At Luminos, we believe in surrounding ourselves with wise people to advise, guide, and hold us accountable. To that end, we have two boards: a Board of Directors and an Advisory Board. Get to know our boards and their members below.
Board of Directors
The Luminos Fund Board of Directors is comprised of funders and independent leaders from the education sector. They approve strategy, provide fiduciary oversight, evaluate organization leadership, and advance our mission through fundraising and outreach.
Dr. Kwame Akyeampong
Dr. Kwame Akyeampong is Professor of International Education and Development at The Open University in the UK. He gained his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Nottingham. Kwame began his academic career in Ghana at the University of Cape Coast in 1989 and where he served as the Director of the Institute of Education from 2002-2004. He has a particular interest in the political economy of education reforms in Sub-Sahara Africa. His research aims to offer alternative insights on educational policy and practice based on critical perspectives and experiences of policy makers, school leaders, teachers, and students in African education environments.
Kwame has over 25 years’ experience in education program evaluation, teacher education policy, education access, and equity with a focus on disadvantaged and marginalized groups in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kwame has produced education review and evaluation reports for various ministries of education in Africa. He served as a visiting professor at the Centre for International Cooperation in Education (CICE) in Hiroshima University in 2002, and as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at Georgia State University (GSU) in the US in 2001. Over his career he has consulted for UNESCO, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), VVOB, and the World Bank. Kwame also served as a Senior Policy Analyst with UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report in Paris from 2011 to 2013. He is currently an honorary professor of International Education and Development at the University of Sussex, and co-chairs the Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel (GEEAP), which is co-hosted by the World Bank, FCDO, and the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti.
Atje Drexler is Senior Vice President, Global Issues at the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Germany, overseeing the work of the Foundation on the topics of Inequality and Peace, and exploring engagement opportunities for the Foundation in education in Global South countries. From 2013 to 2019, she headed the department of International Relations Europe and its Neighbors and was responsible for developing the Africa portfolio of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Atje currently represents the Foundation on various boards, such as the Climate Justice Resilience Fund Review Board and the Board of the European Fund for the Balkans. She is Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees at the Foundation for German-Russian Youth Exchange, which the Robert Bosch Stiftung helped create in 2006.
Atje has been with the Robert Bosch Stiftung since 2001. She started her career in the Health and Science Department where she held the position of Deputy Head of Department from 2007 through 2012. In this position, she was responsible for research funding at the Foundation’s medical institutions, namely the Robert Bosch Hospital, the Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, and the Institute for the History of Medicine. Before joining the Foundation, she worked in the automotive industry after graduating from the University of Göttingen in 1998 with degrees in Slavic Studies and Economics.
Erin Ganju is a Managing Director at Echidna Giving, one of the largest private funders in girls’ education in lower-income countries. Erin joined Echidna Giving from Room to Read, the internationally lauded NGO she co-founded to advance literacy and gender equality. During her tenures as COO and CEO, Room to Read helped over 12 million children in 15 countries pursue a quality education. Erin was instrumental in the design and implementation of the organization’s scalable, replicable model. Erin captured her experiences and insights as co-author of Scaling Global Change: A Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Surviving the Start-up Phase and Driving Impact. The book is a how-to guide for social entrepreneurs who have a vision to change the world and need a strong organizational foundation to do it, utilizing Room to Read as an organizational case study.
Alan McCormick is a Partner of Legatum. He has been with the firm for 12 years serving in various capacities with a wide range of management responsibilities, including business development and corporate strategy, with a particular focus on the group’s social investment portfolio. Alan serves on the boards of directors of a number of philanthropic organizations including the END Fund and Freedom Fund, and is Chairman of the London-based Legatum Institute, a leading public policy organization. Alan was formerly a Vice President of Marketing for JP Morgan. He graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London with a BA in Politics and History.
