Meet Education Cannot Wait’s Executive Director and the Secretariat’s team of senior managers and thematic experts.
ECW Executive Director
Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait
Yasmine Sherif is the Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW). A lawyer specialized in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law (LL.M), she has over 30 years of experience with the United Nations and international NGOs.
Ms. Sherif has served in some of the most crisis-affected areas of the world, including Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Balkans, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan as well as in New York and Geneva. She has led high-level missions to numerous conflict and crisis-affected countries. Her expertise spans across the education, humanitarian, development, human rights, gender and peacekeeping spectrum.
She is the author of the book, The Case for Humanity: An Extraordinary Session, and a Champion for ‘No Lost Generation.’ In 2017, she received the annual award Sweden’s UN Friend of the Year, in 2020 she was awarded the Global Educator Award in the United States, and in 2022 she received on behalf of Education Cannot Wait, the prestigious Mother Teresa Award.
Ms. Sherif also received an award from the United Nations Association-USA Brooklyn Chapter in 2023, and was recently honored as a Listee in Marquis Who's Who for her dedication to the field of international affairs and law, and leadership of ECW.
Graham Lang was appointed as the ECW Deputy Director in February 2023. Graham first joined ECW as the Chief of Education in October 2017. In this role, he oversaw the education programmes supported by the Fund’s investments under the First Emergency Response (FER) and Multi-Year Resilience Programme (MYRP) windows, leading the expansion of ECW’s portfolio to over 40 crisis-affected countries. He also managed the Fund’s Acceleration Facility which contributes to global public goods in the education in emergency sector. Graham also served as the Director of ECW’s first High-Level Financing Conference which was held in February 2023 in Geneva. Prior to joining ECW he worked for over 25 years on education programmes in both development and humanitarian contexts, serving with international NGOs in Cambodia, China, Dominica and Thailand and then with UNICEF in Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cambodia, Laos, Madagascar and Rwanda. In his current function in the New York HQ, Graham supports the ECW Executive Director, oversees the support to the ECW governance structures and maintains a programmatic overview of ECW’s country-level investments.
Chief, Monitoring & Evaluation and Reporting
Christian Stoff joined ECW in 2018 as Chief of Monitoring, Evaluation (M&E) and Global Reporting. Christian leads the work on all things related to M&E, including partnerships and capacity development initiatives to strengthen education in emergency data systems. Prior to ECW, since 2010, Christian worked with UNICEF as Chief of Education in Sri Lanka, and Chief, Education Research, M&E, in Myanmar. From 2006 to 2010, he worked with UNESCAP and NGOs on Statistics, Social Policy and Emergency Needs Assessments in the Asia-Pacific region. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, where he also taught courses in Micro-Economics and Econometrics. Christian is German and enjoys composing music in his spare time if his three children let him.
Dianah Nelson joined ECW as Chief of Education in January 2024, with expertise in the education sector and international development stemming from 15 years working with non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, and donor institutions in twenty-one countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining ECW, she provided critical leadership and technical support during Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, the Refugee Response in Tanzania, armed conflict in South Sudan, the European Migration Crisis in Greece/Serbia, and during the Ebola Response in Sierra Leone, to name just a few. Dianah is originally from Uganda and has two Master’s degrees in culture and development studies, and educational studies from KU Leuven University. Dianah enjoys spending quality time with her family especially reading, exploring and dancing with her daughter.
Chief, Advocacy and Communications
Kent Page joined ECW as Chief of Advocacy and Communications in July 2019, and has served with the UN for 26 years. Prior to ECW, Kent served with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children as Chief, Advocacy/Communications. He previously served as: Strategic Emergency Communication Advisor at UNICEF Headquarters; UNICEF Spokesperson in L3 emergencies (Haiti & Nepal Earthquakes, Philippines Typhoon Haiyan; Civil Conflicts in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, South Sudan, and more); and, with UNICEF in Angola, Brazil and West/Central Africa. Before UNICEF, he worked with UNDP Angola (civil war), UN-OCHA Liberia (civil war) and UNAMIR Rwanda. Kent is Canadian and enjoys spending time with his family.
Chief, Humanitarian Liaison and External Relations / Head of the ECW Geneva Office
Maarten Barends serves as the Chief, Humanitarian Liaison and External Relations and Head of the ECW Geneva Office, representing ECW vis-à-vis the different education partners and networks in Geneva and beyond, and acting as the ECW country lead for Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Sudan. Prior to joining ECW, he worked for the UN in various crisis and post-crisis settings, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Palestine, and Sudan. Prior to joining the UN, he worked at the Dutch embassies in Islamabad and Khartoum, as well as at Leiden University. He holds an LL.M. from the University of Amsterdam.
Chief, Finance and Operations
Michael Corlin has been with ECW since August 2018. Michael’s first responsibility was as country lead for Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda with a focus on developing programmes, engaging with grantees, governments and donors in relation to these programmes. Since mid-2020 Michael has been ECW’s Chief of Finance and Operations, including Grants Management. Michael has previously served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, at the Embassy of Denmark in Ghana. He has worked for Save the Children and as advisor in the Ministry of Health in Kenya. He has also worked in other capacities in South and South East Asia, and in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Nasser Faqih is ECW’s Chief of Strategic Partnerships. Nasser is a member of the senior management team for ECW and looks after the Fund’s efforts to bridge the global funding gap for education in emergencies and protracted crises. In addition to advocacy and resource mobilization, Nasser also manages ECW’s investments in the MENA region. Nasser is a development practitioner by training and for the past 20 years has led several United Nations and Civil Society initiatives to advance education, youth leadership, sustainable livelihoods, environmental protection, economic empowerment and capacity development in crisis-affected countries in the Africa and the Middle East regions.
Chief, Strategy and Planning
Raakhi Williams joined ECW in June 2022 as Chief of Strategy and Planning. She has spent the past decade working for the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID now FCDO) in various roles, including as the DFID Representative in Somalia, Acting Deputy Head of Office in Nigeria, Head of Humanitarian, Peacebuilding, UN Funds and Programmes (UK Mission to the UN) and Deputy Head of COP26 Delivery (UK). Prior to this, Raakhi worked at the Social Mobility Foundation supporting the educational aspirations of adolescents from low-income households and sat on the board of Y Care International – the YMCA’s youth-focused development agency. She holds a BA (Hons) in Modern Languages (1st) from Oxford University and an MPhil in Development Studies (Dist) from Cambridge University.
Programme Thematic Experts
Jihane Latrous joined ECW as Gender Manager in February 2021. She is responsible for providing strategic advice and technical support on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls to ECW’s country investments.
Prior to ECW, Jihane has served with UN agencies such as UNICEF and UNRWA, and international organisations such as the IFRC, both at global and field level, in the areas of gender and gender-based violence in emergencies, protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA), and child protection in emergencies. Jihane speaks English, French, and Arabic.
Early Childhood Education Specialist
Semine Brorson joined ECW as Early Childhood Education Specialist in March 2022. She has extensive experience in humanitarian responses with UNICEF, INGOs and the Red Cross. As a passionate advocate for learning through play, Semine drives ECW’s work to deepen reach of young children in crisis situations. Semine has 10 years of field experience from East Africa, was UNICEF's member of the Uganda Education Response Plan Steering Committee in 2018-20 and worked at the UNICEF ESAR Regional Office until 2021. In the same year, Semine was elected to represent staff in UNICEF's Global Management Team.