Washington, DC Office


Zara Hovhannisyan is Director of Teacher Programs. She joined American Councils for International Education in October 2009. Prior to that Zara worked as Senior Program Officer for teacher training programs at International Research & Exchanges Board. She has also taught English as a Second Language in a secondary school in Armenia. Zara holds a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the H. Acharian Language Institute in Yerevan, Armenia and she is fluent in Russian and Armenian.

Robyn Caron is a Program Officer for Teacher Programs. She earned her master’s degree in International and Intercultural Communication with a specialization in Transnational Education from American University in 2017. Prior to joining American Councils, Robyn interned with The Language Flagship at IIE, assessing language learning and promoting intercultural competency. In 2014, she earned her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Connecticut. Her passion for teacher exchange programs stems from her experience teaching English in Moldova. 

Zoë Kosoff is a Program Associate for Teacher Programs. Prior to joining American Councils in 2019, Zoë taught Arabic at the University of Arizona, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Concordia Language Villages and worked as a translation project manager. Zoë holds an MA in Middle Eastern and North African Studies from the University of Arizona and a BA in Linguistics and Arabic from Smith College.

Rachel Venator is a Temporary Program Assistant for Teacher Programs. Rachel has held this position at American Councils for International Education since June 2020. Previously, she interned with Teacher Programs in 2018. Rachel earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Smith College and a certificate in international relations from the Five College Consortium. She also holds a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from The TEFL Academy.

Jeffrey LilleyDirector of Monitoring and Evaluation has worked in international development for 15 years, including postings in Washington, D.C., Central Asia, and the Middle East. He is a skilled analyst, having produced case studies, analytical frameworks, and learning tools, and an experienced trainer. He is versed in USAID evaluation guidance and methodology. He is an expert interviewer, experienced at devising and analyzing opinion surveys, and skilled at qualitative data analysis.


Uzbekistan Office

John Simpson

John Simpson is the Director of the English Speaking Nation: Secondary Teacher Program in Uzbekistan. Prior to joining American Councils in 2020, John worked with the International Rescue Committee in Seattle, Washington, helping refugees become US citizens. In 2014 and 2017, John was an English Language Fellow with the US Department of State, strengthening English language teaching in higher education. John brings over a decade of international experience to American Councils, including posts in India, Bangladesh, and Cote d'Ivoire. John holds an MA in International Studies from the University of Washington and MEd in TESOL from Seattle University. 

Dinara Seytnazarova, a  U.S. State Department funded UGRAD program 2008 alumna, joined American Councils as Program Officer in November 2019. Dinara is responsible for the design, coordination and implementation of the monitoring and evaluation activities within English Speaking Nation: Secondary Teacher Training program.

Dinara has started her professional career in 2010 by joining British American Tobacco Uzbekistan company as Senior HR specialist responsible for talent acquisition and administration of SAP Talent platform for Caucasus and Central Asia. In 2011 she continued her career at General Motors Powertrain Uzbekistan, where she held various cross functional roles of increasing responsibility. Prior to joining American Councils, Dinara has worked as Communications Manager overseeing all internal and external communication processes. 

Dinara graduated from the University of World of Economy and Diplomacy in 2010, majoring in World Economy and International Economic Relations. She also studied as an exchange student majoring in Economics at Wartburg College in 2017-2018. 

Aziza Kuchimova is a Program Coordinator working on English Speaking Nation: Secondary Teacher Training program at American Councils Uzbekistan Country Office.

Prior to joining American Councils, she worked as an Intern at United States Agency for International Development, where she was involved in the day-to-day business of the team.

Aziza  graduated from Westminster International University in Tashkent in 2019, majoring in Economics and Finance. She is the U.S. State Department funded Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders 2017 alumna and has attended Green River College, Auburn, WA, USA.

Makhliyo Shodieva’s undergraduate study abroad experience has sparked her interest in the opportunities that language learning can provide. She is currently working as a Program Coordinator on English Speaking Nation: Secondary Teacher Training program at American Councils Uzbekistan Country Office. Prior to joining the American Councils Team, she worked as a lawyer in the Capital Markets Development Agency. Makhliyo received her B.A. from the Westminster International University in Tashkent majoring in Commercial Law and was an exchange student in University of Texas at Austin in 2017. She speaks Russian, Uzbek, English and French. 

Fakhriddin Polatkhanov - “English Speaking Nation: Secondary Teacher Training” Program Assistant in American Councils Representative Office. Prior to joining the American Councils, he worked for the Committee for Tourism Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan, where he performed various functions of daily duties in the department of creation of tourist zones and attracting investments. In 2019, Fakhriddin received a master's degree in Public and Municipal Administration from KIMEP International University (Kazakhstan). He is a participant of the ERASMUS+ICM program and studied at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2018. He is fluent in Uzbek, Russian and English. 

Ramuza Makhammetsheripova - Program Assistant working on English speaking nation: secondary teacher program. 
Prior to joining the American Councils in 2020, Ramuza worked as an intern at BOS Marketing agency under YPIP Program held by American Councils. 
Also, she has other intern experiences. In 2018 Ramuza was involved in Uzbek Industrial and Construction Bank of Uzbekistan in the field located in Nukus in the department of credit monitoring. Then from November 2018 worked at Nestlé Uzbekistan company, in the department of finance and control.

Ramuza graduated Tashkent Institute of textile and Light industry in 2020, majoring in Corporate Governance.