Board Chair & Treasurer
Philip Vassiliou is the Chief Investment Officer and Partner of Legatum, primarily responsible for the oversight of Legatum’s capital markets activities. Prior to joining Legatum’s predecessor, Sovereign Global in 2004, Philip worked for the Dubai Development Investment Authority (DDIA) promoting foreign direct investment in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Before joining the DDIA, Philip worked in the Equities & Private Wealth divisions of Goldman Sachs & Co. in both New York and London. Philip is a graduate of Babson College (Wellesley, MA) where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Finance and Economics.
George Kronnisanyon Werner
George Kronnisanyon Werner is an experienced public-sector leader and innovator who has spearheaded successful national and government-wide reform programs across a range of areas including health and education workforce reforms. He served as Liberia’s Minister of Education from 2015 to 2018. As Minister, despite inheriting an education system devastated by years of civil war and the Ebola outbreak, he led bold reforms such as the “Getting to Best” program, which aimed at overhauling the education system to give all Liberian children access to free, quality education. He also launched the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) initiative, now called LEAP, leveraging the experience of local and international education providers to deliver rapid gains in education quality for Liberia’s children. Since leaving public service in March 2018, he has used his first-hand knowledge to assist other African and Asian leaders to implement transformative reform agendas aimed at developing human capital and maximizing demographic dividends for long-term economic growth.
The Luminos Fund Advisory Board is comprised of top researchers and thought leaders in international education who advise Luminos on policy, advocacy, and program design.
Former Executive Director, UNICEF
Carol Bellamy is the Chair of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) Board of Directors. GCERF is the first global effort to support local, community-level initiatives aimed at strengthening resilience against violent extremist agendas. Prior to this, Carol served as Chair of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Previously, Carol served as President and CEO of World Learning. She also served for ten years as Executive Director of UNICEF and was the first former volunteer to become Director of the United States Peace Corps.
Carol has worked in the private sector at Bear, Stearns & Co., Morgan Stanley, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore. She spent thirteen years as an elected public official, including becoming the first woman to be elected to citywide office in New York City. Carol is a Trustee Emeritus of the American University of Beirut.
Dr. Alex Eble
Associate Professor of Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Dr. Alex Eble is Associate Professor of Economics and Education at Columbia University’s graduate school of education, Teachers College. He works in the fields of development and applied microeconomics. Most of his research focuses on the economics of education in the developing world. Alex is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Faculty Affiliate of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and Research Fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics. Alex completed a PhD and master’s degree at Brown University, a master’s degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a B.A. in economics at Indiana University Bloomington.
Dr. Belay Hagos Hailu
Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Institute of Educational Research, Addis Ababa University
Dr. Belay Hagos Hailu is an Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Institute of Educational Research at Addis Ababa University. Belay studied educational psychology with a focus on educational measurement and evaluation, and holds a PhD in special needs and inclusive education. He has extensive experience leading research projects in educational assessment, systems of education, and early childhood education. From 2017-2022, Belay served as a Team Leader with RISE Ethiopia. In addition, he has been a research team member for several studies, including the National Education Development Roadmap of Ethiopia (designing a medium-term National Education Plan for 2018-2030), the study Early Learning Partnership in Ethiopia, commissioned by the World Bank (2017-2021), and the study Accelerated School Readiness, led by the American Institute for Research and commissioned by UNICEF in 2016. Belay also served as a research team member of the thematic research on Teacher Professional Identity in Ethiopia which was financially supported by Addis Ababa University (2018-2021).
Currently, Belay is the Chief Supervisor of the Testing Center of Addis Ababa University where he actively contributes to the design and implementation of the Graduate Admission Test (GAT). He is also engaged in graduate teaching and research, and has co-authored books and published several articles in peer-reviewed journals. Belay is a co-founder of the private consulting firm Institute for Education, Health, and Development plc (InEHD), which was established in December 2010. In addition, Belay is the current president of the Ethiopian Special Needs Education Professional Association, a member of the Ethiopia Psychologists Association, and an active member of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES).
