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Join Government Accountability Project as we host a discussion of Carvalho International Research Fellow Anna Levy’s research on the internal responses to dissent and whistleblowing inside large international humanitarian and development organizations. Levy took on this research to document how sounding the alarm on structural harm—whether in the form of asking hard questions or exposing certain practices—happens inside these organizations along with organizational (or leadership) responses to them. This discussion will share and reflect on the patterns she found through a series of interviews with aid insiders, dissenters, and would-be whistleblowers. Since this research was undertaken in 2018 there have been enormous shifts and gains in public conversation and reckoning with structural legacies of inequality, racism, and colonialism in every facet of political, social, and institutional life. International organizations are no exception. Although substantive and enduring transformation takes far longer than a few years, it is very encouraging to see. Levy hopes that her findings might continue to offer modest insight for those taking on the enormously challenging task of exposing internal dynamics that cause public harm in international organizations and/or NGOs, and who, both individually and collectively, are best positioned to flag to change them. 


Speaker Descriptions: 

Former Carvalho Research Fellow Anna Levy (Speaker): Anna Levy researches and teaches on emergency and development politics; the political economy of aid, philanthropy, and international organizations; transparency and accountability; food, climate, and land equity; displacement and borders; collective action and civic life; dissent and whistleblowing; structural inequality, and historical memory. With a career spanning 15 years, Anna began working as an independent consultant, analyst, investigative and applied researcher in 2015, and has since worked with over 30 partners and collaborators on strategy development toward structural accountability in complex institutional or political environments. She has worked with Transparency International, UNHCR, Government Accountability Project, Beautiful Rising, NYU Gov Lab, what is now the Accountability Research Center, Feed the Truth, RFK Human Rights, CIVICUS, the Center for Civic Design, and the Oral History Summer School, among others. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on the politics of emergency at Fordham University since 2018 and holds a master’s degree focused on political and economic transitions, community and oral history, from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.  You can learn more on her website, Jafsadi.works or on Twitter, @politicoyuntura. 

Anahi Ayala lacucci (Moderator): Anahi Ayala Iacucci is an accomplished and results-driven consultant with over 14 years’ experience working in more than 40 countries around the world, paired with a comprehensive experience in managing and designing large multi-country programs, assessments, monitoring mechanisms and partnerships. Over the years, Anahi developed  a specific expertise in the application and use of technologies to humanitarian crisis and human rights. Her extensive work in fragile and conflict affected settings and her passion for community lead initiatives, has given her a strong appreciation of the constraints under which the donor, implementers and communities interact and how technology can be used to address it, at all levels of the project cycle. In the last five years, Anahi has supported  a variety of clients, like UNHCR and UNICEF, in adopting and implementing Accountability to Affected Population processes internally and externally, looking at their relationships with communities and data governance. Her current work focuses on using community engagement for decision-making, access and attitudes towards ICTs for the most vulnerable groups, and strategies to improve inclusion and participation. 

samantha feinstein

Samantha Feinstein (Introduction): Samantha Feinstein is the Staff Attorney and Director of the International Program at Government Accountability Project. She has over 18 years of experience–11 working in international law and development including anti-corruption, international access to justice, good governance, human rights, and humanitarian aid, with a focus on supporting fundraising and competitive proposals. Before joining Government Accountability Project, she worked at the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of International Law and the ABA Rule of Law Initiative. Samantha has also worked at various international development organizations including the International Rescue Committee where she managed their Middle East and their East and Central Africa refugee assistance programs, and Banyan Global where she worked as a consultant to help them win a multi-million dollar USAID global gender project. She also worked in Brussels as Middle East Policy Advisor the Nirj Deva, UK Member of European Parliament (MEP) and Vice Chairman of the Development Committee. 

Ms. Feinstein holds a B.A. in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa, an M.A. in International Relations from Hult International Business School in London, and a J.D. from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.  

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