International Cooperative Research Group | Disponible en Español
Deputy Assistant Administrator (Acting)
Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation (DDI) USAID
Karl Fickenscher is the Acting Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Development, Democracy and Innovation (DDI), which is the central resource for providing world-class technical assistance to USAID’s field missions. Previously, he oversaw DDI’s Private Sector Engagement Hub, the Center for Economics and Market Development, and managed the agency’s relationship with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. Prior to that, Karl served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) where he led the Offices of Private Capital and Microenterprise, and Development Credit. He is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service.
Before arriving research and in E3 in October 2017, Mr. Fickenscher was the Deputy Coordinator for USAID’s Power Africa initiative based in Pretoria, South Africa, where he led the initiative’s energy technical, policy, and transaction teams. Prior assignments with the U.S. Government include Millennium Challenge Corporation Resident Country Director for Tanzania, USAID Mission Director and Deputy Mission Director in Armenia, and USAID Regional Legal Advisor covering several countries in East and Southern Africa.
Before moving to a career in international development, Mr. Fickenscher worked for several years in the private sector as an attorney with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, London, and Tokyo. In this capacity, his focus was on international business transactions and intellectual property rights, with a significant amount of pro bono litigation for the poor as well as legal advice for non-profit organizations.
Mr. Fickenscher received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and holds a master’s degree in African Area Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles. He also studied under a Rotary International fellowship in the M.Sc. in International Relations program at the University of Zimbabwe, and has a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics (Soviet Studies) from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Ms. Maritza Canales
Engineer in Food Industries, Maritza graduated with Master’s Degree in Agro-Business from the National Agrarian University La Molina, Peru. She continued her studies in Agri-Food Marketing in Spain, and specialized in Agro-industrial Business Management in Italy and Peru.
Consultant and advisor, Maritza is a specialist in sustainable rural development and analysis of agro-industrial value chains such as coffee, cocoa, bananas, tourism, fishing, and gastronomy; she also focuses on innovation and environmental sustainability.
Maritza has experience in working with International Cooperative organizations. She has been a business advisor at the Dutch Development Cooperation (SNV); Adviser on Rural Competitiveness for German Cooperation Agency- GIZ; Technical Advisor on Biodiversity Innovation for Proambiente-GIZ and consultant for project design with the Swiss and other development agencies. She is currently an advisor on the Sustainable Economic Development project and promotion of SMEs at the subnational level of the Good Governance – GIZ program in Peru.
Experienced in technical advice in the public sector for the promotion of micro and small businesses in the agro-industrial sector, Maritza also advises the Congress of the Republic as an advisor in the Committee on Economics and Production. She has participated in the design and discussion of legislative decrees for the promotion of associativity, regulation of savings and credit cooperatives, general law on cooperatives and other tax aspects.
Wangeci Gitata-Kiriga is a lawyer by training and a women’s champion at heart. With over 10 years experience in asset management and financial education in the US, she has focused her energy over the last 8 years on rural livelihoods and improvement through certification and trade across Africa as part of the senior leadership of Fairtrade in Africa. Growing up in a coffee farming community has rooted Wangeci’s interest in agriculture as well as experience in the vulnerability of farmers. This disadvantaged position of farmers is the narrative that she is working very hard to change and is partnering with different organisations to do so.
A market systems development expert, Wangeci has seen first hand the difference that fair pricing and inclusive business models can have on farming communities and supply chains. A former representative on the Fair Trade Advocacy Organisation board based in Brussels and a board representative of Common Cause Georgia, Wangeci believes in using her voice to improve representation at the table.
A dynamic facilitator and panel moderator, she led the Fairtrade UNCTAD 14 side event in Nairobi, presented in the EU CSO Partnerships Forum in Brussels and returned the next year as a moderator. She has organised and led six Africa Fairtrade Conventions across the African continent; moderated the biggest cooperative gathering in Kigali with representatives from 90 countries and facilitated the OCDC Learning Event in Washington DC.
