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WHO
WE
ARE

Our Team

Cheyanne Scharbatke- Church

Executive Director

Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church is a scholar-practitioner with a lifelong interest in governance processes that have run amuck. She has significant experience working on issues related to peacebuilding, governance, accountability and learning across the Balkans and West and East Africa. For fifteen years, Cheyanne taught program design, monitoring and evaluation in fragile contexts at the Fletcher School. Prior to that she was the Director of Evaluation for Search for Common Ground and Director of Policy at INCORE. She has had the privilege of working in an advisory capacity with a range of organizations such as ABA/ROLI, CDA, ICRC, IDRC, UN Peacebuilding Fund and the US State Department. She can be commonly found in the Canadian Rockies with her fierce daughters and gem of a husband.

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Diana Chigas

CJL Co-Director

Diana is a Co-Director at The Corruption, Justice and Legitimacy Program. She has worked with governmental and non-governmental organizations on systemic conflict analysis, and strategic planning, reflection and evaluation to improve the impact of peace programming. Diana has over 25 years of experience as a facilitator and consultant in negotiation and conflict resolution, as well as an advisor and evaluator of social change programming in conflict-affected countries, including in the Balkans, East Africa, South Africa, El Salvador, and Cyprus, as well as with organizations such as the OSCE and the United Nations. Diana has received her JD from Harvard Law School and MALD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She is the Senior International Officer and Associate Provost at Tufts University and a Professor of the Practice of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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Peter Woodrow

Senior Advisor

Peter Woodrow serves as a Senior Advisor to Besa Global. He has been a leading thinker in the application of systems thinking concepts and tools to context analysis and program design in peacebuilding and anti-corruption. Woodrow was the Executive Director of CDA Collaborative Learning Projects from 2013 to 2017 and the Co-Director of CDA’s Reflecting on Peace Practice Program (RPP) from 2003 to 2013. In 2018, with co-author Diana Chigas, Peter published Adding Up to Peace, the result of ten years of RPP research on how peacebuilding efforts create momentum towards peace. Prior to joining CDA, Peter was a Partner at the mediation organization CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado. He is an experienced mediator, facilitator, and conflict resolution trainer. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and a BA from Oberlin College.

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Lara Olson

Team Lead, Conflict Sensitivity in Anti-Corruption

Dr. Lara Olson’s work has combined practitioner-focused learning, evaluation, and university-based teaching and research, with area expertise on the post-Soviet states and the Balkans. A developmental evaluator with civil society peacebuilding programs in the Caucasus since 2014, she recently was part of an evaluation of the OSCE’s dialogue projects in Ukraine. Her research has focused intensively on peacebuilding coordination and complex systems, and she co-directed a joint University of Calgary & Institute of World Affairs project on mission-wide coordination effectiveness, with Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Liberia cases. While based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1990s, Lara directed the original phase of the Reflecting on Peace Practice project as well as worked with the Harvard Program on Negotiation, the Consensus Building Institute, and the Conflict Management Group on research and practical interventions to address ethnic conflicts in the post-Soviet states, most extensively on the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict. She recently completed her doctorate in International Relations at Oxford, and has an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. in Political Science from UBC in her hometown of Vancouver.

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Jared Miller

Senior Associate

Jared is a Senior Associate with CJL. Jared has more than seven years of experience as a practitioner and researcher focused on peacebuilding, corruption, and governance issues. Outside of his work with CJL, Jared is also pursuing his PhD in International Relations at The Fletcher School at Tufts University with a focus on how to strengthen accountable governance in contexts of systemic corruption. Jared is also a Fellow with the Institute for Human Security and a Research Assistant with the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University. Previously, Jared worked in Nigeria for Search for Common Ground on issues ranging from human rights accountability and accountable governance to youth-led efforts to counter violent extremism.

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William L. Baliko

Communications and Project Officer

William L. Baliko has always had a natural talent and lifelong passion for visual literacy and visual communication, which he has turned into a career in Marketing and Communications. With over three years of experience and over five years of volunteerism in student association governance and student-run societies, William has learned a variety of approaches to virtual, print, and hybrid media. Raised traveling throughout North America and South Korea, he grew up in the “global village” with an open mind and a love for every culture, nationality, and people group he lived with. William has found a great appreciation in working with marginalized groups, from Indigenous peoples to neurodivergent peers to immigrants from every continent. William has a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (Visual Studio Art) with an undeclared minor in Psychology/Neuroscience from the University of Lethbridge and a Transfer Diploma in Fine Art (Visual) and Education with a minor in English from Red Deer Polytechnic. When not traveling or working, William is often either in his art studio blacksmithing or in a “list” Marshalling and competing in Medieval Martial Arts tournaments.

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Jordan Arnold

Peace and Security Research Assistant

Jordan is a Peace and Security Research Assistant with Besa Global. Previously he has worked on projects on police jurisdiction issues, hate crime and social disorder, and mis/dis information with the Canadian Network on Information and Security. He has also attended a field school at the NATO Defense College, and participated as a youth delegate at the UN Defence and Peacekeeping Ministerial. Jordan is currently a Masters student at the Centre for Military, Security, and Strategic Studies. His thesis is focusing on international humanitarian law and the protection of LGBTQ people in conflict zones. He is also a co-creator of the Securityscape podcast based out of the Centre for Military, Security, and Strategic Studies.

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Alex Ralph

Blog Editor

Alex Ralph is the Editor of the Corruption in Fragile States Blog and is a lecturer at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, where he teaches expository writing and courses on storytelling through public policy. In addition to serving as editor of CJL’s Corruption in Fragile States Blog, he is at work on a novel set in 1970s Detroit.

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Dimitrios Georgiou

Website Manager

Dimitris Georgiou is a Website Manager at Besa Global. He served the Hellenic Army for 17 years in various positions. In the last 8 years, he worked HMoD in the IT department with the role of Team Lead & Solutions. In 2006 he graduated from Hellenic Military Academy. He holds an MBA and MSc in Data Science in Finance from Athens Economic University, Greece.

 

Besa was founded in 2008 by Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church as a home for her peacebuilding evaluation practice. In its early years, in addition to project evaluations, the organisation developed a ‘whole of organisation’ approach to maximizing programmatic effectiveness in contexts of fragility and conflict. Working as advisors, partners, and technical assistants, Besa’s team successfully worked with a wide range of organizations such as Canada’s International Development Research Centre, Revenue Watch Institute, and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. After witnessing the critical role corruption plays in undermining peace and development outcomes, Besa expanded its focus to include applying evaluative processes to anti-corruption efforts. Besa rebranded to Besa Global in 2022 to support our growth after almost a decade and a half of working to increase the effectiveness of social change efforts.

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Our Story

What's in a Name?

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“Besa,” in Albanian cultural tradition, means keeping faithful to a promise. Originally conveyed through oral tradition, besa became codified in Albanian customary law, the Kanun, in the 15th century. It holds trust as the highest currency, one which cannot be bought or sold. The name represents our commitment to our values of integrity, excellence and learning in all our work and conduct

Where
We
Work

Completed Projects

Current Projects

Philippines

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Calgary,

Canada

Boston,

USA

Sierra Leone

Liberia

Uganda

Congo (DRC)

Central African Republic

Rwanda

Burundi

South Africa

Nigeria

Madagascar

Kosovo

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Serbia

Jordan

Lebanon

Northern Ireland

Philippines

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