Anthony Smith
Chief Executive
Anthony joined Westminster Foundation for Democracy in August 2014. He is responsible for the overall direction and performance of WFD.

He has delegated authority from the Board for approval of programme proposals and helps to establish and manage relations with key stakeholders – funders, partner organisations and experts that implement WFD’s work.

He is a member of the Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Group on Human Rights, the Board of the European Partnership for Democracy, and the Board of Peace Direct.
Anthony’s role in WFD builds on his international experience. He was previously a member of the Diplomatic Service and a Civil Servant. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1986, served in the Embassy in Madrid and worked on a range of European policy issues including the Balkans, trade policy and Common Foreign and Security Policy.

In 1996 he moved to the Department for International Development (DFID) where he worked on Environment Policy, Europe and Southern Africa, as well as being Private Secretary to Clare Short when she was Secretary of State for International Development.

Anthony returned to the FCO as Director for European Political Affairs from 2006-2008 before becoming International Relations Director at DFID from 2008-2014, responsible for DFID’s policy on EU development issues, DFID’s funding to the UN system and the Commonwealth, engagement with the G20 and G8, and relations with development partners.
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Shannon O'Connell
Director of Programmes
Shannon is responsible for the strategic, technical, and operational management and overall leadership of WFD programmes.
Shannon has extensive experience in politics, policy advocacy and elections. She has worked on more than two dozen electoral campaigns, largely for women candidates. She served as Senior Advisor to Dawn Purvis MLA, former leader of the Progressive Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.

She was also an advisor and campaign manager for the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition in their first elections after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Globally, Shannon has served as a policy and strategy advisor to elected officials and political party leaders, both in government and opposition, as well as a coach for candidates and strategist for political parties. She has worked in more than 20 countries worldwide, including as Country Director for National Democratic Institute in the West Bank and Gaza.

Shannon was formerly WFD’s Senior Gender and Inclusion Adviser, when she was responsible for developing tools and resources to advance women’s political participation and influence, working with programme teams to design various forms of technical assistance that support better outcomes for women, girls and other under-represented groups, as well as initiating research and policy efforts that support the same results.
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Devin O’Shaughnessy
Director of Strategy, Partnerships, and Technical Leadership
Devin is responsible for advancing WFD’s strategic direction, developing partnerships with other international organisations and donors, and providing technical leadership to WFD’s programmes.
In addition to managing WFD’s Technical Advisory Unit (TAU) – WFD’s in-house team of democratic governance experts – Devin leads on WFD’s thematic work around decentralisation and work in fragile and conflict affected situations (FCAS). Through his partnerships role, Devin plays a leading role in WFD’s Business Development (BD), including seeking funding opportunities for new programmes, preparation of external bids, and identifying opportunities to collaborate with other implementing organisations. His principal field of expertise is in democracy and governance, including: supporting representative, executive, and political institutions; civil society strengthening; electoral processes and observation; citizen participation; state building in fragile contexts; inclusive politics; and qualitative research.

Devin has nearly 20 years’ experience in the field of international development, with a specific focus on democracy assistance. Before joining WFD, Devin worked for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for nearly six years, both abroad and in their headquarters. His last position with NDI was as Country Director in Indonesia, and previously acted as their Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan and Senior Programme Manager for the Horn of Africa. In addition to NDI and WFD, Devin has worked for a number of leading development organisations, including Action on Armed Violence, Global Communities, and the US Peace Corps, among others. He has also worked in US politics, serving as a Co-Campaign Manager and Constituent Advocate for US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
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Chris Lane
Director of Operations
Chris is responsible for supporting the CEO to coordinate day-to-day corporate business; promoting internal policy and good practice across the organization; developing our systems; driving change and innovation; leading on business development, planning, and delivery; and overseeing risk, compliance, and facilities. He is also WFD’s Company Secretary.
Prior to joining WFD in November 2018, Chris was the Chief Operating Officer at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, a new charity started in 2015 as part of the Save the Children group, where he worked for nearly seven years in a variety of roles. Chris was a lawyer for over 8 years, both in private practice and for in the charity sector, and he remains a practicing solicitor.
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Graeme Ramshaw
Director of Research and Evaluation
Graeme joined WFD in 2014 as Director of Research and Evaluation. He is responsible for the development and management of WFD’s monitoring and evaluation systems, as well as advising on the strengthening of programme quality and cross-organisational learning.
Graeme also heads WFD’s research programme, overseeing a portfolio of partnerships and activities linked to democracy and governance research. He presents regularly at international conferences and workshops, sharing WFD’s lessons and findings.

