Who We Are

Our Team

Ivo Balinov

Director, Program Development and Partnerships

Since joining the Parliamentary Centre in 2003, Ivo Balinov has formulated and led key initiatives focused on the strengthening of inclusive democratic governance in complex political environments in over 25 countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Eastern Europe. As Director of Program Development and Partnerships, he currently coordinates the development of new programs worldwide and leads the Centre’s programming in Asia and Europe. Ivo holds an MA in European Studies from Carleton University, Ottawa. Ivo’s dedication to making a difference in his field of work has been underpinned by the understanding that sustainable democratic governance relies on functioning, constructive relationships between individual citizens, local civil society actors, and institutions of governance. He views the empowerment of marginalized groups to take part in the decision-making process as a prerequisite for development, peace and stability.

Lola Giraldo

Director of Operations

As the Centre’s Director of Operations, Lola Giraldo provides organizational leadership and oversees the day-to-day operations at the Centre. Before joining the Centre in 2003 as Web and IT Coordinator, Lola was a teacher for eight years, developing curriculum and training solutions to help various students and professionals adapt to the use of new tools. Lola holds a Bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering from Universidad Autonoma de Manizales in Colombia. Since her arrival in Canada, she has occupied several positions at the Centre, from providing her expertise about IT management, business analysis, to training and developmental learning. Today, Lola is responsible for information systems for the various global development projects the Centre implements. Lola believes in the importance of advancing democracy by bringing together key stakeholders to discuss, propose and implement innovative solutions to better address key issues that affect all parts of society.

Stéphane Courtemanche

Director, Burkina Faso

Stéphane Courtemanche is the Director of Programs at the Parliamentary Centre. He brings with him more than 30 years of experience in international and Canadian governance. Since 2018, Stéphane’s expertise in organizational development and dialogue has been a major contribution to the Centre. His skills in conflict transformation and facilitation of difficult conversations are particularly valuable in navigating conflict-affected regions. It is these experiences that have convinced him of the importance of the work of parliamentarians in a country’s governance system. Parliaments help to establish frameworks for joint dialogue with civil society that facilitate long-term conflict resolution. Stéphane holds an undergraduate degree in management and a graduate degree in international development from the University of Ottawa. He has also pursued Conflict Studies at St-Paul University and mediation/negotiation at the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution.

Dr. Rasheed Draman

Senior Technical Advisor

Dr. Rasheed Draman holds a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field of international development that has proven itself invaluable to our team’s efforts in Africa. He received his doctorate in Political Science from Carleton University. His career with the Centre began in 2003 when our Ghana office, which would go on to host major anti-corruption networks like the APNAC and the WAAPAC, was opened under his leadership. This relationship would develop as he took on the role of Director for our Africa Programs in 2006. Over the course of his career, Dr. Draman has worked with several major Canadian development agencies as well as the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, and reputable NGOs like the Westminster Foundation and International IDEA. His academic career has been equally impressive, teaching courses at Carleton University, guest lecturing at Harvard University, and becoming an adjunct faculty member at McGill University.

Amidou Yonaba

National Technical Advisor

Having founded YONS ASSOCIATES in 1998, Amidou Yonaba has been involved in human resources development, organizational and institutional development, and strategic planning for 20 years now. In 2016, Amidou became a Distinguished Fellow at the Parliamentary Centre and has been working as our Principal Advisor for the Project to Support Democracy in Burkina Faso (PADEB), and the National Technical Advisor for the Joint Program of Support to the National Assembly of Burkina Faso (PROCAB). His time as a consultant has seen him work with governments across West Africa as well as several West African sub-regional institutions like the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), the Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Regional Centre for Drinking Water and Sanitation or CRÉPA, among others.

Kana Shankar

Senior Accountant

Kana Shankar joined the Parliamentary Centre in November 2009. Reporting to our management team, he is responsible for the full-cycle financial accounting of the Centre, which includes project accounting, process improvements and automation, analytical reporting, as well as payroll and external statutory reporting. Prior to this, Kana filled various finance and accounting positions for different high-tech manufacturers. Kana believes that technology will be the key to an inclusive democratic decision-making process and governance in the future. Kana has been a Canadian CPA for 20 years and holds an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. 

Jo Anne Nimchuk

Financial Program Officer

Jo Anne Nimchuk became the Centre’s Financial Program Officer in 2010. Prior to this, she was Project Assistant on the African Parliamentary Strengthening Program (APSP) for Budget Oversight, and assisted with finances and logistics of projects and activities across the continent. Jo Anne is now responsible for project finances, Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable, and supports the operational management of the Centre. Jo Anne’s career within the field of finance has spanned various sectors including international consulting, publishing, and finance as well as having been a small business owner. An advocate for freedom and gender equality, Jo Anne is proud to work for an NGO that actively promotes democracy internationally.

Anastasiya Shtaltovna, PhD

Communications and Program Officer

Anastasiya Shtaltovna joined the Parliamentary Centre as Program and Communications Officer in November 2020. Before this, she was engaged in an array of international development and research projects focusing on sustainable development, knowledge and innovation, local economic development, and governance in Europe, Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Anastasiya holds a Ph.D. in Development Studies from the University of Bonn, an international MSc in Rural Development awarded by Ghent University and Humboldt University, Berlin, and an MA in Management from the National Agrarian University, Kyiv. Over the course of her career, Anastasiya worked for two high-level institutes in Germany and Canada (the Montreal Center for International Studies (CÉRIUM) and Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn). She provided consultancy services to the German and US Development agencies (GIZ and USAID). The results of her work have been disseminated through publications, at international conferences, and via direct communication with local and international partners. At the Centre, Anastasiya supports the activities of the Accountability for the Security Sector in Ukraine project and the Support the Parliament of Armenia project. Besides, she is engaged in communication and thought leadership activities throughout the organization. Anastasiya firmly believes that inclusive democratic institutions are crucial for sustainable development, peace, and enabling all members of society to reach their full potential.

Nicholas Leiper

Communications and Public Relations Officer

Nicholas Leiper first came to the Parliamentary Centre as an intern in the summer of 2019, having been interested in international human rights and ethical governance for some time. Now returning as a full time team member, he assists the Centre’s communications team by creating and editing content for publications, and moderates the Centre’s social media presence. Nicholas is in the midst of his bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College, studying literature and philosophy. His interest in policy and the democratic process shines through even in his academics. Founding the University of Toronto Scene Initiative in 2019, a club dedicated to the betterment of student life through the fostering of a campus music scene, he has worked closely with student bodies and cares deeply about the issues affecting his demographic. He is particularly fascinated by underexplored democratic models and believes strongly that young people need to get more involved in politics.