Meet the Next Generation of Humanitarian Leaders

The Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program aims to develop a robust pipeline of humanitarian leaders, offering a unique opportunity for young professionals to work alongside some of the world’s most prestigious organizations. Through placements with the Coalition at one or more of its members across the globe, Fellows engage in a variety of ways on topics that span the international development and humanitarian sectors. As of September 2016, 13 nationalities have been represented in 11 cities around the world. Below are snapshots of a few Fellows in the Year 1 cohort.


Samantha Acosta is currently a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with HelpAge USA, which advocates and empowers older persons to secure, active and healthy lifestyles. In this capacity, she focuses on the organization’s Healthy Aging Programs, where she conducts research related in fundraising, partnership building and grant management.

Samantha recently graduated with her Master’s degree in Social Work from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, where she explored gerontology infused courses with both a national and international focus. She has also conducted field research in Uganda, Africa, where she focused on older persons’ quality of life, along with perceived needs and barriers. Samantha received her BA in Sociology, Cultural Anthropology and Politics in 2014.


Judith Bagachwa is the Founder and a Director of JB Geriatric and HIV Center in Dar es Salaam and is a part-time lecturer at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, in the Social Work department. She has also worked and taught at the Institute of Social Work in Dar es Salaam. Judith is currently a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with HelpAge Tanzania, implementing a project on Intergenerational Healthy Ageing through a life course approach in Kibaha. She has worked in different communities in Tanzania promoting social work activities and is an advocate for health and human rights issues.

She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, an Advanced Diploma in Social Work from the Institute of Social Work in Dar es Salaam, and a holds a Certificate in Norwegian Language from Volda University College.


 Giovany Delgado holds over four years of experience in public diplomacy, public-private partnerships and international development. As a current Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, he works with Casa Alianza (Covenant House) Nicaragua in Managua, Nicaragua, focusing on marketing, fundraising, partnership building and grants management.

Giovany has business development experience in Mexico and Central America through the Pan American Development Foundation, the humanitarian arm of the Organization of American States (OAS). In addition, he led the Mexico Without Child Labor multimedia communications campaign in partnership with the Mexican Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare, Telefónica Foundation Mexico, the International Labor Organization, Viacom International and the Cinépolis Foundation.

Giovany holds an MS in Latin American Development from King’s College London. He completed his BA degree in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Miami and received a Diploma in International Relations from a European Perspective from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain, where he was a Benjamin Gilman Scholar, an initiative spearheaded by the U.S. State Department.


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Stefania Doebbel is currently pursuing a Master of International Affairs at Columbia SIPA, with a focus on Human Rights and International Conflict Resolution. She is currently the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow for the youth shelter organization Covenant House International (CHI), where she is working on creating a culturally sensitive curriculum on LGBTI issues for CHI’s staff and youth in their sites in Central America and Mexico.

Her academic interests focus on inclusive peace processes and peace building. She recently conducted research in Liberia, Bolivia and Mexico. Stefania has extensive journalism and communications experience, working as a Communications Manager for the United Nations Resident Coordinator Office in Chile and prior to that, the Head of Communications for the Undersecretary of Social Development in the Government of Chile.

Read Stefania’s Blog Post


rachel-francis-picRachel Francis graduated from James Madison University (JMU) in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs, concentrating on sub-Saharan Africa. Following graduation, Rachel completed a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship at Global Impact, the Hilton Prize Coalition’s Secretariat, where she provided support for the Partner Solutions team and assisted with the development of the Coalition’s Signature Programs.

During her time at JMU, Rachel completed four years of Army ROTC, and also holds minors in Military Science and African Studies. She spent three of her undergraduate summers abroad in Eastern Africa, enveloped in cultural exchanges, language classes, and educational internships. Rachel is currently an associate at the Washington Speakers Bureau for the Global Services team. She hopes to pursue interests in international development and women’s empowerment throughout her career.

Read Rachel’s Blog Post


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Barbara Giovanelli completed a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship in Fall 2016 at the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), based in Copenhagen. She investigated the effects of sexual methods of torture on victims. Since the field of sexual torture is widely under-reported, the outcome of this study will be a report that shares the knowledge of distinguished experts working in the field as well as a series of case studies that illustrate the devastating consequences of sexual torture on health and social life.

