Our team

Learn more about the team guiding the International Fund’s work and development.

Nishant Lalwani

Chief Executive Officer

Nishant is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Fund for Public Interest Media. He co-founded the Fund and led its launch in 2023 with a multilateral coalition of sixteen donors that include some of the world’s largest governments, corporates and philanthropies. 

He oversees a global team, with staff in Latin America, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Nishant has twenty years of experience in international development, media development and strategy roles. Prior to joining the International Fund, he was Vice President of Global Programmes at Luminate, where he was also a long serving member of the leadership team. In 2013, Nishant helped launch the non-profit Global Innovation Fund (GIF). As COO, he led GIF’s investment process and venture support team, making investments and grants across the world. 

Prior to that Nishant was on the founding team of Monitor Inclusive Markets (MIM) in India, which sought to scale up social enterprises addressing economic inequality. Early in his career he worked at the UN Development Programme in Zambia and also at Marakon Associates, a strategy consulting firm in London.

Nishant has an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He also has a Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering and a B.A. in General Engineering from Cambridge University.

Amélie Baudot

Chief Operating Officer

Amélie Baudot is the Chief Operating Officer at the International Fund for Public Interest Media, overseeing fund strategy, operations, finance, legal, governance, and talent. Amélie has over a decade of experience in managing global multi-donor impact funds.

Amélie joined the International Fund after six years at the Global Innovation Fund including as Chief Strategy and Chief Legal Officer. In 2013, Amélie pivoted from a career as a finance and restructuring lawyer at Allen & Overy LLP into impact investing and international development when she joined AgDevCo Limited as its first in-house counsel.

Amélie is admitted to practice in New York State and is a solicitor in England & Wales. She holds a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law, a Master’s Degree from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Economics from Connecticut College.

Pierrick Judéaux

Director of Portfolio

Pierrick spent the first years of his career in the Strategy Unit of Europe’s largest broadcasting group, RTL Group, and advising various media and telecommunications companies in Europe, before embracing an international development career.

In the past 10 years, Pierrick has been a senior advisor to multiple Heads of State across Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe on economic and democratic development. He has led large-scale international development initiatives such as the USAID-funded Power Africa Senior Advisory Group and was an Associate Director of Policy at the Open Society Foundations.

Khadija Patel


Khadija pushes words on street corners. She is the former editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian in South Africa, a co-founder of the youth-driven, award-winning digital news startup, The Daily Vox, and a vice chairperson of the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI).

As a journalist she has produced work for Sky News, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Quartz, City Press and the Daily Maverick, among others. She is also a research associate at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Witwatersrand). She is passionate about the protection and enhancement of global media as a public good.

Vanina Berghella

Regional Director for Latin America & the Caribbean

Vanina started her career in journalism more than 25 years ago and gained extensive experience working in print, radio, and digital media. She has worked as a project management consultant for companies, media outlets, advertising agencies, and other organizations such as ICFJ, Deutsche Welle, BID, WAN-IFRA, Meta, IFEX, etc.

Vanina also served as director for Velocidad, the media accelerator of SembraMedia and the International Center for Journalism (ICFJ), which supported a group of ten media in Latin America to strengthen their sustainability.

She was the executive director of the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA), an organization dedicated to the professionalization of journalists and freedom of expression in the country and a member of the IFEX-ALC Board prior to this.

Vanina is also a speaker at conferences, seminars, universities, and international events.

Her main interests are media sustainability and innovation, professional and independent journalism, freedom of expression, and researching the issues that undermine quality journalism.

Irene Jay Liu

Regional Director for Asia & the Pacific

Irene works at the intersection of journalism and tech, based in Singapore. 

Before joining the International Fund, Irene led the Google News Lab in the Asia-Pacific region, where she developed partnerships and programs to promote newsroom innovation, counter mis/disinformation and support greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the news industry.

She was previously a Hong Kong-based investigative reporter and data editor at Thomson Reuters, where she was a 2017 Pulitzer finalist in the national reporting category. Earlier, she worked at the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and as a political reporter with the Times Union in Albany, New York.

She taught data-driven investigative journalism at the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong and is a graduate of Yale University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Makmid Kamara

Regional Director for Africa & the Middle East

Makmid is a Sierra Leonean human rights leader, democracy advocate, and development communications practitioner, with almost 20 years’ experience working with national and international development, human rights, and grant-making organizations in Africa and the United Kingdom. 

He is the Founder of Reform Initiatives (LBG), an organization dedicated to harvesting the dividends of democracy and contributing to reforming broken systems and structures. Until recently, he was the founding Director of the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF), based in Accra, Ghana. 

At ATJLF, Kamara’s focus was on transitional justice and reparations for historical crimes. He led various collaborative efforts around reparatory justice issues and TJ mechanisms meant to repair the wrongs of the past in selected African countries. 

Prior to the ATJLF, Kamara worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London as (Ag.) Deputy Director of Global Issues and Head of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) Team; served as interim Country Director for Amnesty International Nigeria and as a West Africa Researcher.

