Faculty Profiles

All of ICDS´ faculty are leading practitioners in their fields. They participate in development projects, applied research, and education simultaneously, and their backgrounds and experience make them tremendous resources in the development fields and excellent mentors to participants in ICDS´ programs.

The following professors teach at least part of a course within the program. Visiting or guest scholars are not included on this list, but more information is available from ICDS.

 Nicolette Baker

Nicolette Baker holds a B.A. in Film and Literature from the University of Warwick, England, and is currently in the process of obtaining her M.A in Second Languages and Cultures from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. Additionally, she has also taken various courses on Literature, Education, and Music in the Universidad de Costa Rica. Before becoming the administrative art director of Sala Garbo—a prestigious independent movie theatre in Costa Rica—she worked as a ballet professor, one of her passions along with swimming, reading, and theatre.


Mauricio Blandino

Mr. Blandino studied Industrial Engineering at the University of Costa Rica and also he got a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Essex, United Kingdom. He is an environmental engineer and consultant with more than ten years of international experience in NGOs, public and private institutions as well as the academic sector. He is the senior consultant at ALIARSE in charge of environmental programs. The main fields of work are: sustainability, waste management, cleaner production and sustainable tourism. Mr. Blandino is fluent in Spanish and English and he has lived in different countries such as Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, England and Japan.


 Rosemary Castro Solano

Political scientist (UCR, Costa Rica), educator (UNED, Costa Rica) and English language specialist (UCR, Costa Rica) with graduate studies in Communications for Development (UCR, Costa Rica) and Education (UDG, México). Ms Castro’s work experience is both on the academic field (university and open education) and in project management (NGO in charge of awareness raising and capacity building area). She has also had the opportunity to work on election observation missions (national and international with the OAS) as well as in advocacy and empowerment actions with Costa Rican social movements.


Iriana Chaves Acosta, RN. MSc.

Iriana Chaves is a Registered Nurse, with a Master´s degree in Administration of Sustainable Health Services and a Business Specialty in Project Management. And currently finishing a master´s degree in Negotiations and International Relationships.

Her professional career includes experience both in public health systems (CCSS) and private services (HCB). Ms. Chaves is the Quality Improvement Coordinator of Hospital Clínica Bíblica (HCB) in San José, Costa Rica. She also has experience in the teaching field both with college students as with professionals from the health field. Ms Chaves also serves as an active member in the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED). A non-profit organization which coordinates the efforts carried out to assure the quality that the health Industry of Costa Rica, as well as internationally promote them. Iriana has also done several consulting services for hospitals in Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Venezuela.


Rodrigo Corrales, M.Sc.

Rodrigo Corrales has a Master’s degree in Economic Policy and International Economics from the International Center of Economic Policy for the Sustainable Development, as well as Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the National University of Costa Rica. He has worked as an economic researcher for the National University of Costa Rica, and also as a professor for economics courses in some private universities. His main interests are Social, Human and Economic Development, Innovation, Philosophy, Politics, Learning Capability Building and Cultural and Economic Domination. He is constantly involved in the writing of professional opinion articles and scientific articles for several sources.


Joaquín Lizano

Joaquín Lizano works as an Intercultural Competence trainer with Global Solutions Group and is the Costa Rica Program Coordinator for Institute for Global Education. He teaches for Universidad Veritas in San José and has taught for U.S. universities as well, in areas as Intercultural Communication and Competence, Human Rights in Latin America, International Economics in Latin America, Critical Issues in Latin American Development and Migration. He co-managed Voices and Actions against Xenophobia and Exclusion, a web-list dedicated to foster respect to difference.

His undergraduate studies were in International Business. He has an MSc in Education and is currently working on his thesis for his graduate studies in Communication with an emphasis in Intercultural Communication. He is fluent in Spanish, French and English.


