and key international foundations and corporations on strategies to engage men and boys in promoting gender equality. In 2017 he was named by Apolitical as one of the 20 most influential people in gender policy around the world. He is an Ashoka Fellow and received the Voices of Solidarity Award from Vital Voices for his work to engage men for gender equality. He holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology and a Research Affiliate position at the Center for Social Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal.

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Giovanna Lauro

Giovanna Lauro is the Vice President of Programs & Research at Promundo. She has worked for over fifteen years on the promotion of sexual reproductive health and rights and the prevention of gender-based violence through gender-transformative approaches - including a focus on transforming masculinities by engaging men and boys in partnership with women, girls and individuals of all gender identities. Prior to joining Promundo, Giovanna worked at the United Nations Foundation as Associate Director of the Women and Population Programme. She also worked on issues of diversity, race, and ethnicity at the London School of Economics, and researched harmful traditional practices at the University of Oxford, where she attained her doctorate in Political Science. Her previous degrees include a Master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a focus on Public Health, and a BA from the University of Bologna.

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Programs and Research

Mónica Zumalacárregui Martínez

Mónica Zumalacárregui Martínez joins Promundo-US as an intern in the Programs and Research department. Mónica arrives at the DC office with an interest in gender studies, and in particular, how to engage men in the fight for equality. Her previous work experience includes a nine-month internship at an immigration law firm tha dealt with family law and gender violence cases, as well as other criminal offenses. This experience helped her gain a broader understanding of the law and its enforcement. After finishing her Law Degree and her Master of Laws, she enrolled in the EMA Program, an interdisciplinary European Master in Human Rights and Democratization. She spent her first semester at the Global Campus in Venice and second semester at the University of Aristotle in Thessaloniki. During this time she wrote her thesis on involuntary soft sterilization for 'unfit mothers,' using a comparative approach between the American Eugenics of the 19th and 20th centuries and the Dutch proposal that was being discussed at the time. She found the topic of reproductive rights and the whole reproductive justice framework particularly interesting and is looking forward to engaging in further research on similar issues.

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Giovanna Lauro

Giovanna Lauro is the Vice President of Programs & Research at Promundo. She has worked for over fifteen years on the promotion of sexual reproductive health and rights and the prevention of gender-based violence through gender-transformative approaches - including a focus on transforming masculinities by engaging men and boys in partnership with women, girls and individuals of all gender identities. Prior to joining Promundo, Giovanna worked at the United Nations Foundation as Associate Director of the Women and Population Programme. She also worked on issues of diversity, race, and ethnicity at the London School of Economics, and researched harmful traditional practices at the University of Oxford, where she attained her doctorate in Political Science. Her previous degrees include a Master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a focus on Public Health, and a BA from the University of Bologna.

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Clara Alemann

Clara Alemann is the Director of Programs at Promundo. She is a gender specialist with over 15 years of experience in social science research, program design, implementation, and evaluation of governance and social development programs to advance gender equality. In the past decade her work has focused on the integration of gender and violence prevention within social development programs in the areas of early childhood development, youth development, sexual and reproductive health, parenting and caregiver support, as well as engaging men and boys in reproductive, maternal, and child health interventions. She recently led country portfolio reviews to assess the risks of large development projects to contribute to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), or other forms of gender-based violence (GBV). She has worked with international development organizations (the United Nations Development Programme, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank) and is a mentor of The Prevention Collaborative, where she developed tools, guidance, and research on the intersections of violence against women and children, as well as provides technical accompaniment to organizations seeking to strengthen their work on family violence prevention. Clara has a master’s degree in Public Policy from the School of International Public Affairs at Columbia University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires. She has worked in different countries in Latin America and Africa.

