Governing Council

In accordance to SID Constitution, the Council is responsible for determining SID major policies and strategies, setting the framework for its programmes and activities, supporting the development of the necessary resources, including financial ones, and maintaining oversight of their utilization and supervising the staff.

For the period 2023-2024, the SID Transitional Council 2023-2024 has been established, tasked with the following mandate:

  • Review SID’s identity, mandate, programmatic orientation and organizational concept in today’s context;
  • Facilitate the election of a new fully-fledged Governing Council for the 2025-2028 (to be elected in the second half of 2024) and ensure an adequate transition of responsibilities during the latter part of 2024 (also hoping that there would be a good overlap between the current and the new Council);
  • Review the Secretariat internal procedures and personnel framework; and,
  • Provide regular oversight of and guidance to the SID management, ensuring continuity with the work currently performed. 

SID Transitional Council 2023-2024 – Biographical Notes

(alphabetical order) 


Larry Cooley (USA) is President Emeritus and Senior Advisor of Management Systems International (MSI), an 800-person international consulting firm he founded in 1981, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. A specialist in the fields of strategic management, organizational development, and large-system change, he has served as advisor to cabinet and sub-cabinet officials in 11 US Federal Agencies and more than a dozen foreign countries. For 11 years, Larry directed the Implementing Policy Change program that provided assistance in change management to governments of more than 40 countries.  He co- founded and leads a 3500-member global community of practice on scaling up development outcomes; is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; and served for 15 years as Chairperson of the Development Management Network.  Before founding MSI, Larry worked at the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, Practical Concepts Incorporated, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He holds a BA summa cum laude in Social Anthropology from Colgate University and post-graduate degrees in Economics (Columbia University), Public Policy (Princeton University), and Management (Cranfield School of Management). 

Vice President 

Mshaï Mwangola (Kenya) is an oraturist/performance scholar who uses the lens of culture in her work as an academic, artist and activist. She holds a doctorate in Performance Studies from Northwestern University (USA), a Masters of Creative Arts from the University of Melbourne (Australia) and a Bachelor of Education from Kenyatta University (Kenya).  Her intellectual work is characterised by her practice of performance, and in particular indigenous and contemporary traditions of story-telling for the purpose of research, pedagogy and advocacy. An independent researcher, she is affiliated to the African Leadership Centre, Nairobi (adjunct faculty), and to the intellectual platforms The Elephant and The Orature Collective.  She previously worked with the Academic Planning Team (Faculty of Arts and Sciences – Arusha) of Aga Khan University and as Research and Communication Officer (African Peacebuilding Network Hub - African Leadership Centre / Social Science Research Council) in Nairobi. Her artistic genres of practice are story-telling and theatre. Mwangola chairs the Board of Trustees of Uraia Trust. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), of the Advisory Board of Macondo Literary Festival, and of the Board of Management of the P.J. Mwangola Secondary School. She previously chaired the Governing Council and Act Review Taskforce for the Kenya Cultural Centre, which is the oldest national state institution of culture in Kenya. 


Carolina Castro (Argentina) is President at Industrias Guidi, a family-owned company that manufactures automobile parts, employs 600 people and gives non-stereotype opportunities employing women as production line workers. Carolina was the first woman to achieve a governing level position at UIA - Argentina’s main employer association. She advocates for industrial development as means to achieve inclusive growth. At an international level, during 2018 she was Executive Sherpa for the Business 20. Previously she held public office as Undersecretary for Small and Medium Enterprises at the Production Ministry of Argentina. Currently she serves as private sector delegate to the G20 Empower Alliance and participates at the International Labour Conference in Geneva. In 2020, the British media company BBC included her name on the “100 Women” list for her contribution in advancing the gender-equality agenda in Argentina. Also, that year she published her first book, Rompimos el Cristal (“We broke the glass”), in which she interviews 18 Argentine women who excelled in business, politics, science and the arts. She is fluent in Spanish and English and has working knowledge of French. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). 

Managing Director 

Stefano Prato (Italy) is the Managing Director of the Society for International Development and, in this capacity, ex-officio member of the SID Governing Council. 


Council Members 

Abubakar Zein (Kenya) was a Member of the East African Legislative Assembly (Kenya) for the 2012-2017 period and a Member of the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee and the General-Purpose Committee where his term was distinguished by his moral and intellectual leadership to EALA members of many issues, especially on the humanitarian and democratic crisis in Burundi. He was also Executive Director of the Uraia Trust from 2011-2012. The Uraia Trust is a charitable trust, which works in the areas of civic education, civic engagement and institutional transformation. He was responsible for the relaunch of the trust and the adoption of a new strategic direction. From 2001-2006, he was a Commissioner at the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission. Zein served as a key strategist for the ODM Party from 2005-2017 and for the NASA Coalition in 2017. Zein has a remarkable record of working within civil society, human rights and institutional development. He is one of Africa's and Kenya's finest constitutional practitioners. Over the past 20+ years, Zein worked closely with SID in many programme domains, with special emphasis on SID’s scenario work at both Kenyan and East African levels and SID’s engagement on regional integration issues. 