Barbara holds a BA in Cultural and Social Anthropology from the University of Vienna and a European MA in Human Rights and Democratisation from EIUC Venice and KU Leuven. Her work experience encompasses both academic research and applied work in the fields of human rights and anthropology. Among other roles, she worked in a reception centre for asylum-seekers in Vienna, represented Austria in a comparative study on female genital cutting in Europe, and participated in the organization of various arts festivals for the promotion of human rights and democracy.

Read Barbara’s Blog Post


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Gloria Jimwaga completed a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship in spring 2016 at Landesa, a land rights NGO headquartered in Seattle, Washington. During her fellowship at Landesa, Gloria conducted desk research for the organization’s Center for Women’s Land Rights. She is originally from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and holds a BA in Political Science and Language Studies from the University of Dar es Salaam. She is currently enrolled at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, completing her Master’s degree in Rural Development and Natural Resource Management.

For four years, Gloria worked as a Program Officer at HAKIARDHI, a Land Rights Research and Resources Institute, leading the unit of Research and Publication. Through this position, she gained a wealth of knowledge on land and natural resource management dealing with land tenure systems, climate change and environmental conservation, with a particular focus on marginalized and excluded groups in Tanzania.

Read Gloria’s Blog Post 

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Nikhila (Nikki) Kalra completed a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship in Spring 2016 with the Nutrition Innovation team at PATH, a Seattle-based global health NGO. During her fellowship, she conducted field research into food value chains in support of maternal and child nutrition programs in Ghana and Senegal.

Nikki also has field research experience in Rajasthan, India, where she evaluated a community health worker program and measured its impact on women and children’s health. She holds a PhD in International Development from Oxford University, and currently works as a policy translation specialist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington, where she connects policymakers and other key audiences with the latest research in global health.

Read Nikki’s Blog Post 


Chytanya Kompala is currently completing a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship with the Nutrition Innovation Team at PATH, a Seattle-based global health NGO. At PATH, Chytanya is conducting a systematic review on the determinants of stunting and writing policy briefs on nutrition-sensitive risk factors of stunting.

As a public health nutritionist, her focuses include programmatic strategies and policies to improve maternal and child nutrition in the developing world. Chytanya has previous work experience with Sight and Life and the World Food Programme on various projects including behavior change communication, infant and young child feeding, and the interaction between infection and nutrition. Chytanya holds a Masters of Science of Public Health with a focus in Human Nutrition from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Public Health, with a minor in Nutrition.


Catherine May is currently a Hilton Prize Coalition Collaborative Fellow with the Nutrition Innovation team at PATH, a Seattle-based global health NGO. During her fellowship, she will be advancing a collaboration with Heifer International to leverage the collective knowledge of both organizations into more effective interventions in food systems and human health. She is also an MPA candidate at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

Catherine holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University. She has conducted sustainable development research in China, India and Costa Rica. Prior to moving to Seattle, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Sabri Ülker Center for Nutrient, Genetic and Metabolic Research.


 Fidelie (Fifi) Nawej is currently a Program Coordinator with Operation Smile, managing a portfolio of programs and medical missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A Congolese native, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and a Master’s Degree in Peace and Governance, both from Africa University Zimbabwe. Prior to working with Operation Smile, she served as a Program Officer for Mineral Mining Resources, and also with Christian Care, in collaboration with UNHCR.

As a Collaborative Fellow with the Hilton Prize Coalition, Fifi worked with Operation Smile and Tostan in Senegal around the issue of women’s health care and obstetric fistula. She also attended Tostan’s Human Rights Training, learning about Tostan’s approach to community-led development.


Hilda Nyatete is currently a Program Officer at the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU), overseeing the provision of psychological services to survivors of torture and their families. Originally from Kenya, Hilda has a deep background and expertise in trauma counseling, particularly in the area of gender based violence. Hilda also worked in the humanitarian field, supporting refugee survivors of torture with HIAS Refugee Trust. She holds a Master’s Degree in Developmental Psychology from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

IMLU is a member organization of the IRCT, and as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, Hilda worked with her staff and other member centers on comprehensive clinical documentation for the Data in the Fight against Impunity (DFI) project. She also attended the IRCT’s 10th Scientific Symposium in Mexico City, December 2016, on behalf of the DFI project.

Read Hilda’s Blog Post 


anna-russell_photoAnna Russell is currently an MPH candidate at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in the Global Health Program Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation Program. She is also a Research Assistant at the DC Center for AIDS Research and a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow at HelpAge USA. As a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, Anna assisted with the organization’s Healthy Aging Programs, conducting research and analyzing data, and contributing to reports in the U.S. and abroad.

