About Us

About Us

Global Team

Rawshan Ara

Founder and Chairperson

Rawshan Ara is the founder of the Global Center for Innovation and Learning. She and her spouse Sakil Malik co-founded GCFIL in the mid-1990s in Bangladesh, with a modest proposal for Waste Management in Dhaka City.  Rawshan has worked in the Child Welfare System in the USA with International Social Services. She is currently working with Howard County Public School System as an Elementary Teacher. Rawshan has a Bachelor and Master’s degrees from Dhaka University in Public Administration. She is also trained in Educational Technology.

Sakil Malik

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sakil Malik, a veteran of work in international development, is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Center for Innovation and Learning. He has served as Vice President of Global Development at World Learning Inc., and Director for the Reading within Reach (REACH) Project and Global Reading Network (GRN) funded by USAID recently. He has more than 20 years of experience in international project management, focused on literacy, social and human development and human rights. His portfolio at Creative Associates as the Senior Associate/Director was $100 million across five countries; Tanzania, Timor Leste, Cambodia, India and Tajikistan. Before arriving at Creative, he was the Director of Global Operations at the International Reading Association (now ILA) in Washington, DC, where he led program management of literacy projects and provided strategic leadership and direction to the Executive Team. He has successfully won and administered funding from government and corporate funders, including USAID, UNESCO, Pearson Foundation and Nokia Corporation. He has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Maryland, USA, a Master’s Degree in Economics from Aligarh University in India, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Dhaka University in Bangladesh. He is a certified project manager with CIPM, CMMP and MPM certification.

Mary Ciambrone

Senior Advisor for Global Professional Development

Mary Ciambrone is our Advisor for Professional Development, bringing over 20 years of experience in strategic planning, design and execution of professional development training programs. Recognized for leading process improvement and business change initiatives, Mary specializes in providing leadership in strategic planning, aligning training programs with strategic goals, and measurement and evaluation of training outcomes. Mary has worked with USAID project implementers and local affiliates in the United States, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Oceania, delivering high-quality training geared towards the unique needs of local populations. She has led numerous professional development programs both domestically and internationally, online and in-person, to audiences ranging from 30 to 22,000. Mary was also director of Professional Development and Conferences at the International Reading Association (now ILA).

Amy Pallangyo

Senior Advisor for GCFIL USA

Amy Pallangyo has more than 35 years of experience working in education, program development, and international program implementation, with a focus on literacy, educational program design, and government capacity-building. She is permanently based with her family in Tanzania. Amy is an independent technical consultant, working for companies such as Creative Associates, DAI, International Literacy Association, World Learning, and URC.  She worked as a Senior Technical Advisor for the USAID-funded Reading within Reach (REACH) Project and Global Reading Network (GRN), which worked to improve the literacy of primary school children around the world, and with several USAID-funded reading programs – TZ21 in Tanzania, Vamos Ler in Mozambique, and READ II in Ethiopia. She has also worked with early childhood and teacher training programs in a variety of other countries, including Bangladesh, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Philippines, and Sierra Leone. Amy was previously Vice President of a US-based professional development organization, the Collaborative for Teaching and Learning, and as a performance assessment specialist with Measured Progress. Amy earned a Master of Education as a Reading Specialist from the University of Louisville, and a Bachelor of Education from Transylvania University in K-12 Education and Arts Education. She has additional training in Program Evaluation and Program Management.

Dr. Zeeshan Faruqui, MD

Senior Advisor (Pro Bono),
Global Mental Health Services

Dr. Zeeshan Faruqui is the Director of Interventional Psychiatry, a division of Keystone Behavioral Health, at Chambersburg PA. He also manages an outpatient Psychiatric clinic serving patients with Opioid addiction, severe mental illness and other psychiatric disorders. He specializes in Transcranial magnetic stimulation and ketamine treatment for treatment-resistant depression. Dr. Faruqui completed his residency training in Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond Virginia. He also worked as a Medical Director for FQHC Westbrook Health in Parkersburg WV. He has extensive experience in Transcranial magnetic stimulation, ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression, severe mental illnesses including schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and eating disorders, opioid addiction, alcohol addiction, medication-assisted treatment and psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Naser Azad