Ana Agostino (Uruguay) graduated as a Social Worker from the University of the Republic, Uruguay, did postgraduate studies at the University of Bremen, Germany, and completed her PhD in Development Studies at the University of South Africa. She has engaged in the areas of critical approaches to development, gender, education and human rights within academia, civil society, international organisations and the state. She is a lecturer in Uruguay at University CLAEH and at FLACSO and has been visiting professor and researcher at universities in South Africa and Germany. She has published extensively, articles and book contributions, in English, Spanish, German and Portuguese. Within civil society she worked at the International Council for Adult Education and was the international coordinator of the Feminist Task Force of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (2006-2011). She is Vice-president of the Latin American Institute of Ombudsman Institutions (since 2017), Vice president of the Uruguay Association of Social Workers (since 2023) and was President of Gurises Unidos, an NGO engaged with the rights of children and adolescents. She lived in South Africa for several years (1995-2005) where she worked with rural women’s organisations and later with the Heinrich Boell Foundation in the areas of environment and development. For the UN in Uruguay she wrote the document that accompanied the 2011 Human Development Report on Sustainability and Equity; was the national consultant for the 2012 evaluation of the first National Plan on Gender Equality; and coordinated the Uruguay national consultation on the post 2015 development agenda. In 2014 she was elected Ombudsperson for Montevideo, a post she held for five years during which she made policy recommendations to the departmental government in various areas. An emphasis on gender, care, diversity, sustainability and citizen’s participation was key throughout the whole period, at the end of which she was given a recognition for her commitment and contribution to the sustainable mobility in Montevideo. She is a member of the editorial team of the SID Journal, Development.  

Anne Simmons-Benton (USA) is an experienced leader and practitioner in international development with over 25 years of experience in the government, private sector, and academia designing, managing and implementing programs around the world.  Her professional experience includes: complex remote team management, strategy design and implementation, change management, and business development coupled with strong technical skills in trade, business enabling environment, entrepreneurship, finance, gender and law.  Anne is a thought leader and early innovator – pioneering business in the early post-Soviet days in Russia, integrating and measuring women’s impact in economic programs to create the business case for inclusion, conducting simulations in international fora for the CAFTA negotiations and the World Trade Organization, linking economics to peace in the post-conflict Balkans and creating the first solar powered electric-vehicle charging station in the Middle East.  Anne served as a US Delegate to the W20, an Engagement Group of the G20 (Saudi Arabia) where she provides expertise across working groups (entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, labor and digital inclusion) to ensure that women’s issues are included in the G20 agenda. The W20 is a transnational network that brings together women leaders of civil society, businesses, entrepreneurship ventures and think tanks. Anne is a currently the Deputy Chair the Society for International Development – Washington D.C. Chapter, after being board member since 2015, and chaired the 2019 Annual Conference focusing on the ‘’Wicked Problems of International Development.”  Anne also served as a proxy Board Member on the US Global Leadership Coalition for three years as well as the President of the American Embassy Community Association in Moscow. Anne worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) both serving in Russia as the first Business Development Advisor and Head of the Banking Division, and in Washington, D.C. as Senior Trade Advisor. For the Department of Commerce, she served as Senior Counsel in the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) where she specialized in trade and economic development. Anne has been a licensed attorney for over 30 years and worked in law firms for the first part of her career.  She holds a J.D. from the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., a Change Management Advance Practitioner Certificate from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.  She is married to Jonathan S. Benton, a Foreign Service Officer, and they have three adult children and three grandchildren. 

Chee Yoke Ling (Malaysia) is a lawyer with degrees from the University of Malaya and the University of Cambridge. She is Executive Director of Third World Network, an international non-profit policy research and advocacy organization with its secretariat in Malaysia. She works on sustainable development issues, with a focus on social justice and equity issues and the effects of globalization on developing countries. She has engaged actively with civil society groups and developing country government policy makers in the evolution of sustainable development principles and actions since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. She was a Lead Author in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in Working Group III on Mitigation. Her involvement was in the chapter on Sustainable Development and Equity. Among her current research and advocacy work are issues related to trade and investment, public health especially access to affordable treatment, ecological agriculture and farmers’ rights. She is also on the Board of International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia-Pacific (IWRAW-Asia Pacific), and the Executive Committee of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth, Malaysia). 

Gita Sen (India) has over 45 years of experience working nationally and internationally on gender equality and women’s human rights. Her work has ranged widely spanning poverty, population policies, human development, labour markets, and women’s health. A citizen of India, Gita holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University. She is an honorary distinguished professor of the Ramalingaswami Centre on Equity and Social Determinants of Health at the Public Health Foundation of India. She is a co-founder, and now General Coordinator of the South-based network, DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era). She was Vice-President of SID during 1997 – 2000. Gita’s national and international work has helped to shape the global paradigm shift on population policies and programmes, and to advance gender equality and women’s health and human rights through a variety of positions, and with several partners – governments, multilateral and bilateral organizations, private foundations, and civil society. She has published extensively, and her combination of advocacy, practical experience, activism and analysis has resulted in several awards and honours, including the Volvo Environment Prize for her work on women, population and development, the Dan David Prize, and honorary doctorates from the University of East Anglia, the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm), the Open University (UK), the University of Sussex, and the University of Edinburgh. 

