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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights
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Meet Our

Our Experts

Our experts and thought leaders research, analyze policy, and help design programs that transform how we approach women's rights and poverty through collaboration and innovation.

Lauren Ravon
Executive Director (On Parental Leave), Ottawa
Lauren Ravon, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada is a committed feminist and social justice advocate with over 15 years of international development experience.
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Lauren has been with Oxfam Canada since 2011, holding a number of roles – including Director Policy and Campaigns – and working tirelessly to put women’s rights at the heart of the global Oxfam confederation. Before joining Oxfam, Lauren worked at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development where she was program manager for the Americas and oversaw the Centre’s office and human rights programming in Haiti. She has also worked on programs to tackle gender-based violence and promote sexual and reproductive rights with Planned Parenthood Global and the International Rescue Committee. Lauren has conducted extensive policy research and campaigned on issues of food justice, women’s economic equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the role of women’s movements.

Lauren has lived in the United States, Canada, France, Kenya, Mexico and Belgium, and has worked on assignment in many other countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas. She holds Masters Degrees in international affairs and development studies from Columbia University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies.

Lauren sits on the Executive Board of Oxfam International.
Kate Higgins
Interim Executive Director, Ottawa
Kate Higgins is the Interim Executive Director of Oxfam Canada. Prior to becoming the Interim Executive Director, Kate was Deputy Executive Director, Director of Communications and Director of Policy and Campaigns.
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Before joining Oxfam, Kate worked for CIVICUS, where she led the development of the CIVICUS five-year strategy and spearheaded the organization’s work on data, sustainable development and citizen action. She has held senior policy and research roles at the North-South Institute and the Overseas Development Institute, where she led work on chronic poverty, inequality and women’s economic justice. Kate started her career at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) working on the Indonesia and Papua New Guinea programs.

Kate has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda and has worked on assignments in a number of other countries, including Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Tanzania and Yemen. Kate has degrees in economics and development studies from the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney.
Diana Sarosi
Director, Policy and Campaigns, Ottawa
Diana Sarosi is the Director of Policy and Campaigns, leading a team of campaigners and policy experts working to advance gender justice, tackle growing inequality, support social movements and promote active citizenship.
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She is a long-standing feminist advocate, with more than 15 experience working with non-governmental organizations in Canada and throughout Southeast Asia.

At Oxfam Canada, she is advancing policy files related to economic inequality, gender budgeting, humanitarian assistance, peace and security, aid and foreign policy and women’s leadership, all with an emphasis on feminist approaches, targeting the Canadian government and multilateral fora. She is an ongoing analyst and commentator on Canada’s federal budget. Diana previously worked for the Nobel Women’s Initiative and grassroots organizations throughout Southeast Asia. She lived five years in Thailand and founded a NGO working to protect human rights defenders.
Amar Nijhawan
Women's Rights Specialist, Policy and Advocacy, Ottawa
Amar Nijhawan is a Women’s Rights Policy and Advocacy Specialist leading policy work on economic justice, care, and the UN Women Beijing +25 process at Oxfam Canada.
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Amar is an intersectional feminist with a decade of experience working on policy issues related to gender justice, economic development, and sustainability across Canada and internationally. She has held positions in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, where she led an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) initiative focused on SMEs, innovation policy, and entrepreneurship in Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Peru. Amar has also worked in the NGO world in India, engaged in issues around gender equality, communal violence, and urban homelessness in New Delhi. Amar holds a MSc from the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.A in Political Science and International Development Studies from McGill University.
Siham Rayale
Women's Rights Specialist, Policy and Advocacy, Ottawa
Siham Rayale has over a decade of experience working in development policy and programming. She has focused her research and advocacy around issues relating to women, peace and security with an emphasis on justice-sector reform.
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Siham currently leads Oxfam Canada’s policy and advocacy on humanitarian and refugee issues. She has a Masters in Development from York University, a PhD from SOAS and an LLM from Osgoode at York University.
Dana Stefov
Women's Rights Specialist, Policy and Advocacy, Ottawa
Dana Stefov is Women’s Rights Policy and Advocacy Specialist and the policy lead on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at Oxfam Canada. She also supports the team’s work on women’s economic equality.
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Dana is a committed feminist that has worked in women’s rights, climate and food justice programming and policy, in Canada, throughout the Americas and internationally. She has lived and worked in several Central American countries – Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica - and is particularly fond of the region. She has held recent positions with USC Canada, the Halifax Initiative Coalition, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and a coalition of human rights organizations in the Americas advocating to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System.

Dana hold a M.Sc. in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a B.A. (Hons) in Development Studies and Political Science from Queen’s University. She lives with her partner Sébastien and two children, Alexis and Sacha, in a house they built with their own hands in Wakefield, Quebec in the national capital region of Canada. Dana is a beer-loving foodie who speaks Greek, Romanian, Spanish, French and English.
Ian Thomson
Policy Specialist, Extractive Industries, Ottawa
Ian leads our policy work on gender justice in the mining, oil and gas industries. In collaboration with partners and colleagues in Canada and more than 30 countries, he advocates for public policy reform and changing industry norms to tackle the entrenched gender bias around natural resource extraction – who benefits, who bears the risk and who holds power.
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He is actively involved in the Publish What You Pay-Canada network and the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability. He also guides Oxfam Canada’s policy work on climate change, international trade and investment, and the role of the private sector.

Prior to joining Oxfam, from 2005 to 2017, Ian coordinated the human rights and natural resources program of KAIROS Canada, a coalition of 10 national churches and religious organizations. He is a board member of MiningWatch Canada and the Maquila Solidarity Network, and holds engineering degrees from Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. A passionate cyclist and runner, he loves the month of May when his hometown of Ottawa emerges from winter and fully comes into bloom.
Mayssam Zaaroura
Women's Rights Knowledge Specialist, Ottawa
Mayssam Zaaroura is Oxfam Canada’s Women’s Rights Knowledge Specialist working on feminist approaches to research and development on Violence Against Women and Girls. She is an expert on Gender and Violence in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States, with over 15 years’ experience on gender transformation, working with civil society organizations and political actors on women, peace and security, gender and forced migration, conflict and transition processes, and women’s political empowerment in conflict and post-conflict settings.
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Prior to joining Oxfam Canada, Ms. Zaaroura was the Program Officer with the Safe and Inclusive Cities Initiative in the Governance and Justice Program at the International Development Centre, working on urban violence and on women’s empowerment in Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. As a communications expert, she was National Desk Editor and Senior Political Journalist at The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon, covering political issues in the MENA region. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Development and Global Studies from the University of Ottawa (2011), and a Bachelor’s in Communications and Languages from the University of Sunderland in the UK (2002).
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