Gabon Oregon Center Personnel
Gabon-Oregon Center- Libreville, Gabon Staff
Executive Director, Gabon-Oregon Center, Libreville Branch
Francis Bivigou is a biomedical engineer who has been working for more than 10 years as a researcher at the Gabonese Institute of Pharmacopea and traditional Medicine. Born in Mouila, Gabon he did all of his primary and secondary school in London and New-York. After obtaining his baccalaureate in Libreville, he graduate from the University of Science and Technical studies of Masuku (USTM) in Franceville, then continued his studies in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Animal Physiology. Eager to complete his scientific studies with more technical and practical training, he was admitted to one of the best biomedical engineering Schools in France, the Technological University of Compiegne (UTC). On top of his scientific skills, Francis Bivigou also has experience in American and Gabonese administration, after serving as Translator and Protocol Assistant at the US Embassy in Libreville and as an advisor at the Presidency of the Gabonese Republic.
Program Coordinator, Sustainability Projects, Gabon-Oregon Center, Libreville Branch
Suzanne Chatelier has recently joined the Libreville team as the Program Coordinator for Sustainability Projects and is also helping with the Center’s communication and management of the Facebook page in order to increase visibility. Born in Toulouse, Southwest of France, she grew up in Gabon and considers this country her own. She did her higher education studies at Sciences Po Paris where she received her Bachelor’s degree in 2011 and her Master’s degree in Urban Affairs (‘Governing the Large Metropolis’) in 2013. During her exchange year in Johannesburg, South Africa, she got ‘infected’ by the ‘travel virus’ and thus visited many countries of the region such as Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho or Mozambique. She then did various internships in Thailand (notably the one to validate her Master’s degree at UNDP) in 2013 and made the most of this experience by visiting most countries of Southeast Asia. She only came back to Gabon in 2014 to do an internship at ANGT where she met Zoe Anton and heard for the first time about the Gabon-Oregon Center. During her diverse travel and professional experiences, she developed a taste for foreign languages and is now bilingual in English, intermediate in Spanish and has a solid base in Portuguese. She has also learned a little in Zulu, Thai and Indonesian. When she is not preparing her next adventure, she likes to surf, visit the beautiful Gabonese provinces and volunteer at EWB NGO. In fact, she has a particular interest in under-integrated neighborhood upgrade programs led by communities in different cities and metropolises all over the world.
Program Assistant, Sustainability Projects, Gabon-Oregon Center, Libreville Branch
Juste Sylvain Obouonombele is a development planner and geographer, that joined the center team in 2014. Born in 1986 in Libreville, he completed his studies, primary education and high school, in the Haut-Ogooué and Estuaire regions of Gabon. In 2008 he earned his Bachelor's in Franceville and went to Dakar, Senegal to continue higher education of which he received his engineering degree in 2012 in development planning and urban management at the School of Applied Economics of Dakar, and National School of Applied Economics establishment under the supervision of Cheikh Anta Diop University. Then he earned his Master's degree in development planning, decentralization, local development, and geography sections of the Geography Department of the same university. Passionate about research, he conducted a study about anarchic occupation of public space at the city center of Dakar while working with the technical services of the city. Interested in issues of urban management, he was also Assistant Coordinator to the national struggle against the space program in Senegal. Also as part of the research, he studied the progress of the decentralization and local governance in the countries of the CEMAC. In 2010 he participated in the preparation of the Master Plan and Development of the Rural Community of Diouroup, Senegal.
Gabon-Oregon Center- Eugene, Oregon Staff
Executive Director, Gabon-Oregon Center, Eugene Branch
Former U.S. Ambassador to Gabon and to São Tomé and Príncipe, Eric Benjaminson, is serving as the first Executive Director of the Gabon-Oregon Center's Eugene, OR branch. Originally from Brownsville, Oregon, he is a University of Oregon alumnus, graduating from the Clark Honors College in 1981 with a degree in History. Ambassador Benjaminson recently retired from a 32-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service, having served in Europe, China, Canada, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Namibia, and Gabon. His foreign languages are French, Chinese and Swedish and his specializations include economic and environmental negotiations, science and environmental policy, and trade and investment issues and development.
Program Manager, Gabon-Oregon Center, Eugene Branch
Originally from the Paris region in France, Maryne has been studying and working in the U.S. since 2003. She joined the Eugene branch of the Gabon-Oregon Center in 2013 and is excited to call Oregon home. She received a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism and volunteered in Santa Elena, Costa Rica to teach French and maintain trails after graduation. She earned an M.A. in Environmental Studies from Boston University in 2010, and participated in the school’s Sustainability Program and worked in Kenya and Tanzania to study the impacts of tourism and opportunities for sustainable development in the region. Maryne is fluent in French and passionate about environmental policy, sustainability, research, and spending time outdoors.
Social Media and Gabon Internship Coordinator, Gabon-Oregon Center, Eugene Branch
After working at the Gabon-Oregon Center as an undergraduate student, Amy is now the coordinator in charge of establishing and managing internships between Gabon and Oregon. Additionally she showcases the work of the GOC through social media and outreach. She completed her B.A. (Cum Laude) at the University of Oregon in International Studies and Romance Languages. She gained a love for discovering the world after going to Ecuador as a high school exchange student. Her travels have spanned studying entrepreneurship in China, experiencing family life in France, and supporting reproductive health education as an intern in Senegal. Her language interests extend just as wide from Spanish to Wolof. When she isn’t plotting her next adventure, she is involved in dance, volunteering, and community activism.
University of Oregon Support Team
Dennis Galvan, Vice Provost for International Affairs
John Manotti, Associate Vice President for International Advancement
Lori O'Halloren, Global Studies Institute Associate Director
Chakris Kussalanant, Office of International Affairs Director of Marketing and Communications