Sharon López

Professor Sharon López holds a master degree on Education for Peace, form the Universidad para la Paz affiliated to the United Nations, and a master degree on Human Rights and Education for Peace from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. She has continued her education through various courses such as “Civil-Military Coordination within the International Peace Missions-Austrian Armed Forces-working with Innsbruck University,” and“Empathic Intelligence and Non-violent Communication-Latin American Project of Non-violent Communication” . Professor López has worked as a professor and researcher on various universities including the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Universidad Latina and ICDS. As a researcher and consultant, she has worked with several organizations such as UNICEF, the Costa Rican Ministry of Education, and Universidad para la Paz.


Alekcey Murillo-Alfaro, M.D.

Alekcey Murillo is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Hospital Clínica Bíblica in San José, Costa Rica. Dr. Murillo also serves as Executive Director of Emmanuel Community Development Center, a program serving the Cabecar people of Costa Rica under the non-profit organization Indigenous Community Development International (ICDI).

Dr. Murillo’s career as a physician has focused on the underserved indigenous populations of North and Central America, including former posts in the U.S. Indian Health Services in Arizona and New Mexico. He received his medical doctorate from the Universidad Internacional de las Americas in San José, Costa Rica, and completed his specialty in Family Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.


Jorge Nowalski

Jorge Nowalski is the President and Academic Director of the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS), and also chairs the Foundation for Sustainability and Equity (ALIARSE), organizations based in San José, Costa Rica and involved in the fostering of international education and of public-private partnerships for development, respectively.

Mr. Nowalski has a Ph.D. in Labor Issues and Social Security from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), two Master’s degrees in Social Planning in Developing Countries and in Industrial Relations, also from LSE, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Tulane University, New Orleans, U.S.A.

Besides directing ICDS and ALIARSE, Dr. Nowalski has also been a consultant for international organizations such as, ILO, UNDP, OAS, Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank. His professional experience includes serving as a Presidential Advisor in social policy and human development for the Costa Rican government during the period 1982-84, and Minister- Counselor for the Costa Rican Embassy in England (1984-89).

Dr. Jorge Nowalski is author and coauthor of books and articles on topics such as trade and poverty, labor issues, social security, trade unions, and human development. He has been author, co-author or editor of books such as Labor, Social and Economic Asymmetries in Central America (FLACSO, 2002), Competitive Potential of the Central American Productive Sectors in the Context of CAFTA (CIDH, 2004), Who´s Who in the Central American Institutional Environment (UNDP), The World of Work (UNA), among others, and his most recently published book (2010) in collaboration with Doris Osterlof is The Road Towards the Development of Central America: Beyond Trade Agreements.


Teresita Ramellini

Psychologist, graduated from the University of Panama and Master in Science from the University of Oregon (Eugene). Ms. Ramellini currently works at the University of Costa Rica, where she is a researcher at the Women’s Studies Research Center, associate professor in the Women’s Studies Master Program, and in the Psychology Department. Consultant for PAHO, ILO, UNFPA, UNDP, and IOM on violence against women, sexual violence, women trafficking, gender and development, child domestic work, and women and economic rights. She is a member of several committees such as the Women’s Forum at the National Institute of Women (Costa Rica), the Commission for the Follow-Up of the National Plan on the Prevention of Violence against Women (PLANOVI), and the Costa Rican Advisor Council for the National Policy on Gender Equality (PIEG). She is a women’s rights activist and member of the Feminist Network of Women against Violence. She also works as therapist for victims and survivors of violence, particularly sexual violence. She has published several books and articles on the fields of violence against women, discrimination, and women’s rights in Central America.


Yanina Rovinski

Journalist specialized in science and environmental subjects. Ms. Rovinski studied Chemistry at the University of Costa Rica and later obtained a Master’s degree in Journalism at the University of California in Berkeley. She designed and directed the Communications Department for Central America at the “Union Mundial para la Naturaleza” (UICN). She was an Minister-Counselor for the Embassy of Costa Rica in France, where she contributed to facilitate the inclusion of Cocos Island on the list of “Patrimonio de la Humanidad.” She is currently working as an independent consultant in communication.