ILO COOP Staff
Simel EsimSimel Esim Simel Esim, a Turkish-American economist, has led the ILO’s portfolio on cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy (SSE) since 2012, when she became the first woman to be appointed as the head the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit (COOP) since 1920. In 2022, she served as lead technical expert for the ILO’s Office report on decent work and the SSE. The general discussion at the 110th ILC led to the adoption of a resolution on decent work and the SSE, and the subsequent seven year strategy and action plan (2023-2029) endorsed by the ILO’s Governing Body.
Previously, Simel led ILO Regional Office for Arab States’ portfolio on gender equality and women workers rights. Prior to joining the ILO in 2004, Ms Esim worked for the World Bank, Development Alternatives, Inc. and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). She has been a member of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) since its founding in 1997 and currently serves on its Board.
She holds a PhD in Economics from the American University in Washington, DC, an MA in International Economics and Middle East Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy and Washington, DC, and a BA in Political Science from the Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. She is fluent in English and Turkish and has working knowledge of Arabic, French and Italian.
Charlie BodwellCharlie Bodwell, a father of four teenage boys, joined the COOP HQ team this November. Previously, as a specialist on enterprise development and entrepreneurship, he supported programmes and activities in East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific while based in DWT Bangkok. Starting with the ILO in 2000, his work has centred on creating sustainable approaches for linking job creation and job quality, through support to large factories, business associations, national governments, and the informal economy. Before joining the ILO, he worked at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), where he was assistant to the Chief of Staff in the office of the Director-General, as well as at Schlumberger, Agfa-Bayer and IBM. He has completed degrees in engineering, business and international management, at Michigan State University, McGill University, and ESADE respectively, and conducted research on Intel Corp’s product development process while based at Cambridge University and Stanford.
Guy TchamiGuy Tchami has been working for the ILO for the past sixteen years. He joined the organization in 2001 in its Cooperatives Unit in Geneva, mainly working on project formulation, project backstopping, research and publications, etc. Between 2008-11, he worked for a DFID-funded programme assisting cooperatives and other self-help groups in Eastern and Southern Africa, based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is currently based in Geneva as Cooperative Policy and Research Specialist working on development cooperation projects on cooperatives and other social and solidarity economy enterprises. He holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics. He speaks French, and English, and as well as has working knowledge of Spanish.
Dong Il ChoiDong Il Choi has joined the Cooperatives Unit of the Enterprises Department at the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva in April 2021 as Cooperatives and Social & Solidarity Economy (SSE) Development Specialist. He is seconded to the ILO from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) of South Korea where he had worked for 15 years.
Mr Choi’s main focus at MOEF has been around budgeting and policy coordination. He worked at the Budget Office for six years on diverse national budget issues including welfare, employment and labour, research and development and social overhead capital (SOC) among others. He also worked at the Policy Coordination Bureau of MOEF, which includes a division on Cooperatives and Social Economy, for five years. Around 2012, he was in charge of the process of establishing and enacting 'the Framework Act on Cooperatives', through which he built an understanding on the value of cooperatives and wider social and solidarity economy (SSE).
Mr Choi has a B.A. in Economics from Seoul National University (SNU) in addition to two master’s degrees: one in Engineering from SNU and another one in International Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy in Los Angeles, California.
He speaks English and Korean (native).
Heejin AhnHeejin Ahn, joined ILO COOP in July as a Junior Technical Officer to support the project on Strengthening Social and Solidarity Economy Policy in Asia. Ms Ahn will work on a wide range of SSE-related issues, such as elaboration of reports, and publications related to the project, preparation for a conference and capacity building workshop, and activating the network with ILO’s partners in the field of SSE.
Prior to joining ILO COOP, she worked as a Junior Policy Analyst at the OECD contributing to publications and capacity building projects on the social economy, social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Ms. Ahn holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute, Geneva in Switzerland. Her thesis focused on the role of producer coffee cooperative in empowering women producers in Machakos, Kenya.
Heejin speaks English, Korean and French, and has working knowledge of Spanish.
Gahhyun UhmGahhyun Uhm joined the Cooperatives Unit of the Enterprises Department at the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva from February 2023 as a JPO in Cooperatives, Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) statistics.
Prior to joining the ILO, Gahhyun worked as a research officer at the Export and Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) leading several Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP) projects with Viet Nam, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan funded by the Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance (KMOEF). Gahhyun also has prior experiences working at country offices of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam and Turkey, focusing on project development, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), research and communications. In Turkey, she worked on livelihood related projects focusing on skills-building, entrepreneurship and SME development, and improving government employment services. Gahhyun has strength and interest in econometrics, impact evaluation, and evidence-based policy making. Using her knowledge and experiences, she hopes to contribute to developing better statistics on cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy (SSE). Gahhyun holds a B.A. in Economics from Sookmyung Women’s University in Korea and a MSc in Development Studies (Specialism in Applied Development Economics) from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).