Graeme has over 12 years of experience in international development, with a specific focus on governance and democracy support. Prior to joining WFD, he was a Learning Advisor for the UK Department for International Development’s Governance and Transparency Fund. Previous assignments include work with the World Bank, International IDEA, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Brookings Institution, the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, and others. Graeme holds a BA from Princeton University; a MA from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University; and a PhD from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.
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Jon Spence
Head of HR
Responsible for WFD’s HR function, ensuring effective systems, frameworks and practises to support strategic and operational plans.
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Zoe Oliver-Watts
Regional Director, Africa
Zoe is Africa Regional Director at WFD. In this role, Zoe is responsible for providing strategic direction for WFD programming development and design, and relationship management sub-Saharan Africa.
Prior to this, she spent ten years in the House of Commons, holding several roles including Senior Committee Specialist to the Foreign Affairs Committee and Clerk of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy. Zoe has also worked in parliamentary development since 2015, with a particular focus on Myanmar. She spent over a year in the Myanmar Hluttaw in 2016-17 on the House of Commons' Hluttaw Committee programme. Since then, she has worked on programmes in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Nepal. Prior to her work in Parliament, Zoe worked for the UN Rapporteur on Torture and in UK-China investment. She holds degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Vienna.
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Chris Levick
Regional Director, Europe and Central Asia
Chris is our Regional Director for Europe & Central Asia and joined WFD in September 2015. He has overall responsibility for the region and is part of WFD’s senior leadership team.
Chris has overall responsibility for delivery of our regional portfolio, strategic approach and ensuring effective leadership of the regional teams. Prior to his current role, Chris served as our Senior Programme Manager for Europe & Central Asia (2015-18) and headed our Muti-Party Office. He brings experience of working with various parliaments and parliamentary groups in the UK, having spent 7 years working in various roles in the Westminster Parliament and devolved institutions. He has contributed to and led governance programming across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and MENA.
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Dina Melhem
Regional Director, MENA
Dina is responsible for providing strategic direction for WFD programming development and design, and relationship management in MENA and Asia and supporting WFD programmes in Latin America.
Dina also advises on new policy issues and programme opportunities in the region she covers and contributes to developing fundraising strategies and bids as well as oversee the programme management and assure quality assurance for programme delivery. Dina’s principle field of expertise is supporting parliaments, including expertise in legislative drafting and analysis, financial oversight, public policy evaluation, as well as her extensive expertise in Rule of Law and Human Rights and gender-based violence.
Dina’s has specific focus of expertise on MENA region and she previously led the establishment of WFD’s portfolio in MENA region since 2006. She studied law and has a PhD in Public Law from the University Paul Cezanne in France. Before joining WFD, Dina was Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic studies (IREMAM-CNRS) in Aix-en-Provence and was involved heavily with research on the League of Arab States, International Human Rights Law, Islam and Human rights. Dina has also worked at the European Parliament office in Marseille on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Dina speaks fluently Arabic, English and French.
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Matthew Hedges
Regional Director, Asia and the Americas
Matthew is the Regional Director for Asia & the Americas. In this dual role, he is responsible for providing strategic direction for WFD programming development and design, and team management in the Asia and the Americas region.
Prior to this, Matthew was a British diplomat. Before serving as Ambassador to Paraguay, he was Deputy Ambassador to Myanmar. He has also worked in India, Japan, Morocco, Iraq, Turks and Caicos, and at the UK Mission to the UN in New York.

He also spent two years as a senior clerk in the House of Commons, working with the International Development Select Committee. He holds a master’s degree in public policy (MPP) in International Relations from Princeton University.