Co-Founder & Executive Director
For much of her life, Deirdre has been pre-occupied with issues of fairness, justice, legitimacy and peace. As a specialist in conflict and development, fragile states and identity-based politics, Deirdre is constantly seeking new ways to empower at risk communities.
Deirdre’s professional experience was grounded in countries and peoples affected by war and instability. Early on, she led a major international research project on reconstruction and peacebuilding in Lebanon for the Canadian Government (post-Taif). In post-Soviet Ukraine, she led the production of the first country-level Human Development Report (UNDP). In post-genocide Rwanda, she facilitated broad-based, multi-year consultations to inform the first ever United Nation’s Common Country Assessment and Development Assistance Framework. In 2001, she was architect and author of the first ever Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Country Report (Tanzania). For her doctoral research on collective identity and conflict transformation, she spent a year living and teaching in the Bourj al Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon. Along the way, she served on the Executive Committee of the Middle East Working group, the boards of three NGOs working with refugees and women’s organizations, and facilitated the start-up of two educational NGOs working with vulnerable groups in the Middle East.
Through her experiences managing and evaluating development programmes in difficult contexts, Deirdre saw how the field environment was shot through with organizational constraints that precluded deep situational awareness and politically-informed action. Evidence-based programming and policy became another obsession. More recently, Deirdre spent five years as director of research with The SecDev Group, exploring how new media and cyberspace were fundamentally altering the landscapes of political, social and economic action. Then, she co-founded The SecDev Foundation, an institution dedicated to building a better world through open empowerment, and to exploring the practical links between conflict, development and resilience.
- Armed Violence Reduction: Enabling Development (OECD)
- Peace for Lebanon? From War to Reconstruction
- War to Peace Transitions (Canadian Peacebulding Coordinating Committee)
Jing Dou, CPA CMA
Financial Controller and Compliance Officer
A member of the Canadian CPA CMA and an International Associate at the American Institute of CPA, Jing has been working in financial functions for non-profits for five years. Prior to this, Jing worked in a business environment, while also gaining an MBA degree. With the Foundation, Jing hopes to maintain sound financial controls and compliance management, thus ensuring the organisation can fulfill its overall mandate and can continue to enjoy funding from partners.
Wanting to help reach at-risk people, Berker sees his work at the Foundation as an opportunity to build functional and accessible websites offering great user experiences across media for audiences in challenging circumstances. Berker is very determined to deliver comprehensive, lasting web solutions that meet project requirements and truly engage our beneficiaries. Understanding that web is a major vehicle for connecting with hard to reach audiences caught by conflict, Berker brings a passion and curiosity to his work that is rooted in his studies in Computer Engineering and Interactive Multimedia Design.
Berker values simple, functional and minimalist UX/User Experience, while also enjoying creating other web-based and multimedia content. Berker also supports open source projects and advocates open standards in technology.
Project & Financial Officer
Jesus Rivera is an experienced multimedia designer having worked for nine years in audiovisual production. He was attracted to the SecDev Foundation by the possibility to use his passion for applied arts to projects the could really change geopolitical environments, particularly in conflict zones.
Jesus is an award winning photographer and multimedia designer.
Director, Strategic Communications
Alicia researches how we shape — and are shaped — by a changing information space. As the Director of Strategic Communications at The SecDev Foundation, Alicia develops campaigns and strategies for engaging beneficiaries in outreach and behavioural change. Her work includes developing a training program that deals with verifying information and the spread of content online, and has supported projects in the Middle East and the post-Soviet space.
In presenting on the Age of (Dis)information and Participatory Propaganda, Alicia has participated in events at Wilton Park, the Hedayah Centre, Oxford and Ryerson Universities, Whitehall, and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, among others.
SalamaTech, Director of Outreach & Partnerships
At the heart of it, Anwar wants to help people help themselves. Working for 12 years in the Syrian development sector, Anwar’s focus has been on empowering marginalized people. He brings a passion and faith to his work, and in turn, finds this experience fulfilling. In working with The Foundation, Anwar supports people to have their voice heard and access information that enables them to be in charge of their own lives.
As the CEO of SOS Children’s Villages Syria, Anwar introduced a widely acclaimed family-strengthening program to prevent child abandonment in at risk communities in Syria. Anwar has also worked for the British Council in Syria and the International Labour Organization. Anwar has lived and worked in Europe, Asia and North America.
Below are examples of Anwar’s work:
SalamaTech, Field Team Manager
Nada builds and empowers networks of non-profit beneficiaries, particularly supporting women, youth and civil society in the Middle East. Focusing on strategic communications, Nada empowers these groups by developing training material and providing mentorship on how to more effectively reach target audiences, helping at-risk groups be heard.
