Oslo Governance Centre

About us

Our team

Sarah Lister, Director

Sarah Lister has been the Director of the Oslo Governance Centre since May 2015. She has had a distinguished career as a policy researcher working on governance and civic engagement, with a focus on transitional societies.Immediately prior to taking up the OGC Directorship, Sarah was with BBC Media Action, the development NGO of the BBC, where she was the Head of the Advisory and Policy Team and then Acting Director of Research and Learning. She has had a long previous association with UNDP having worked at the Oslo Governance Centre for six years, first as Governance and Civil Society Advisor, and then as Democratic Governance Advisor, with particular responsibility for emerging trends in governance, and social accountability. Prior to this she held various research positions, including at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit in Kabul, and the Institute of Development Studies, UK. Sarah has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe and holds a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics.

Renata Dessallien, Senior Fellow

Renata Dessallien has served the United Nations for 30 years in Africa and Asia. For the last 18 years she was UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, and Myanmar. Prior to that she served in Mali, Laos and at UN HQ. During her country assignments, she strove to understand peoples and countries both from the outside in and, to the extent possible, from the inside out – endeavouring to discover their defining characteristics, what makes them tick, so as to better inform the UN’s assistance. During her fellowship at the Oslo Governance Centre, Renata will be drawing on her country experience, reflecting on relationships between identity, ethnicity, religion, nation-building, democratization, human rights and peacebuilding in complex, transitional contexts. Renata holds two Masters degrees (MA from Columbia University and MPA from Harvard University), and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Ottawa. 

Endre Stiansen, Senior Research and Policy Advisor

Endre joins the Oslo Governance Centre as Advisor from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His last posting was to the Embassy in Addis Ababa, where he set up and led the Embassy’s regional team. Previously he served as Special Envoy to the Sudan and South Sudan, and he took part in the Sudan peace negotiations initially as one of the Norwegian observers but later as a member of the IGAD negotiating team and was responsible for work on wealth sharing. He has also previously been a staff member at The Nordic Africa Institute, The Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo, and the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo. Endre holds a doctorate (Dr. Philos.) in economic history from the University of Bergen where he also taught courses on African and Middle Eastern history and imperialism.  

Alexandra Wilde, Senior Research and Policy Advisor

Alexandra Wilde joins the Oslo Governance Centre as Senior Research and Policy Advisor with responsibility for OGC’s work on the governance of inclusion, including the empowerment of women, and governance measurement. Alex has more than 20 years of professional experience in governance and peacebuilding - as a diplomat for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a specialist for UNDP (2002-2007) on civil society, governance measurement and as a consultant to the Community of Democracies. She has previously worked for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in Addis Ababa on support to the implementation of the AU Charter on Elections, Democracy and Governance. Most recently she was with CARE Norway as Acting Humanitarian Director and an advisor on Women, Peace and Security with a focus on resilience programming, bridging relief, recovery and development and engagement of women in peacebuilding processes. She has an MBA and degrees in law and political science.

Julia Kercher, Senior Expert

Julia joins the Oslo Governance Centre as the Senior Expert on Governance and Peacebuilding (SDG 16) with a focus on monitoring of SDG 16, interlinkages of SDG 16 with other SDGs, and mechanisms for inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement. Julia first worked for UNDP from 2006-2012, then on the SDGs’ predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Between her two assignments with UNDP, Julia was with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights where she coordinated the High Commissioner’s input to the negotiations of the 2030 Agenda, and, most recently, the German Institute for Human Rights on implementing the SDGs in Germany. Julia started her career working for NGOs such as Amnesty International, CARE International and Transparency International. She holds a law degree and a Masters degree in "Development Practice" from Oxford Brookes University.

Aseem Andrews, Policy Specialist - Knowledge Management

Aseem Andrews brings to the Organization a diverse background of about 15 years, in development, knowledge management, research, innovation and crisis prevention and recovery. From 2010, Aseem worked as the New York based Knowledge Management Specialist for UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR). Just prior to joining UNDP/BCPR, he worked with the National Disaster Management Authority of the Government of India. Before this, Aseem was involved in Disaster Risk Management and Capacity building functions in the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Namibia for three years after having worked as a Drought and Development Network Manager for the UNDP Drylands Development Center (DDC) in Nairobi. Also in Nairobi, Aseem served in the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), providing support to the Regional Disaster Response for Central and East Africa regions and the Inter-Agency Working Group for Emergency Preparedness and Contingency Planning. Aseem has also worked as the Executive Officer for Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi, from 2002 – 2004. Aseem holds a MBA from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

Torni Iren Johansen, Administrative Assistant

Torni Iren Johansen is as Administrative Assistant at the Oslo Governance Centre. Torni has more than 30 years of experience in administrative work. She has previously worked for the Norwegian Defence and has served abroad in a military capacity on several occasions. Torni also worked for 4 years at NATO HQ as an executive assistant before working for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 2001. While with DPKO she was posted to Kosovo, Lebanon and Haiti, working mostly with the Board of Inquiry. Torni moved to UNDP and the Oslo Governance Centre in 2008. 

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