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2009 In Focus Archive: December 18, 2009

Adaku Uche Ekpo

Adaku Uche Ekpo works in international development managing Junior Achievement Worldwide's International strategic relationships with bilateral and multilateral organizations such as USAID, the US State Department, World Bank and United Nations and other NGOs. Prior to JA Worldwide®, she briefly worked as an attorney counseling small businesses and NGOs. Prior to that she worked with the US Department of Commerce Export Assistance Council as an advisor to small and medium sized businesses looking to export their products and services. She also worked as an intern consultant with Fate Foundation, Lagos Nigeria advising budding and aspiring entrepreneurs. Adaku has a Masters in Government/Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute, a law degree from the Ohio State University Moritz College of law and is admitted to practice law in the State of Maryland.  

Dr. Pamela Young

Dr. Pamela Young is the Senior Basic Education Advisor at Plan International for the US office. In this role she serves as a lead technical expert for Plan for programming and technical issues related to Educational Attainment, Quality Education, Youth Workforce Development and Early Childhood Care and Development.  She supports two major campaigns led by Plan - Learn Without Fear and Because I am a Girl.  Pamela also a member of the InterAgency Network for Education and Emergencies working group overseeing updates to the minimum standards as well as numerous working groups related to Early Childhood Care and Development.  Before coming to Plan, Pamela served as the Senior Technical Advisor for Education and Orphans and Vulnerable Children at CARE and was a member of the UNAIDS InterAgency Task Team on Education.  Prior to that she was with Oxfam GB where she worked on public health, livelihoods, shelter, governance, gender and education programs.  She held the positions of Country Program Manager for English-speaking Caribbean; Program Manager for the Aceh Emergency Response Project in Indonesia; and Governance and Education Program Coordinator in Tanzania; and Regional Policy and Advocacy Officer for  the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. While studying for her Masters and Doctoral Degrees in International and Comparative Education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, she was a Research Analyst on Gender Policies for the University's Center for the Education of Women and worked at the American University in Bulgaria as well as the American University in Armenia. Her doctoral studies are focused on curriculum development, educational policy, minorities and identity.

Samantha M. Constant

Samantha M. Constant is associate director of the Middle East Youth Initiative (MEYI) at the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings. Constant joined the Initiative at its early stages of development, and was a key player in building its intellectual foundation and advocacy platform over the years. Prior to her current position, Constant led community-based trainings with youth in Morocco and Sri Lanka on the use of media for development. Constant received her Masters of International Affairs: Middle East and North Africa Comparative and Regional Studies from the School of International Service, American University, Washington DC.

Marc Sommers

Marc Sommers has carried out research on war-affected youth and other issues in 20 war-affected countries (15 in Africa) over the past two decades. He is also an experienced program evaluator and has consulted for policy institutes and numerous United Nations, non-government, and donor agencies. He has published extensively on youth, child soldier, education, gender, conflict negotiation, urbanization, forced migration, human rights, security and coordination issues in war and post-war contexts. Countries and territories of particular research interest include Burundi, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Tanzania and Timor-Leste.

Sommers is a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the US Institute of Peace. He is also an Associate Research Professor of Humanitarian Studies in the Institute of Human Security at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. At USIP, Sommers is currently completing his seventh book, entitled Two Hundred Francs: Masculinity, Urbanization and the World of Rwandan Youth. Sommers will spend most of his time at USIP researching and writing about terror warfare, child soldiers and the role of pop culture icons in youth lives during and after Sierra Leone’s civil war.

Sommers received his PhD and MA in Anthropology from Boston University and his BA in History from the University of Michigan. His book, Fear in Bongoland: Burundi Refugees in Urban Tanzania, received the 2003 Margaret Mead Award.

Tim Cross

Mr. Cross is President of YouthBuild International and Chief Operating Officer of  YouthBuild USA.  He joined YouthBuild USA in 1996 holding several positions including VP of Field Services.

Founded in 1990, YouthBuild USA is the national nonprofit organization that has orchestrated the replication of the YouthBuild program model nationwide in hundreds of communities.  As a result of its work, 82,000 youth have produced 18,000 units of affordable housing in America’s poorest urban and rural communities.  In 2009 over 10,000 low-income young people enrolled in 272 local YouthBuild programs in 44 states.  YouthBuild International (YBI)  is an operating division of YouthBuild, Inc. and supports the adaptation and implementation of the YouthBuild model, currently,  in Canada, Mexico, Central America, Haiti, Jamaica, Serbia, Bosnia, Israel, Scotland and South Africa. YBI consulting engagements have the ideas and principles of YouthBuild shaping youth employment efforts in an additional 10 countries.

For the last 20 years Mr. Cross has worked in the field of youth and community development, first as a line youth worker in community based organizations, city wide youth development efforts, national and international initiatives. He was the Country Coordinator of the Civil Society Development program helping to organize two national support organizations providing a range of training and technical assistance to the emerging non profit sectors in Poland and Hungary. He has consulted to the ImagineNations Group, International Youth Foundation, the World Bank and Open Society Institute on international initiatives focused on youth engagement, training and employment.  He directed the ROCA youth center in Chelsea, Massachusetts, a comprehensive youth development program and was executive director of Youth As Resources in Boston. He was the lead organizer of efforts that led to the founding of YouthBuild Boston, the first YouthBuild program to replicate outside of East Harlem, New York. He has also worked as a foundation program officer focused on refugee and immigrant development efforts, and has consulted to several international grant making organizations seeking to build the capacity of youth workers. He holds a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University