A Syrian by birth, Nada enjoys delving into different cultures and becoming an integral part of wherever she lives. Nada sees learning as a way to better understand the world. In addition to her work with The Foundation, Nada has enjoyed past experience with the IRCICA in Istanbul, Turkey.
Abdulrahman al-Masri, a native of Damascus, Syria, is a journalist and analyst based in Ottawa, Canada, focusing on politics and events in the Middle East, particularly the war in Syria and regional conflicts. His work has been published in local and international news outlets, such as Syria Direct, USA Today, The Arab Weekly, and Middle East Monitor, among others. See examples of Abdulrahman’s work
Digital Report, Project Manager
Vadim Dryganov has a long history of collaboration with Rafal Rohozinski and The SecDev Foundation. Starting from 2003, Vadim participated in Rafal’s joint research projects, and later, those of the Foundation as the National Coordinator of programs in Belarus. Having background in law, Vadim’s field of expertise is research in legal regulation of information technologies. Vadim has authored a number of scientific publications as well as a book «Digital Age and Law: On the Way to Information Society».
Vadim is an experienced manager: he ran several Belorussian NGOs and was a director of several IT-companies. In 2010, Vadim was invited to participate in the creation of an Educational High-Tech Park that has become one of the leading centers of informal education in the Republic of Belarus.
Today, Vadim Dryganov supervises and coordinates Digital Report, a media source that covers the digital dynamics vigorously changing Eurasian countries: from electronic government services and international information wars, to legislative changes and market tendencies in the IT industry.
Michael L. Gray is Project Manager of the Vietnam Project, an effort focused on helping to support digital safety in Vietnam. Previously, Michael worked for over 12 years in Vietnam in a variety of research, project management and communications roles. Most recently, he was the Communications and Investor Relations Manager for VinaCapital Group, a fund management company. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from McGill University, and a Master’s in Southeast Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
OpenNet Eurasia, Regional Coordinator
Tattu leads SecDev Foundation work in the Commonwealth of Independent States. She is recognized as an influential thought leader on issues of media law, privacy, telecommunications regulation, and internet governance in the Eurasian region.
As director of the Kyrgyzstan-based Civil Initiative for Internet Policy (CIIP), Tattu has led national and regional processes and redrafting of legislation on lawful intercept, independent media and privacy. She served as an advisor to three Kyrgyz presidents, and has co-convened workshops and executed projects with a wide range of stakeholders including the regional communications committee (RCC) of the CIS, OECD, UNDP, UNESCO, USAID, Google, NED, NESsT, US Department of State, EU Commission, OSI, InfoDev, Hivos, and others.
From 2001 to 2006, Tattu was central to the establishment of the Global Internet Policy Initiative, a network of 15 organizations throughout Eurasia that assisted governments in drafting legislation necessary for the growth and expansion of access to the internet and freedom to communicate online. Tattu was a regional coordinator for the OpenNet Initiative from 2003 to 2014.
Tattu is currently the regional director for the OpenNet Eurasia Project, directing the work of 11 regional partners. A practicing lawyer, Tattu is a graduate of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA).
When she is not working (rarely), Tattu is a proud mother of five children.
Below are examples of Tattu’s work:
SalamaTech, Measurement & Evaluation Officer
Alison has a background in international development and public health, with experience working in the United States, Canada, and throughout the Middle East. She joined the SalamaTech team to apply her skills in project management and support the project’s partners who are champions for peace and human rights in Syria.
Co-Founder & Senior Fellow
Rafal’s career coincided with the global expansion of the internet, a process that he helped accelerate in the 1990s, as he worked with the United Nations across Asia, the former Soviet Union, Middle East, and Africa. For much of his professional life, Rafal’s only permanent address contain an “@” sign.
Rafal is the co-founder and CEO of The SecDev Group where he leads a talented team of technologists and analysts in applying advanced analytical systems and techniques to answer some of the world’s most difficult challenges. Rafal is a passionate student of how cyberspace is rewriting the social contract between individuals, institutions and states. He is actively involved in academia and is recognized as a thought leader for his work in cyber security, cyber strategy and the tele-geography of conflict. Over the past two decades, Rafal co-founded pathbreaking projects including the United Nation’s Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP), the OpenNet Initiative, and the Information Warfare Monitor. He was a co-founder of Psiphon Inc, a leader in circumvention technology, and served as its CEO from 2008-2013. He served as a Senior Visiting Fellow with the Munk School of Global Affairs, and is currently Senior Fellow with the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, and remains engaged with research activities at the University of Oxford, Moscow University and MIT. He sits on the advisory boards of Access Now, Canadian International Council and the Canadian Association of Defense and Security Industries. Previously he served as the Chair of the advisory boards of the Estonian E-Governance Academy and the Citizen Lab.