Inspired by the late Nobel Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai, who believed that like the humming bird, we can all play our part, no matter how small, Wangeci is currently an advisory board member of Peperuka Foundation, New Faces New Voices Champion and founder of Kijani Group, where she is leveraging her experience in agricultural trade to contribute to the progress of agri-based households, the Kenya Big Four Agenda and the SDGs. She is very proud of scaling the world’s tallest free standing mountain – Mt Kilimanjaro and getting to Uhuru Peak in March 2013.
U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council
Paul Hazen became executive director of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council in February 2012. Previously, he represented one of the member organizations and served as OCDC’s board chair and as a board member. One of his most-recent initiatives with OCDC is the formation of its Research Group, whose mission is to research, formulate and share effective strategies for the development, performance and growth of cooperatives in developing countries.
Throughout his career, Hazen has championed the U.S. cooperative system, which encompasses 29,000 co-ops; generates $654 billion in revenue; and creates more than two million jobs, representing $75 billion in wages and benefits. U.S. co-ops include Ace Hardware, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Sunkist, REI and the Associated Press. Hazen helped establish federal legislation promoting rural co-op development, formed a national network of co-op development centers and initiated national research into the impact of co-ops on the U.S. economy.
Prior to joining OCDC, Hazen was CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Cooperative Business Association. Under Hazen’s leadership, NCBA’s cooperative development portfolio grew from $8 million to over $30 million annually. During his 25-year tenure with the organization, he held key positions, including chief operating officer, vice president of public policy, vice president of member services and director of consumer cooperatives.
Active in cooperative matters at many levels, Hazen is the one of the founders of DotCoop the top-level domain for cooperatives around the world. He also serves on the boards of the National Cooperative Bank, Capital Impact Partners and the Community Purchasing Alliance Cooperative. Past board service includes the International Co-operative Alliance, Consumer Federation of American, Cooperative Development Foundation, Cooperative Business International and NCB Retail Finance Corporation.
In demand for his cooperative expertise, Hazen speaks frequently at national and international forums on the role of cooperatives in community and economic development. He is a past recipient of the CEO Communicator of the Year award from the Cooperative Communicators Association.
About OCDC: OCDC brings together organizations committed to building a more prosperous world through cooperatives. Its mission is to champion, advocate and promote effective international cooperative development. OCDC’s members are: ACDI/VOCA, Global Communities, Communications Cooperative International, Cooperative Resources International (CRI), HealthPartners, Land O’Lakes International Development, NCBA CLUSA, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the World Council of Credit Unions.
Dr. Judith Hermanson
International Cooperative Research Group, OCDC
Dr. Judith Hermanson is the Director of OCDC’s International Cooperative Research Group. OCDC is an association of cooperative development organizations working internationally, where she previously served on the Board and twice as its Chair. As Director of the International Cooperative Research Group, she leads OCDC’s research and learning activities, using academic rigor to focus on field-identified challenges with the aim of widening and deepening the impacts of cooperative development in support of inclusive growth and greater equity. In this position, she also serves as the Project Director for a USAID cooperative development project, Cooperative Research, Education, and Dissemination (CRED) for which she draws on her academic, practitioner and management experience.
Judith was a professor of public administration and the Inaugural Director of the Center for NGO and Non-profit Studies at Northern Illinois University. She has had leadership roles as Executive Vice President, COO and CEO in international development, including CHF International (Cooperative Housing Foundation, now known as Global Communities), Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and IHC Global. In addition to her international management experience, she has worked directly in 50+ countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and the US, designing programs, conducting studies, and providing hands on technical assistance and policy advice to communities, governments, and donors. Partners have included the World Bank, USAID, the United Nations, and other multi-laterals. She is the author of numerous scholarly and practice-oriented papers and publications and speaks frequently at international conferences and other venues, focusing on cooperative development, urban growth, and other pressing topics in international development. She also serves on the Boards of several non-profit organizations and is a Trustee Emerita and the Past Board Chair of the American University of Paris.