Anna has held various internships in the field of global health, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies Global Health Policy Center, the University of Washington Twin Registry, and the Department of Homeland Security’s HS-STEM program. In 2015, she was based at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute analyzing the opportunities for public-private partnerships to better serve vulnerable populations during disaster response. Anna is also a graduate of the University of Washington with a BS in Public Health.

Read Anna’s Blog Post


Meriam Salem is  an undergraduate student at American University (AU), studying international relations with an emphasis on development, human rights, and a minor in film and media. As a current Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, she assists with the development of philanthropic initiatives and the Storytelling Program.

During her time at AU, Meriam has worked on a documentary with World Trust Educational Services on the underlying causes and consequences of the United States judicial system. The film explored the importance of incorporating healing as a component of justice and the current systemic dehumanization of racial minorities. She has also held internships focusing on various NGO initiatives, such as researching the energy crisis, and the impact of climate change on women’s rights in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In the future, Meriam would like to pursue a career in documentary and policy. She believes that film is an important tool for bringing both social impact and policy reform into a coherent catalyst for change.

Read Meriam’s Blog Post


Harry Shepherd is currently based in Denmark as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, working at the International Rehabilitation  Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) Secretariat. In this capacity, he supports the Data in the Fight Against Impunity (DFI) project, working with IRCT member organizations across 28 countries and 5 continents. He is also currently completing his MSc in Global Development at The University of Copenhagen. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in International Business at the University of Liverpool, with a semester study abroad in Hong Kong.

Harry also holds three years’ experience across the NGO and technology environments in the private sector, primarily at Vodafone in the United Kingdom. Through his Master’s degree, he is developing the academic understanding for a career as a humanitarian and development practitioner and has completed primary research in Tanzania.


Tsega Negussie Teffera served as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow in Washington D.C.  for SOS Children’s Villages USA. During her fellowship, Tsega supported the communications and marketing department with the development and implementation of the organization’s brand awareness campaign both within the United States and abroad. Prior to her fellowship with SOS USA, she held various writing, social media and reporting positions for the Ethiopian Broadcasting Service, C62 Communications and North45 Communications.

Originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Tsega is a graduate of Webster University’s Graduate School of Communications and holds a Masters in Communications Management. She is currently pursuing interests in development and women’s empowerment in her home country.

Read Tsega’s Blog Post


20160414_nepalearthquake_amul_interview_postAmul Thapa served as a Hilton Prize Coalition Collaborative Fellow in Nepal. He is also a photojournalist with Naya Patrika Daily. An alumnus of Coalition member organization SOS Children’s VillageKavre, he was a creative partner in the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program in Nepal, supporting Steve Connors, the Director, as a photographer, travel liaison and assistant during filming. During his fellowship, Amul served as a shared resource to Coalition member organizations BRAC, Handicap International, HelpAge International, Heifer International, Operation Smile and SOS Children’s Villages, following up on the stories captured in the film of staff and community members who were impacted by the April 2015 earthquake and aftershocks. He is a graduate of Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.

Read Amul’s Blog Posts:

Voices from Nepal: Learning to Be a Child

 Voices from Nepal: A Brighter Future 

Voices from Nepal: Returning to Normal 


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Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, Sheetal Tuladhar is currently a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with BRAC, the largest development organization in the world. After the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Sheetal completed at internship with BRAC USA and moved back to Kathmandu to establish BRAC as an INGO in Nepal, She builds partnerships with agencies in the country and oversees the Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) program and the work of female community health volunteers (FCHVs) in the region.

Sheetal has held internships with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), The Afghanistan Blind Women and Children Foundation and the Winston-Salem Sustainability Resource Center. She received her Master’s Degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University in 2014.

Read Sheetal’s Blog Post


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Lucy Willis completed a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship the summer of 2016 at Operation Smile‘s headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia. During her fellowship, Lucy supported the Office of the Co-Founders and the Office of Student Programs with the planning and implementation of the organization’s annual International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC).

She is a current undergraduate student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, double-majoring in Business Administration and International Studies. In high school, she co-founded the Compass Rose Coffee Company in partnership with Massimo Zanetti Beverage and remained its CEO until graduation. She is an active volunteer in both the Virginia Beach and Atlanta communities.

Read Lucy’s Blog Post

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