Jean Gilson (USA) is Senior Vice President, Global Strategy at DAI, where she oversees strategy formulation and execution, communications and brand, knowledge management, and the company’s corporate offices in Jordan, Palestine, Pakistan, Colombia, Nigeria, Nepal, and Kenya. A member of the company’s executive team, she leads DAI’s engagement with the international development community on fundamental technical issues, pressing industry debates, and the global development agenda. She has been elected by her fellow employees to serve no fewer than three terms on DAI’s Board of Directors. She has also managed two overseas subsidiaries, managing DAI offices in Hanoi, Bangkok, and Manila. Prior to DAI, Jean served as USAID’s first Country Representative in Hanoi since the end of the Vietnam War. She opened that office in September 2000 and managed it for four years, earning distinguished service awards from both the Department of State and the Government of Vietnam - the first American to achieve such a distinction. Jean later worked for two years as USAID’s Senior Policy Advisor to the Millennium Challenge Account Secretariat. As a private sector executive and public servant, Jean has worked, lived, and travelled extensively overseas, gaining experience in all facets of bilateral and multilateral development programs and policy Jean holds a master’s degree in international law and economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; she earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. Jean has extensive experience and knowledge of the Society and of its main challenges as she is now in her 16th year serving on the Board of the SID USA Chapter. She also served as Vice President of the SID International Governing Council for the period 2013-2016. 

Norbert Noisser (Germany) is a SID member since 1991, President of the SID Frankfurt Chapter and member of the Governing Council of SID International. In his professional position, he is Senior Advisor for Africa and Asia at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) Giessen-Friedberg in Germany. Before, he was for almost two decades working for Hessen State Government at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the State of Hessen, being in charge of the Asia/Pacific, Middle East/Northern Africa and Africa markets, of trade relations with Developing Countries and of the cooperation with International Organizations. His honorary positions include being the President of the German-Shanghai Association. His academic functions include: Board of Trustees of the Interdisciplinary Centre for East-Asia Studies (IZO), Frankfurt University; Chairperson of the Advisory Council of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Africa (ZIAF), Frankfurt University; Lecturer at Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, Wiesbaden and guest professor at Xuhui University for Continuous Learning, Shanghai. In his previous positions, he was seconded from Hessen State Government to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, being the Deputy Head of the Education and Information Division and the representative of Germany in the Executive Council of the North-South-Centre of the Council of Europe (Lisbon). At the German implementing agency Capacity Building International, he built up the division for Development Education. Before, he was engaged at the development NGO World University Service (WUS) German Committee, and started his professional career in a cooperation project preparing for Namibian independence at the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) Lusaka, Zambia, on behalf of the City of Bremen. His academic education was in Economic Geography, Economics, Sociology, Political Sciences (Frankfurt University, University of Aberdeen (Scotland)). 

Wendy Harcourt (Australia/Italy) is Professor of Gender, Diversity and Sustainable Development at the International Institute of Social Studies of the Erasmus University in The Hague. She has published widely in critical development studies and feminist theory as well as feminist political ecology and has engaged in different gender and development networks over the years, including as Chair of Network Women in Development Europe and as Coordinator of the EU funded Innovative Training Network Wellbeing Ecology Gender and cOmmunity. Wendy joined the ISS in November 2011 after 23 years at the Society for International Development, Rome as Editor of the journal Development and Director of Programmes. She has edited 12 books and her monograph: 'Body Politics in Development: Critical Debates in Gender and Development' published by Zed Books in 2009, received the 2010 Feminist Women Studies Association Book Prize. She is series editor of both the Palgrave Gender, Development and Social Change and the ISS-Routledge Series on Gender, Development and Sexuality, a member of the International Governing Council of the Society for International Development as well as actively involved in gender and development journal boards and civil society networks. Her latest open access books are Contours of Feminist Political Ecologies 2023 and Feminist Methodologies: Experiments, Collaborations and Reflections 2022

Ziad Abdel Samad (Lebanon) is the Executive Director of the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), a regional network based in Beirut, since 1999. ANND brings together 9 national networks and 30 national organisations from 10 Arab countries, active in the protection of social and economic rights. He also coordinates the Arab Network for Democratic Elections (ANDE) a regional network working on electoral reforms and monitoring electoral processes. He is engaged in many global and regional networks focusing in the Economic and Social justice, global governance and systemic issues targeting regional and global Institutions. Part time instructor in the Lebanese American University (LAU) and Member of the Order of Engineers and Architects in Lebanon.