DIL Visiting Fellows Program

Photo: Rodney Choice

An Opportunity for Global companies, NGOs, USAID Mission Leaders,
& Global Development Subject Matter Experts

The DIL Visiting Fellows Program invites experts from companies, NGOs, and government agencies to visit UC Berkeley for 1-3 weeks, to contribute to our ecosystem of researchers and students. Candidate fellows will work with DIL Leadership to explore mutually beneficial themes or partnership opportunities to focus on while on campus.

The program serves as a platform for influencing the international development research agenda at the top public university in the world. It is also a professional development opportunity for representatives from USAID missions, bureaus, and corporate or philanthropic organizations. The program also enables practitioners and development professionals to collaborate with academics on the design and deployment of novel technologies, services, and approaches, with a specific focus on scaling technologies for impact.

While at UC Berkeley, Fellows will:

  • Share real-world experience with the campus community via office hours for students, interactive seminars with researchers, and meetings across campus.
  • Educate the UC Berkeley community about their Mission/organization’s strategic global development goals, through direct and sustained engagement with DIL’s faculty, staff, and
  • Raise awareness of development issues and problems that need
  • Learn about and experiment with new tools and methodologies for
  • Understand new approaches to development and learn techniques for institutionalizing cooperative
  • Explore ongoing partnerships with DIL and its researchers.

To learn more about the DIL Visiting Fellows Program or to suggest a theme for a visit, please contact Sophi Martin at sophi@berkeley.edu.

Past DIL Fellows

James Bernard

Senior Director, Global Strategic Partnerships
Microsoft Education

James BernardJames Bernard was at UC Berkeley from March 30 – April 14, 2015.

BIO: As the Senior Director of Global Strategic Partnerships for the Education Group at Microsoft, James Bernard leads a team that is responsible for building and executing on global multi-lateral partnerships with publishers, content and solutions providers, education technology companies, mobile operators, and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and international organizations that span more than 130 countries. The core focus of these partnerships is ensuring that technology serves as an accelerator of effective school management, innovative teaching practice, and students’ acquisition of 21st Century Skills. In addition, the partnerships provide greater digital access to students and teachers; build teacher and school leader capacity; and provide new technologies to help improve learning environments.

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Bernard held a number of globally focused consumer marketing and communications positions at Microsoft between 1999 and 2006, working on consumer technology products and projects designed to bring technology to people in developing countries, specifically through the distribution of low-cost PCs.

Bernard took time off from Microsoft between 2006 and 2008 to serve as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for World Learning, an international NGO focused on educational exchange and international development with operations in more than 70 countries. As part of a new senior leadership team at the organization, Bernard built and led a marketing and communications organization that was responsible for redefining World Learning’s market position, brand and internal and external communications strategy.

Before originally joining Microsoft in 1999, Bernard spent eight years in a variety of marketing, public relations and communications roles in Chicago. Bernard also lived in Kenya for six years and has traveled extensively in Africa and many other parts of the world. He serves as an advisor to a number of education-focused organizations and is a member of the Board of Directors for Pact, a global NGO focused on capacity building in health, environment and livelihoods. Bernard is a frequent speaker on issues of technology in international development.

He holds a degree (with honors) form the EW Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and currently lives with his wife and daughter in Seattle.

David Roberts

Regional Strategic Advisor, Director’s Office, Regional Development Mission for Asia

David RobertsDavid Roberts was at UC Berkeley from Jan 6 – Jan 9, 2014.

BIO: David is currently the Regional Strategic Advisor focusing on the Lower Mekong Initiative as well as other issues that bridge the gap between diplomacy and development. He came to this position from Tokyo where he was the Ambassador’s Science Advisor, focusing primarily on Japan’s post-Fukushima recovery. Previously, he helped to shape international water security policy at the State Department and worked on building Vietnam’s science capacity at U.S. Embassy, Hanoi. Before joining government, David was a Feynman Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory and conducted research at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, Princeton University and the University of Capetown. David obtained his PhD in Physics from Oxford University as a Marshall scholar.

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He also holds a MS in Environmental Geophysics and a BS in Engineering Physics from Cornell University. He recently published several op-eds/articles on Fukushima, the future of higher education, risk communication, etc., and has over 25 scholarly publications on various topics in physics, biology, and geology.


Sheila Desai

Senior Science and Technology Advisor for the USAID India Mission’s Center for Innovation and Partnerships

Dr. Desai was at UC Berkeley Oct 28 – Dec 6, 2013.

BIO: Sheila E. Desai arrived in India in September 2012 to serve as the Deputy Director for the Office of Food Security within the USAID/India Mission. She has since transitioned to serve as USAID India’s Senior Science and Technology Advisor sitting within the Mission’s Center for Innovation and Partnerships. She regularly coordinates with USAID Washington DC initiatives to increase cooperation between U.S. Universities and visiting U.S. scholars/scientists with Indian organizations. Prior to this position, she was seconded from USAID to the International Security Assistance Forces where she served as the Senior Economist for the Stability Development Unit in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Before joining USAID, Dr. Desai worked as a Management Consultant and Transfer Pricing Economist for Price Waterhouse Coopers and Accenture. Her international experience includes serving as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay and leading household survey development in rural Mexico. She speaks Spanish and French and holds a B.A. in Economics from Yale University and an M.S. and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics. Originally from Minnesota, she recently relocated to India and Florida.