Judith received her undergraduate degree with high honors from Smith College and her PhD from George Washington University. She is proud to have been honored by NAHRO’s John D. Lange International Award for her tangible contributions to international development in the Middle East and Eastern Europe and to have received an honorary doctorate from the American University of Paris in 2014 for her services to international development and education.
International Cooperative Alliance (ICA)
Jeffrey Moxom is a Research Coordinator at the International Cooperative Alliance, under the ICA-EU Partnership for International Development. Having joined the ICA in 2018, he currently coordinates a number of research initiatives on international cooperative development, including cooperative statistics, cooperative law and sustainable development. He studied Politics at the University of Leicester (UK) and Environment, Development and Policy at the University of Sussex (UK).
Prof. Piotr Nowak
Jagiellonian University, Poland
Professionally my interests are problems concerning sociology of agriculture and rural areas, social development, local cultural heritage and cooperative movement in local communities. For many years I’ve been researching the development of rural areas and agricultural policy, employing my scientific expertise and competences in consulting and expert work for institutions working on behalf of local and rural communities (including the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Małopolska Region Marshal’s Office, and Agricultural Advisory Centre).
2016 – 1st degree award of the National Council of Cooperatives in the category of research in the 12th Edition of the Competition for the Best Research in the Cooperative Movement
2016 – Nowak P., Jastrzębiec-Witowska A., Gorlach K., 2016, Cooperative movements in rural areas in contemporary Poland : a brief comparison of farmers’ attitudes of members and non-members of cooperatives, Eastern European Countryside, 2016 vol. 22, p. 151-164.
Prof. Isaac Nyamongo
Professor and Deputy Vice Chancellor
Cooperative University of Kenya
Isaac K. Nyamongo is a Professor of Anthropology. He currently serves as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Cooperative Development, Research and Innovation) at the Cooperative University of Kenya. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida, USA and has close to 30 years in teaching, research and consultancy. He has supervised and mentored more than 40 students both at Doctoral and Masters levels. Prof. Nyamongo has held research and training grants from many organizations including the European Union, World Health Organization, International Development Research Center, Wenner Gren Foundation and Toyota Foundation among others. His research and training experience spans several countries within the Africa region including Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Prof. Nyamongo has more than 80 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals. In addition, he has published books and book chapters. Further, he has held visiting Professor positions in the US as a Fulbright Scholar (2009-2010) and in South Africa where he was a Carnegie Mellon Fellow (2012). His current research focus is on empowering communities through cooperatives.
International Cooperative Alliance (ICA)
Mr Roelants, who brings more than 30 years’ experience within the co-operative movement, will be the 16th Director-General of the Alliance which was founded in 1895. Commenting on the appointment, Ariel Guarco, who was elected President of the Alliance in November, said: “We are very happy to have reached a consensus and have been able to choose between people of very high level. We believe that Bruno Roelants is a highly trained person with a broad experience in the co-operative movement that will allow him to carry out and play an excellent role”. In accepting the appointment Mr Roelants said: “I am humbled by your decision to appoint me to this position, and I commit myself to serve you as a Board, and the wider co-operative movement, as well as I can possibly can. It is a big honour, but more importantly, I am filled with enthusiasm at taking up this new position, just when a new President and a new Board have been elected”.
“I will need the help of all of you in the International Co-operative Alliance. As with the smallest co-operative, you don’t get anywhere without co-operating”. The Search Committee made the selection from a very strong pool of women and men from every region of the world, and was supported in the task by the Global Recruitment Specialists firm. Bruno Roelants will succeed Charles Gould, who has been the International Co-operative Alliance’s Director-General since 2010, having worked with the board of directors on developing its Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade as well as increasing its influence within global policy-making bodies. Commenting on his retirement, Mr Gould said: “The past seven years with the Alliance have been extremely fulfilling. It has been a real privilege to work with such a great staff team, board and members. I’m now looking forward to continuing to support the co-operative movement from a distance especially at this time when it has so much to offer to the world.”