Advisor, Global Communications and Knowledge Management

Naser Azad is our Advisor for Communications and Knowledge Management, bringing more than 10 years of experience in planning, designing, and executing communication strategies for large multinationals and non-profits. He is acknowledged for his exemplary contribution to organizational growth through brand-aligned marketing and communication programs. Naser provides strategic guidance to GCFIL in growing its presence through innovation and communication with the right audiences. He has worked for MNCs such as Nestle, British American Tobacco, Berger, Teach For Bangladesh in Bangladesh, and Ivory Business Solutions, Schulich School of Business in Canada. Naser loves mentoring youth in any form, whether as an Adjunct Professor at BRAC University in Bangladesh and as a student mentor at York University in Canada. Naser has completed a Master of Marketing degree from Schulich School of Business, York University, an MBA & BBA from North South University, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Naser is currently based in Toronto, Canada.

Gulsanam Karimova

Regional Expert – Central Asia and Eurasia

Gulsanam Karimova – psychologist by education and expert, consultant, trainer by nature. Her clients include MOPE staff (Ministry of public education), TTI (Teachers’ training institutes), School administrators and teachers, Leaders, Librarians, Psychologists. Gulsanam Karimova has more than 20 years of experience in teaching and training, and more than 10 years of experience in international project management. She managed a number of international educational projects: RWCT (OSI), ITLM (AED USAID), ICT in schools (ADB), Development of Rural areas (ADB), School quality and management (GIZ), Improving Pre-Primary and General Secondary Education (World Bank).  Gulsanam earned an MA in philology (Russian and English languages), psychology and HR and she is a certified trainer and certifier of RWCT (reading and writing for critical thinking), ITLM (interactive teaching-learning methods), Instructional design and Mentoring programs.

Shaymaa Elgayar

Regional Program Manager – Broader Middle East and North Africa

Shaymaa Elgayar has over five years of experience in digital marketing, communication, data analysis, and public relations. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the Univerisity of Ottawa in 2019. While in university, she worked with multiple student organizations. After university, she worked with Community and Non-profit organizations to promote a sense of community, provide service to the broader community, and promote and provide education in Conflicted-affected regions.

Farah Mahesri

Senior Business Development Advisor

As the co-author for the 2018 State of Diversity in Global Social Impact report, Ms. Mahesri is both an experienced international development expert with more than 15 years of experience in global development and DE&I expert with nearly 10 years of working on DEI-type initiatives using liberatory frameworks to unlock transformative potential and impact. She is a skilled facilitator, expert in training design, and has experience conducting organizational development work both as internal staff for an organization and as an external consultant.

Daman Bozdar

Senior Technical Advisor, Education and Youth – Pakistan and Afghanistan

Daman Bozdar is a Senior Technical Advisor Education and Youth, (Pakistan and Afghanistan) at the Global Center for Innovation and Learning. He is an accomplished and experienced international development and education sector professional with over 15 years of progressively responsible experience and demonstrated competencies in education project planning, implementation, oversight, and evaluation. He holds a graduate certificate in reading education from the UMASS Amherst; an MPA degree focused on Public Policy Analysis and Public Finance from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad/Pakistan, and a Master’s in Education and International Development from UCL/Institute of Education, London, United Kingdom. He is also a doctoral student in International Education at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS), Amherst. He has advanced knowledge of Urdu/Hindi and Sindhi, and functional proficiency in Arabic.

Samia Elbassiouny

Senior Education Advisor – Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA)

Samia Elbassiouny is an Associate Professor specialized in Arabic language and Islam curricula and methods of teaching with over 25 years of eclectic experience that includes teaching, curricula development, supervising graduate students’ dissertations, developing and conducting workshops and training programs, preparing grants proposals, and project management consultation. Dr. Elbassiouny has taught in Universities and institutes, and managed various projects in both the Middle East and North America. Her research interests relate to Reading and Literacy, Teachers of Adults, Training Teachers programs, and Teaching Arabic Language for Non-speakers.