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Brian P. Heilman

Brian Heilman is a Senior Research Officer at Promundo, where his work focuses on preventing all forms of gender-based violence and achieving broader gender equality and social justice in the United States and around the world. Brian is a co-author of the State of the World’s Fathers 2017 and 2019 reports, the lead author of The Man Box study on harmful effects of rigid masculine norms in the US, UK, and Mexico, and a co-author of multiple reports using International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) data. Brian has particular program and research experience in South Asia and the United States, in addition to many other valuable opportunities worldwide. He holds a BA in English from Saint John’s University and an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

 

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Shamsi Kazimbaya

Shamsi Kazimbaya is a Senior Program Officer at Promundo. She coordinates technical assistance to the Young Men's Clubs Against Violence project in Kinshasa, DRC with the Living Peace Institute (LPI) and leads Promundo-US’s technical assistance to projects in East and Central Africa. Shamsi has more than 10 years of extensive experience in coordinating the implementation of policies and programs focusing on the promotion of gender equality, women’s rights, and gender integration in reproductive, maternal, and child health. Previously, Shamsi worked with the Society for Women and Aids in Africa (SWAA Rwanda) as the Executive Secretary for the Rwandan Chapter coordinating projects providing care and support to people affected by HIV and AIDS; with the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC) where she coordinated MenCare+ for three years, engaging men as equitable, nonviolent partners and caregivers in maternal, newborn, and child health and in sexual and reproductive health; and lastly with JHPIEGO – an affiliate of John Hopkins University – in the position of Gender Advisor for the Maternal and Child Survivor Program. Shamsi has a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development.

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Kristina Vlahovicova

Kristina is a Senior Research Officer at Promundo. She supports research initiatives across the organization. Kristina previously worked for an RCT testing the effectiveness of parenting interventions on early childhood development at NYU School of Medicine. She has also collaborated with the Parenting Project group of the WHO-led Violence Prevention Alliance in completing a series of systematic reviews of parenting programs to prevent and reduce child maltreatment. Kristina received her BA in Psychology and Sociology from Macalester College, and her MSc in Evidence-based Social Intervention from the University of Oxford.
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Deboleena Rakshit

Deboleena Rakshit is a Data & Research Officer at Promundo. She supports research across all Promundo's key areas of interest by contributing to data analysis, report writing, technical support to partners, and design and implementation of program monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools. Previously, Deboleena worked at Quest Alliance in India, working to equip underserved youth with 21st century employability skills. She received her MA in International Development, with a specialization in Development Economics, from Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and her BA in English Literature from Jadavpur University in India.

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Taveeshi Gupta

Dr. Taveeshi Gupta is the Director of Research, Evaluation and Learning at Promundo. Her expertise lies in understanding the role of gender norms in perpetuating violence against women and children, creating inequitable home and workplace environments, and reinforcing inter-generational transmission of harmful gender identities for boys and girls. At Promundo she has co-authored the State of the World’s Father's report in 2019, co-authored the Paid Leave in the Pandemic report in 2020, led the Bullying Crisis report in 2018, and co-authored several other technical reports on child marriage in Georgia and adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Rwanda. Taveeshi has been trained in rigorous mixed methodological research and is widely published. Before joining Promundo, she worked as an independent consultant with Overseas Development Institute, UNICEF ROSA, Plan International, and Harvard's Kennedy School in a variety of contexts globally, particularly South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She has a BA and MA in Psychology from University of Delhi, and a PhD in Developmental Psychology from New York University.
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Cody Ragonese

Cody Ragonese joins Promundo-US as a Senior Program Officer having previously supported the organization as Fellow where his work focused on masculinities, gender, and health. In his current role, he is primarily managing Promundo’s projects in the US domestic portfolio, as well as in the Middle East. As a Fellow, he worked on a range of gender transformative curricula development for adolescent boys and young men, as well as authored two of the reports in the “Making the Connections” series (Male Trauma and Men’s Health). Cody joined us from a program management role at Pact, where he supported a portfolio of projects across Southern Africa in the technical fields of health, democracy and governance, and integrated livelihoods. Cody’s interest in gender equity programming stems from his time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Eswatini. During his service, he led a variety of livelihoods and HIV-related programs for his community's youth. Along with Swazi counterparts, he also led a nationwide mentoring initiative for boys and young men aimed to foster healthy masculinities and gender equitable norms and attitudes at the household and community levels. Cody received his Master’s Degree in Public Health with a focus in M&E and Sex, Sexuality, and Gender from Boston University; and a BA in International Development from American University’s School of International Service.

