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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 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.


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 a Professor of the Practice of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


Catherine Garson

Blog Editor

Catherine Garson is an editorial consultant, advanced writing mentor, and communication coach. In all the services she offers, she helps people express themselves and their ideas with clarity and precision. She works with individuals and groups from organizations in the public and private sectors, and academia. Her list of top-notch clients includes international development organizations, think tanks, research institutes, and universities. In a career spanning over thirty years, she has acquired her high-level skills as a communication and language specialist through teaching and tutoring, writing and editing, and translating. Based in Madrid, she speaks Spanish and French. She also spends time in South Africa, her home country.


Marion Shill 

Finance Director

Marion Shill is a Chartered Accountant from Glasgow, Scotland who has lived in Calgary, Alberta for the past thirty years. She has a background in audit and insolvency work, but her most recent professional experience has been in the not for profit sector, working specifically with cultural and post-secondary educational organizations. She has been the Chief Financial Officer of the Glenbow Museum and most recently the Alberta University of the Arts.


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.


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


Completed Projects

Current Projects







Sierra Leone



Congo (DRC)

Central African Republic



South Africa




Bosnia and Herzegovina




Northern Ireland


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