Chevening Orientation 2023 - Morning breakout sessions

Find out who will be leading the morning breakout sessions during Chevening Orientation 2023.

Melinda Bohannon

Melinda is the interim Director General, Humanitarian and Development at the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). She was previously FCDO Strategy Director from September 2020 to July 2023, and before that Strategy Director at the Department for International Development (DFID).

Melinda joined the Civil Service in 1999 as an economist and has worked in DFID, FCO and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) since that time, as well as in the private sector and research. She has covered a range of international geographic roles including on the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and China.

From 2013 to 2015 Melinda led the UK team negotiating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, supporting the UK Envoy and Prime Minister. She was subsequently head of DFID’s Economic Growth and Resilience Department, managing economic transformation programmes around the world.

Melinda has a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University and a MSC in Development Studies with Economics from the London School of Economics.

Joan Wasylik

Joan’s career has focused on leading communications strategies and teams at blue-chip B2B multinationals based in Europe. Her roles have supported business and industry leaders across automotive, energy, food, financial services & medical sectors.

A Canadian/British dual citizen, she holds a masters in Public Relations from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles), and a bachelors in English literature from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver). Having received two scholarships from Rotary International, she’s also been a jury selector for the Fulbright Program and The Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. Joan provides mentorship support and career planning seminars to several university programs, and currently lives between Paris and London.

Caroline Black

Caroline Black is an independent communications consultant, facilitator and coach. Previously she was board director responsible for people and business development at Grayling, one of the UK’s leading communications consultancies. Caroline is a Chartered member and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, where she is one of their most senior trainers.  Caroline trains professionals in communication skills including media training, presentation skills, speechwriting, business and journalistic writing skills and creativity.

Caroline’s clients are from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors and include: the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; UK Security Services; Welsh Government; European Patent Office; Royal Navy; East West Rail; Cancer Research UK; Whitley Fund for Nature; Ashden Awards; Fawcett Society and many communications consultancies, in-house communications teams and C-suite individuals requiring coaching and mentoring.

Maia Rizhvadze

Inclusive Education: Research, Policy & Practice, MEd | College of Social Sciences | Tbilisi, Georgia.

Maia is a 2022 Chevening Alumna who studied Master of Education: MEd, Inclusive Education: Research Policy and Practice at the University of Glasgow.