Who We Are

Our Team

Ivo Balinov

Regional Director, Asia & Europe

Ivo Balinov leads the development, and implementation of the Parliamentary Centre’s programs across Asia, and Europe. With over 18 years of experience in worldwide parliamentary development. Ivo also acts as an in-house advisor across the Centre’s programming in Canada, and abroad. Since 2003, Ivo has formulated and led key initiatives focused on the strengthening of inclusive democratic governance in over 25 major countries with a focus on Asia and Eastern Europe. He brings to our team a solid track record of successful programming, award winning innovations, extensive partnership networks, and an intimate understanding of the working cultures across Asia and the European region. Educated in diplomacy and political science, Ivo holds a MA in European Studies from Carleton University, Ottawa. Ivo has also received a graduate degree in International Relations from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Ivo’s dedication to creating change in his field has been assisted by the understanding that sustainable democratic governance relies on constructive relationships between individual citizens, local civil society actors, and institutions of governance. Ivo believes the empowerment of marginalized groups is an essential prerequisite in the decision-making process when it comes to the development of peace, and stability.

Zeenat Chisti

Controller (Finance and Operations)

Zeenat Chisti joins the Parliamentary Centre as a Controller (Finance and Operations). She brings 17 years of professional experience in accounting and financial management, operational effectiveness and efficiency, risk management and strategic planning. Reporting to the President and CEO, she is responsible for providing financial and operations design, maintenance, and oversight for a portfolio of programs and Centre initiatives. She believes in amplifying diverse voices from the top down is the key to creating an inclusive and safe environment. Prior to this, Zeenat worked as Finance Manager, Corporate Services at Nutrition International and Financial Controller at Canadian Organization for Development Through Education (CODE). Zeenat has been a Canadian CPA since 2015 and holds an MBA degree from Asia University of Bangladesh. She is a Board of Director for the Centrepointe Childcare Services and a Panel member of CPA Capstone 1 Board Report Presentations and mentor.

Hailey Clarke

Research and Project Support Officer

Summer Student

Hailey Clarke joins the Parliamentary Centre as an Research and project support officer, Africa and MENA. She holds a BA Honours Political Science from the University of British Columbia and is an incoming MPhil Development Studies student at the University of Oxford. She is a Junior Research Fellow at the NATO Association of Canada, the co-founder of the Canadian Undergraduate Policy Competition, and was selected to represent UBC at the 2021 International Osaka University Partner Summit. She has been published in the Journal of East Asian Studies and is a recipient of the Goel Family Prize in Political Science for her outstanding academic and research record. In her studies, Hailey is interested in examining grassroots movements combating social, economic, and climate injustice. Beyond academics, Hailey is passionate about gender equality, democratic resilience, sustainable development, and helping to create an equitable society that empowers all.

Dzifa Dravi

Project Officer for ILGRP, Africa/MENA

Dzifa Dravi joined the Parliamentary Centre in March 2022 as the Project Officer for ILGRP, Africa/MENA. Reporting to Regional Director, Africa and MENA, she is responsible to oversee the implementation of the activities for the Inclusive Legislatures for Gender-Responsive Policies (ILGRP) project. Prior to this, Dzifa has worked in various non-profit and non-governmental organizations on international projects covering 3 continents (Africa, Asia and Latin America) and national programs funded by the Government of Canada. Dzifa holds a Bachelor’s Honours Degree in Political Science from Carleton University. Dzifa believes that for development to be sustainable it has to be inclusive and responsive. Irrespective of the community and region, the engagement, participation and input from girls, women, boys and men in all levels of society is fundamental to the quality of life that each individual experiences.

Edith Gingras

Regional Director, Africa and MENA

Edith Gingras brings over 25 years of professional experience including 15 years in designing strategic, innovative and multi-country programming in Canadian, African and Asian municipalities and communities which have contributed to changing legislative and governance processes, supported decentralization, increased transparency and strengthened economic development strategies in collaboration with local, regional and national governments. As a firm supporter of visionary leadership, public empowerment policies and participatory decision-making, she also strongly believes in programming which enhances both women’s economic and political empowerment and, in creating opportunities for marginalized populations to participate in democratic governance.  She holds an undergraduate degree in urban studies from Concordia University, a graduate degree in urban planning from the University of Montréal and recently completed a short-term graduate degree in program evaluation at l’École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP). Her recent experience also includes a 3 year term with Carleton University as a contract instructor for TSES 4011 – Technology and Society in International Development.

Jodi Matthews

International Development Assistance Researcher

Summer Student

Jodi Matthews joined the Parliamentary Centre in June 2022 as a Programs Associate for the EngageParlDiplo program, as well as supporting the Centre’s strategic business development and outreach for Gender and Democracy programs. The job entails planning and executing awareness-raising campaigns, storytelling about needs and program impacts across the Centre’s global programs, and aiding in the planning and implementation of MP Orientations, Diplomatic events and receptions. Prior to this, she was a Programs Assistant at an independent not-for-profit organization. Jodi is currently about to go into her last year at Carleton University where she is getting her BA in Honours Global and International Studies with a specialization in Global Law and Social Justice. Aside from her studies, she is a Board of Director for her undergraduate student association, Board of Director for Carleton’s Black Student Alliance, Co-founder/Co-President of Carleton’s Women in Leadership Society, and a mentor inside and outside of her university.

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. 

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.