Kamara has also held posts with Oxfam GB in Sierra Leone and the UK, and with Concern Worldwide in Sierra Leone. Kamara started his career as a journalist in Sierra Leone and has written several articles and reports on human rights and social justice issues for high-profile African and European publications and institutions. He is a Rotarian, a Global Atlantic Fellow, and an Obama Foundation Leader- Africa. He is based in Accra, Ghana.

Patrik Silborn

Director of Partnerships

Patrik Silborn has 20 years of experience in global health and development, leading partnerships, resource mobilization, and grants across Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Patrik spent a decade working at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in varying roles. As a senior fund portfolio manager, he served multiple countries in Africa and Latin America; as head of private sector engagement, he led the organization’s global work with businesses and on innovative finance and played a key role in organizing the Global Fund’s replenishment.

Patrik also led external relations, resource mobilization, and partnerships at the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) — an alliance launched by heads of government to eliminate malaria in the region by 2030.

At APLMA, he formed new partnerships with the Asian Development Bank, the Global Fund, and bilateral donors, and launched M2030 — a partnership that brought together the World Economic Forum and leading businesses in Asia to fight malaria.

Prior to joining the International Fund, Patrik was vice president of strategy and partnerships at Zenysis, a company dedicated to using data to improve global health and development programs. He also served as a senior advisor to the Pandemic Action Network and to international development funds and international organizations. Patrik is an active member of the World Economic Forum’s expert network.

Maha Taki

Director of the What Works Unit

Maha Taki has 18 years of experience in media and media support where she brings a strong track record of leadership, facilitating learning and strategic approaches in media development, media viability, and media policy, with a focus on the Global South. She co-authored the Feasibility Study that led to the creation of the International Fund.

Before joining the International Fund, Maha was Senior Advisor at BBC Media Action, leading the organization’s strategy and advancement in supporting healthier media ecosystems.  Prior to that, she designed and delivered a series of complex and innovative projects for BBC Media Action in Lebanon and Syria as project director. Maha is on the advisory board of the International Media Policy and Advisory Centre of the Global Forum for Media Development.

Maha has a Ph.D. in Media and Communication from the Communication and Media Research Institute at the University of Westminster, where she also worked as a researcher and visiting lecturer.  Maha has a passion for learning and communication across various fields and mediums, with a special focus on non-fiction formats. She was previously lead film and workshop programmer for Otherfield, a nonfiction film retreat dedicated to independent filmmakers. She now contributes to the organization by serving on their board of directors. She currently hosts the podcast Brave New Media, featuring the stories of journalists from around the world, and their challenges of operating in complex environments.

James Deane

Co-founder and Senior Advisor

James was instrumental in conceiving and developing the feasibility of an International Fund for Public Interest Media. He has spent over 30 years in leadership on media development and communication for development issues. He is the former executive director and founding member of Panos Institute, London. As well as working as a part time consultant to Luminate on the International Fund for Public Interest Media, James is also Head of Policy at BBC Media Action, the BBC’s international media support charity. He is a writer, commissioner, and editor of numerous books, briefings, articles, and blogs on the role of media and communication in democracy and development.

He is also an organizer of numerous conferences on the issue. James has provided strategic advice to most bilateral and multilateral development organizations, as well as numerous foundations and NGOs, on media development and communication for development. He is the Chair of Global Voices and a steering committee member of Global Forum for Media Development.

Colin Crowell

Senior Advisor

Colin is the former VP of Global Public Policy, Government and Philanthropy at Twitter. While there, Colin built an award-winning philanthropy programme and engaged with global policymakers and civil society on a range of Internet policy issues. Prior to Twitter, Colin worked in the Obama Administration as Senior Counselor to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Before that, Colin spent over two decades on Capitol Hill drafting telecommunications and Internet laws on the committee staff of the then U.S. Representative (now Senator) Ed Markey (D-MA).

Colin was Sen. Markey’s top staffer during consideration of numerous foundational laws for the Internet era, including the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Tommaso di Robilant

Strategy Manager

Tommaso is a strategy manager at the International Fund for Public Interest Media, where he focuses primarily on organizational strategy and development. Prior to joining the International Fund, he worked as a consultant at Dalberg Advisors, a management consultancy specialized in international development and social impact work. In this role, he advised governments, NGOs, foundations, and private sector clients on strategy, investments, and organizational design, with a focus on the global health and agriculture & food security sectors.

Tommaso spent the early years of his career in the Office of the Vice President for the Africa Region at the World Bank, where he supported senior leadership in engaging with client countries on poverty reduction and growth strategies.

Guenara Meril

Executive Assistant

Guenara is assistant to the executive team at the International Fund for Public Interest Media, providing comprehensive operational support. Having previously served as the Executive Assistant to the Ambassador of New Zealand in France, Guenara has gained invaluable experience in diplomatic and governmental affairs.

Guenara holds a diverse skillset with a strong background in international relations, engaging and building relationships with a wide range of stakeholders. In earlier stages of her career Guenara worked in account management and sales development in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, mostly in the SaaS industry.

The International Fund's 2023 annual report provides an overview of its progress during its initial operational phase.

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