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Communications

Damian Ashton

Damian Ashton is the Director of Communications and Campaigns at Promundo. He joins the organization with over ten years of marketing and content strategy experience, working in house and as a consultant across industries. He holds an undergraduate degree from Hampshire College where he studied Ethnography and Political Economy. In 2020 he completed a Masters degree in social impact design at the School of Visual Arts where he focused on design solutions to inspire healthy masculinity in men. Damian also has over 20 years of experience organizing around gender equity, which efforts have included working with boys and men to create PSA campaigns, develop educational curricula, facilitate ongoing discussion groups and mobilization around women's reproductive rights.

When not at work you can find Damian putting his energy into his record label, cooking at home or strolling around the nearest botanic garden.
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Roma Richardson

Xavienne-Roma Richardson is the Content Strategy and Editorial Associate at Promundo. She works with Promundo staff across departments to coordinate publication production and dissemination strategy. She also supports the communications team by writing and editing institutional and campaign communications. Previously, Xavienne-Roma worked as an Assistant Lecturer, teaching Communication Studies and other communications courses at the post-secondary level. She received her BA in Literatures in English, with a minor in Gender and Development Studies from the University of the West Indies, Mona.

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Business Development

Christopher Hook

Christopher Hook is a Senior Development Officer with Promundo-US, where he supports proposal writing, donor and funder relationships, and the Workplace Advisors portfolio. Previously, Chris worked with the World Health Organization, Save the Children, and USAID. Christopher received a MSPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2016, and a BA in French and International Relations from Kent State University.

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Operations

Brian Smith

Brian Smith is the Vice President of Finance and Operations at Promundo.

He previously worked as the Vice President of Operations at CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity) in Washington D.C. Brian held leadership roles at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., where he was instrumental in its growth from a small garage theatre to the national epicenter of challenging new plays. Before joining CHANGE, Brian served as Chief Administrative Officer for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (UUCA). Brian holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from George Mason University and is pursuing his MBA at the University of Maryland Global Campus.

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Victor H. Santillan, Jr.

Victor H. Santillan, Jr. is the Director of Finance at Promundo. He is responsible for all financial activities including grant and contract proposals, expense tracking and reporting, and all accounting activities including audits. Before joining Promundo, Victor served eight years as Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a leading organization in the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. Victor is the Board Treasurer of NovaSalud, a public health organization providing STD and HIV/AIDS services including sexual health education and free HIV testing in Northern Virginia. Victor has a BA in Accountancy from George Washington University.

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May-Mei Lee

May-Mei Lee is Promundo's Operations Manager and Human Resources (HR) Coordinator. She previously worked in administrative capacities for the fitness brand Doonya, the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, and within the arts and entertainment industries. May-Mei holds a BA in Dramatic Literature with minors in Creative Writing and Fine Arts from George Washington University.

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Fellows

Margaret Greene

Margaret Greene is a Senior fellow at Promundo. Margaret has worked for nearly 20 years on the social and cultural determinants of health, development policy, and gender. She is widely known for her research and advocacy on the conditions faced by girls in poor countries and on engaging men and boys for gender equality. In addition to directing GreeneWorks, a consulting group working to promote social change for health and development, Margaret is Secretary of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. Margaret has worked extensively to call global attention to child marriage and to highlight its linkages with education, health, and human rights. During the past 10 years, she has co-authored two volumes in the Girls Count series, and has conducted research on adolescent sexual and reproductive health for the World Bank, WHO, and USAID. Margaret received MA and PhD degrees in demography from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in linguistics from Yale University.

