Staff and Fellows
Radha Blackman joined The HAND Foundation in 2008. Previously she was the Director of Development at PARSA Community Foundation. Radha's prior experience includes working as a program associate in the external affairs department at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. She also served as the Director of Administration at the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN), where she helped launch iEARN’s programs in South Asia and the Middle East. She was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to conduct research in civic education in high schools in Bulgaria.
Radha earned an M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. from Smith College in Asian History.
Shawna Hamilton is also a grants manager at Pacific Foundation Services. Shawna previously worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation as a Development Associate and Corporate Giving Counselor at Cisco Systems, Inc. While at Cisco, Shawna advised world-wide employees and grant seekers on opportunities for charitable engagement within Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and managed the global Habitat for Humanity grant program. Prior to joining the community foundation, Shawna worked in financial services and led strategy and operations for Seeds of Africa Foundation. It was the combination of simultaneously working at a hedge fund and co-starting Seeds of Africa that ignited her interest in the alignment of corporate, public, and family funding to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Shawna received her master's in Nonprofit Management from Milano - The New School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy in New York City.
Ramin Bajoghli graduated from Boston University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and in Political Science. Currently, Mr. Bajoghli is a Research Associate at New York University's School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine. He is also on the Board of Advisors of Iranian Alliances Across Borders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building the Iranian American diaspora community.
Stephen Lessard has been interested in communication, in various forms, all his life. He discovered his musical voice at age five when his grandmother introduced him to the piano. From middle school through college, Stephen's instrument of communication became the French horn, which led him to a job with Henry Mancini's orchestra and a stint in a DisneyWorld symphony, among other unusual gigs. Stephen pursued Western classical music at The Eastman School of Music, but because of an inspiring professor, he became interested in non-Western musical communication. Enrolling in the ethnomusicology program at UC Berkeley, he promptly fell in love with teaching when the music department assigned him to offer its version of the American Cultures requirement, exploring how various diaspora groups in America have preserved or adapted their musical communication. Stephen was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study how music communicates political and religious values in Laos and Thailand, but turned down the grant to pursue teaching full time. He joined the faculty at The Nueva School and taught there for 13 years, specializing in American history, Asian history, drama, poetry, and rhetoric. While at Nueva, Stephen led seven international service trips for middle school students, believing in the importance of cross-cultural communication as well as the philanthropic potential of young adults. Stephen's work at The HAND Foundation integrates his interests in communication, education, philanthropy, diaspora populations, and Western Asia.
Kaveh Majlesi is Assistant Professor of Economics at Lund University, School of Economics, in Lund, Sweden. Majlesi earned his PhD in Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously, he was the Program Manager for the HAND Research Foundation, and he has worked as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University and economic analyst in the OC&C Strategy Consultants. He has also been consultant to some national projects in Iran.
He holds a Masters of Public Administration/International Development (MPA/ID) degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor's degree from Sharif University of Technology in Electrical Engineering.
Reza Salehnejad received his MSc and PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He has taught Economics at Cambridge and City University. He has also written a book on Rationality, Bounded Rationality and Microfoundations, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan (2006). Reza is a Lecturer in Economics at the Manchester Business School , the University of Manchester, UK.
Leena Datwani, joined the organization in 2005 as a research fellow. From 2006 -2007 Leena served as the executive director of The HAND Foundation. Her current field of research is diaspora philanthropy.
She previously worked as a research analyst for the World Bank’s flagship annual report- World Development Report 2003 entitled Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World. She has also conducted literature reviews for the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency unit.
She holds an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in International Economics and International Economics; and a B.A. from William Smith College in Environmental Studies and Economics. She also has a certificate in early childhood education.
Dr. Mohammad Mansouri has worked as management consultant and system analyst in several national projects in Iran. He is also a founder of several NGOs, in which he has held managerial positions.
Dr. Mansouri has conducted various seminars on management topics at George Washington University, the International Center for Dialogue among Civilizations, the University of Tehran, and Sharif University of Technology.
He has also worked as a consultant at the World Bank, and has authored several literary pieces including short stories, poems, plays, screenplays, and novels in Persian and in English.
Dr. Mansouri holds a Doctor of Science degree from the George Washington University in Engineering Management. He received his Master's from the University of Tehran and his Bachelor's from Sharif University of Technology in Industrial Engineering..