Mike Simpson

Executive Director

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.


Sara Michel

Program Director

Sara has been working with the Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation through the Inter-Council Network since April of 2017. Sara was working at the BCCIC office when BCCIC hosted the ICN from April 2017 until the end of May 2019. Sara has over 15 years of experience in the sector, having worked for the federal government’s Departments of National Defence and Foreign Affairs, the United Nations World Food Programme, Caritas Canada, as well as local civil society organizations in the Caribbean and South America. She has experience and a particular interest working on peace and justice issues, specifically in the Middle East and North Africa region. She lives in Vancouver with her son, and enjoys all kinds of toddler mischief these days.


Rowen Siemens

Communications Director

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 Wayne-Nixon

Operations Manager

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

Policy Analyst

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.


Katia Hammond

Communications and Public Engagement Assistant

Katia Hammond is the Communications and Public Engagement Assistant at the BC Council for International Cooperation. Katia is in her fourth year at Simon Fraser University, studying International Relations, with a focus in East Asian Affairs, policy development and security. She also serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the IS department’s official academic journal Confluence and served as the Confluence Representative on the International Studies Student Association for over a year. Prior to obtaining a co-op position at BCCIC, Katia gained experience in communications and public engagement through volunteering with the Canadian International Council as a Media Outreach Assistant and by serving as the Director of Communications on a federal election campaign in Vancouver during the 2019 election.

Katia has a keen interest in achieving human rights and social justice for vulnerable groups worldwide, including religious minorities, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, refugees and migrants, as well as women and children. She is also very interested in studying the historical and ongoing relations between countries, particularly within Asia. In her free time, Katia enjoys fitness, camping, reading and spending time with friends. 


Angela Phan

SDG Programme Assistant

Angela is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a B.A. in International Relations. She is grateful to live on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples. Growing up on this land has helped foster a passion for intersectional environmentalism and firmly believes that in order to reach environmental justice we have to aim for social justice as well.

Throughout her degree, she has held several co-op positions with UBC and Environment and Climate Change Canada and has experience in environmental non-profit work. She currently volunteers with Ocean Wise as part of their Ocean Bridge program. In the future, Angela hopes to pursue a Masters degree in environmental science and development in order to protect and conserve our already fragile ecosystems across the globe. When she is not working, you can find Angela hiking, spending time at the beach, trying new restaurants, and watching dog videos.