Rafal co-founded The SecDev Foundation to ensure that advanced research, technology and access to information benefits the broader community, and that critical global issues like individual privacy and surveillance are subject to an informed public debate. He passionately believes in the importance of hard-won liberties, the rights of individuals and communities to self empowerment through knowledge, and the responsibility of community security.
Examples of Rafal’s work are below:
- Cyberspace & Open Empowerment in Latin America
- Access Contested: Security, Identity and resistance in Asian Cyberspace
- The New Reality of Cyber War
- Stuxnet and the Future of Cyber War
- Liberation vs. Control: The Future of Cyberspace
- Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace
- Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network
- Shadows in the Cloud: Investigating Cyber Espionage 2.0
- Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering
- Cyclones in Cyberspace: Information Shaping and Denial in the 2008 Russia-Georgia War
- Risking Security: Policies and Paradoxes of Cyberspace Security
Co-Founder & Senior Fellow
Beyond his role with The SecDev Foundation, Robert is also a principal of the SecDev Group; director of research of the Brazil based Igarape Institute, and senior lecturer at the Instituto de Relações Internacionais, Singularity University, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, the Center for Conflict, Development and Peace at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland, the Kroc School for Peace Studies at the University of San Diego and the University of Oxford. In 2013 he was named one of the top 100 most influential people in violence reduction and his work on new technology has been featured in the BBC, CNN, Globe and Mail, Guardian, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Wired. He also writes regular columns for the Atlantic, CBC, Huffington Post and o Globo.
Below are examples of Robert’s work:
- No Refuge: The Crisis of Refugee Militarization in Africa
- Stabilization Operations, Security and Development: States of Fragility
- Relocation Failures in Sri Lanka
Alexander was attracted to international relations, conflict and the Middle East at an early age, devouring books on these topics in elementary and high school. For the past ten years he has built on this passion for understanding and applied his curiosity in his undergraduate and graduate studies, as a journalist focusing on mining, oil and gas, a political commentator and now, Lead Analyst with SecDev.
A frequent contributor to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Sada journal, Alexander has written for a number of publications including Foreign Affairs and The Globe and Mail, commenting on issues including maritime security, counter-terrorism, preventing violent extremism, religious radicalism, conflict management, security sector reform and his favorite topic, Lebanese politics and Hezbollah. Alexander previously worked with The NATO Association of Canada where he held the position of Senior Middle East Analyst. He now blends this knowledge of politics and security with that of the cyber domain, leading a group of technologists and analysts in the creation of social media collection tools and the production of OSINT- and SOCMINT-based reports. Alexander holds both a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto and also studied conflict management at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Below are examples of Alexander’s work:
- The Houthi Hezbollah
- Hezbollah is Learning Russian
- The Syrian Conflict and Sunni Radicalism in Lebanon
SalamaTech, Digital Safety Expert
Oussama cares deeply about democracy, civil society and human rights. Holding a graduate degree in Telecommunications Engineering (Damascus U) and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany), Oussama has for past three years devoted most of his engineering and technology skills to support peace-building efforts in Syria. Oussama is passionate about capacity-building for fledgling Syrian civil society organizations, especially in the areas of information integrity, digital safety and security, and institutional policy development. He looks forward with hope to the day when these issues will be at the top of the agenda for Syrians writ large.
Camino was drawn to The SecDev Foundation by its efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, responding to emerging challenges through a blend of technology, great minds and dynamism. In particular, issues related to contemporary warfare, organized crime and corruption interest Camino.
A Non-Resident Senior Fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC), Camino is also a Senior Advisor to ICT4 Peace and to the New York-based National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) where she has developed an annual round table series on cybersecurity and US foreign policy.
Camino has also worked as a Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and Citizen Lab, and is currently pursuing a PhD at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, focusing on cyberspace and transformation of strategic affairs. Of both Spanish and Irish origin, Camino now splits her time between New York, London and Bamako, Mali. She is a seasoned world traveller and occasionally finds time for fun in the midst of her work, such as completing a half marathon on the Great Wall in China.