Saherah Luhnat Noor

Communication Officer, Creative Officer & Webmaster

Saherah Luhnat Noor is our youngest member of GCFIL. Based in Bangladesh, she is the communication officer, creative officer and webmaster of GCFIL. She is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Independent University Bangladesh. Saherah is also a professional graphic designer, content researcher and project manager with 2 years of experience.

Wasima Asadi

Program Assistant to CEO

Wasima was born in Afghanistan and now she is a proud Afghan American. Ms. Asadi is working with the CEO as Program Assistant for all global programs. She has an Associate degree in English literature from PGCC in Maryland, studying general IT at PGCC. She is pursuing her Bachelor Degree at PGCC at present. 

Nawshin Nawar

Research and Development: Associate (USA)

Nawshin is an experienced and published researcher in the field of social sciences and economics. She has obtained two Master’s degrees in Research Methodologies and Quantitative Methods and Economics from University of California, Los Angeles and University of Dhaka, respectively. She has a demonstrated history of working in the think-tank industry in South Asia and has worked on multiple projects in collaboration with international organizations such as the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations. She is skilled in statistical data analysis, data management and academic writing. Her research interests include public policymaking, education development, and sustainability analysis. Apart from research, she is also skilled at project management and has organized and participated in multiple press briefings, media briefings and national budget analyses.

Bangladesh Team

Saifullah Sadeq

Country Program Manager – Bangladesh

S M Sadeq is a professional media and social activist with a proven track record of mass communication, public relations, youth leadership and dedication to multidisciplinary activities across Bangladesh. Predominantly, He has been carrying more than 9 years of experience in mass media and communication. He has been working on co-curricular activities since starting his university. From the beginning, he worked for several student organizations. In 2018, he was recognized as a Global Youth Ambassador of Youth Leadership award by GCFIL, USA in 2018 for his extraordinary contribution to excel research and innovation within the student community in Bangladesh. He has established the concept of `Research Society’ in Bangladesh for inspiring young researchers. He is currently leading the expansion of this organization among all public universities in Bangladesh. Specifically,  Sadeq is proficient in human resource management aspects, knowledge of mass media, communication and journalism, efficient in public relations, leadership and capable of working under pressure independently with minimum supervision.

Md. Nafiz Uddin Khan

Senior Education Advisor – Bangladesh

Nafiz Khan has more than 28 years of experience working in the field of education and development. Also experienced in teachers’ development, project planning, program evaluation, networking, journal publication, book/article writing, organizing conference etc. He worked in various NGOs like the BRAC, Dhaka Ahsania Mission and its different sponsored organizations. Ranging from working extensively in the grassroots, developing and implementing modules for providing education services to disadvantaged groups to leading policy dialogue and reforms at the national level, Nafiz worked with Asia Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO (ACCU), Japan for maintaining regional network of Literacy Resource Centers (LRCs), UNESCO Bangkok and Coordinate International Literacy Association’s Bangladesh Chapter for teachers’ development. He implemented Global Literacy Professional Development Network (GLPDN) project in Bangladesh, inclusion of ICT in the Community Level, sector-wide approach of planning in education sector, project on adaptation of climate change in the coastal region etc. He has evaluated literacy programs in Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand and Mali. He has teaching experience in the Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology and Khanbahadur Ahsanullah Teachers Training College. He published a quarterly journal ‘Classroom Teaching’ in English and Bengali. He wrote books on literacy and teachers development. He translated books and articles from English to Bengali. He wrote hundreds of reading materials, articles and stories published in different newspapers and journals. Writing is his passion since his boyhood. Nafiz Khan organized national and international workshops, seminar and conferences of teachers and educators. He earned Ph.D degree in Education from Newport University and dual Masters from the Department of Botany of Rajshahi University and Masters of Education from the Institute of Education and Research of Dhaka University.