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Wayne Shields

Wayne Shields's background and professional expertise are in public health policy and gender. He has served on the boards of eight national and global health-related NGOs including Promundo, was President and CEO at the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals for 20 years, and has written or co-authored over 70 articles for journals and other publications on sexual and reproductive health and gender. He holds a master’s degree in public management and policy and a master’s certification in nonprofit management, both from Johns Hopkins University. He was the first male to earn a degree in women’s studies from Old Dominion University and earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature, also from Old Dominion University.

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Dean Peacock

Dean Peacock is a Senior Fellow at Promundo. Dean provides strategic leadership on a number of global initiatives, aiming to advance policy and programmatic solutions related to healthy masculinities, gender equality, and violence prevention. He is recognized as a global leader in efforts to engage men and boys in achieving gender equality. He has established and coordinated ground-breaking local, national, and global initiatives, and has contributed to policy shifts within national governments, the UN system, and amongst bilateral donors. He is the founder of the Men Overcoming Violence Youth Program, one of the first youth-focused domestic violence prevention initiatives in the U.S. and co-founder of MenEngage Alliance, a global alliance of more than 700 NGOs. Dean was also Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sonke Gender Justice, a multi-award winning international NGO – headquartered in South Africa – working in 25 countries to prevent gender-based violence and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. He has previously served as an advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and he currently serves on the jury for the International Gender Equality Prize. Dean has an Honors Degree in Development Studies from UC Berkeley, a Masters in Social Welfare from San Francisco State University, and is a candidate for an MSt in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University.

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Shereen El Feki

Shereen El Feki is the Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa at UNAIDS. She is the former Regional Director, Middle East, and North Africa at Promundo, where she led the International Men and Gender Equality Survey – Middle East and North Africa, a ground-breaking study of men, masculinities, and gender roles in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. She is the author of the award-winning Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World (Penguin Random House, 2013), a study of the intersection of sexuality, politics, religion, and economics across the Middle East and North Africa. Shereen is also an Associate Fellow of Chatham House, a TED Global Fellow, and a member of the advisory board of Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters. Shereen has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and a BSc from the University of Toronto.

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Kate Doyle

Kate Doyle is a Fellow at Promundo. She has more than ten years of experience as a leader, trainer, program developer, and researcher on issues of gender, masculinity, HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Her work focuses on the prevention of violence against women and children, unpaid care work, reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, and women's economic empowerment. She has a keen interest in working to institutionalize gender-transformative approaches within health and social services. Prior to joining Promundo, Kate worked for UNAIDS supporting the development and implementation of policies addressing gender equality and GBV within HIV prevention and response. Kate received a Masters degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Anthropology from McGill University.

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Michael Kaufman

Michael Kaufman is a Senior Fellow at Promundo. He is an educator and writer focused on engaging men and boys to promote gender equality and end violence against women. He is the co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, the international effort engaging men to end violence against women. Michael is the author or editor of seven books on gender issues, on democracy and development, as well as two novels. His articles have been translated into 15 languages. During the past three decades, he has worked in 45 countries, including extensively with the United Nations, numerous governments, NGOs, and universities. Michael previously taught at York University in Toronto, where he was Deputy Director of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Nikki van der Gaag

Nikki van der Gaag is a Senior Fellow at Promundo. She is an independent consultant who works on gender in development, with a particular focus on girls and on men and gender equality. She co-authored the first ever "State of the World’s Fathers" report in 2015. Her latest book is "Feminism and Men" (Zed Press, 2014). She has also authored "The No-Nonsense Guide to Women’s Rights" (New Internationalist/Verso, 2008), and six "State of the World’s Girls" reports for Plan International, including one on boys and gender equality. She is a member of the International Advisory Board for Young Lives, an Oxford University study on child poverty; director of Just Change UK; and an advisory trustee of the Great Men Initiative and New Internationalist magazine.

