Interim Executive Director
Anne-Catherine joined BCCIC in the position of Interim Executive Director in May 2021. She comes from a background of activism and alliance with feminist, intersectional, indigenous and community development movements in Latin America, West Africa and Canada. She has accrued over twenty years of experience leading programs for Oxfam International, Crossroads International, International Media Support, and BC’s Justice Education Society among others. She has further managed university international cooperation projects at the University of Victoria.
Anne-Catherine’s journey began as a youth activist and continues as such, with an ever-increasing commitment to intergenerational and intersectional approaches. She believes in continuous learning, and credits the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon, the domestic workers’ movement of Bolivia, the youths of Liberia and community economic development initiatives in Western Canada for helping shape her vision.
Anne-Catherine is a long-time member of BCCIC and was a member of the Board in earlier years in representation of Crossroads International. She was a founding member of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network’s International Committee. She is committed to the development of local and global partnerships and alliances, and recently applied this to her work on Oxfam’s Knowledge for Impact Team.
Mike is the Executive Director of the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC). Prior to working for BCCIC, Mike was the Executive Director of One Sky – The Canadian Institute for Sustainable Living. His work with One Sky varied from leading major bilateral projects in West Africa, including Nigeria and Sierra Leone, to working in Latin America on projects ranging from forest conservation to leadership development. Mike has been an active voice for Canadian civil society at international forums ranging from the World Summit on Sustainable Development to UN meetings on renewable energy. With a keen interest in integral theory, he has been active in exploring the nexus between developmental psychology and social change.
Prior to his work with civil society groups, Simpson was an award winning documentary producer who ran a video production company that specialized in programming on environment, development, and human rights. He spent many years working in conflict and post-conflict areas, with a special focus on Latin America. His most recent focus has been on leadership development within the context of social movements, including both the private sector and civil society.
Dr. Zosa Gruber (nee De Sas Kropiwnicki)
Policy Director and Gender Specialist
Dr. Zosa De Sas Kropiwnicki-Gruber is a Policy Director & Gender Specialist at BCCIC. She has a doctorate in International Development Studies from the University of Oxford, as well as two Masters degrees in Political Science and Social Policy from Leeds University and Rhodes University, respectively. Zosa has accrued 17 years of experience in research, evaluation, and policy analysis in developing, transitional, and emergency contexts in South East Europe, Central Asia, West Africa, and Southern Africa. Zosa has worked for a wide range of government, non-government, and international non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, UNODC, IOM, and Save the Children. Her work has centered on human rights, empowerment, and social justice in the context of child protection, forced migration, gender empowerment, and women’s equality. Zosa has published two books as well as numerous book chapters, academic articles, reports, and policy briefs on topics related to the Sustainable Development Goals. Zosa lives in North Vancouver with her two children, dogs, and guinea pig.
Rowen Siemens is the Communications Director at the BC Council for International Cooperation, and she is grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and play on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples. Rowen has a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a BA in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia, and has acquired years of writing, research, and communications experience. She has worked across a range of sectors, including the private, charitable, and the international non-governmental. She worked most recently with Minority Rights Group International (MRG). When she isn’t busy at BCCIC, Rowen sits on local committees that engage with issues related to public policy, communications, and public engagement. She enjoys volunteering, is a novice yogi and runner, and listens to probably too many podcasts
Laurel moved to Vancouver in the summer of 2018 to do an internship with BCCIC. She had spent the previous year in Norway, busy with the first year of her Masters in International Environmental Studies. Prior to moving abroad, Laurel lived in Victoria and obtained a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria. She was a cheerleader for 9 years and has an impressive house plant collection (of over 20 plants!). Laurel has a passion for bringing people together, often planning parties for the team and her friends. For fun, Laurel loves to cook, bake, and try new restaurants- she even has an Instagram account dedicated to food! Not to mention she has been known to write a murder mystery or two in her spare time.
Laurel is passionate about the intersection between policy, food, and environmental sustainability, and she wrote her Masters thesis on the barriers that environmentally-sustainable food businesses face. Laurel started working on SDG policy briefs during her internship at BCCIC and became fully immersed in the 2030 Agenda. She sees a powerful opportunity in the SDGs, and she is excited to continue building meaningful partnerships through BCCIC to achieve these goals
Bashar Alsaeedi is a Policy Analyst at BCCIC. He holds a Masters in Public Policy and Global Affairs and a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia. Prior to joining the BCCIC team, Bashar has worked for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Bahrain with the objective of strengthening local capacities in selected countries in the Arab, Asian and African regions. He specifically worked hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs to develop their business plans and contributed to strengthening existing SMEs on a local and global scale in order to facilitate sustainable economic development. Bashar has also gained experience carrying out qualitative research and analysis for an NGO in Nepal after conducting fieldwork on healthcare accessibility and management of sickle cell disease focusing on the Indigenous Tharu community.
Coming from the small island nation of Bahrain in the Middle East, Bashar has been passionate about cooking, sailing, soccer, and politics. He is a true foodie and linguist when traveling around the world and discovering new destinations.
Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant
Demitra Soursos is the Monitoring and Evaluation and Administrative Assistant at BCCIC, gratefully residing and learning on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Semiahmoo and Kwantlen people. Demitra holds a BA in International Relations and Economics from the University of British Columbia, having done the majority of her independent research in gender and development in the Middle East, as well as the impacts of educational and health barriers faced by children in the Middle East and Africa. Demitra has long held a passion for international development and the social, political, emotional, and economic empowerment of women and girls across the developing world.
Demitra is also deeply passionate about local issues here in BC. At 17, Demitra co-founded a student-led charitable organization aimed to support transitioning Syrian refugees residing in Surrey, as well as hosted events and information sessions to promote global citizenship and facilitate discussions on the plight of the world’s refugees. She has also long been an advocate and ally for racial and Indigenous justice, equality, esteem, and an active listener to stories of systemic, intergenerational injustice across groups in BC.
Demitra enjoys exploring different cultures through food, travel, language, nature, and connecting with new people across the world. When she’s not busy with M&E, you’ll likely find her on hikes or in restaurants across the Lower Mainland.