Co-Director of Education Policy and Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development
Susannah Hares is a Senior Policy Fellow and the Co-Director of the Center for Global Development (CGD) global education program. Her work focuses on broad welfare goals and the role education can play in reducing inequality in society.
Prior to joining CGD, she spent seven years as Ark’s International Director and Executive Director, where she was responsible for strategy, operations, and programs in India, sub-Saharan Africa, and Eastern Europe, and for Ark’s international ventures including the Education Partnerships Group, Global Schools Forum, and Peepul. Susannah started her career in Kenya, working for African health NGO, AMREF. She has served on the boards and advisory groups of various international education organizations and ventures.
She holds a MA from the University of Manchester.
Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka
Former Minister of Education, Zimbabwe
Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka served as the first Minister of Education and Culture for Zimbabwe upon its Independence from 1980 to 1988, and as Minister of Higher Education from 1988 to 1989. He currently serves on the Governing Board of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning, Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program, Big Win Philanthropy, Vitol Foundation, Teach for All, Educate!, and Results for Development.
Dzingai is the former Chair of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), which brings together all African Education Ministers and donors supporting education in Africa. From 1990 to 2007, he held various senior management positions at the World Bank in the education sector.
Prior to joining the World Bank,Dzingai held other major political appointments in Zimbabwe, including as an elected member of parliament. Before Zimbabwe’s independence, he served as Secretary for Education and Culture in the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU (PF)) from 1975 to 1980 and was responsible for manpower development and the education of all Zimbabweans in refugee camps in Mozambique.
He has a B.Sc (Hons) from the University of London and a PhD from the University of Sussex.
Dr. Harry Anthony Patrinos
Adviser, Office of the Chief Economist, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank
Dr. Harry Anthony Patrinos is Adviser, Office of the Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank. He specializes in the economics of education, particularly the return to schooling, school-based management, demand-side financing, and public-private partnerships. Harry has managed education teams in Europe and Central Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Global Unit. He led lending operations and analytical work programs in Latin America and co-led the development of the World Bank’s Harmonized Learning Outcomes database, which is part of the Human Capital Index, published in Nature. Harry has studied and worked extensively on the socioeconomic status of Indigenous Peoples and has co-authored books and reports on this subject, including Indigenous Peoples, Poverty, and Development (Cambridge University Press).
Harry has many publications in academic and policy literature, with more than 60 journal articles published. He is co-author of the books: Making Schools Work; The Role and Impact of Public-Private Partnerships in Education; and Decentralized Decision-Making in Schools. His work appears – among other outlets – in Nature, Journal of Development Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Journal of Population Economics, Education Economics, Labour, and the Economics of Education Review. He also worked in Africa, Asia, and North America. Before joining the World Bank, Harry worked as an economist at the Economic Council of Canada. Harry received a doctorate from the University of Sussex.
Dr. Aleesha Taylor
Principal, Herald Advisors
Dr. Aleesha Taylor is the Principal of Herald Advisors, a consulting firm she founded to support leaders and organizations to thrive in the intersections of philanthropy, education, and international development. Aleesha previously served as the Deputy Director of the Open Society Foundations’ education program, where she managed a team across five countries to implement a global grant making portfolio that sought to strengthen education systems and civil society. She has also served as an Interim Chief Technical Officer and Independent Senior Advisor for Education.org, playing a key role in building their new and growing program portfolio, overseeing the development of country-level teams and activities, establishing strategic partnerships, and guiding the adaptation of data categorization frameworks and analysis for the education sector.
A native of the Bronx, NY, Aleesha is passionate about advancing equity and justice through the education sector. She was a Lecturer of International Educational Development at Columbia University’s Teachers College, where she also completed her doctoral studies. Aleesha also holds degrees in psychology from Spelman College and the Graduate Faculty for Political and Social Sciences of the New School for Social Research.
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