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Henny Slegh

Henny Slegh is a Senior Fellow at Promundo in the Great Lakes region in Africa. She has coordinated household surveys on gender equality for IMAGES in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Mali, as well as with ex-combatants in a demobilization and reintegration program in Rwanda. In Burundi and Eastern DRC, she designed and tested pilot programs for male and couple therapy groups that focused on the impact of war-related trauma on manhood, partner relations, and family management. Since 2003, she has worked as a researcher and lecturer in psychology and trauma counseling in Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC. She conducted several studies on the effects of war and post-conflict on masculinity and gender relations. She is a psychotherapist by training, holds a master’s degree in medical anthropology, and is a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research in the Netherlands.

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Ritxar Bacete González

Ritxar Bacete González is a Senior Fellow at Promundo. He is an independent consultant, educator, researcher, and activist focused on fatherhood and engaging men and boys to promote care, gender equality, and ending violence against women in Spain and Latin America. Along with Promundo and local partners, he is leading the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), a multi-country study of men and gender equality, in Spain. Ritxar specializes in the implementation, promotion, and coordination of institutional equality programs for men, like the program “Gizonduz” of the Basque Institute for Woman. In 2016 he coordinated the research "The Involvement of the Basque Fathers in the Upbringing of Children" for the Department of Employment of the Basque Government. He is also a member of the Network of Men for Equality in Spain. Ritxar is an anthropologist, social worker, master of gender research and coaching of people and teams, a specialist in development cooperation and applied economics, a writer about masculinities and gender, and above all, a father.

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Jane Kato-Wallace

Fellow

Jane Kato-Wallace is a Fellow at Promundo after having spent nearly ten years at Promundo as an organizational leader, trainer, researcher, project manager, and educator. She is an expert on gender equality, masculinities, sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health rights and services, and the prevention of violence against women and children. She is the co-author of several Promundo landmark curricula including the Very Young Adolescence 2.0 Program and Program P and has published several academic publications expanding the field of what we know "works" to engage men and boys and prevent violence. Jane received her MPH in Public Health from Columbia University and BA from American University.

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Carina Lupica

Carina Lupica is a Fellow at Promundo. She is an independent consultant and researcher who has worked for nearly 20 years on gender inequality and diversity. She has published several reports and articles on gender issues in labor market,  poverty and social inequality, family care policies, as well as masculinities in the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC).

Carina specialized in social science research, program design, implementation, and evaluation of policies in public and private sectors. She also has provided technical assistance to governments and organizations in the public and private sector to advance in gender equality, parenting and caregiver support, and engaging men in gender equality.

During the last 12 years, she has been senior consultant to International Organizations, such as International Labour Organization, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the United Nations Development Program, Inter-American Development Bank, and International Center for Research on Women. Previously, she worked in nonprofit organizations, think tanks, and government agencies in Argentina and Chile. 

Through Promundo, Carina conducted research projects with UN Women and IDB Invest in LAC countries. These projects were focused on cost-benefit assessment and fiscal impact to extend the fathers paid leave, and how-to private sector companies could promote men engagement in care and gender equality.  

Carina received a Master’s degree in Economic and Public Policy from the Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires,  and a BA in Political Science from the Catholic University of Cordoba, Argentina.

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Joseph Vess

Joseph Vess is a Fellow at Promundo where he focuses primarily on supporting and developing gender-transformative programs engaging men for gender equality. From 2012-2015 he was a Senior Program Officer at Promundo during which time he co-led the development of the original Living Peace curriculum in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi with the Promundo East Africa team. He also supported partnerships with the Young Men’s Initiative in the former Yugoslavia, Abaad in Lebanon, and a variety of programs in sub-Saharan African including in Senegal, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan. Currently, he lives in the Appalachian mountains of southwest Virginia where he supports student community engagement for the Appalachian Center for Civic Life at Emory & Henry College and manages a farm with his wife where they raise Katahdin sheep, chickens, vegetables, and black walnuts. In addition to his work with Promundo Joseph has supported or directed gender equality programs for Highlands Community Services, where he facilitated a gender-equitable fatherhood group with incarcerated fathers, and with Men Can Stop Rape and the DC Rape Crisis Center. He holds an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University and a BS in Journalism and Political Science from Northwestern University. He is currently in the sixth year of an intensive fatherhood training course directed by his son.

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