Below are examples of Camino’s work:
Arnav hopes to build awareness of issues covered by The SecDev Foundation, supporting activities and fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Arnav enjoyed a lengthy working relationship with The SecDev Group before joining The Foundation as a Research Fellow. Beginning with a small 4-person startup, Arnav helped grow The SecDev Group into a recognized international leader, as the company’s Director of Business Development. Arnav is currently the Director of Operations with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute and Director of Programs with the Canadian International Council’s Montreal branch. Arnav holds an M.A. in Political Science from McGill.
Below are examples of Arnav’s work:
Eleanor was attracted to The Foundation for its work on peace, security and development.
With a PhD in international politics, Eleanor is a Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies and a member of its Academic Committee as well as Research Associate with the department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS).
Eleanor also runs a private consultancy with clients including the UN, EU and British, Irish and German governments, respectively. Fieldwork has taken Eleanor to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Nepal, Timor-Leste, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
Below are examples of Eleanor’s work:
Tore’s aim in working with The Foundation is to leave a small contribution towards not having a fast-changing world go off-track, when it need not.
Tore has enjoyed four decades of field experience in development, conflict, security and peace building. Tore has worked as UN Resident Coordinator in Algeria, Mali and Rwanda, as well as on many assignments with Interpeace. A co-founder of EPES Mandala consulting, Tore was involved in peace and disarmament work in Mali, lighting the first Flame of Peace in Timbuktu in March 1996 celebrating the end of the Tuareg-Arab rebellion. While having enjoyed much field experience, Tore cautions those who believe “one day in the field is worth four days of desk study.” Few things excite Tore more than having a Eureka! moment within the first week of a field assignment, (but no sooner than Day 4, as that is suspicious!). A Norwegian citizen, Tore is a graduate of Leeds University and Harvard Business School. He began his career as manager in an American multinational corporation in Africa and has also worked on transnational corporations at the UN. Tore continues to nurse a romantic notion that settling down in Ireland will be the perfect solution to a footloose life.
Examples of Tore’s work are below:
- Policy, Decentralization, and the Exercise of Authority in Aid Organizations
- Designing Community Security Programmes: Getting to the ‘How’
- “The Programme for Coordination and Assistance for Security and Development in West Africa (PCASED)” presented at the Oslo Conference on Regional Small Arms Moratoria and published in A Moratorium on Light Weapons in West Africa, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.
A DPhil candidate at Oxford’s new Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security, Greg is interested in Chinese cyber espionage targeting civil society networks, and has worked extensively with Tibetan NGOs in the field in South Asia.
Greg coordinated the primary field-based research for the GhostNet and the ShadowNet investigations in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Office and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamsala, India, where he worked with a team that uncovered global cyber espionage botnets operating out of China, and penetrating the United Nations, NATO, governments, diplomatic missions, and civil society computers all over the world. Greg has been the SecDev Fellow at the Citizen Lab based at the Munk Centre, University of Toronto, and is a graduate of the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford (International Relations and Security Studies).
Julian was drawn to the The SecDev Foundation by the opportunity to help vulnerable communities in areas of fragility and support open empowerment through technology. Before joining the Foundation as a Research Fellow, Julian enjoyed a long working relationship with The SecDev Group.
Julian has conducted extensive field research in areas of security, policy, diaspora, and urban violence. His work and research has spanned Europe, Eurasia and Asia, and covers a range of topics from cyber and all-source intelligence to security and social policy, across themes of political violence and terrorism, identity-driven conflict, violent radicalization, and far-right extremism.
Julian’s work has been published in multiple languages and featured in the Small Wars Journal, Council on Foreign Relations, Canadian Global Affairs Institute, Newsweek, and Digital.Report, among others. Julian holds an MPhil from the University of St Andrews where he was a Ransome Scholar and an HBA from the Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.
Below are examples of Julian’s work:
- Charting Out the Digital Ecosystem of Gangs in the U.S. and Mexico
- New Era In Eurasia: The Dawn Of Digital Politics
- Open Empowerment: From Digital Protest to Cyber War
Antoine was drawn to The Foundation by the opportunity to apply high value, low-density research and tech assets towards addressing diverse social and political problems.
The quintessential gentleman adventurer, Antoine loves travel. Among his many global trips was a trek from Africa’s gold coast to the Sahara desert in 6 days by land, river and camel. Antoine has a background in identity politics, critical theory, international development and globalization. He has worked, studied and volunteered around the world, including in West Africa, Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Below are examples of Antoine’s work:
- Strategic Communications & narco cultura in Mexico’s War on Drugs
- Why Mexican drug cartels are mastering social media on the CBC
- Narcotraficantes usan las redes sociales para presumir su vida criminal on Mundo Fox